Remarks on China by President Trump Before Air Force Once Departure

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President Donald Trump talks with reporters before departure.

Morristown Municipal Airport
Morristown, New Jersey

5:07 P.M. EDT

Q    What actions are you prepared to take to avoid a recession if this yield curve thing is really predictive?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think we’re going to have a very long period of wealth and success.  Other countries are doing very poorly.  As you know, China is doing very, very poorly.  The tariffs have really bitten into China.  They haven’t bitten into us at all — except for the reporters that want to make it look that way, but they don’t understand what’s happening.

The tariffs, we’ve taken in close to $60 billion in tariff money.  And the consumer has not paid for them.  Now, at some point, they may have to pay something.  But they understand that.  And who really understands that is our great farmer.  The farmers of this country really understand it.  They know we had to do something about China, and we’re doing something about China.

With that being said, I think we’re having very good discussions with China.  They very much want to make a deal.  We’ll see what happens.  We had a deal and they decided not to make it.  Now, I think they would like to have had that opportunity again, because I think they really would —

Q    Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT:  I think they really missed a great opportunity.  I think they feel that they missed a great opportunity.  But China very much wants to make a deal.  We’re talking to them.  We’ll see what happens.

Q    Are you worried that a prolonged trade war with China will pitch the economy into a recession?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I think the longer the trade war goes on, the weaker China gets and the stronger we get.  We’re taking in massive amounts of money.  Billions and billions of dollars, Steve, as you know.  And I think the longer it goes, the stronger we get.  I have a feeling it’s going to go fairly short.  I think it’s going to be –

China has lost millions of jobs; you saw that reported today.  Thousands of companies are closing in China.  And I don’t know, you know, maybe they want to do this for a year.  They’d love to have somebody like Biden, who doesn’t know what he’s doing.  I mean, I just put a clip where he said, “Oh, we want to build up China.  We want to build up China.”  Well, they gave us a very strong China.  China has taken out over $500 billion a year for many years from our country.  And that’s not going to happen anymore.

Q    How concerned are you about a violent crackdown by the Chinese in Hong Kong?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I am concerned.  I wouldn’t want to see a violent crackdown.  I put a little bit of a memo out last night.  He’s a man I like a lot.  I get along with him very well — President Xi.

And I said that I would be willing to bet that if he sat down with the protesters — a group of representative protesters — I bet he’d work it out in 15 minutes.  I bet he’d work it out very quickly.  I know it’s not the kind of thing he does, but I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea.  I really believe if he sat down — they have a certain little leadership pool.  If he sat down with that leadership pool, I’ll bet he’d work something out very quickly.

It really seems like things — it could be worked out pretty easily.

Q    Sir, China has said that they want to retaliate, that they’re going to retaliate because of the tariffs increase that you announced.  What’s your response to that?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, if they did retaliate — which I don’t think they will do because we’re talking to them and they’re offering things that are very good.  I don’t think they’ll retaliate.  But if they did, we have the ultimate form of retaliation.  I think that they’d have very few jobs left in China, because we’d be able to step it up.

Just so you understand, I’ve been very mild about it.  Very, very mild.  There’s a long way I can go.  And somebody had to take on what was happening with China.  We can’t allow China to take, out of our country, $507 billion every year, not including intellectual property theft and so many other things.

So, we’re having very good talks with China.  I think things will happen, but we’ll see.

Q    If they do retaliate, will you want your team to meet with them in September as planned, or no?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, that’s too — I — look, September, the meeting is still on, as I understand it.  But I think, more importantly than September, we’re talking by phone and we’re having very productive talks.  They would like to do something, I will tell you that.

And the talk we had a few days ago with my two representatives, nobody knew what was on that talk except for myself, China, and those two people.  That was a very good conversation.

Q    Mr. President, do you have any idea on when China’s going to follow through on their (inaudible) and crack down on fentanyl?

THE PRESIDENT:  They want to follow through very quickly.  This was part of the conversation that we had.  They had a special representative actually come over and talk to us — a different group — and a message to me, a very strong message to me.  They want to start doing that very quickly.  I’ll be honest, I’m not there yet.

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s not China; I’m not there yet.  We’ll see what happens.

I do want to — I really would like to see China, in a humane way, solve the problem in Hong Kong — humanely solve the problem in Hong Kong.  And I think they could do it very quickly.  You know, I said yesterday: I really have a lot of confidence in President Xi.  I know that if he sat down with their representatives, I have no doubt he would solve that problem quickly.

Q    Did you talk to Xi directly?  Was that who you talked to in China?

THE PRESIDENT:  I will speak to him.  We have a call scheduled soon — President Xi.  We’ll be speaking to him very soon.  I really believe he can work it out.  I know him well.  If he wants to, he can work that out in a very humane fashion.  He can work something that everybody is happy.  Thank you.

END

5:23 P.M. EDT

Edited by staff

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