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  President Trump Visits the Border  CSPAN  September 19, 2019 5:24am-6:05am EDT

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:00 a.m., the confirmation hearing for eugene scalia, son of the late justice antonin scalia. he's been nominated to serve as the next labor secretary. tell bernie i sanders voters, i defy you to i tell bernie sanders voters, i defy you to tell me that you care more than i do, because you don't. but we have very different solutions on how to get there. cole cer: k: james -- kay james, sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern, on c-span's "q&a." president trump visited a section of the border wall currently under construction in southern california.
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joining him were acting homeland security sick terry kevin mcaleenan -- security secretary kevin mcaleenan. he also took questions about his new national security advisor. pres. trump: this has been a very exciting project, as you know. we have a wall the likes of which very few places have ever seen. i want to thank all of the people. general semonite with the army corps of engineers. we are very closely working with them. kevin and your staff. i want to see some of the details of the wall. you can see a pretty good view. this is going to be close to 500 miles by the time we finish most of the areas that are most important. that should be done pretty close to next year.
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it will be over 400 miles. we think we can get it close to 500 miles by the end of next year, depending on certain terrain conditions. but we are doing all of the most important areas. we have natural barriers like mountains and rivers, but it is an amazing project. i think what i would like you to do is if you could explain the interior of these pipes, the wall is 30 feet high. we also have 18 foot wall, depending on the area, depending on the importance. tijuana is right over here. there are thousands of people over there that had been trying to get in. tremendous cooperation from mexico and the president of mexico has been fantastic. all of mexico has been fantastic. as you know, right now they have 20,000 soldiers, so in addition to the wall, we have the soldiers. the wall, still, obviously has a
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ways to go, but we are building it at a breakneck speed. i wanted them to show you the interior of parts of the wall and what is inside of each individual slat. you can see it as accommodation of steel, concrete, and is one of the folks here said, it is virtually impenetrable. any walls that were put up would get knocked down very quickly, very easily. this is not something that can be really knocks down. i guess anything can, but this is really tough. it goes down six feet. it is three and four feet wide, the concrete. you can see it here. it is exposed. i might ask general's, night -- ask general semonite to say a few words about it. concrete goes into the tube. in addition to that, we have rebar. if you think you are going to cut it with a blow torch, that doesn't work because we have concrete. if you think you're going to go
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through the concrete, that doesn't work because we have very powerful rebar inside. it is a very powerful wall, the likes of which, to this extent, has probably not been billed for. this is one of the most dangerous areas. we have a double wall. we have a wall on both sides. is 18 feet, and one is 30 feet. this is where people are waiting for them. it is a very powerful situation. general, maybe you could take over for a couple of minutes, and then i will take it back. gen. semonite: i want to build on your comments. it is a system of two walls, but it also is a road network so that the customs and border can continue to be able to move around. also a lighting system. as you think about this, it really is defense in depth. you think about these panels going up. right now we are putting in about 270 panels a day going in the ground. we've got over 44,000 panels
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already built. 66 miles today are already completed. there are 251 miles under contract, going in the ground right now. 160 miles are on contracts in the next 90 days, and the remainder of the miles is mainly private land that takes a little bit longer to get. one of the things i wanted to remind you about, when you have a football field, kind of a flat area like this, it is a little easier to build the wall. if you look at the mountains behind you, one of the projects that is going to go up in the next year continues this barrier over the rest of that mountain. we've got to have this linear capability to prevent new -- to continue to provide that level of defense. are 30 feet high on the backside. come over here if you want. semonite:e
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ballard is now, there are two pieces of rebar, 12 feet long, inside the ballard. we put concrete in. it is a pretty substantial obstacle to be able to go through. i would defer to you, commissioner, for anything else you want to add. mr. morgan: this gets the minimum -- gets the men and area wherep to the people are trying to cross. people could cut through that in seconds or knock it over. this makes it almost impenetrable. right now they had four attempts to cut through this. all times it has failed. customs and border patrol has been able to interdict those individuals. pres. trump: and the reason we pour the concrete afterwards is because it is too heavy to lift.
