White House Briefing CSPAN June 5, 2018 3:43pm-4:20pm EDT
cemetery. featured speakers include family, friends, members of congress, and former president bill clinton. watch the r.f.k. 50th memorial service at 8:00 p.m. eastern on onhe free c-span radio app. n >> press secretary sarah sanders held her daily briefing with reporters addressing president trump's decision to cancel the philadelphia eagles' visit to the white house. first white house economic council chair gives an update on the u.s. economy and jobs market. sarah: good afternoon. bringing out the big guns today. since president trump took office, the economy has created nearly three million joonsd the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8%, matching the low lowest level in nearly 50 years.
the buau of labor statistics reported today that job openings hit a record high of 6.7 million in april. meaning job openings outnumber those unemployed. american workers looking for new opporniesre fin th b this president's policies of lower taxes, deregulation and fairer and reciprocal trade. america's economic potential has been unleashed. i've invitedheredent of e chairman's council of economic advisors, kevin hassett, to join us today and offer more details about the growing economy and take your questions on this topic. after that i'll be come up and talk about the news of the day. thank you. kevin: thank you, sarah. you know, i watch these things a lot. i was noticing that not everybody's always in the best mood and so i told sarah, what you guys need are some charts, right? so we got some charts for you today. yeah, i know. i could see. there are a lot of nodding people. all right. so i think that sarah said it best, that we're in, as the
president tweeted, one of the best economies i've seen in my career. and that there are a number of facts that have developed over the last few months that are i think confirming somef the stuff we talked about last fall when we talked about -- gosh, it was maybe i november, the tax bill, and the economic impact that the tax bill might have on the economy. in addition, the president pursued a trade agenda and deregulation and we're beginning to see the effects of all this in the data. in the first slide, if we can get it, is one of my favorite ways to look at a summary how the economy is doing is to look at the g.d.p. growth over the previous year. and you might recall when pres ran for office, when he came in, when i started here almost a year ago, we were growth and to 3% people said, no, no. we have a new normal during the obama years where we have growth in the maybe ones, up to two if we're lucky but not get 3% growth again. in the latest data we have
growth year over year a smidge over 3%. and the atlanta fed said second quarter g.d.p. will be high enough to make the year over year 3.1%, 3.2%. if you see in this chart we have a trend break. new normal of low growth t no, which is 3% growth that america use to expect. in this chart i want to show something we begin talked about in the fall which is one of the reasons why we have low growth in the previous administration is it was so anti-business and it was basically discouraging capital formation in the u.s. with inappropriate tax policy and high regulation. and you can see that in the data if you look at, for example, the blue dot from q-12014 to q-42015, business capital spending barely increased at all. even in preelection 2016 it stayed at about the next level. but subsequently after the election, already we started to
see a big increase in business sentiment, capital spending started to go up. now that we passed the tax bill, then you can see capital spending skyrocketing as we said last fall and that higher capital spending is one of the key factors driving growth at this time. i can remember way, way back in the fall saying if we passed the tax bill we'll expect to see capital spending higher about 10%. if you look at the last bar in the first quarter of g.d.p. this year, capital was up 9.2%. next slide, please. there are a number of other things we can look at. believe me, we can go on all day but i promised sarah i would stop at about 10 minutes. i find this one striking becae it has a big impact on our outlook for small business. rinow small businesses are as optimistic as we've ever seen since we've begun surveying them. it's interesting to see, you say, sometimes people in the obama administration will say, well, we set the economy up for the president. you can see a clear break in
this chart when -- at the election. and soreside trump promised he would cut taxes, that he reduced taxes on small business and reduce t heavyegulatory costs that were imposed on them by the previous administration. you can see even before he began to act that sentiment turned around. next slide, please. and that's helped lead to something that's really one of the more remarkable labor markets we've ever seen. the job market right now is about as strong as i've ever seen. there are a lot of different ways to put it in perspective. for me, the easiest fact is it's only seven times back to 1970 we had an unemployment rate below 4% and two of the months were the last two months. we expect that will continue. as remarkable as that chart is, i think the next one is one of the ones moves me even more. the next chart shows the gap between the unemployment rate of white workers and black workers. and you can see that the gap between the unemployment rate for black workers and white workers has gone to an all-time
low. and it's maybe about a third what it was on average during the obama administration. and of course we want that gap to get all the way down to zero but we made a tremendous amount of progress because president trump is still working to heat up the economy. the next chart, for a person that loves economic , rey forite because you rarely ever see anything that is the best since the second world war in economic data. and this chart shows that the claims for unemployment insurance, people that have the bad news they lost their job, and people that show up to elect their unemployment insurance, they are the lowes since the second world war. the most destructive thing to happen to a person's life is lose their job. right now there's never been a better economy for this since the second world wa i have one last chart. the last chart is something the president tweeted about. this is just a chart of what's happened to americans' wealth since the president was elected.
