Mar 6, 2020
Donald Trump Fox News Town Hall Transcript
Fox News held a town hall on Thursday, March 6 with Donald Trump hosted by Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier. People in the audience had the opportunity to ask President Trump a variety of questions. Read the full transcript of the town hall.
Bret Baier: (00:00)
Good evening. I’m Bret Baier.
Martha MacCallum: (00:01)
And I’m Martha MacCallum. Great to be here tonight. Pennsylvania, of course, was critical in securing President Trump’s victory in 2016. And it is a state that he may need again this November.
Bret Baier: (00:11)
This comes as the Democratic field hoping to challenge him is narrowing. Only two major candidates remain, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Martha MacCallum: (00:22)
President Trump has already held rallies across the country, touting record jobs, new trade deals, and an overall strong economy.
Bret Baier: (00:30)
So, will that message resonate here, as he looks to become the first Republican since Ronald Reagan to win Pennsylvania twice?
Martha MacCallum: (00:39)
Ladies and gentlemen, President Donald Trump.
President Donald Trump: (00:41)
Thank you. Thank you. Hi, Bret.
Bret Baier: (00:41)
Mr. President, thanks for joining us.
President Donald Trump: (00:41)
Thank you very much.
Martha MacCallum: (00:54)
Good to see you. Thank you for being here. Great to have you.
President Donald Trump: (01:18)
Thank you. So great.
Martha MacCallum: (01:35)
You’ve got a great crowd here.
President Donald Trump: (01:36)
Bret Baier: (01:37)
Martha MacCallum: (01:37)
Terrific crowd here tonight. Thank you so much, everybody.
Bret Baier: (01:41)
We’d love to get to a lot of questions tonight, and there are a lot of good questions from residents here in Scranton who want to talk about big issues.
Martha MacCallum: (01:48)
So we’re going to jump right in with the first questioner from our audience. Thank you again, Mr. President, for being here tonight.
President Donald Trump: (01:53)
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Martha MacCallum: (01:54)
Catherine Pugh is joining us. She is an undecided voter and she has a question for President Trump. Catherine?
Katherine Pugh: (02:02)
Mr. President, at the outset of the coronavirus, your administration’s response seemed to some as being confusing or minimizing. What plans are being considered on a federal level for the possibility of a long-term disruption from the novel coronavirus?
President Donald Trump: (02:17)
Well, actually, we were giving … I think really given tremendous marks. You look at Gallup Poll, you look at other polls for the way we’ve handled it. And one of the things I did is I closed down the borders to China and to other areas that are very badly affected and really having a lot of troubles. I mean, countries and areas of countries that have had a lot of problem. And I closed them down very early, against the advice of almost everybody, and we’ve been given rave reviews. And that’s why we have only, right now, it’s a lot of people, but it’s still 11 people versus tremendous numbers of thousands of people that have died all over the world.
President Donald Trump: (02:55)
We have 11. We have 149 cases, as of this moment. This morning, it was 129. And I just see right now it’s about 149 cases. There are 100,000 cases all over the world. So we were really given tremendous marks for having made the decision. That was a decision I made to close down the border so that people from China, where we take in thousands and thousands of people a day, they stopped coming in very early, weeks ahead of where they normally would have been stopped.
Bret Baier: (03:24)
Mr. President, you said you want to take politics out of dealing with this crisis. But in the White House yesterday, you said that about the testing kits and the delay, you blamed President Obama.
President Donald Trump: (03:37)
Well, I don’t blame anybody. I want to get everybody to understand they made some decisions which were not good decisions. We inherited decisions that they made, and that’s fine.
Bret Baier: (03:47)
As far as regulations?
President Donald Trump: (03:47)
Yes. We undid some of the regulations that were made that made it very difficult, but I’m not blaming anybody. It just seems that the Democrats, some of them, I must say and you know it better than anybody, Bret, it’s become much better. But some of the Democrats have said, no matter what, if we found a cure and everybody is better tomorrow morning at nine o’clock, they would say, “He’s done a terrible job.” It’s just automatic. “How is the President doing?” “Terrible, terrible.” They don’t mean it. And we’ve done a great job. Again, we’ve gotten the highest poll numbers of anybody for this kind of a thing. And the other thing, I’m working with phenomenal people, with CDC and all of the people involved. Mike Pence is doing a fantastic job. I mean, Mike Pence is working 20 hours a day or more on this and really doing a fantastic job.
Bret Baier: (04:32)
I guess the critics say that, why wait until the testing issue became a crisis before dealing with it? If you want to change the regulations, want to change them either when you took office or when you first learned of the virus in January. For example, South Korea really got their act together right away. That’s what they said.
President Donald Trump: (04:49)
Well, when you say “take office”, we just learned about this a very short while ago.
Bret Baier: (04:53)
Sure, or when you learned about the virus.
President Donald Trump: (04:56)
I know, but we’re not going to be … I’m thinking about a lot of other things too like trade and millions of other things. I mean, we are doing some job with the economy. So I’m not thinking about this. But as soon as I heard that China had a problem, I said, “What’s going on with China? How many people are coming in?” Nobody but me asked that question. And you know better than again, you know, you both know that I closed the borders very early.
Bret Baier: (05:16)
And you were getting applause for that.
President Donald Trump: (05:16)
We’ve been given A-pluses for that. Saved a lot of lives.
Bret Baier: (05:19)
But I’m just talking about testing the testing kits.
President Donald Trump: (05:20)
Well, the testing, we did it as soon as we found out that it was a problem, we did it. It’s not the kind of thing you say, “Gee, I just got elected. Let’s do some testing on this.” They had some bad decisions. Some bad decisions were made. We corrected those decisions.