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we put it up and pour the concrete afterwards. so you have the rebar, the steel, and you have concrete. and it is very powerful concrete. what is that, for thousand or 5000 pound concrete? that is a very powerful concrete. a lot of technological advances have been made with concrete. it sounds pretty simple, but it's not. so you have the rebar, the outer crust, and the inside is concrete. again, the concrete is poured after it is up. they pour it through funnels and government of the territory of the ballard. lt. gen. semonite: this is a great view. i would defer to the commissioner to exclude what that is. overorgan: i will turn it to our agent to give you the capacity that this gives to border patrol agents. >> thank you.
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so you know, this is the wall the agents asked for. they wanted me to tell you personally they appreciate this, and not only this here, but the extension that is bringing the secondary further out. they really appreciate it. it makes them safer. it makes the community safer. it allows us to make that apprehension here in the border zone as opposed to getting in vehicles and pursuits on the highway. want to make that apprehension here. just in terms of the quality, i came with the border patrol. i worked with them very closely. i said, how about the less expensive version? they said, well, this is the version that works. this is the rolls-royce version. i said, well, how about doing one wall instead of two? in a lot of areas, you have two where you have terminus amounts of people on the other side
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trying to break through. we know exactly where those are. they said two works a lot better. so we have the one side on the border, 18, and over here, 30 feet. one of the things you were was the protection on top, how that stops. the anti-climb device, if you look at the steel on top. it is structural, but it is there more importantly for anti-climb. thing ton: it is one figure out how to manage the vertical post, but the transition at top makes to climb orders of magnitude more difficult. it requires different equipment, different tools, different skills. so it is the change as we get to the top that adds to the protection of that fence. mr. morgan: anything we can do to give the border patrol agent even a few more seconds, a few more minutes to respond, that is a game changer. if you don't mind, i think this is important to talk about.
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the chief just mentioned there is a false narrative out there that this wall is the president's vanity wall. i am here to tell you that is false. this administration, what they did is exactly what this president just explained. he reached out to the experts, to the border patrol agents on the front line everything will day risking their lives, protecting this country, and enforcing the laws that congress enacted. he reached out to those agents and asked, what do you need to do your job more effectively to secure and safeguard this country? we need to this. so this president, thank you. you listened to the agents and gave them exactly what they asked for. pres. trump: one. we haven't discussed is that they are wired, so we can tell when they are bringing through.
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if you want to talk about that. >> there may be good reason not to talk about that. pres. trump: i like that. that's a good answer. but i will just tell you they are wired. anything you want, we have. to do it later after it is built is very expensive. we are all set up to adapt. that is the story. we have certain areas like this where you have double walls. if you look behind, you can see how that goes up the hill. that goes many miles in that direction. we also have -- it all fits together like a puzzle. how many sites will have been started? about 35 sites. some contractors, they get the maximum amount of people building at the same time. pres. trump: so we have different bids in different contractors.
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this is an excellent contractor. they are doing a really good job. but we have many contractors on many different parts in different states. in arizona, new mexico, where i just left. we have great contractors bidding and we are starting in new mexico. they are moving along rapidly, and they need them desperately. part of the beauty, you will see the tunneling where they go under the wall. here the concrete goes down very deep. it is very hard to tunnel. it is actually dangerous. at a certain point you hit rock, so you can't tunnel. so we have it covered underground. this is the finest you can do. i said, let's do it differently. we don't have to go 30 feet. they said it won't be the same because of the climb. we actually build prototypes, and we had world-class mountain climbers. that's all they do. they love to climb mountains.
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they can have it. me, i don't want to climb mountains. we gave them different prototypes of walls. this is the one that was hardest to climb. we've all seen the pictures of young people climbing walls with drugs on their back. a lot of drugs, and they are unbelievable climbers. this wall can be climbed. it is very, very hard. the panel on top is structural, but also very hard to get by that panel. plus, it is designed to absorb heat, so it is extremely hot. you won't be able to touch it. you can fry an gone that wall. it is very cup -- you can fry an egg on that wall. it is very, very hot. there's not a lot of water out here, so it is a very hard thing to climb. we were thinking about an all concrete wall. this is a much more expensive version, but they want to be able to have a vision in, looking in both directions. they have to be able to because otherwise you have a block.