this is how much money they've got in their checking accounts, saving accounts, what the value of their house is and of course the value of equity markets. you can see since the president was elected, americans' wealth has increased by $lion. and i would guess when we see the data over the next coming arters that we're goingo cross the $100 trillion mark for americans' wealth. so it's very clear the president's economic policies are working. i think the most important thing is they're working for america's workers. that america's workers are being laid off at the lowest pace we've ever seen and wage growth, which we didn't include in the chart, is also taking off as well. with that i'll open up for a few questions. i promised sarah to keep it at three or four. reporter: kevin, good afternoon. thank you for being with us today. the uneymte, 3.8% last month, but the labor participation rate still lags four points behind where it was the last time unemployment was below 4% in this rate. what can this white house do to
increase the labor participation rate? kevin: well, this white house has going all the way back to the campaign when the president was speaking to the forgotten people, the people who had exited the labor force because they were so discouraged that they sort of gave up. we said we don't believe the story that was being pushed by the previous administration that there's no hope for you. we think you should get back to the labor force. as of -- i did this calculation as of the jobs report. i haven't update it had for this job's report but as of the last report, 900,000 americans who were out of the labor force have gotten a job since president trump took office. so i'll go back to you, ma'am. reporter: two questions. does this administration put into account that the obama administration had -- they were dealing with a recession, they were coming out of a recession? do you take that into account when you talk about the numbers comparing apples to oranges?
then going into black unemployment. the numbers have come down but historically the numbers have always been 1 1/2, two times or even greater than that of white america. will this administration, since you love to tout those numbers, effectively target to bring it down to -- kevin: thank you for the question. the great recession, that was the targeting point something we have been working on. the great recession slowed growth in the early years of the obama administration. but normally what we should have seen in the economic recovery, at the end of the administration, that the capital spending and everything else would be getting back to normal. and that wasn't happening. that was clearly in the data. as for the targeting, i think one of the things that we've spoken in this room about before, that the president talks a lot about, increasing jobs in goods producing industries. that's manufacturing and construction. those goods producing industries are creating jobs right now at a pace that's just a little bit under 50,000 a month. and that pace is about double what it was under the previous administration. it's precisely the thing that the president's been targeting.
if you look at the racial disparities across different professions, that is the goods producing industries that are rection, the black for the big unemployment rate -- i will have you one follow-up. reporter: thank you for that. but when it comes to construction, it's known more so a boost for hispanic workers. what specifically are you going to do to target african-americans since you are talking about -- you guys -- kevin: the president's policies are working. the gap is the lowest in history. he been very successful. can i move back here, yellow tie? yes, thank you. reporter: let's turn to trade for a second. the united ss right now on possible tariffs. china's stance on possible tariffs. have you guys modeled at all if there is a trade war between the u.s. and china how that will impact the u.s. economy? and as well, you had republicans over the last couple months which said the one thing that can stall tax
reform, the impact on the economy, is the president's trade policy. are they onto something there? kevin: look, the economic report we put out a few months ago donthi the president talked about i think very emotionally at times going all the way back to the campaign which is our trade deals are very asymmetric, that our markets are really open to the imports from other countries but a lot of other countries have asymmetric treatment of us. so, for example, in europe they have a 10% tariff on cars and we have a 2.5% tariff. the president's objective is to get reciprocal trade deals. everybody reduces their trade barriers to ours, then that's massively good for the global economy and massively good for the u.s. economy. now, the president wrote the book "the art of the deal." engaged in negotiations. we hope we reach that. let me move to another one. reporter: thank you, kevin. i wanted to ask you about the benefits of the tax cut
legislation that the president signed into law in in december. a morgan stanley report said 43% of the tax cuts savings are going to stop buy -- stock buybacks and dividends. 13% are going to employee ises and bonuses, employee benefits, something like that. are you disappointed you're seeing that impact, that effect from the tax cuts, it's going to wall street than main street? kevin: not at all. wage growth right now is the highest if you look over the last quarter, the employment cost index is the highest it's been going all the way back to 2006. that's the way they changed data. we got more than six million people that have been announced to have a pay raise because of the tax raise. the pay raise is above $1,200. there would be a $4,000 increase in pay for people if we passed the tax bill. people said that number was