Martha MacCallum: (05:34)
So, obviously, you care a lot about the economy, and we are seeing some impacts. It’s kind of surprising how many conferences are being shut down and meetings are being canceled and flights. A lot of flights have been canceled. Even the James Bond movie, they’re delaying because of coronavirus. I’m wondering what you think is the long-term? Over the course of the year, Wall Street says that they don’t expect U.S. companies to have any growth in 2020, which is pretty surprising. What’s the impact on the economy and also, potentially, on your reelection?
President Donald Trump: (06:03)
Well, I think people are viewing us as having done a very good job. What we have to do is do a very professional job. Nobody is blaming us for the virus. Nobody. I mean, I haven’t heard that, even from some of the so-called enemies or whatever you want to call them. They’re not blaming us. This started in China. How it started, there’s question but thousands and thousands of cases in China. And it infiltrated to almost 100 countries right now.
Martha MacCallum: (06:26)
But I’m not talking about the handling of it.
President Donald Trump: (06:27)
Nobody is blaming me.
Martha MacCallum: (06:28)
Excuse me. I don’t mean to interrupt, but I’m just asking about you know, in terms of things you can’t control, right? The impact on the economy and potentially that could … If people feel like the economy is turning around, that could be an election issue as you go into it.
President Donald Trump: (06:41)
Well, look, we were set to hit 30,000 on the Dow. This is a number that nobody ever even came close to, and already, we have the number. And even though it’s down 10 or 11%, it’s still the highest it’s ever been by far. It certainly might have an impact. At the same time, I have to say, people are now staying in the United States, spending their money in the U.S., and I like that. You know, I’ve been after that for a long time. You know that. I’ve been saying, “Let’s stay in the U.S. Spend your money here.” And they’re doing that. They’ve sort of been forced doing that. We met with the airline companies yesterday. They’re doing a fantastic job. And they’re just not flying to areas that have a big problem. So, it’s going to all work out. Everybody has to be calm. It’s all going to work out.
Bret Baier: (07:21)
But to Catherine’s original question, there is a long-term plan, if it lasts longer than you think.
President Donald Trump: (07:25)
Sure. We could have a very long-term plan. We hope that doesn’t happen, but we have plans for every single possibility, and I think that’s what we have to do. We hope it doesn’t last too long.
Bret Baier: (07:37)
We want to get to audience questions. Robert is a Trump supporter. He does have a question about rhetoric here in the campaign. Robert?
Robert Bresnahan: (07:44)
Mr. President, thank you so much for returning back to Northeastern Pennsylvania.
President Donald Trump: (07:48)
Robert Bresnahan: (07:49)
I’ve been a big supporter of you for the duration. And thank you for everything that you’ve done for this country and continue to do for this country.
President Donald Trump: (07:55)
Thank you very much.
Robert Bresnahan: (07:56)
Unfortunately, insult politics have become a staple of this political environment.
President Donald Trump: (08:01)
Robert Bresnahan: (08:02)
Joe Biden has suggested to take you out back behind the gym and fight you. Maxine Waters has a has a low IQ. Could there be a way that we can deliver your message without the controversial rhetoric and efforts to reunite this country during these divisive times?
President Donald Trump: (08:22)
Well, I have to tell you, I think … I appreciate the question. I think the country is far more united than people think. And, ultimately, what’s uniting the country is success. And we’re having more success than we’ve ever had. We got hit with the virus, really, three weeks ago, if you think about it, I guess. That’s when we first started, really, to see some possible effects. But even despite that, the country we are having the greatest year. We had last year was the greatest year we’ve ever had, economically. And I think the way we unite is really through success. But when they hit us, we have to hit back. I feel that. I mean, there’s two ways of doing it, turning your cheek but I wouldn’t be sitting up here if I turned my cheek. If I said, “Okay, let them just keep hitting at me, and I won’t do it.”
President Donald Trump: (09:03)
They’re not interviewing me right now, they’re interviewing somebody else. Maybe they won’t even be doing that, because if they don’t get ratings, they don’t interview anybody. That I’ve learned from. But you know what? You can’t turn your cheek. I mean, we get hit. Thank you. We get hit so hard, and we have a media that is you know, I say, to a large extent, it’s a part of the Democrat Party. It really is. It’s terrible. It’s unfair. I call it fake news. I’ve used that, and people are using that, I guess, all over the world right now. And that’s the way it is. We have to fight back. If we don’t fight back, you won’t be a fan of mine very long. But I appreciate the question. Thank you.
Martha MacCallum: (09:50)
All right. Speaking of rhetoric, I want you to ask you to listen to this.
Chuck Schumer: (09:57)
I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. Now, I should not have used the words I used yesterday. They didn’t come out the way I intended to.
Martha MacCallum: (10:17)
So, going over some of that response to all of that, President Trump, some of your critics are saying, well, President Trump has also gone after liberal judges and that Chuck Schumer-
President Donald Trump: (10:26)
You mean they’re blaming me for Schumer?
Martha MacCallum: (10:27)
No. Well, they’re saying that he came out-
President Donald Trump: (10:29)
Martha MacCallum: (10:37)
So, he made sort of an apology there. Do you think that you should make any apology for what you’ve said about liberal judges or not?
President Donald Trump: (10:40)
Well, look, I mean, we had a justice come out and criticize me badly. And I just responded to what she said. I had it twice. And when you look at I had a very harsh criticism, as you know. Justice Ginsburg just before a debate, during the election, as I was getting elected, she came out, she had to apologize. It was a terrible thing she said. She should have never been allowed to say it. But if they say something to me, I’m not allowed to say back. You had another justice say something that was somewhat derogatory, and all I did was respond. But I didn’t respond like Schumer.
President Donald Trump: (11:17)
Schumer that was a physical thing, in my opinion. You know, he tried to say, well, that has to do with the election. That had nothing to do with the election, the way he said we’re going to hit back like you’ve never seen before. That was a real intimidation. And the best you can say is they’re trying to intimidate so the justices vote their way. That’s no good either. But that was a physical/ That was really … If a Republican did what Schumer did, they’d be in jail right now. It’s true.