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you can't see what is going on on the other side. literally, they could have a group of pretty tough people out there, and we don't want to do that. why did you need this vision? it was so important. frankly, and all concrete wall would have been much less extensive to build, but from the standpoint of border patrol, they were very much opposed to it. >> sir, as you mentioned, our agents patrol along these walls. as they get closer to that, being able to see the threat through the wall prior to a rock coming over the fence or something else coming over the fence at them, it is an offer her safety thing packed -- safety thing. we appreciate it. pres. trump: i always envisioned maybe it is a solid concrete i have a every time meeting with ice, with the general, with everyone involved, they said sir, we have to be
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able to see through. if you can't see through, it is not going to be a good situation. they even talked about things where someone would be walking on one side of the wall and throw up bags of drugs that weigh 100 pounds. they would catapult it over the wall. we had instances where people got hit on the other side because you don't see who's over there. having the wall, it is more expensive, but it is the right thing to do. people that have seen it, other countries are now coming in studying the wall because other people are thinking about something. the only thing is i'm not sure they can affordable like this. you, at i will tell some point we might get their approval. they are coming in studying the wall. but i will let you know if i can get their approval. i will give you that information. i want to ask their approval first. that is premature it. again -- that is pre-much it. again, the president of mexico has been great. we have a lot of soldiers right
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now. they've been great. 27,000 i think is the number as of today. this will be something very special. i want to thank mark, i want to thank kevin, and i want to thank you. really fantastic job. the whole border patrol has been incredible. who would think this is what we had to do? but that's it. when you look down here, you will see on a more flat area, this is fairly flat. you will see what the wall looks like, and it is pretty impressive. the cameras can look down here. these are the real people. these are the workers that put up the wall, by the way. all these guys, they don't do as much of that, but they do a great job, and we appreciate it. . each one of these is considered a panel. when they said how many panels are you going to put up -- 4000 are already in. each one of these are together, so each one of these, i think
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they would have eight ballard s. we also have some very sophisticated openings when you have to get the border patrol or various people through to the other side. we have some really beautiful openings that work really well. i hear we finally figured that one out. that was not an easy thing to figure out because of the weight. it is tremendously heavy. but if you look down here, you'll see what the wall looks like. the beautiful thing is that people are seeing that. we are not going to do, and another week, no more catch and release. we are not allowing people into the country at all anymore. nobody is coming in unless they are coming in legally. they are coming in through a process. betweenit covered 27,000 mexican soldiers, and now the wall is starting to kick in very big. san diego, they were just thanking me for the wall we
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built in san diego. they said it is a difference of day and night. they actually said it is 100%. the only thing is we have to now extend it. the only way to get through is to walk many miles in the opposite direction, one way or the other, to go around it. but going over it is virtually impossible. but they are very happy with what we've done. i tell you this very strongly, no more people can come in. we wanted congress to help us. it would have made life very easy. we still want them to get rid of loopholes, but we've done it a different way. we've done it with the help of mexico. we've done it with the help of border patrol. we've done it with the help of kevin and all of you great people, mark. we still want them to do it because it would be a little bit easier, but congress wouldn't do it. when i say congress, the democrats wouldn't do it. now we have a world-class security system at the border, including the highest technology. i would think there is no place like this anywhere.
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there's no place that has anything like. this or even close a lot of places have guards. unfortunately they have machine guns and electrified fences. you touch them menu get electrocuted. we don't do that -- you touch them and you get electrocuted. we don't do that. but this is equally difficult to get across. [indiscernible] pres. trump: we had a very low fencing here. you were here before, i think. it was like a sheet-metal. people would not it over routinely -- would knock it over routinely. we had areas with even less than that, and then we had areas where we had nothing. just a pipe along the ground, and that sort of stopped cars or trucks, but they would knock that out pretty quickly. but in this case, it was sheet rock -- like sheet-metal. used to build runways.
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they had a lot of it left over years ago, and they put it up, but it would be knocked down on a daily basis. tell them about that. >> this is the same area we had the prototypes built. the president was here 18 months ago. the difference it makes for us operationally is instead of 300 to 500 people crossing a day, we are now seeing 30 to 50. traffic in this sector has dropped dramatically. that is how your strategy is coming into play. pres. trump: the only way that we get the 50 as they walk around the areas here. we will be sealing those up very shortly. or in parts will have a gate. nobody is going over the wall. building we are still it, that's where you get the 50. we think it is going to be close to 100% at the end. maybe one of the greatest poll voters in history could get over
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the low one, but it is going to be very painful when they land. >> you declared a national emergency here at the border. do you still consider the situation at the border a national emergency? how will you measure success? when will you withdraw that? pres. trump: the success is going to be when the wall is built, when human traffickers can't come through. nobody is coming through this here. they have to go through here. they drive. they make a left turn up here and drive into the country, and usually go unnoticed. and if they are noticed, it is a big deal. a big chase goes on. this is certainly a tremendous national emergency because of human trafficking, drugs, and people coming in illegally, and in many cases, those people have criminal records and we don't want them in our country. >> are they here indefinitely? pres. trump: the mexican troops?
