Morristown Municipal Airport
Morristown, New Jersey
4:32 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: China is eating the tariffs because of monetary manipulation. And also, they’re pouring a lot of money into their country because they don’t want to lose jobs. They’re losing, as you probably know, because you reported it, but they lost over 2 million jobs in a short period of time. And they want to make a deal; we’ll see what happens. But they definitely want to make a deal.
I’d like to see Hong Kong worked out in a very humanitarian fashion. I hope President Xi can do it. He sure has the ability, I can tell you that, from personal knowledge. He certainly has the ability to do it if he wants to. So, I’d like to see that worked out in a humanitarian fashion. I think it would be very good for the trade deal that we’re talking about.
Q Can you comment at all on where things stand in terms of the China negotiations? You said there was progress.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think President Xi obviously has this in mind because he probably would’ve acted faster. So I think he has at least something in mind, having to do with trade, because it’s something he could do fairly easily. It could be, unfortunately, very ruthless. So I do think it plays on his mind, and I do think he — he’s thinking about what I’ve had to say. It would have an impact on trade; there’s no question about it.
Q On Huawei — is the administration going to allow U.S. businesses to continue selling to Huawei? Is there going to be an extension of the license tomorrow?
THE PRESIDENT: No. That was reported. And, actually, it’s the opposite. Huawei. Huawei is a company we may not do business with at all. And it was sort of reported, I think the opposite, today — I was surprised — that we are open to doing business. We’re actually open not to doing business with them. So I don’t know who gave the report.
Now, they have little sections of Huawei, like furniture and other things that we could do. But when you cut out sections, it gets very complicated: what’s being sold, what’s coming in.
So, at this moment, it looks much more like we’re not going to do business. I don’t want to do business at all, because it is a national security threat. And I really believe that the media has covered it a little bit differently than that. So we’re looking, really, not to do business with Huawei. And we’re actually talking about not doing any business, because, again, the rest of it is not national security, but it’s very difficult to determine what’s coming in and what’s not coming in. It’s still Huawei. So we’ll be making a decision over that in the not-too-distant future. But it’s a little bit the opposite of what seemed to be reported this morning.
Q And are you doing any planning, or are you going to be directing your administration to plan for the possibility of a recession?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t see a recession. I mean, the world is in a recession right now. And — although, that’s too big a statement. But if you look at China, China is doing very, very poorly. They’ve had — I just saw a report — they’ve had the worst year they’ve had in 27 years because of what I’ve done. And they want to come to the negotiating table. You know, they’re having companies lose — I mean, they’re leaving. The companies are leaving. And they’re laying off millions of people because they don’t want to pay 25 percent. And that’s why they want to come to the table. I don’t think there’s another reason other than President Xi, I’m sure, likes me very much. But they’re losing millions and millions of jobs in China. And we’re not paying for the tariffs; China is paying for the tariffs, for the one-hundredth time.
And I understand tariffs work very well. Other countries it may be that if I do things with other countries. But in the case of China, China is eating the tariffs, at least so far.
Q But if it were to slow down, could you win reelection?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’d be prepared for it. We can do — sure, we can do a lot of things. But if it slowed down, it would be because I have to take on China and some other countries.
Look, you have other countries that are just as bad as China, the way they treat us. You take a look at what’s happening with the European Union; they have barriers, they have tariffs. Take a look at other — I’m not going to mention all the countries because you’ll be surprised. But we’re treated very badly — a lot of them by our allies. We’re treated very badly.
When all of that normalizes, we’ve got a rocket ship. Our country is going to be stronger, by far, than ever before. I mean, if I wanted to make a bad deal and settle on China, the market would go up but it wouldn’t be the right thing to do. I’m just not ready to make a deal yet. China would like to make a deal. I’m not ready.
Q Did you watch any of the coverage of the Hong Kong protest? Huge numbers of people.
THE PRESIDENT: I can’t believe it. You know, I tell you, I’ve never seen 2 million people. When you talk about crowd size, Maggie, those are serious crowds — the Hong Kong crowds. I mean, when they said 2 million people on the streets, that really looked like 2 million people on the streets.
Q What changed your mind, sir? Because the other day you were saying that it was, sort of, China’s problem and Hong Kong’s problem to figure this out. And why have you moved?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I think it would be very hard to deal if they do violence. I mean, if it’s another Tiananmen Square, it’s — I think it’s a very hard thing to do if there’s violence.
And, you know, that — I’m President, but that’s a little beyond me because I think there’d be — you know, I think there’d be tremendous political sentiment not to do something.
So I hope — because I think we’re going to end up doing a very good deal. And I think China, by the way, needs a deal much more than we do. But I really do believe that if this weren’t part of the deal, possibly something would have happened already a long time ago.
Q Do you support the principles of the protestors — the pro-democracy movement?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ll tell you what I do support: I support liberty. I support democracy. I understand what’s going on very well over there. I’d love to see it worked out in a humane fashion. And I think they have a great chance of doing it.
Look, I put out — and I told you that I really believe — I have a confidence in the — in the talents of President Xi. I think if he met with the protestors, within a very short period of time, they would work something out that’s good for everybody. I really believe that.
He’s a very talented man. I mean, aside from everything, he’s a very talented man. He’s very smart, very talented. And I know him well, probably as well as anybody, And I believe if he sat down with them — now, you know, he’s not — that’s not his deal, sitting down with people. You know, he doesn’t do that. But I think, maybe, the world changes. I really believe if President Xi sat down with representatives of the protestors — and they do have representatives; pretty good representatives, pretty strong representatives. I’ve been watching and seeing them. If he sat down, I think he’d work something out. And I think it would be good for everybody. But it does put pressure on the trade deal. If they do something negative, it puts pressure.
Now, that deal I can sign by myself. It’s structured so I don’t have to go to Congress. But I respect Congress. I respect the views of Congress. And I respect, most importantly, the views of the people of our country. And I think it would be much harder for me to sign a deal if he did something violent in Hong Kong.
The White House
Edited by staff