Bret Baier: (11:46)
Mr. President, just to follow up on that really quickly. Chief Justice Roberts obviously put out a statement and really rebuked Senator Schumer for those words. The last time he put out one of these rare statements, it was about you and the federal judge that you called an Obama judge. So to Martha’s question, is there something about apologies on both sides when dealing with justices or judges?
President Donald Trump: (12:09)
Well, look, I have to state the facts. I’m not threatening anybody physically. But if we have an Obama judge, we don’t do very well. Now, we’ve appointed 220 federal judges the most, I think, in history. It’s a record. It’s a record. Because, number one, Mitch McConnell did a great job and the Republicans did a great job. But the bottom line is, President Obama gave me 142 openings when I first got there. Normally, you would have … There’s never been anything like that. Normally, you’d have no opening. Now, do you say he’s a great President? The most important thing you have to do, I say, is the military, but a lot of people say it’s judges and justices of the Supreme Court. President Obama gave us 142. It’s unheard of.
President Donald Trump: (12:53)
If you have one, it’s like you got lucky. Had 142. We’re up to 220 federal judges and court of appeals judges, two Supreme Court justices. I mean, it’s incredible. But we were going … If you go to the Ninth Circuit, if you go certain places, it’s almost impossible to win. So I was surprised at Justice Roberts. And I have a lot of respect for him. I like him personally. I have a lot of respect. But I think that could have been left unsaid, because a lot of people, a lot of very top legal minds disagreed with him when he said it. Now, I’m just talking about the facts. I’m talking about, sort of, the facts of life. That’s the way it is.
Bret Baier: (13:28)
Well, let’s get back to our questions. Our next question is from David Hines. He’s a Democrat who decided to vote for you in 2016.
President Donald Trump: (13:35)
David Hines: (13:36)
Mr. President, welcome back to Scranton.
President Donald Trump: (13:38)
Thank you, David.
David Hines: (13:39)
Everyone supports protecting the environment, but the EPA seems too focused on complex regulations, fines, fees, and lawsuits. What can you do to lead the EPA to focus more on proactive compliance, instead of punitive enforcement to protect the environment?
President Donald Trump: (13:56)
David, I love the question, because our EPA is much different. We’re very tough, but we get things done and we’re taking regulations off like nobody has ever seen. And I say very simply, I want to have the cleanest air on the planet. I want to have the most crystal clear, beautiful water on the planet. And our conditions now are much better than they were three years ago. But you know very well, David, because you’re into the world of regulation, I think it was maybe one of the biggest things we’ve done. I’ve cut regulations more than any President, whether they have eight years, four years, or in one case, quite a bit more than eight years. I cut more than any other President in the history of our country, and I did it in less than three years. So it’s a great question.
President Donald Trump: (14:38)
The EPA was … This is why I was able to get the country going because so many jobs were stopped by not only EPA, so many other agencies, where you’d have to go get 11 different permits for essentially the same thing. I opened up LNG plants in Louisiana where they were for years for 10, 12, 14 years and longer trying to get permits. They couldn’t get permits. I got them built. A 10-billion-dollar plant in Louisiana, the Keystone XL pipeline. I gave it in my first week. I got approval. The Dakota Access Pipeline, I got the approval. 48,000 jobs. And, frankly, it’s more environmentally, it’s better than having a train going up and down tracks, and you don’t know what happens with the train.
President Donald Trump: (15:21)
Plenty of bad things happen with those trains. Here, you’re underground, environmentally better. So I think it’s a great question. One of the reasons the economy is so strong is because of what we did with regulations. If the other side, we’ll call it the other side, affectionately got in, they would have made regulations much, much tougher. Thank you. [crosstalk 00:15:42]
Martha MacCallum: (15:46)
I want to ask David, actually-
Bret Baier: (15:47)
They’re talking about the rain tax here in Pennsylvania.
Martha MacCallum: (15:48)
A follow-up question because you are really the typical voter. I think you were a life-long Democrat who crossed over and voted for President Trump in 2016 in areas like we are in right now, in Luzerne and Lackawanna County. So, obviously, now Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders, whoever it is, is going to try to get your vote back. So I’m curious, is there anything or any issue that they could answer for you that would change your mind, do you think?
David Hines: (16:16)
I’m focused on the economy and on regulation and deregulation. And I like what’s happened in the country in the last four years.
President Donald Trump: (16:24)
David Hines: (16:26)
Thankful for your efforts, sir. And I hope we can continue on that.
Bret Baier: (16:37)
So the answer is no.
Martha MacCallum: (16:37)
So the answer would be no? Nothing would change your mind? No, he’s shaking his head. No, nothing.
President Donald Trump: (16:38)
I think they thought you were going to give them a different answer, and that’s why they asked you that question.
Martha MacCallum: (16:40)
No, I wanted to hear, because I do think it’s very-
President Donald Trump: (16:40)
That sounded like a set-up question. But, David, you’re my man. David is my man. I like that.
Martha MacCallum: (16:48)
I said I’m very interested in this voter because we want to know how voters like you are going to vote next time around because we love to follow the story of the movement of the electoral. And I think it’s fascinating that you answered as you did.
President Donald Trump: (17:02)
Well, Martha, this area of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania itself has the best numbers it’s ever had. It’s got the best economy it’s ever had. It has the best unemployment numbers it’s ever had. And Scranton has the lowest and best unemployment numbers and employment numbers too that they’ve ever had by far. So we’re very happy about the job. The people in Pennsylvania, they’re very happy with the job. You know, it was 30 years since a Republican won Pennsylvania, and based on results, I think we’ll win it again very easily.
Martha MacCallum: (17:31)
Yeah. President Trump, I mentioned Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders because Elizabeth Warren dropped out today, and I want to know what your reaction to that was.