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>> the u.s. troops. pres. trump: we can take just about all of the troops out and border patrol can take over. people are hearing about the wall, and they are not coming nearly as much. when you are in guatemala -- and i want to thank honduras, guatemala, el salvador. the leaders of those countries have been working with us very strongly. they weren't in the beginning, but they are now. cases,e of cases -- all ultimately, we will be doing the same agreements. alreadyin instances, we have them. when people see this, and it is one of the reasons i am doing this today, people say, hey, there is no reason to make that long journey up because we are not getting into the united states. president, to your point, although we've had a 43% decrease from may to august of this year, we are still 55% over last year. this is still a crisis. we still got high numbers
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coming. >> for the mexicans who want to come over legally, do they streamline immigration? pres. trump: if they want to try and come in, when the wall is built, it will be virtually impossible to come over illegally. then we are able to take border patrol and put them at your point of entry where you need some extra help and protection, and we are able to do a lot of things. the numbers there are way down. as the ball goes up, literally as the wall goes up, the numbers go down. but also, the mexican soldiers tremendous. >> for those>> who want to come legally, are we doing anything -- pres. trump: in my opinion, it will be easier. they will have passes. there will have whatever we are going to sign. the farmers won't be hurt at all. as you know, we have many people coming over for mexico and certain other countries, they
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are coming through with a work pass. do you want to explain? >> we have 400,000 across the border almost every day. we have two of the biggest ports in the country right here. the longer term visas are going to be issued for those who follow the law. [indiscernible] well, they are paying for 27,000 soldiers, as you know. thrilled. mexico has never done anything to impede people from pouring into our country, and now they are doing just the opposite. they have really been incredible. i also think it is good for mexico because they are bricking up the cartels. the cartels were really a problem. tariff for six months, that pays for the entire wall. but at this moment, i don't want to do that.
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it if they charged a 5% -- if charged a 5% tariff on mexico for everything that comes through for six months, that would pay for the wall. at this moment, i don't want to do that because i'm really happy with mexico is doing. mexico is doing this because they don't want to be tariffed. charge only 5%, that would pay for the wall. and you would have money left over. >> you say you don't want to do that right now, but is it still on the table? pres. trump: if mexico stopped helping us, that would be immediately on the table. that would pay for the wall many times over because it would certainly be for a lot longer, but we don't want to do that because they have been fantastic. mexico has never done anything to impede people from coming in, and now they are doing yeoman's work. 27,000 soldiers. >> there's been a great deal of turmoil at the to parma to phoneline security the last
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several months -- at the department of homeland security the last several months. pres. trump: some of them were there for a long time. [indiscernible] pres. trump: i'm very happy. i haven't announced it yet, but i am very happy with many of the people there. we will be announcing things in the future. there are many people that were there for a long time, and i wasn't happy with the job they were doing. who could be happy? they were there for many years. they weren't doing their job. we made incredible replacements. i will be announcing replacement. havingw i like nonpermanent, to a certain extent. it gives you more flux ability. i like the word acting because it gives me great flexibility. but at a certain time, we will be making permanent positions. >> is it fair for the american people to expect some stability? pres. trump: i think we have tremendous stability. i think we have tremendous stability. i think we've never had a border
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-- when this is completed, there will not be anywhere that has a border like this. a big beneficiary is going to be mexico. one of the things that is happening, and i have heard from the top echelons in mexico, they are breaking up the cartels. they have their own problems. we have acting people. the reason they are acting is because i'm seeing how i like them, and i'm looking a lot of them very, very much -- i'm liking them very, very much. there are people who have done a bad job, and i let them go. if you call that turmoil, i don't call that turmoil. i say that is being smart. that is what we do. the structure that you see, i wanted to have you here because nobody would believe this unless they see it. i hope you are impressed. this is top of the line. i went to the general. i said, can we do a less expensive version? he said, yes sir, but won't be good like this.