implausible. wal-mart, for example, has increased the mainly for their workers, the lowest paid workers at wal-mart by hour. if you run it forward it's a little less than $4,000 this year. if the lowest paid people at wal-mart are getting the $4,000 the president has promised, then, of course, we're not disappointed in the wage data. [talking simultaneously] reporter: just to follow-up on a question that was asked. tariffs. do you predict -- frayed question i'm following up on. there's always a prediction that increased tariffs will depress the economy. the president has engaged in, do you see problems with the tariffs he's implemented, and what would be your reaction to it? kevin: i think the president is pushing our trading partners hard to make their deals fair for america's workers and that's his objective and there are ongoing discussions right now. i know a lot of other presidents -- i was over here at one point as an outsider
coming to president obama's team about this. a lot of other presidents wanted to make better deals and failed. this president is not going toi reporter: will that depress the economy, higher tariffs? kevin: we expect this will work out well, that we're going to get raye deals. back there, the fellow -- yes. reporter: just following up on that a little bit. what you said here and what the president said, also, is that -- talki aboutar bng more of a negotiating tactic as much as anything. w far, though, can this be a negotiating tactic will be -- [inaudible] if other countries don't? kevin: i reject that it's a negotiating tactic. the steel tariffs were put in place for a national security concern. the president's commander in chief. he needs to make the judgment. during times the war we need
steel. the 301-space, we're trying to get china stop stealing more than $100 billion worth of intellectual property every year and open their market to our produc arethe a lot of things going on right now. last question, sarah? reporter: any indication where we are in terms of the nafta negotiations? there's this idea that the united states might want to break up the nafta negotiations and do a direct deal with canada, direct deal with mexico. is that the right approach? kevin: i thi the president's approach is to negotiate with mexico and negotiate with canada and to make better deals. i think that you'll have to ambassador light hicer to get the current state of negotiations. thank you very much. thank you all for having me. sarah: thanks, kevin. lastly, one additional update. the president, the administration applaud senator majority leader mcconnell and his decision to cancel the majority of the august recess and remain in session. there's been historic
obstruction by senate democrats and there's a long to-do list including important nominations and appropriations bills we hope they can get taken care of. with that i'll take your questions. reporter: on the president's decision to disinvite the eagles. he's suggesting this is about the national anthem. is the president aware that not a single player on the eagles for the entire season knelt for the national anthem? sarah: the president's decision not just the anthem, but let's not forget this isn't -- there were 80 members of the eagles' organization that rsvp'd and committed to attend this event as recently as friday as well as over 1,000 fans of the eagles' organization and the eagles are the ones that tried to change their commitment after the 11th hour. the president, frankly, thinks the fans deserve better than that and, therefore, we changed the ceremony to be a focus on celebrating our great country.
reporter: is he concerned -- heard from steph curry and lebron james, a suggestion whoever wins the nba championship, they won't be here, is this something more than the national anthem, something other than the national anthem? . sarah: if this wasn't a political stunt, they wouldn't have backed out. if it wasn't a political stunt then they would have attempted to reschedule the event and if this wasn't a political stunt they wouldn't have waited until monday after fans took time out of their schedules. pamela. reporter: this isn't about the national anthem. sarah: the president has been clear what his position is in regards tohe national anthem. we never weambed on that. the president thinks people
should stand for the national anthem particularly when it comes to the nfl. it's notboartilarea but having pride in our country and being respectful to the men and women who fought and died to preserve our country. the eagles changed their commitment at the last minute and the president felt it appropriate to changehe event to be a ceremony to celebrate our country. reporter: just to follow up on the statement you made, you referred to the outside counsel on don junior statements that the president was involved in. the outside counsel said yes the president d dictate the statement and rudy giuliani said it was a mistake to say that the president didn't dictate. do you want to correct your statement from august that the president didn't dictate it? sarah: i'm not going to go in a back and forth and i know you guys would love to engage in matters of conversations between
the outside counsel and white house counsel and i'm not going to comment. reporter: you still talked about it. why can't you correct the record now? sarah: i'm not going to answer questions that deal with conversations between special counsel and outside counsel i'm not goio io a back and forth with you. reporter: [indiscernible] does he risk alienating voters in that state and the fans? sarah: we hope all of the people of pennsylvania would share the president's commitment to the national and thel the pride we have in our country and not be a slight to anyone but a reaffirmation and to stand for the national anthem is something the president has been very clear on.