President Donald Trump: (17:43)
Well, look, if she’s a true progressive, which probably she is, she should have dropped out three days ago. It would have been a whole different race. Texas was close. She got votes. She didn’t do well, but she got a lot of votes, far more than the difference. Think about Maine. Maine was almost a tie. They had to wait a day and a half before they could even call it, it was so close. She, I guess, came in third, and it was very distant third, but she got a lot of votes. Maine would have gone to … I think he would have gotten everything, right? Bernie Sanders would have won five, six, seven states. Would’ve won Minnesota. Would’ve won, at least, another two or three states. So when you look at it, she did him no favors. That was not a good friendship. We started to see that during the debates, by the way. That one became unhinged.
Martha MacCallum: (18:34)
President Donald Trump: (18:36)
But if she would have gone out, she didn’t even have to endorse him. If she just dropped out of the race, without an endorsement, he would have won a tremendous number of states that he lost. You know, he lost states by not very much, and she got enough votes that it would have made a big difference. I think he would be leading by a lot right now had she not been in the race.
Bret Baier: (18:55)
Tonight, you’re in the boyhood home, obviously, of Joe Biden, who is sort of like a phoenix from the ashes in this Democratic race. And tonight, it looks likely that he could get the Democratic nomination. Now, Democrats insist that you were impeached because you were trying to damage Joe Biden. Were you?
President Donald Trump: (19:16)
So it was a fake impeachment. We had a hundred … Think of it. And the Republicans in the House, we had 196 votes in favor, zero from the Republicans. Zero against. We picked up three Democrat votes on top of that. And we had one Democrat was so angry by it, that he left the party and became a Republican which I think is a first time, because he left a majority and went into a minority. Van Drew. And it was a whole fake deal. And everybody knows that. I made a phone call. It was a perfect phone call. There was nothing wrong with it. And they said, “Let’s impeach.” Now, the real backstory is when the phony whistleblower, who’s a total phony, he heard the call, supposedly through somebody, through the informant.
President Donald Trump: (20:07)
Do you notice the way everybody disappeared? Thank goodness I had a transcriber. We had more than one. Thank goodness we had that call transcribed, because the transcripts of the call revealed that it was a perfect call. By that time, they were already talking about impeachment. And they were going by a phony whistleblower rendition of a call that didn’t exist. Just like Adam Schiff, he goes before Congress and he starts talking about eight quid pro quos and “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” Well, that’s a mob expression. “Don’t call me …” And everybody saying, “That’s a terrible call.” He made it up. It was totally made up. And I said, “Good. We’ll sue him. We’ll take him down.” And then I find out he’s got immunity because he made it in Congress. It should almost be the opposite. You should almost have to be more honest if you’re in Congress.
Bret Baier: (20:52)
Do you think Biden is damaged? Do you think he’s damaged?
President Donald Trump: (20:57)
I think that Biden has been damaged, yeah. A lot of people. I saw a couple of statements very strong statements by very respected people in your world, saying they aimed at Trump but they took Biden down. And, really, that’s what happened, when you think. Because you look at the son, here’s a guy, didn’t have a job, who was unfortunately sadly, the military was a very sad experience for him. He goes out, he gets $3 million plus $183,000 a month to be a board member of a company that a lot of people said was corrupt.
President Donald Trump: (21:29)
Worse just as bad China, I just made a great China deal. China is paying us billions and billions of dollars because of what I did to them with tariffs. Billions of dollars. I mean, to a point where my farmers are in love with me because I took some of that money and gave it to them. But his son walks out of China with a billion and a half dollars for a fund. Now, a billion and a half dollars for fund meaning he’s going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and much more than that.
Bret Baier: (21:55)
So you want to face Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders? That’s my question.
President Donald Trump: (21:58)
I’ll tell you, I was all set for Bernie, because I thought it was going to happen. You know, we get ready for things, right? So, mentally, I’m all set for Bernie. Communist, I had everything down. He’s a communist. I was all set. And then we have this crazy thing that happened, right? On Tuesday, which he thought was Thursday. But he also said 150 million people were killed with guns and he was running for the United States Senate. “Support me, I’m running for the United States.” There’s something going on there. But I was all set. I was all set. And when I focus and we all focus, sometimes you do well and some people choke. I watched Mini Mike choke. When Mini Mike was hit by a very mean woman, he said, “Get me off this stage. Just get me off.” And that wasn’t a pretty sight to be … But I was all set to take on Bernie. I was ready.
President Donald Trump: (22:56)
And then all of a sudden, I say, “Guess what?” I went to the First Lady, who people love. I go in to the First Lady, and I said, “He just won Texas. He just won …” Et cetera, et cetera. By the way, so close. It was a whole different thing because of her. So now I’m ready for Bernie and now all of a sudden I have a whole different, you know, it’s a whole different deal. Two very different people. I think, in a certain way, Bernie would be tougher because he’s got a base. It’s a much smaller base than my base. I think a lot of my people are here because, and I did nothing to do that, but we have a lot of support in Pennsylvania and I think we have a lot of support everywhere. Look at the rallies. Look at the rallies. But I was all set for Bernie. I was ready to go. And then I say, “You know, I don’t think I’m running against Bernie.” I think it’s going to be very hard for him to come back.
Martha MacCallum: (00:00)
Let’s go right to Audrey who has a question for President Trump. Audrey.
Audrey Strein: (00:04)
Martha MacCallum: (00:05)
There we go. Hi Audrey.
Audrey Strein: (00:06)
Mr. President. Thank you. Pennsylvania thanks you. Bucks County thanks you for everything you’re doing for our country.
Donald Trump: (00:12)
Thank you very much.
Audrey Strein: (00:12)
We look at your energy and makes me get up and say if he can do it, I can definitely get up and do everything I got to do.
Donald Trump: (00:18)
Thank you very much.
Audrey Strein: (00:19)
I want to say Republicans have failed to come up with an alternative plan to Obamacare. How do you plan to rally the Republicans around a plan and what would be included in that?