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this is something you can't cut through. to cut welders it is the real deal. we could do less expensive, but it won't be like this, and i think you see that. >> we really appreciate it. we are dealing with a homeless issue as well. pres. trump: well, that is a different issue, and i will be talking about that soon, but you do have a homeless issue. in san francisco, the mayor is doing the right thing. in los angeles, it is a disaster. if you look at san francisco, it is a total disaster. they are going to ruin the cities. we are going to get involved very soon on a federal basis if they don't clean up their act. one of the things we are very upset about and angry about is we are paying a lot of money to los angeles to build the subway system, billions and billions of dollars, and yet you have tense all over the place -- have tents all over the place. water is rushing into the ocean, and this is supposed to be
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stormwater. it is not supposed to be sewage, and it is turning out to be sewage. if these democrat liberal politicians don't straighten outcome of the federal government will have to -- don't straighten out, the federal government will have to come in. we will not allow that to happen to our cities. we also want to take care of the people. i will even put the people first. but they shouldn't be living like that. it is destroying the city, and they are being destroyed. they are being further destroyed. but that is for a different day. it is going to be very soon, though. it is a very good question. . >> also, how much is this border wall costing the united states? where does that money come from? pres. trump: it is coming from various sources. we've had various supreme court victories over the last period of time. it is allowing us to do the proper job, and it is also allowing us to work with the army corps of engineers. we have very talented people like the general, and we are getting it done.
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you may want to comment on this section. lt. gen. semonite: this was through regular, normal congressional appropriations. 2017,f this was in fy part in fy 2018, through federal appropriations. [indiscernible] pres. trump: i will give you an example. they tried to stymie us by saying $1.6 billion, but only for renovation. if they have a little wall, they just pull down the panel and walk across. if we rip that down, i guess you can say that is renovation. so we've used some of this. some of this comes right out of the budget. much of the ball comes out of the budget. even if we have a small piece of -- much of the wall comes out of the budget. ways, that works very much to our advantage. >> do you expect to have more of this done -- did you expect to have more of this done? pres. trump: no, i've always heard 500 miles.
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that is always the number. in some cases, it is very hard to traverse. in some cases, you have areas that nobody is going to even get near. was 500.r i heard we are going to stop at anywhere from 400 to 500 and see where else we may need something. we can add pieces to that. you really won't know until you stop because we are going to have tread paths. get up to about 400, and look and see whether we have to go more than 475, 500. it could be at maximum 550. we might add another 50. but we won't know that until it is complete. you need a wall along the entire u.s.-muck sycamore? -- u.s.-mexico border? pres. trump: you can't do it
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because you have rivers. you have mountains, which are in many cases more dangerous. we have a little less than 2000 miles, and you have 500 miles where it is really space where people can come through, and you may have a little bit extra, but 3/4 of it is covered by natural terrain that doesn't allow people to get through. >> you said earlier you wanted the wall to be painted black, despite the cost. why did you? pres. trump: i do. it feels like we are better off letting it be a natural rest, letting it be the way it is. we will make a determination as to painting it later. this will be a good, strong rust color. we will see. it is not a big deal. the black attracts more heat, even then this color. but this is your natural steel. i think we are going to see how it works out. we could paint it at a later date if we decide to. lt. gen. semonite: i think the real issue goes back to economics. when you are able to use that
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money to be able to get more miles, therefore you are able to resist the threat better. pres. trump: it is not a huge amount of money, but it is enough to build quite a few more miles, and i think we want to do that, and we can paint it later on. >> if i could ask you about iran, mr. president. john bolton apparently was critical of your policies on iran and the taliban. pres. trump: i was critical on john bolton for getting us involved with a lot of people in the middle east. we spent $7.5 trillion in the middle east. you ask a lot of people about that. we are doing it the right way. we are doing it the smart way. it is very easy to go in. in just one phone call, we could go in, and that might happen. but we will see what we will see. john was not able to work with anybody. a lot of people disagree with his ideas. a lot of people were very critical when i brought him on in the first place because of
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the fact he was so in favor of going into the middle east. he got stuck in quicksand. we became policeman for the middle east, and it is ridiculous, and i've always felt that. from day one i felt it, even though i wasn't in government. i felt it. i think you will see what happens, and we will see what happens. >> he also said on your north korea policy that negotiations with north koreans were doomed to failure. pres. trump: well, it is easy to say that. he may be right and he may be wrong. let's see what happens. only time will tell. in the meantime, for three years there's been no nuclear testing. we got our hostages back. we've gotten our great soldiers back who were killed, and many more are coming back. we have many more coming back. the families of those, we call them our heroes, and they were our heroes, they are coming back. the relationship is good. i think that is better than somebody who goes around saying we want to use the libyan model.
