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  President Trump Holds Cabinet Meeting  CSPAN  August 16, 2018 3:28pm-4:25pm EDT

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pressed briefings whether you see sean spicer on television, they are combative. they have transitioned from what has always been a typically to somethingature more openly hostile. >> watch on c-span and and listen to the c-span3 radio app. >> president trump held a cabinet meeting today and commented on the death of aretha franklin. the opioid epidemic. economic growth. and western wildfires. not a global warming thing. president trump: hello. thank you for being here. i think we will start with secretary pompeo saying a prayer. secretary pompeo: thank you. long ago my history, every time
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will bowne, if you your head, i will do the prayer. o god, our father, draw near to the. may our religion be filled with gladness. hatred ever to diminish. of theright instead easier wrong, and never be content with a half truth. worthy, to noble and compromise and knows no fear. maintain the honor and to show forth in our lives the ideal of giving to our nation. amen.
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president trump: thank you. thank you for doing a great job. i want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of the person i knew well. she was terrific. aretha franklin, she has brought joy to numerous lives. -- fory generations come many generations to come. she was given a gift of her voice and she used it well. i want to pass on my best wishes and to some of these to her family. great for a time of our nation. our economy is doing better than it ever has before. it was going in the wrong direction and now it is doing better than ever before. we have created more than 4 million new jobs, which is unthinkable.
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it is going to go up from there. african-american, hispanic american and asian american unemployment rates have reached their lowest levels in recorded history. we are creating manufacturing jobs at the fastest pace in memory. nobody has any numbers where it is anywhere close to what we are doing. during the campaign, everybody said it was impossible to create manufacturing jobs, so the past administration, i won't say who, and i think you know, made the statement that we won't have any manufacturing jobs and we are doing them by the hundreds of thousands. companies are moving back to the united states, that means jobs, production, taxes. really things are great. talkingy, larry kudlow about financial and he came into
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my office and may statement -- he made a statement and i would like to ask him to say what he told me last night. mr. kudlow: yes, sir. appreciate it. high, everybody. mediai am looking at the and watching various tv and other outlets talk about stuff that baffles me. here's the key point i made yesterday, i will make it to you today. by far, the biggest single event political or otherwise, this thatis an economic boom
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most people thought would be impossible. not a rise, not a blip, a genuine economic boom. everybody wrote us off going back to the campaign. last year and now this year. the numbers just keep coming in, which is one of the reasons i tried to get the president on this. we have 3.1% gdp in the first half of the year. 4.1 in the second quarter. the point, anybody who does political forecasting using the economy always focuses on a
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number of real disposable income. think of it as after-tax pay. take-home pay. that measure is growing at 3.1% the last 12 months. when we came to office, it was less than 1% on a 12 month basis. arele say only a few benefiting. not true. this is the entire economy. everybody's wage and salary is growing. 3% is a tremendous number. there is no sense that it is abating. , large as numbers mrs., small businesses, and consumer confidence numbers -- inesses, small businesses, and consumer confidence numbers are
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continuing to rise. inre is no let up confidence. i can run down the litany, i'm not going to take up your time. new numbers coming in, retail , aes, industrial production rock steady dollar, trillions of dollars in capital all over the world is coming into the united states because our investors, our workforce are crushing it right now. people say this is not sustainable, this is nonsense. any business economist worth their salt will look at these have lowd to say, we inventory, rising business investment, productivity is showing the first lift in years. businesses are investing,
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capital is booming. this is a complete turnaround. americans some freedom to run, they will run. presidential policy, low tax rates, rollback regulations, open up energy, trade reforms to help the american workforce and employers across the board, we are not punishing success, we are not against businesses, we are for businesses. disagree withmay me, but i am saying we are just in the early stages here. good boom, and we have never seen numbers like this.