Donald Trump: (00:29)
Thank you very much. It’s a great question and very important, healthcare and I think it’s probably the thing that I’m most disappointed that I haven’t been able to say what a good job we’ve done. I haven’t been able to sell what a great job we’ve done.
Donald Trump: (00:41)
First of all, I get rid of the individual mandate, which was the worst part of Obamacare. That’s where you paid a fortune not to pay for horrible healthcare and insurance, and it had a tremendous impact. Preexisting conditions, 100% we take care of. But we have many healthcare plans now where it’s 60%, even 65% less expensive than Obamacare. It’s better than Obamacare, and what we really have left is the carcass of Obamacare or you could call it new healthcare, because without preexisting… without the whole thing with the individual mandate, it’s a whole different ball game. It’s a much different plan.
Donald Trump: (01:19)
And what we’d like to do is totally kill it, but come up, before we do that, with something that’s great. What we’ve done is we’ve really managed Obamacare, the remaining portion, we get rid of the bad part, but the remaining portion really well. And before I got involved, you know what was happening with the rates on Obamacare. They were going up at levels that nobody’s ever seen before. We are managing it.
Donald Trump: (01:41)
And I had a decision to make. This was very important. I said to my people, and we have great people, [Sema 00:01:47], Azar, I mean great people that are so good at it. I said, “You know, I have a little problem. Do we manage it great until we get something much better? Or do we manage it poorly and say Obamacare’s horrible.” And I said, “We’ve got to do the right thing. We’ve got to manage it really, really good.” So it’s not great healthcare, but we’re managing it fantastically and you don’t see all those stories about the rates going through the roof anymore because we know what we’re doing.
Donald Trump: (02:13)
At the same time, we want to get you really fantastic healthcare. If we can win back the house, we’ll be able to do that. We have to win back the House, keep the Senate, keep the White House. [inaudible 00:02:24]. Thank you. Thank you for the question.
Martha MacCallum: (02:22)
Mr. President, I just want to follow up quickly on that because the issue of preexisting conditions, you say you’re going to protect them, but your administration is also fighting Obamacare and the courts. So how do you promise people that you’re going to protect them based on that?
Donald Trump: (02:40)
That’s what I said. Yeah, that’s what I said, we want to terminate Obamacare because it’s bad. Look, we’re running it really well, but we know it’s defective. It’s very defective. We got rid of the worst part and that was a very important thing. Getting rid of the individual mandate was a very important thing. But we want to get something… if we can get the House, you’ll have the best healthcare, health insurance anywhere on the planet, but we have to get the House back. Now that means we have to hold the Senate, we have to get the House, we have to obviously keep the White House. But what we’re doing is managing it really well.
Donald Trump: (03:13)
Now it’s a case, it’s called Texas versus… you understand, it’s Texas is suing. They want to terminate it, but everybody there is also saying… and everybody, we have our great Senator from Pennsylvania, thank you very much, Pat, for being here. And Pat Toomey, but very important… and by the way, our great Congressman, I have to say they were warriors, right? Real warriors in terms of the fake impeachment. I will tell you that.
Donald Trump: (03:41)
Texas is, and it’s Texas and many states, they’re tried to terminate, but they want to put something that’s much better. They’re terminating it to put much better. And they’ve all pledged that preexisting conditions 100% taken care of.
Bret Baier: (03:54)
Immigration. That next question is from Jennifer and she has a question about this issue. Hi.
Jennifer Nolan: (04:01)
Hi, thank you Mr. President. This is truly an honor and one of the best days of my life, just don’t tell my husband.
Donald Trump: (04:06)
Jennifer Nolan: (04:08)
And I want to know how are you going to control the illegal immigration without support from the democratic party?
Donald Trump: (04:14)
Well, you know it’s been hard, but we’ve done it incredibly. It could have been… we have things called loopholes and the loopholes are terrible, like lottery where you give lotteries, they pick lotteries and they have people coming into our country. We have ended catch and release. We have right now 27,000 Mexican soldiers on our border saying that if they don’t do that, we’re going to have to be very tough on Mexico and they’re doing it, because our soldiers aren’t allowed to be there for a lot of reasons and we’re very politically correct as a nation. Mexico, perhaps a slightly less politically correct. And we have the best numbers that we’ve had in many, many months. We’ve had, I guess, it’s now 9 or 10 months where the numbers are way down and we’ve been keeping them down.
Donald Trump: (04:55)
But we need the wall. And most importantly, the wall is way under construction. We’re up to 129 miles already. Where we have a wall, by the way, nobody’s coming through. Practically nobody. We will have by early next year almost 500 miles of wall. And once we have that wall, it’s going to stop drugs, it’s going to stop big percentages of everything coming in. Okay.
Donald Trump: (05:21)
And we’re really, really doing the job and by the way, it’s very important, because I could’ve done a much less expensive version. I could have done a much easier version, but a version that people would get over very easily. You’ve seen the people that get caught on top. It’s very high and very powerful. We are building exactly what the Border Patrol wanted. They wanted a very specific wall. You had to be able to see through it to the other side. You want to see where the people… I thought before I got involved I said, “I can build just a nice concrete plank wall, throw it up.” That would be no good. It wouldn’t work. We built the wall that everybody has been dreaming about, in terms of law enforcement for many years. So we’re up to 129 miles. We’ll be at 500 miles in a very short distance. It’s really moving up quickly. Thank you.
Bret Baier: (06:06)
A lot of questions, by the way, about the wall. Also a lot of questions, Mr. President, about the national debt. Since being president, you’ve signed into law $4.7 trillion of debt, including 2.1 trillion of discretionary spending. Understand that you’re spending on the military as well. When you ran for president, at one point you said that you would pay off the debt within eight years. So now we’re about four years in and the debt is up $3.5 trillion. That’s about 18%. Republicans and Democrats obviously are not talking about the national debt a lot on Capitol Hill or on the campaign trail. So do you-
Donald Trump: (06:42)
But I talk about it.