reporter: president abe will be here, and what will be his agenda -- [indiscernible] repoer: do the president plan to revisit this issue? sarah: i'm not going to get ahead of the president's meeting but we anticipate the summit with north korea that will be next week to come up as well as trade issues and other matters and will be happy to provide a readout and the president will speak to that tomorrow. josh. i'm going to keep going. reporter: e.p.a. administrator helped an employee get a franchise. is the president behind that? the only question is do you think your statement in august was accurate?
was your statement in august accurate or inaccurate? sarah: you want to get into a back and forth. your goal is to engage in matters dealing with outside counsel and i'm not going to do that. reporter: you said something from the podium. was it accurate or not? sarah: i work day in and day out and with the majority of you in the room i'm an honest person who works extremely hard to provide you accurate information at all times and i'm not going to engage in matters dealing with the outside counsel. justin. reporter: i think you were asked the question, the reason you are unwilling to do this is because you have already done it -- [indiscernible] sarah: appropriate venue is through the outside counsel and i wouldeferou to them to answer them. reporter: they revised the
request -- indiscernible] has the administration inaccurately given a report that money wasnger needed and that happened in the last couple of months and why wouldn't that be true going forward? sarah: not necessarily, i refer you to o.m.b. to get into the details of that and we will provide you additional information also over the next few days. john. reporter: the president took a stick to his favorite pinata jeff sessions today. [laughter] reporter: what is the president's goal to remind the attorney general and he is p.o. ed at him and trying to get him to quit or amass can you late him? what is the president trying to
do? sarah: the president has made his position extremely clear. just because you laughed the rdest at john's joke. reporter: the president tweeted that he was concerned that the f.b.i. was weakening or slow walking the investigation into this hillary clinton email investigation held by former f.b.i. director comey. what is he basing that on? has he had conversations with f.b.i. personnel currently or observations in the past? sarah: the president would like to see this process move faster. they have been obsessed with a number of other issues in which they spent a great deal of time on. he would like to see it spread out. reporter: do you think it is appropriate to encourage them to release it? sarah: the president wants full transparency and wants it
expedited and completed quickly. reporter: wanted to follow on the question but in a larger sense. the president, whether it's on his twitter account keeps saying things that are not borne out by facts, whether it is it's $6 t the national anthem or billion opioidses a getting rid of the scurge overtaking our country and immigration judges. the president keeps saying things that aren't true. and this thing with the statement -- sarah: question, please. reporter: why do things you keep saying from the podium tn t to be true what the president keeps saying turn out to be true. why shouldn't be able to trust
that the information we're getting from this administratn is accurate? and more importantly, why should americans be able to trust that what they hear from this white house is always the truth? sarah: once again, i don't know how many times i have to address this, but i work every single day to give you accurate and up to date information and i will continue to do that. frankly my credibility is probably higher than the media and in large part because you spend more time attacking the president than reporting the news. if you spent more time reporting the news instead of trying t tear me down, you might see we are trying to provide you good information and trying to provide that same good information to the american people. i gave you quite a bit of time. reporter: i wanted to get your reaction to a statement that was put out by a player on the
eagles. a strong safety on the philelphia eagles and well respected on the team and he put out a statement today in which he said the decision that was made by the president to cancel this event celebrating theuper botory by the eagles pains the picture that these players are anti--america, anti-flag and anti-military, what is your response in that statement? sarah: i addressed this a few times. the eagles committed to an event on friday. they submitted over 80 members of the eagles' franchise to e event along with 1,000 fans to participate and it was the organization to change their commitment at the 11th hour. if this wasn't a political stunt, they wouldn't have planned to attend the entnd then back out. if it was nth a political stunt, they wouldn't have attempted to reschedulen event for when they knew the president would be
out of the country. and they wouldn't have waited until the very last minute to make these changes that this wasn't about some type of political statement that they were trying to make towards this president. reporter: are you saying that the president bears zero responsibilityn this cancellation? this is a president who called nfl players s.o.b.'s and implied that some players who do not stand for the national anthem do not belong in this country. does he bear responsibility? sarah: the position hasn't changed on this throughout the process and the president's position was very clearly stated in a number of forums and venues and the eagles made the commitment to come and well after the president established his feelings in regards to the national anthem. once again, they made that change at the last minute, not
the president. he is the one who hn completely consistent in his view point when it comes to this. reporter: the president last year broke with recent tradition dinner.not host a can you tell us how the inviteys were selected? sarah: he is hosting tomorw evening. there will be roughly i believe 30 to 40 different attendees and happy to provide you with more specifics. 8:45 team ace around eveng. >> let me ask you about two trade deals one involving the chinese, $70 billion and the united states would break off its threat. is that something president trump would support? sarah: we are in the negotiation process and as kevin said and the president stated, our focus is on making sure we make good
