Full Trump Interview With Tucker Carlson: Not Striking Iran, Facebook & Twitter, China, Afghanistan

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President Trump is interviewed by FOX News Channel host Tucker Carlson about his decision to not strike Iran, trade with China, Afghanistan, homelessness, and the influence social media and big tech companies wield politically.

Full transcript, via FOX News:

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST:  Mr. President thanks for this. 
 
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Thank you. 
 
CARLSON:  You just recently hours ago met with the Chinese President, Xi Jinping. 
 
TRUMP:  I did. 
 
CARLSON:  Are you closer, do you think after that meeting to a trade deal? 
 
TRUMP:  I think so.  We had a very good meeting.  He wants to make a deal.  I want to make a deal.  Very big deal, probably, I guess, you'd say the largest deal ever made of any kind, not only trade. 
 
We got along very well.  We understand each other.  He is going to start buying a lot of farm products, which is great for our farmers while we negotiate.  And I'm going to not increase tariffs, which I could do -- we have a lot we can do. 
 
And we're going to put our teams together and continue a great negotiation. 
 
I think we can -- I think we can do something that will be historic, but we'll see.  I mean, we're going to see.  I'm in no rush. 
 
We have a situation that works very well for us, and I'm sure he is happy.  What we're going to do is they're going to buy a lot of farm products.  We're not going to increase tariffs at this moment.  And we'll see what happens with the negotiation, but we had a very good meeting. 
 
CARLSON:  Do you think your political opponents in the U.S. are on your side in this negotiation? 
 
TRUMP:  I think they are actually.  I think they like the fact that we charged tariffs.  You know, look, China has been beating us badly for many years. 
 
President Obama did nothing meaning, "O'Biden."  I don't even think I have to say that anymore.  He did -- they did nothing.  And neither did in all fairness to President Obama, nobody did.  It was crazy. 
 
And we had a deficit last year of $506 billion -- billion with a B.  You almost say, "You mean $500 million?  Don't you know?"  $506 billion, and this has been going on for years and years and years. 
 
We've rebuilt China and they did a great job.  I give them a lot of credit. 
 
I don't -- I don't discredit them for what happened.  I discredit our people that should have been doing what I'm doing right now.  And it's not pleasant. 
 
Our farmers have been incredible.  They are great patriots and it's going to pay off big for our farmers. 
 
CARLSON:  You came very close to sending the U.S. military to strike Iran.  You pulled back at the last moment.  You were criticized by neo-cons in Washington for doing that.  They wanted you to strike Iran.  Why do you think they wanted that? 
 
TRUMP:  I was given a lot of credit by most people.  A lot of people gave me of credit. 
 
CARLSON:  The public was on your side for sure. 
 
TRUMP:  A lot of people said that was a great presidential moment, which was, you know, rather shocking to hear. 
 
So they shut down and unmanned drone. 
 
CARLSON:  Yes. 
 
TRUMP:  And they claim, it was over their territory, which it wasn't, but they would say that, so on top of it, they'll say, unmanned and over their territory, then we go in. 
 
Before I sent them out, they had to give me everything I wanted to know by seven o'clock.  They walked in, they gave me everything but they didn't tell me how many people would die.  How many Iranians -- I know a lot of Iranians from New York City, and they're great people.  They're all great people.  Were all great, right?  Iranian or not. 
 
I said, "How many people are going to die?"  And they said, "At least 150."  I said, "So let's get it.  They shot down an unmanned ..." not a brand new exactly thing either -- the drone -- they shot it down and we're going to now kill 150 or many more people, you never know.  Once you start doing what we'd do or what they'd do, and nobody does it better than us, you don't know how many people are going to die. 
 
So I said, "I don't like that.  I don't like it."  And I stopped it before.  I did -- we didn't send them out, you know, there was a little incorrect reporting.  It was like we sent them out and we pulled them.  But we didn't do that.  I didn't -- I made the final decision not to do it. 
 
I built up a lot of great capital, and if something should happen, we're in a position to do far worse by not doing it.  But hopefully, we don't have to do anything.  Iran now, since we terminated that horrible deal, which was a truly horrible deal, and, you know, you and I aren't so different in terms of fighting, we want to have peace.  We want to build our roads and build our schools and build all the things we want to build. 
 
But we can't let Iran have a nuclear weapon.  And you may even agree on that because I know where you stand.  The show is great.  I watch it a lot. 
 
But you can't let Iran have a nuclear weapon.  And you can't let certain other countries have nuclear weapons.  It's too devastating. 
 
So they're having a lot of difficulty in their country right now.  And hopefully, at some point, they'll come back and they'll say, "We're going to make a deal."  Let's see what happens. 
 
CARLSON:  Two American servicemen killed in Afghanistan this week.  How much longer do you think our troops will stay? 
 
