Among the topics they discussed and my summation of each):
- the shutdown, the national emergency at the border, Nancy Pelosi (BAD!)
- the kerfuffle with the intelligence folks and whether or not Trump feels they're intelligent; (SMART!)
- ISIS, Syria and Afghanistan; (WINNING)
- his Cabinet and how they're acting; (GREAT PEOPLE!)
- the NFL, the USMCA, Barron and the national anthem; (GREAT PRODUCT!)
- racism; (LOOK AT ALL THE BLACK PEOPLE WORKING!)
- the Russian witch hunt; and (HILLARY'S EMAILS)
- Venezuela, North Korea and China (DEALS!)
Let's dive in, shall we?
On the national emergency at the southern border, Trump would not say whether he would shut down the government again in on February 15th
Well, I don't take anything off the table. I don't like to take things off the table. It's that alternative. It's national emergency, it's other things and you know there have been plenty national emergencies called. And this really is an invasion of our country by human traffickers... And the only way you have a strong border is you need a physical barrier. You need a wall. And anybody that says you don't, they're just playing games.So, the emergencies of drugs and caravans are off the table, I guess?
On Nancy Pelosi, Trump says she's "very rigid" and
..but I think she is very bad for our country. She knows that you need a barrier. She knows that we need border security. She wanted to win a political point. I happen to think it's very bad politics because basically she wants open borders. She doesn't mind human trafficking or she wouldn't do this...Unless of course, she doesn't mind drugs and stuff - because he followed up with this:
She's - she's costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars because what's happening is when you have a porous border, and when you have drugs pouring in, and when you have people dying all over the country because of people like Nancy Pelosi who don't want to give proper border security for political reasons, she's doing a terrible disservice to our country.Brennan noted that Trump has "strongly held convictions" and people wonder "why don't the facts influence those opinions, if those facts change?" The conversation meandered for a while, but eventually ended up with Trump saying if we leave and then something changes,
We have very fast airplanes, we have very good cargo planes. We can come back very quickly, and I'm not leaving. We have a base in Iraq and the base is a fantastic edifice. I mean I was there recently, and I couldn't believe the money that was spend on these massive runways. And the -- I've rarely seen anything like it. And it's there. And we'll be there.And about that Senate vote, initiated by Mitch McConnell, cautioning Trump about withdrawing the troops?
I ran against 17 Republicans. This was a big part of what I was saying, and I won very easily.Trump's pretty happy about his Cabinet, even with a lot of 'acting' people in the room (AG, Chief of Staff, Interior Secretary, Defense Secretary):
So, we have a great cabinet. I have great people. I think now we have a really great cabinet... It's easier to make moves when they're acting. Some are doing a fantastic job. Really - I like acting because I can move so quickly. It gives me more flexibility.On the NFL and his relationship with commissioner Roger Goodell, Trump talked about NAFTA.
I did them a big favor in negotiating the USMCA, which is basically the replacement to NAFTA, which is one of the worst trade deals ever made. And I said to Canada, look we have a great American company known as the NFL, and they were being hurt and treated unfairly, the NFL, by Canada for a long time. And I said to Prime Minister Trudeau, who was very nice about it and really understood it, I hope you can settle the difference immediately and fast. And they did. So I did the NFL a big favor, as a great American company and they appreciated it....On kneeling specifically, and whether the players had a point, saying that the majority of victims of police violence are black, Trump could only talk about himself.
Well, you know, I'm the one that had passed judicial reform. And if you look at what I did, criminal judicial reform, and what I've done - President Obama tried. They all tried, Everybody wanted to do it. And I got it done, and I've been, you know, really -- a lot of people in the NFL have been calling and thanking me for it.... They have been calling and thanking, you know, that people have been trying to get that taken care of and now it's signed into law and affects tremendous numbers of people, and very good people.Oh wait, the question was about kneeling?
I think that when you want to protest I think that's great. But I don't think you do it at the sake of our flag, at the sake of our national anthem. Absolutely.On the results of a recent CBS poll showing 63% of Americans disapprove of how he's handling race issues, Trump again chose to answer a question that wasn't asked.
The economy is so good right now. You saw the jobs report just came out. 304,000 added jobs, which is a shocker... the African Americans have the best employment numbers in the history of our country. Hispanic Americans have the best employment numbers in the history of our country. Asian-Americans the best in the history of our country. You look at women, the best in 61 years. And our employment numbers are phenomenal, the best in over 50 years. So I think I've been given a lot of credit for that. And in terms of race, a lot of people are saying, well, this is something very special what's happening.Which says exactly what about how Trump is handling race issues?
... I think if you look at the numbers for African-American unemployment, best numbers they've had, literally the best numbers they've had in history. And I think they like me a lot and I like them a lot.And I can only scratch my head. And scratch and scratch and scratch. By the way, Barron plays soccer, and Trump would "have a hard time with it" if Barron wanted to play football.
On the Russia investigation, same old same old, except this part about Roger Stone.
Roger is somebody that I've always liked, but a lot of people like Roger, some people probably don't like Roger, but Roger Stone's somebody I've always liked. I mean Roger's a character but Roger was not - I don't know if you know this or not - Roger wasn't on my campaign except way at the beginning...
And remember - Remember this. Remember This. There's been no president that has been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.It's up to the AG, Trump said, whether or not to release the Mueller report.
On Venezuela, there's always the option of using the military; he won't meet with Maduro, because things have gone too far now, and
So, I think the process is playing out - very very big tremendous protests.North Korea? He can't tell us yet when he and Kim will be meeting, but we might find out during the SOTU (Tuesday, in case you need to make plans). There's a good chance, he said, that we'll make a deal, and even more than that, there's chemistry.
We have had tremendous correspondence that some people have seen and can't even believe it. They think it's historic... certainly I think we have a very good chance of making a deal. And one of the reasons is because North Korea has a chance being located between Russia, China and South Korea. What a great location - I'm in the real estate business - what a location! They have a chance to be an economic powerhouse.China? They were helpful with North Korea at the beginning,
Because as you know, they have a border just like we have a border with Mexico, where crime is way up by the way, way way up, and you have to remember that. But we have a border - they have a border with North Korea.Will there be a deal?
It looks like we're doing very well with making a deal... We have a good chance to make a deal. I don't know that we're going to make one, but we have a good chance. And if it is a deal it's going to be a real deal, It's not going to be a stopgap.So -- there was more, of course, in the transcript which you can peruse at your leisure. It will be interesting to compare this interview with Tuesday's SOTU, to see how much more we'll learn then.
In the meantime, see you around campus.