deals. he is going to continue pushing forward to make sure he gets the best deal for american workers. reporter: larryud lowaid at mbe the president wants to deal with canada solely and with mexico soland th idea of negotiating nafta might be gone. is there a possibility of getting a nafta deal done? esident is open to having the individual deals, but he is looking at the best way to make sure he gets the best deal possible for american worke whether or not that's through nafta or other means. those options are on the table. john. reporter: back to the issue of presidential pardons, there has been considerable furor in illinois among republicans particularly supporters of the president and allies in congress
such as congressman randy hultgrenut him even suggesting commuting the sentence of former governor blagojevich. is he going to go ahead with the commuteation or is he backing down and aware of the criticism from supporters of his. sarah: the president hasn't made a final decision. but the president doesn't base itism of oers but based on the decision he wants to make. reporter: the president is meeting with lawmakers this afternoon? sarah: a number of items will be discussed and will provide information after. reporter: does the president think his response to the hurricane in puerto rico
eserves a 10-10 score? sarah: it was at a historic proportion and continuing to work with the people of puerto rico and provide federal assistance particularly working with the governor there in puerto rico and will continue to do so. peter. reporter: are you concerned about the massive volume of the death toll. reporter: i'm asking why are athletes' rights to express themselves freely any different than the baker? sarah: we are pleased with the decision. the supreme court rightly concluded that the colorado civil rights commission failed to show tolerance and respect for the baker's religious beliefs. the department of justice will defend the free speech and religious freedom first endment rights. reporter: if the white house supports the baker's right of
ee speech, why doesn't the white house supporthe players' free speech? sarah: this isn't an issue of free speech but respecting the men and women of our military and respecting our national anthem and about standing out of pride for that. take one last question. reporter: while the president if it isn't about free speech, will he commit to a round tail with america's athletes onopics social injustice. >> i will be happy to ask him. reporter: has he had any discussion on in the division in this country? sarah:e look at ways every single day to unify our country. the president worked actively and tirelessly to be the president of all americans. you can see that reflected in the policies he h put forth.
e of the biggest things you have seen come out of this administration is far and vastly different than previous administratis and providing economic opportunity for all americans and one of the greatest equalizers we can have is to have a level playing field and the president has worked hard to make sure that happens. he is going to do that. one last question. steven. reporter: is the president aware that this is involving police-involved shootings and not disrespecting the flag? there is an underlying issue. there are black and brown soldiers that fight in the military as well who feel taking the knee and bringing attention to police-involved shootings is something this white house should be involved it. is the president aware of that? sarah: the president has made his position crystal clear -- i let you rudely interrupt me and
your colleague. i would ask to let me finish your answer. i would be happy to answer your estion if you stop talking. the president has made his position crystal clear and standing for our national anthem is something that matters what makes our country special and what sets us apart. he is not going to waver on that and not apologize for it. and more than 70% of americans agree with him on that matter. if you go back to what the original intent was, this was political argument which the president is not going to back down from. steven, last question. april, i have addressed your question and i'm not going to engage with you. reporter: telling people they have to stand. will the president deal with police-involved shootings? can you take it to the president.
reporter: always happy to yield. scott pruitt, the two republicans who represent iowa sley sd he has betrayed the president. "washington post" said new elements of how swampy, how is it in the face, that president trump continues to have confidence in the e.p.a. administrator assuming that he still does? sarah: i haven't had a chance to speak to t psident about of the "washington post's" report. thanks, guys. [indiscernible conversation] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org >> the house comes back in 13 minutes to debate several bills from the natural bills that would make route 66 a national
historic trail. we will have live coverage here. education secretary told a senate appropriation subcommittee that the federal commission on school safety set up after the florida high school shooting won't be looking at the role of guns in school violence. she was answering about president trump's budget request for her department. see the entire hearing tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning, inside elections reporter will be on to talk about the results of tuesday's primaries and congressman gosar discusses divisions on immigration policy and then representative cyst
silley talks about democratic watch c-span "washington journal" wednesday morning. join the discussion. >> congressional primaries are being held in several states. here's a look at what is happening in california from today's washington journal. things that can happen and california today and why use the word crazy? guest: california has a really unique primary system instead of being a republican and democrats, we have a top two primary. regardless of party, the top t