TRUMP:  Well, I'll tell you.  I've wanted to pull them out.  And you know, I have pulled a lot out.  We were at 16,000.  We're down to about 9,000, which a lot of people don't know. 
 
In Syria, as you know, I've pulled most of them out.  We've defeated the Caliphate.  Now when you say Caliphate and defeat, the Caliphate's land, it's an area we've taken back a hundred percent. 
 
But these people -- ISIS -- they're stone cold crazy.  So that doesn't mean somebody is not going to walk into a store and blow up a store, which they do. 
 
So I never say defeated them, but they were decimated.  And this went on for a long time and other people didn't do what I did.  We did it.  We did it very effectively.  Our military, there's no military like our military in the world.  I don't want to have to use it very often.  But we took back the Caliphate. 
 
With Afghanistan, it's 19 years and we should not have been there 19 years and if we were, you know, it would be nice to fight to win.  But it's just 19 years.  They're building hotels -- we are.  I mean, we had a Holiday Inn that cost numbers that would be 10 times what it should have cost. 
 
They built a gas station, a pretty famous deal where it costs like $80 million to build a gas station. 
 
CARLSON:  It's Lawford gas station. 
 
TRUMP:  Maybe more.  Okay.  They probably did.  If they report 80, that means more. 
 
And we have the greatest fighters in the world.  But when you're 19 years, you're really becoming like a police force.  So we have pulled it back.  We're actually negotiating with various people.  But we want to get out.  We want to get out of a lot of areas that we're in.  We shouldn't be there.  We shouldn't be there.  We're the policeman for the whole world. 
 
You know, if you look at Russia, Russia doesn't police the world.  Russia has -- you know, they police Russia. 
 
CARLSON:  Yes. 
 
TRUMP:  You look at China.  They don't police.  They don’t have troops everywhere.  What they have is, they have people taking out the minerals out of the ground.  They don't have troops. 
 
We have a case in Afghanistan where we have troops on one mountain, it's a very mountainous country, rough country, beautiful country, actually in a lot of ways.  But we have troops, and on the other mountain ridge, China is there with big excavating equipment, taking out minerals.  They don’t have people.  Now, it's pretty dangerous for them, because their people tend to be shot as they're operating the machines.  You know, it's not exactly the safest place. 
 
So we've reduced the force very substantially in Afghanistan, which
I don't talk about very much, and that's okay. 
 
CARLSON:  Could you see getting out entirely? 
 
TRUMP:  I'll tell you the problem is, look, I would like to just get out.  The problem is, it just seems to be a lab for terrorists.  It seems -- I call it the Harvard of terrorists. 
 
When you look at the World Trade Center, they were trained.  They didn't --- by the way, they attacked the wrong country.  They didn't come from Iraq, all right.  They came from various other countries. 
 
But they all formed in Afghanistan, and it's probably because it's at the base of so many countries, but they all formed and it's rough mountains and you get a lot of -- you know, you get a lot of good hiding places. 
 
But I would leave very strong intelligence there.  You have to watch because they do -- you know, okay, I'll give you a tough one.  If you were in my position and a great looking central casting and we have great generals, a great central casting general walks up to your office, I say, "We're getting out."  "Yes, sir.  We'll get out.  Yes, sir." 
 
I'll say, "What do you think of that?"  "Sir, I'd rather attack them over there, then attack them in our land."  In other words, them coming here.  That's always a very tough decision, you know, with what happened with the World Trade Center, et cetera et cetera. 
 
When they say that, you know, no matter how you feel, and you and I feel pretty much very similar.  But when you're standing there, and you have some really talented military people saying, "I'd rather attack them over there than have them hit us over here and fight them on our land."  It's something you always have to think about. 
 
Now, I would leave and will leave -- we will be leaving.  Very strong Intelligence, far more than you would normally think because it's very important, and we can do it that way, too.  But we have reduced the forces very substantially in Afghanistan. 
 

CARLSON:  Google, by some measures, the most powerful company in the world -- all information flows through it -- they're against you.  They don't want you reelected.  Can you get reelected if Google is against you? 
 
TRUMP:  So you know, I've been hearing that about Google and Facebook and Twitter. 
 
CARLSON:  Yes, that's right. 
 
TRUMP:  Okay.  I won.  They were totally against me.  I won.  Hillary -- 
 
CARLSON:  They didn't think you were going to win. 
 
TRUMP:  Well, they fought me very hard.  I mean, I heard that and they're fighting me hard right now, which is incredible because I think the Democrats want to shut them up and frankly, so do a lot of the republicans want to shut them up. 
 
If you look at Twitter, I have millions and millions of people on Twitter and it's -- you know, it's a very good arm for me.  It's great social media.  But they don't treat me right. 
 