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ordinary people run our economy. that is the beauty of it. and when youmatter change that as president trump , things areit happening that a handful of us thought might happen but i would not say it was widespread. i appreciate the time very much. the single biggest story this boom that isonomic durable and lasting and most people thought was impossible. thank you.: i should end on that. thank you. i should end on that. >> [laughter] pres. trump: i want to ask you one question, as you know china was for many years, as long as we can remember, on a one-way road to becoming the biggest economy and all that and we were going to be left behind. i would like you to say how are
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we doing versus china and how is china doing? we want them to do well, but how are we doing versus china, how is china doing? we have numbers from china spanning a good six or nine months, their economy is heading south. , business estimates -- investments are collapsing according to the numbers. people are selling their currency. there may be some manipulation, but i think people are coming out of china because they don't like the economy and they are coming to the usa because they like our economy. a china expert, i would
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just say right now their economy looks terrible. pres. trump: ok, thank you. secretaryike to ask zinke, who was giving a rundown on the horrible fires mostly in california and i thought what he said was so true and actually rather incredible. people don't cure it like it is. there are things you can do about this fires before they start. you would not have nearly the damage and the problems. we are a fortune in california because of poor maintenance and because they are sending a lot of water to the pacific to protect the smelt. by the way, it is not working, the smelt is not doing well. they are sending millions of gallons right out to the pacific ocean. beautiful clean water coming up from the north. i thought he was great this morning, so before we start on a
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couple of other things we will be discussing today, including schools and education, i would ask you to give may a recap of what you said this morning on television. sec. zinke: thank you, mr. president. , 30,000 ofhters them, are doing spectacular .hings we forget that firefighters, while they are on the front lines, their homes and families are in jeopardy and our hearts and prayers need to be with them. it is a matter of gross mismanagement. the fuel loads are up, the density of our forests is historical. we have dead and dying timber and if you don't believe me, believe your own eyes. go out and take a look at our forests. look at the dead and dying timber. it has been gross mismanagement for decades but we are destroying our habitat and our communities and neighborhoods by
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these catastrophic fires. are 5.7 million acres of public land that have been destroyed at a cost of about $3 billion this fiscal year. americans deserve to go out and recreate rather than evacuate. we went out to california. we are committed to reestablishing best practices for the greatest good for all of us. management is the laid, mr.ave president. it is clear, this is unacceptable that year after year, we are watching our forests burn, our habitat destroyed in our communities devastated. it is absolutely preventable. public lands are for everybody to enjoy and not just held hostage by these special interest groups.
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ryan wasn't saying it is not a global warming thing, it is a -- ryan was saying it is not a global warming thing, it is a management problem. instead of removing those fallen trees which are combustible -- instead of gently, beautifully removing them, we leave them to burn and catch fire is. healthy trees. could you discuss that? sec. zinke: we import lumber in this country and yet there are billions of feet on the forest floor rotting. whether you're a global warming advocate or denier, it is not make a difference when you have rotting timber, when housing prices are going up, when a lot of americans are at the border of affording a house and yet we are wasting billions of board
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feet for not being able to bring them to a local mumble mill. it is unconscionable that we would do that to our citizens. we are actively engaged, we signed secretary orders, secretary perdue and i, we're joined at the hip to make sure we remove the dead and dying timber, replanted diversity of species and salvage. 5.7 million acres, a lot can be salvaged if we get to it first year, and we are going to do it. pres. trump: just to conclude, especially when canada is charging us a lot of money to bring their timber down into our country, so ridiculous. here we have it. we are not even talking about cutting down trees, which in certain areas we can do. we are talking about lying on the floor, creating a tremendous hazard and that trap.
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-- death trap. we are also working to reduce violent crime and to help our great law enforcement, including the very brave men and women of ice, who have been abused. they are brave, they are strong, they are tough and they are good. they are good people. do you think you're going to send just regular people in to take care of ms 13? not going to happen. i want to thank ice and everybody for the incredible job they are doing. our families prepare and they are in the process of preparing for the new school year. my administration is working closely with state and local authorities to protect our schools. our hearts continue to grieve for the victims of the horrific shootings at marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland,
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florida, that we all know too well about. people.le and to santa fe high school in texas, same thing. in march, i established a federal commission on school safety to address the tragedy of violence in our classrooms. since that time, the commission has held a dozen public meetings and listening sessions with educators, administrators, law enforcement, state and local leaders, survivors, and families. we have signed two critical forms and reforms into law. one is stop school violence act. thing, very important people said we probably would not be a will to get it through. it provides grants to schools to another actty and which strengthens background checks for firearm purchases. a lot of people to not want to report on that, because probably