Bret Baier: (06:43)
… do you care about the national debt?
Donald Trump: (06:43)
I do. I very much, and I’ll always talk about it, because to me it’s very important. Now, the good thing about the debt is we’re paying very little interest, almost nothing. This is a great interest climate. In fact, I want to refinance the debt, but I had to fix the military. The military was depleted. I had to fix the military. It’s one thing to say, “Gee, we did a good job on the debt, or gee, we did a good job on the budget.” And you have people from other countries running up the White House lawn. Maybe they took over our country, but I did one hell of a job on the budget right?
Donald Trump: (07:18)
Now I had to fix the military, $2.5 trillion dollars. We had to do other things. The country when I took it over was in very bad shape. Remember this, President Obama had… he more than doubled. He put more debt on than all of the other presidents of the United States combined. Combined all the debt of every other president. And I took it over. We had $20 trillion worth of debt on the country and actually more than that. And we had a lot of commitments for other things and on top of it, it’s one thing, you take over something and you have debt, you have a building, you have debt, but the building’s fixed up. The country was a mess. We were in all these wars all over the place-
Bret Baier: (07:57)
But this would be a focus of a second term?
Donald Trump: (07:58)
Oh absolutely. But when the trade deals kick in, now again, we were disturbed by what’s going on with the virus, but that’s going to be fine and everybody, it’s going to be fine. But that was a disturbance. But I will say this, when these trade deals kick in and when all… the economy is the best economy we’ve ever had. It’s nothing compared to what it’s going to be when the trade deals kick in.
Martha MacCallum: (08:23)
But if you don’t cut something in entitlements, you’ll never really deal with that.
Donald Trump: (08:28)
Well, we’ll be cutting, but we’re also going to have growth like you’ve never had before. We’ve never had growth like we’re experiencing. We will be experiencing when they kick in… China as an example, they didn’t do anything with us. They’re now spending $250 billion a year and that’s only for phase one. Phase two is going to be even more so. It’s $250 billion. I just made a deal with Japan with they’re paying 40 billion. They never gave us anything. All they do is sell us cars for no tax coming into the country. South Korea, I’ve made a deal, and then I made the USMCA deal with Canada and Mexico replacing the worst deal, which was made by, by the way, which was made by Joe. Okay. I didn’t want to say Sleepy Joe because I want to be respected. I want to respect him.
Bret Baier: (09:11)
But you got it in there anyway.
Donald Trump: (09:11)
He looks like he’s going to be a candidate and I just say, “How did that happen?” So, but no, Joe Biden, in all fairness, Joe Biden made a deal. NAFTA, he approved it. He was pushing it. It’s the worst trade deal ever made. We’re terminating NAFTA. We have the USMCA. If you look at what happened between China and Mexico and Canada, what they were doing to this country, how they were taking advantage of us, they were… Canada was judging us 300% tariffs. Now we haven’t really in good shape.
Martha MacCallum: (09:44)
Bret Baier: (09:44)
Mr. President, turning to foreign policy. John Sullivan has a question. John, there you are.
John Sullivan: (09:51)
Hi, Mr. President. Thanks for coming to Pennsylvania tonight. My question’s ever since you’ve taken office in January, 2017 North Korea has been in the news and it’s on the minds of many Americans and just like myself. So if you’re elected again this year, what’s your plan moving forward with what you’ve already done with North Korea?
Donald Trump: (10:12)
I don’t think it’s on the minds of too many Americans to be honest with you, but it certainly, it should be okay. And it’s good that it’s on your mind, because it’s big stuff and they do have a lot of power, a lot of nuclear power.
Donald Trump: (10:25)
I don’t get credit for this, and maybe I should, maybe I shouldn’t. But when I became president, I was told by President Obama sitting in the Oval Office in our, probably our only meeting, essentially. That was enough for me. But I was told-
Bret Baier: (10:37)
And you haven’t talked to him since.
Donald Trump: (10:40)
I was at the funeral of President Bush, sat next to him and I said, “Hello.” And then I said, “Goodbye.” That’s about it. No, I didn’t like the job he did. I didn’t like the job that he and Biden did. I didn’t like the position they put us in. I didn’t like what he did to our military, our military. We didn’t even have a military. Our military was so depleted. And I tell this story yet, I hate to tell it because it’s embarrassing, but right now we have more ammunition that we’ve ever had. It’s all over the place.
Donald Trump: (11:14)
We were having difficulty with a certain country. Remember Donald Trump is going to start a war right away. Well, here it is. We’re almost four years out. There’s been no war and we’re respected again. But I was told by a general, “Sir, please don’t do that.” Why? We have no ammunition. This is the condition we were left in. When you look at so many different problems that we will left, I mean and with countries… but he said, “The biggest problem we have is North Korea.” That’s what you’re alluding to and I have a good relationship with him. I said, “Did you ever call him?” The answer is yes, he did. But I will tell you, I don’t think they admit that maybe they do, but called many times and Kim Jong Un did not want to talk to him and me he wanted to talk to. And we met in Singapore, we met in Vietnam and I also went to the border, the first person ever to walk over from et cetera, et cetera. And we had very good relationship, understanding. Let’s see what happens.
Donald Trump: (12:08)
But the pundents say, “Isn’t it terrible what he’s done?” He’s given…” I gave nothing. I gave nothing. The sanctions are wrong. They want to see if they can do something. But I haven’t given anything. If the other side got in, you would right now be in a big war with North Korea. Maybe it would be over by now, but you would right… almost immediately you would have started. And if you remember the rhetoric at the beginning, that was very tough rhetoric, but that rhetoric got us to a place.