And I know for a fact, I mean, a lot of people try and follow me and it's very hard.  I have so many people coming up that they say, "Sir, it's so hard.  They make it hard to follow."  What they're doing is wrong and possibly illegal.  And a lot of things are being looked at right now. 
 
But you're right, Google is very powerful, but I won.  And a poll just came out today I'm at 54 or 55, and they do say you can add 10 to whatever poll I have, okay?  And I never get good press.  I mean, I haven't had a good story.  I used to get the best press in the world.  You remember the old days when I was an entrepreneur, I used to get great press.  Now, I get -- because of what I stand for and represent and nobody has ever had, I think 93 percent -- it came out the other day, 93 percent, and I'm talking about stories that should be good, they make them bad or should be great, they make them like neutral.  And yet I won, and I'll win again. 
 
So when they say it's the most powerful, it may be, but they were against me.  Facebook was against me.  They were all against me.  Twitter was against me.  Twitter -- I've been very good for Twitter.  I don't think Twitter would be the same without what I do on Twitter. 
 
But they just have this crazy disposition.  They have this philosophy, and yet, the Democrats are very much opposed to them in so many ways.  It's sort of an amazing thing. 
 
CARLSON:  So you just said that what the tech companies are doing maybe illegal, is there a role for the Justice Department in finding out? 
 
TRUMP:  Well, they could be and I don't want to even say whether or not they're doing something, but I will tell you, there are a lot of people that want us to and there are a lot of people -- all you have to do is pick up a newspaper and read it or see it or watch Fox or watch some other network.  There are a lot of people that want us to take action against Facebook and against Twitter and frankly, against Amazon. 
 
CARLSON:  Yes. 
 
TRUMP:  Amazon also.  A lot of people want us to take action. 
 
CARLSON:  Are you going to? 
 
TRUMP:  I can't say that, Tucker.  That I can't say. 
 
CARLSON:  You’ve come to where we are now Osaka or Tokyo and the cities are clean.  There's no graffiti.  No one going to bathroom on the street.  You don't see junkies. 
 
TRUMP:  It's very nice, isn't it? 
 
CARLSON:  Very different from our city. 
 
TRUMP:  Yes.  Well, no, some of our cities -- 
 
CARLSON:  Some of our cities, but New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles - they've got a major problem with -- 
 
TRUMP:  It's very sad. 
 
CARLSON:  With filth.  Why is that? 
 
TRUMP:  It's a phenomena that started two years ago.  It's disgraceful.  I'm going to may be and I'm looking at it very seriously, we're doing some other things that you probably noticed like some of the very important things that we're doing now.  But we're looking at it very seriously because you can't do that. 
 
You can't have what's happening -- where police officers are getting sick just by walking the beat.  I mean, they're getting actually very sick, where people are getting sick, where the people living there living in hell, too. 
 
Although some of them have mental problems where they don't even know they're living that way.  In fact, perhaps they like living that way.  They can't do that.  We cannot ruin our cities.  And you have people that work in those cities.  They work in office buildings and to get into the building, they have to walk through a scene that nobody would have believed possible three years ago. 
 
And this is the liberal establishment.  This is what I'm fighting.  They -- I don't know if they're afraid of votes.  I don't know if they really believe that this should be taking place.  But it's a terrible thing that's taking place.  And we may be -- 
 
You know, I had a situation when I first became President, we had certain areas of Washington, D.C. where that was starting to happen, and I ended it very quickly.  I said, "You can't do that." 
 
When we have leaders of the world coming in to see the President of the United States and they're riding down a highway, they can't be looking at that.  I really believe that it hurts our country. 
 
They can't be looking at scenes like you see in Los Angeles and San Francisco.  San Francisco, I own property in San Francisco, so I don't care except it was so beautiful.  And now areas that you used to think as being, you know, really something very special, you take a look at what's going on with San Francisco, it's terrible. 
 
So we're looking at it very seriously.  We may intercede.  We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up.  It's inappropriate. 
 
Now, we have to take the people and do something.  We have to do something. 
 
CARLSON:  Right. 
 
TRUMP:  And, you know, we're really not very equipped as a government to be doing that kind of work.  That's not really the kind of work that the government probably should be doing. 
 
We've never had this in our lives before in our country.  And it's not only those few cities, it's a couple of other ones. 
 
CARLSON:  No, it's a lot of cities. 
 
TRUMP:  At the same time, most of our cities are doing great.  But if you look at some of these, they are usually sanctuary cities run by very liberal people and the states are run by very liberal people. 
 
But the thing that nobody can figure out is do these governors or mayors, do they really think this is a positive?  Do they really think this is okay?  Because it's not.  It's destroying their city.  And it's destroying a whole way of life, and it's not our country.  It's not what our country is all about. 



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