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it was too good to report about. it strengthens the background checks for firearm purchases. today, education secretary betty devos and others and various commission leaders will provide an update of their work. we have a lot of people in this room involved, even people that are not involved with education but they are smart people. sitting around this wonderful desk or table. azar, nielsen, and sessions. a lot of people have been asking me if they can join. ben carson's is one. schools are so important. we want to harden our schools against attack. ,mproving communications training school personnel to
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better protect our students, including allowing personnel to be armed. in florida, they went out with a bill that did not have that and cannot with a bill that the legislator wanted. the community. improving our early warning system to make sure law enforcement can identify red flags and respond quickly. we want a rapid response. some of the response has been incredible but some has not been good. well andhat very frankly you report it very well. we want to strengthen our mental health laws and procedures, so important, the most underrated element of a we are doing but it might be the most important. mental health. the laws and procedures. keeping guns, we want to keep them out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves
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and to more importantly, others. we want a culture that celebrates life and forms are and meaningful human connections so that we can see not only in terms of education, but we can see if something is going wrong, wrong with somebody, we can do something about it. in florida, there are a lot of red flags. red flags,28 everybody knew this was a sick person. nobody did anything about it. i look forward to today's discussion and we will make our schools not only very safe, but we'll have the finest school system anywhere. i want to thank you all for being here. betsy, maybe we can start with over your little section, then we'll hear from a couple of others. if you would like, you can stay, or if you would like, you can
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also leave. don't forget, freedom of the press. >> [laughter] after the tragedy in parkland, florida, you took swift action. no parent should fear for their teacherlife and no should ever have to worry about their safety. convened students, families and educators to have an honest dialogue. to pass theongress stop school violence act. you called local leaders to action. you asked me to travel to parkland to visit with students and teachers, and mr. president, you travel to texas inmate to meet with parents, families, and survivors. we suffer too many heartbreaking reminders that our nation must the together to address underlying issues that foster a culture of violence. you rightly insisted from day one that we would not keep our children safe by looking at any one particular piece of this
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much larger problem. chair thesked me to federal commission, you directed us to explore a range of issues. mental health treatment, social and emotional learning, the difference that aren't a school resource officers make. the effects of violent entertainment on young children. we set out to gain input from students, parents, teachers, law enforcement officials, local leaders, metal health focused onls, anyone identifying and elevating solutions. i invite my colleagues to look at the slides included in your book, which are a small insight into the permission gathering process. i have been pleased to work with general sessions, secretary is azar andcretary
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nielsen. our aim is not to impose a one-size-fits-all solution. the primary responsibility for the physical security of schools and the safety of their students naturally rests with local communities. it is clear from our work that many schools and communities take this responsibility very seriously. many have employed solutions that uniquely meet their needs. clear that keeping kids safe at school is not a one-time check the box exercise. a safety plan you implement once and call it good. it requires a posture of perpetual preparedness. what is necessary and right for a school with 50 students is very different than what is necessary and right for a school in chicago. let me tell you about the department of education has had. in may, i met with people
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affected by shootings. we heard from authors of the reports written in the aftermath of the shootings. later, we visited in elementary , theirin maryland district uses a flexible framework of positive behavior interventions. one way schools can create a strong school climate. this approach brings to mind the y's leadership on social and emotional learning. here in june, we met to hear practical strategies that schools could use to combat negative effects of violent entertainment, media and cyber bullying. a key take away, culture and climate really matter in the schools. i was struck and impressed by the obvious passion of a superintendent from iowa. it takes strong leadership to create a positive culture and that flows from empowered
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educators and other students well. each of my fellow commissioners has led other meeting string the course of our work so now i like to ask secretary azar to talk about the work of hhs. mr. president, thank you for the opportunity to be on this commission and our elected thank secretary devos for her leadership of the commission. we have focused on the critical role of mental health. it is so essential to these issues. our area of focus. it is important to remember that we not stigmatize those with mental health issues. most crimes of violence are not committed by those with serious mental illness. those with serious mental on the storm -- those with serious mental illness are more likely
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to be victims than others. those receiving treatment are no greater threat than any under -- other individual. key mentalhree health issues we have identified through our work. access, privacy, and civil commitment. access -- how do we expand access -- how do we expand access to mental health services? second, how do we integrate that mental health service into our schools, delivering a service for the kids feel the most comfortable and where they can get a best and were the stigma can be the least? look at the appropriate use of different psychotropic medicines appropriate and inappropriate use? federalacy rules in the government -- where do our privacy rules get in the way of kids getting care, of teachers and administrators reporting children who need help, where do they get in the way of family members getting care?