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he said the libyan model. that set us back very badly when he said that. i think john should really take a look at how badly they've done in the past, and maybe a new method would be very good. with all of that being said, may be a very powerful attack. we've never had a military as strong as our military right now because of what we've done. when i first came into this position, our military was in very depleted state. [indiscernible] pres. trump: i'm not saying anything. i'm saying there may be a very powerful one. maybe it won't be necessary. we will see. but guys like bolton and others wanted to go into iraq, and that didn't work out too well. that was a horrible idea. i put him in any way, and knows, if youbody move wrong, you get stuck. they got stuck, and i am on kingking it -- i am un-stic
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it. in the middle east, we will see what happens. a lot of things can happen. rough things and not such rough things. very easy to go in. one phone call, we go in. does not have to be today. it could be tomorrow. it could be two weeks from now. [indiscernible] >> i think it is fine. i think they should have acted faster. they raised far too quickly. you look at germany where they are getting money to loan money. japan gets paid to loan money. we are a better credit than anybody. because of our fed. we are paying interest. i am not a fan. we have no inflation. we have an unbelievable economy.
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we have no inflation. that is a big thing, peter. he did this a little while ago. some people thought you might do 50. he did 25. i figured you'd probably do 25. -- he would probably do 25. i think they made some mistakes. he raised too fast and lowered to slow. despite that, we have a great economy. we are doing well. our businesses are doing well. i thought it would give us an advantage. in other countries are doing it and we are not doing it, it becomes a little bit tougher competitive wise. we are so much better than everybody else, it does not matter. i want to thank everybody. i hope you folks see the level of talent that is involved. if you came back here in two months, this would be a paved road where through the middle. -- right through the middle. they're not going to have to
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work too hard because nobody is getting over the wall. if they get over the first one, they are not getting over the second one. i want to thank you folks. great job. >> mr. president? there is a tradition here on the border that anyone who works on the wall will sign it for us. >> sign it. i will sign it. maybe we will see you on the plane. [indiscernible]
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[indistinct conversations] >> let's all get our signatures up there. president trump and first lady melania trump will host the second state dinner of his administration as he welcomes australian prime minister scott morrison and his wife jenny morrison. watch guest arrivals. our live coverage begins friday at 6:30 p.m. eastern on c-span, online at, or listen on the free c-span radio app. c-span's washington journal, live every day. news, and policy issues that impact you. coming out this morning, california republican congressman, click -- tom mcclintock shares the latest on the investigations of president trump. house foreign affairs committee
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member gregory meeks discusses trump administration policy towards iran. lee troutman, political scientist, discusses the need for multiparty democracy in the u.s. sure to watch washington journal, live at 7:00 a.m. eastern this morning. during the conversation. >> coming up live thursday, the house returns it 10:00 a.m. eastern for generals is on c-span. at noon, numbers are expected to take up a short-term funding bill. :00 a.m., the environmental protection agency will hold a news conference that will announce they will revoke a waiver that allows california to hold its own fuel standards. 10:00 a.m., more senate nominations. 9:00 a.m.,hree, at
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the confirmation hearing for eugene scalia, son of the supreme court justice antonin scalia appeared he has nominated to serve as the next labor secretary. >> c-span it back in des moines, iowa this saturday for life campaign 2020 comverge for the annual steak fry. presidential candidates will take the stage for speeches. watch the iowa steak fry live on c-span,, or listen on the c-span radio app. the chair of the federal reserve, jerome powell announced a one quarter point reduction in the fed's target interest rate range. he spoke following the meeting of the federal open market committee. he says the cut would above the economy to avoid contraction. this is 50 minutes.