Donald Trump: (12:34)
And the Olympics became successful because of me in South Korea because all of a sudden they called. They said, “We’d like to be… participate.” They didn’t sell any tickets cause nobody wanted to go to the Olympics. All of a sudden, North Korea calls up and says, “We want to be a participant in the Olympics” everybody fell off their seat. That was because of me. And by the way, the president of South Korea gives total credit for that. So it became successful. The bottom line is I have a very good relationship with them. I cannot guarantee anything. But for three years we’ve spent nothing. We’re getting sanctions and we’re not in war with North Korea, which is not bad.
Bret Baier: (13:10)
All right, Mr. President.
Donald Trump: (13:11)
Bret Baier: (13:11)
Bret Baier: (00:00)
You talked this week to the leader of the Taliban.
Donald Trump: (00:02)
Bret Baier: (00:02)
And you said it was a good conversation, in which you said you both didn’t want violence. However, on that same day, the Taliban launched some 50 attacks in Afghanistan, 40 of them in one province. There are many Americans really wondering… And the US struck back against the Taliban. There are many Americans wondering-
Donald Trump: (00:23)
Very powerful, yeah.
Bret Baier: (00:23)
Where the peace part of the Peace Plan is, and can you trust the Taliban?
Donald Trump: (00:28)
So these are warriors. We’ve been there for 20 years. We’re really serving more as a law enforcement group than a military group. We could win that war very easily but I don’t feel like killing millions of people in order to do it. We don’t want to do that, you don’t want to do that, nobody wants to do that. People are tired, even the biggest hawks are tired of being there. I had a very good conversation with him. There was a group that formed. And again, they have many tribes and they have many different… It’s hard for one… There’s not like perfectly one control. I spoke to a certain man who is the leader, but the leader has not… It’s not the easiest leadership position.
Bret Baier: (01:02)
Donald Trump: (01:03)
And the structure is… Tribes all over the place. A tribe formed and a group formed that was going to attack certain soldiers, Afghan soldiers, and the military heard about it and the military went and they took them out. That was it. I believe they really want to make a deal. I think after 19, actually going very close to 20 years, they’re also tired of fighting, believe it or not, but they are warriors and they are fighters and that’s what they’ve done for a thousand years. Just ask the Soviet Union, which became Russia because of Afghanistan. It’s a tough place.
Martha MacCallum: (01:35)
So given that, you have said that you want to end this. It’s gone on for a long time, but what about the conditions on the ground, because General Mattis had a disagreement with you about pulling troops out of Syria and Afghanistan. If your generals tell you-
Donald Trump: (01:48)
Well, I was right. I was so right.
Martha MacCallum: (01:49)
If the generals say to you, “Mr. President, we need more people not fewer people right now.” What will you do?
Donald Trump: (01:55)
Well, Mattis said that, and I gave him more people for a short period of time and it didn’t work out, and what we were doing is policing-
Bret Baier: (01:59)
But now with Afghanistan…
Donald Trump: (02:01)
In Afghanistan. As far as Syria, I did pull them out. I pulled them out. We were securing the border between Turkey and Syria. I said why are we doing that? Turkey is big, Syria is fine, let them fight their own battles. What are we doing with our soldiers? Getting people killed. Now, the one thing when I came in ISIS was all over Syria, all over Iraq and we don’t want them coming to us, and it was a mess. You understand that very well. And I knocked out 100% of the territorial caliphate, 100%. We knocked the whole thing out [crosstalk 00:02:37].
Bret Baier: (02:37)
Within 14 months.
Martha MacCallum: (02:38)
But what about Afghanistan?
Donald Trump: (02:38)
No, but just so you understand. So we knocked out the ISIS caliphate in vast amounts of the Middle East, and I did that fairly quickly when I came. Again, President Obama, it was all over the place. When I say we’re not doing the borders, we did leave soldiers. We left soldiers because I kept the oil. And I was always against Iraq, going into Iraq. I think it was one of the worst, maybe the worst decision ever made, but I used to say, once they were in there, keep the oil. They never kept the oil. We have an oil area near Syria and in Syria, we kept it. So the only soldiers I have over there, they’re guarding the oil. We kept the oil. So we kept the treasure. That’s okay [crosstalk 00:03:15].
Martha MacCallum: (03:16)
But if it takes more troops to keep the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, is that something you would be willing to do or no?
Donald Trump: (03:21)
Well, there’s a big question about the government of Afghanistan. There’s a big question about that whole situation in Afghanistan. We’re getting along very well with everybody. We have to get our people back home. It’s not fair. We’re a police force over there. We’re maintaining things. Eventually we have to leave. We don’t want to stay there for another 20 years. We don’t want to stay there for 100 years. We want our people to come back home.
Bret Baier: (03:43)
All right, Lynette has our next question from the audience about division really in politics. Lynette.
Oh, I’m sorry [crosstalk 00:03:52].
Bret Baier: (03:51)
Oh, there you go.
Donald Trump: (03:53)
Hi, President Trump. I’m so happy to have you here.
Donald Trump: (03:56)
From the day you came down the escalator in Trump Towers I was on the Trump train.
Donald Trump: (04:00)
Oh, I like that. I like you too. Thank you.
And I proudly wear my Trump pin every day of my life.
Donald Trump: (04:07)
Thank you. Great honor.
My question is, we are so divided as a country. I have family members who do not speak to me and recently was told, “If you support Trump you are no longer part of my life.” How are you going to bring us together?
Donald Trump: (04:21)
So I gave an answer before, success, but it’s really a little bit more than that, because we’ve had great success and there is a division, there’s no question about it. Politicians have to be able to be civil. If they’re not, you have to fight back. You have to. Otherwise we’re not going to be. There’s a movement on, and I call them the radical left Democrats, and it really is the radical left, because we have plenty of Democrats that are terrific and they want to see let’s get together, let’s get things done.
Donald Trump: (04:47)
There’s so many things we could do. We’ve done a lot. We’ve done more than any administration in three years in the history of our country for the first three years. And I say it all the time and the press doesn’t even dispute me and they would do that. But we could do even so much more. We talked about a great question on the border and the border question’s true, but we should get rid of the loopholes. You can’t do that without Democrat votes. I really believe we’re going to win this next election, and when we do, the other side’s going to say, “Okay, that’s it. Let’s get along. I really believe that. But we have to win the election. Good question.