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finally, understanding how civil commitment may help address mental illness. we studied these issues in our meetings here in washington and a field visit we took to a middle school in wisconsin. how to do we learned grading services in the schools is ideal. it can decrease stigma and meet the kids where they are. suffer fromyouth one form of mental disorder but half are knocking treatment. school-based care leads to improved grades, better attendance, health and mental health outcomes. we learned that medications are over utilized and underutilized. need much that we more research on these medications and their use on the youth. on privacy, we learned how misunderstood the rules are and how often under counseled and over interpreted those used --
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those rules are. we learned about barriers to families getting treatment they need. up ino see how this comes the issue of opioids. how it is presenting family members from getting -- preventing family members from getting others treatment. we got to see great work in local communities. ins middle school we went to adams county in wisconsin was tremendous. integrated mental health services in the school, the train teachers to recognize mental health issues, and they built a supportive, happy environment that any of us would be delighted to send our children into, in an area that suffers from tremendous poverty. yet, they were still able to deliver that. this is done through funding from hhs in close partnership
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with the governor of wisconsin. this can be solved. 75% of serious mental illness starts by the age of 25, so we have to get these kids in middle school and senior high and college. we look forward to highlighting areas where we can improve our delivery and we are grateful to the president for his leadership to help our children have a safe, healthy, happy school environment. thank you, sir. pres. trump: thank you ray much. i appreciate it, but i want to bring up something we have been working on very hard and that is prescription drug prices. raisedlast week substantially the price of their drugs and i was not happy about it. some phone calls and they brought it back down to what the price was in a think you will see a reduction in drug prices and that is the first time that has ever happened, i believe, ever. i was not happy about it and it was not right and we're working
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on getting rid of the middleman. could you talk about how we are reducing drug prices and how it is starting to take effect? we appreciate very much what pfizer and the others did. we really do. sec. azar: that's correct. just for the media, i have never once had the discussion with president trump where we have not discussed drug pricing and we continue batting 1000 today. it has come through the 100 days of work we have gone through since the president released his blueprint on reducing drug prices. there have an significant moves because the drug companies see the writing on the wall. the system will change, prices will come down and they are skating to where the puck is going to be. pfizer reversed its pricing announced that it
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will decrease prices. several other companies told regulators they were going to increase prices and they have now walked that back. we have seen a dozen companies say they will have no further price increases for the rest of the year. we will have a report on the progress we have made so far and we will have more information on the historic changes we are seeing in the drug pricing market. we have done transformative things with the president's leadership already. the president is introducing a regime to import drugs from other developed countries that do not violate intellectual property rights. these products are not under patent protection, but where a single company holds that drug in the u.s. and has increased prices. we will let competition to come in to allow patient access for the first time in history.
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for the first time in history, president trump is bringing negotiation and discounts to our medicare partners. that is the drug program were doctors administer the drugs. for all of its history, we paid sticker price for drugs. no discounting, no rebates, no control. for the first time, we're unleashing our medicare discount $12n to billion of drugs and every penny we save is money that the patient saves. we are mandating that 50% of savings be passed back to the patient from the work of these insurance companies. rates this historic last month, the highest level of generic drug approval ever in history. we are increasing the approval for branded drugs new to market. this will not change overnight.
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billion segment of the economy. we are not driving for cheap gimmicks or >> solutions. we are structurally rebuilding quickap gimmicks or solutions. we are structurally rebuilding this industry. the pharmaceutical industry has said for years that -- that powerful lobby they are the most powerful lobby. i don't need their money, so i think we're doing a good thing. the middleman is not going to be benefiting. some very rich people out there that do nothing make a lot of money. very rich people. i don't know who they are, i don't want to know who they are, but they don't like me too much right now, i would say, would you say? congratulations. in terms of prescription drugs and drugs, nothing like this has ever happened before on drugs.
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i would say that the democrats heard it, they are very happy about it or so they tell me. i'm sure they won't tell you, that they can't believe what has happened. they want to see that, too. it want to see drug prices come down and nobody has ever seen where they are rising we prices 10% and the following day announced that they are just kidding, but that is what happened. thank you very much. you are doing a fantastic job. jeff. sessions: you directed us to reuse opioids by 30%. we believe that is achievable. we're reducingy, the number that can be lawfully produced. we have indicted 170 physicians for describing unlawfully people who are addicted to drugs. betsy devos has done a great job leading our commission.
