From: George Condon
Date: April 4, 2019 at 1:33:29 PM EDT
Subject: Pool Report #3 quotes
Comments by the president in response to questions in the Cabinet Room:
The first question dealt with progress on the China trade talks:
“They very much want to make a deal. We’ll see what happens. It’s got to be a great deal. We’ve been losing for many years, four, five, 600 billion dollars a year, we’re losing. It’s got to be a great deal. It’s going very well. Top officials are here and… a very complex deal.. Maybe the biggest deal ever made. Technology, intellectual property theft – everything is covered. There is not a thing not covered. We could have done a quickee. … We’re going to make a very good deal or we’re not going to make a deal at all. But it looks like it is moving along very nicely.”
He was then asked about closing the border with Mexico:
“A lot of good things are happening in Mexico.” He then repeated his standard criticism of current U.S. law and immigration courts. “the craziest thing in the world. You put a foot into the United States. Congratulations. Go get Perry Mason to represent you. You end up with a court case. Then they release you and you come back four or five years later. But nobody comes back…. The most ridiculous system anybody’s ever seen….
Chain migration…. “put in by Democrats and the Democrats are going to straighten it out. And if they don’t straighten it out and I predicted this. I hate to see it but at least I can say I was right. I told everybody. We have a national emergency at our border. And nobody even talks about drugs, the drugs that are flowing in.
And so for the last three days – and you actually have covered it to a very minor extent – Mexico has been capturing people and bringing them back to their countries at their southern border. They keep people under their very powerful laws they have the right to do it and bringing them back to where they came from. That’s been about three days now I guess frankly since they thought I was going to close the border.
But before I close the border, Mexico –and we love Mexico. We love the country of Mexico. We have two problems. We have the fact that there are people who pour in that we have to stop them, the border patrol has been incredible. Ice has been incredible. Law enforcement has been incredible.
The other problem is drugs. Massive amounts, large, most of the drugs, most of the drugs coming into our country come through the southern border. There are all different ways. Much of it, the wall is under construction, by the way. Large sections. We’re going to be meeting I think on Friday at a piece of the wall that we completed, a big piece. A lot of it is being built right now. A lot of it is being signed up right now by different contractors. It is moving along very nicely. We need the wall. But we need lots of other things.
So we need help from Mexico. If Mexico doesn’t give the help, that’s okay, we’re going to tariff their cars coming into the United States. The other thing is because Mexico is such a big source of drugs, unfortunately, unfortunately, now we have China sending fentanyl into Mexico so it can be delivered into the United States. That’s not acceptable.
So the second aspect of it is, which you haven’t heard before, is that if the drugs don’t stop – Mexoco can stop them if they want – we’re going to tariff the cars. The cars are very big. And if that doesn’t work, we’re going to close the border. But I think that will work. That is massive numbers of dollars. So if we don’t see people apprehended and brought back to their countries, if we see these massive caravans coming up to our country right through Mexico – coming right through Mexico like nothing. Buses are even given to them. The last three days it hasn’t happened since I said we’re closing the border. Frankly better but less drastic than closing the border is to tariff the cars coming in. And I will do it. You know I will do it. I don’t play games. I will do it.
So we’re doing it to stop people. We’re going to give them a one-year warning and if the drugs don’t stop or largely stop we’re going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, particularly cars. The whole ballgame is cars. It’s the big ballgame. With many countries it is cars. And if that doesn’t stop the drugs, we close the border. Because Mexico last year and over many years – just like China except China numbers are even bigger. And I don’t blame China and I don’t blame Mexico if they can get away with it. I blame people who used to sit in this seat. Because they should have done something about it. And I’m not just talking about President Obama. I’m talking about many presidents. They should have done something about it.
So if Mexico doesn’t do what it could do very easily – apprehend these people coming in and they can do it in a much more humane fashion. Why should they walk up 2,000 miles and then be pushed out. They can stop them right at their southern border, right where they come into Mexico. And they have unbelievable immigration laws where they have the right to do it, the most powerful in the world, as good as you can have. And they can do it. And if they don’t do it, we’re going to tax the cars and if that doesn’t work, we’re going to close the border.
But we’re also going to do something having to do with tariffs on drugs because not only are hundreds of thousands of lives… in our country but people are dying like you wouldn’t believe. I mean if we lose one military personnel and it’s a front page story and yet we have a hundred thousand people – people don’t even know the number. They say 77,000, they say 72,000. Any number they give you you can… raise it.
And if the drugs don’t stop, we’re going to put tariffs on. It also costs our country at least $500 million through our southern border, $500 million dollars. So we will put tariffs on if they don’t apprehend and ultimately we’re going to give a period of time and if a year from now drugs continue to pour in, we’re going to put tariffs on.
Now we have a deal – the USMCA, it’s all done. … They’re going to have to live with it. The USMCA is a great deal for everybody. This is more important to me than the USMCA.
Asked a question about ratification of the USMCA, he said, “I’ll tell you one thing. It’s a great deal. If they don’t pass it, it will be purely political…”