Bret Baier: (05:22)
All right, Mr. President, we’re going to do a quick lightning round here. Short questions, short answers ideally. This one goes back to Coronavirus in the beginning. You are a self proclaimed germaphobe. In the campaign, before the campaign, you didn’t like to shake hands. You changed that. What do doctors-
Donald Trump: (05:42)
Well, I’m not thrilled.
Bret Baier: (05:43)
Yeah, yeah, you’re not thrilled. What do doctors tell you? Have you changed anything in the way that you operate?
Donald Trump: (05:49)
So yeah, it’s a great question because I’ve always felt, I don’t know from the time I was a young guy, I always felt the concept wasn’t good and then you’d read a lot of medical reports, it’s not good. Now especially they’re saying, by the way, if there was ever a time that you could convince people not to shake hands, this could be it, okay? This could be it.
Bret Baier: (06:05)
So do an elbow or fist bump?
Donald Trump: (06:06)
But you know what I did? I really love the people of this country. You can’t be a politician and not shake hands. People come in and when I leave I’ll be shaking hands with people. They want to shake your hand. They want to say hello. They want to hug you, they want to kiss you. I don’t care. It doesn’t mean… You have to do that. If I went around, no, I don’t shake hands, can you imagine? I’m going to speak with a group of people and they like Trump and they come up, “Sir, thank you very…” I don’t shake hands. It’s over. I don’t care how nicely you say it. The bottom line is I shake anybody’s hand now. I’m proud of it. They’re people that I love. They’re people that I want to take care of. Now, the concept of shaking hands since this, you’re hearing a lot of stuff about trying not to shake hands. It hasn’t stopped me at all but it is a little bit of a problem. But I got over it.
Bret Baier: (06:51)
You said you [inaudible 00:06:52] two weeks?
Donald Trump: (06:52)
Well, I was kidding. I heard the other day you’re not supposed to touch your face. So I went on camera and I said, “Listen, I haven’t touched my face in weeks.” Now, obviously I’m kidding. I said, “And I miss my face.” And one of the networks said, “He said he didn’t touch his face,” and they showed pictures of it there. So I don’t know. These people.
Martha MacCallum: (07:09)
You have said, about being president, I didn’t have to do this, you wanted to do it. What about your old life? Is there any little thing that you miss about your old life?
Donald Trump: (07:20)
I loved my old life. The day before I announced I was running for president, that was the best period ever of my life. My company was the strongest it ever was, especially being in development and do real estate all over the world. I built a great company, but it was the strongest, because you have times when the markets go bad and then you have to fight and then the markets are good and you’re doing great. It was the strongest period of my life. It was sort of the best period of my entire life. And then I announced I was going to run for president.
Donald Trump: (07:49)
And the greatest day of your life, they say, is the day before you announce you’re running for president. I don’t know if anybody’s ever heard that but they do say that about people. But in my case I won. I won. I saw as an example that they were using numbers and they were saying how much various people spent to become president. And Bloomberg spent like $550 million. It was in of all places, The New York Times, and this guy, Steyer, we call him impeachment Tom. How did that work out? Not too good. Tom Steyer spent $250 million. Another one I know, Steve Forbes, spent a lot. A lot of people spent a lot of money and I was in the middle.
Donald Trump: (08:23)
In fact, this is your own money. I spent $70 million. And they said lost, lost, lost, lost, lost. Donald Trump became president of the United States, lost, lost, and I said, “Isn’t that cool? Isn’t that cool?” So, I love it. You know why I love it? Because we are doing more than anybody can imagine. Even Right to Try. For years they wanted to have Right to Try where we can use our medicines if somebody is terminally ill. So many things we’re doing-
Martha MacCallum: (08:51)
But is there any little thing that you miss? I remember Michelle Obama said she missed going shopping or walking down the aisles. Is there anything that you can’t do now that you-
Donald Trump: (09:01)
Well, yeah, I can’t walk down the street now, before I could. I was well known and we had a very successful business and even my show turned out to be a success. I had many top best sellers of things-
Martha MacCallum: (09:11)
You were used to that, yeah.
Donald Trump: (09:12)
But I could walk down the street and I could actually walk into a store. And it was fine. It was not like nobody knew me, but now, today if I ever suggested that to Secret Service, “I think I’m going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue and let’s go shopping.” So it’s a lot different. So I do miss that. I miss that free life. This is not a free life. But I love what we’re doing because we’re accomplishing more than anybody’s ever. I’m viewing it as we’re saving this country. This country was going wrong.
Bret Baier: (09:47)
Mr. President, very last question. Who is your closest friend in Washington?
Donald Trump: (09:55)
Well, I don’t want to say because I have a lot of close friends, I really do.
Bret Baier: (09:58)
But of course [crosstalk 00:09:58].
Donald Trump: (09:58)
I’m putting everybody in this fight. I get along great with our vice president. I keep hearing I’m replacing him. He’s doing a phenomenal job. He’s a great guy and a loyal guy and he works so hard. Every day I read, he’s going to put this one, he’s going to put that one, he’s going to put… If I did that would be a great act of disloyalty because he’s been great. I speak to him a lot, but I speak to all of the senators a lot, I speak to all of the congressmen a lot. We have great people in Washington. And you have great Democrats too. I speak to Democrats also, believe it or not, but we have great, great people in Washington, very smart people in Washington and it’s going to come together. It’s going to come together, and it’s going to be sooner than you think.
Bret Baier: (10:35)
President Trump, we thank you very much.
Donald Trump: (10:37)
Thank you very much.
Bret Baier: (10:38)
And thank you to our audience.
Martha MacCallum: (10:39)
Yeah, thank you very much, President Trump.