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we have learned a great deal. is going to lead us to have a report before deadline. in advance of it, i think it will definitely help make people suffer -- make people savor. fer. we have met with law officers, many of whom were at columbine, aurora, and parkland. aey believe we need to do better job of sharing information to identify the red flags, which you mentioned earlier. police have the secrecy rules, schools have secrecy rules, mental health people have secrecy rules, medical professionals have secrecy rules , and we think we can do a better job of identifying children at risk, children who are suffering, children who may be at risk for suicide if not
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violence and create environment where the teachers and administrators know what is lawful for them to share and not be sued for it. i think we can make progress in that regard. did to legislation you the nics system. tore addressing that system protect people who are mentally unstable from purchasing guns. different grant programs, $50 million and $25 million that will help higher schoolresource -- hire resource officers and train
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teachers and professional administrators to carry guns. in a school in arkansas, they administrators to have guns for years. people who graduated from the school favor that and would not want to change it. it is another example that we don't need to micromanage our schools on how they protect the safety of their children. pres. trump: i would also like to ask you to bring a major lawsuit against the drug companies on opioids. some states have done it, but i would like a lawsuit to be brought against these companies that are really sending opioids at a level that it should not be happening. highly addictive, people go into hospitals with a broken arm and they come out and they are a drug addict. they get the arm fixed but they are a drug at a. i would like to look at the litigations already started with companies rather than just joining them, i would like to
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bring a federal lawsuit against them. i would like to have you take a look at the fentanyl coming out of china and mexico and whatever you could do from a legal standpoint, whether it is lega itigation, lawsuits, but we have people from china sending their garbage and killing our people. it is almost a form of warfare and i would like you to do what you can to stop it from china and mexico. we absolutely will. we're returning indictments against distributed as from china. we have identified companies that are moving drugs from china, fentanyl in particular. we have confronted china about it. has, you haveeo personally raised it with them. we have not achieved as much advantage as we would like. mexico andgoing to then crossing the border unlawfully from mexico. we will work on that.
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you have made clear you want us to sue and use legal process against drug companies that are abusing the law for some time now. we have joined the state and we are looking for various different legal avenues to go after abusive companies. pres. trump: good. isould be very firm on that what is happening with drugs in this country and throughout the world, but in our country it is a disgrace and we can stop it, we can make a big dent. thanks very much. we have never seen the death we're seeing today. it is unprecedented. pres. trump: right. secretary nielsen. we have all been working hard and we thank you for your leadership. confident that the report secretary devos is putting -- i look forward to
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seeing that. on preparedness and working with local communities, bringing best practices to tailor solutions and offer them up, secretary devos said there is not a one-size-fits-all, so we need to work individually with communities to find what they need. we are looking at training exercises, exercises we all know are a very important part of being prepared. practice does not make perfect but it does make automatic and that muscle memory is the difference between saving a life and waiting to figure out what you should do. today, we will have another meeting and i will be joined by my commissioners. we will look at active shooters, we're having a school-based approach. has all of the states we have interacted with, we are trying to get that input
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from across the nation. thank you for your leadership. i think he will be pleased with what we will come up with. say. trump: could you something that despite the horrible immigration laws that we have to live with, with catch and release and all of the horror show -- it's a horror show, a disgrace, we will get it changed. we are having a lot problems with the other party. fordon't want it changed political reasons, it can be common sense. inld you say how we're doing terms of -- we are breaking records at the border, law enforcement records. could you give an update on that? despite the horrible laws, we are doing well. sec. nielsen: we are. our partners at the department of justice, he headlines show we intercept more drugs at the border every month. record,me we have a new a couple weeks later, we surpass it. we are using a type of technology, we're doing much
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more on interdicting border crossers who cross illegally. gone down substantially from the time before. what is so difficult is the populations that we are not able to prosecute, given a variety of court cases. we continue to work with congress. if there are no consequences for breaking the law, people will continue to do so. we are working with countries to the south of us to help them understand other options for migration to protect their communities at the beginning of the journey. there is a variety of cabinet members who are working on this fight. we've had success against this type of criminal. we are doing everything we can in executive power but we have to get congress to act. pres. trump: we are setting
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records of the borders with terrible laws, so if we had the right laws, we could do something special and there are consequences. when people come up, it is very tough for them. it is very sad. but we can't handle it, the country can't handle it. where one country, we can't handle what is happening and nobody could and we don't want to have to be able to handle it, frankly. fair to our taxpayers, our workers. we are very very tough at the border. we are setting records, despite horrible immigration fair laws t the democrats do not want to fix and i think that is going to hurt them at the polls come november. i would like to ask mike to talk about north korea. sec. pompeo: yes, sir. we have gone many months with no additional missile test. many months with no new protests from the north koreans.
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the continue to engage in conversation about it later future for the north koreans. we have 55 sets of remains returned. the defense department is working on the next work that will hopefully lead to a return of the hundreds of remains of our soldiers that were killed in north korea. continuing to make progress and hoping that we can make a big step here. pres. trump: the relationship seems good. i think it is hurt by china, as china is not happy with what i am doing on trade, that we have no other choice as a country, and they understand that. we are probably being hurt a little bit with respect to north korea having to do with china, but really we have no choice on that. we have to do something. it was -- the money that was being drained out of our country and going to our country, we rebuilt china, we rebuilt -- $500 billion a year for years and years and years and we had
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to do something. they understand. in fact, i think they are in shock that they have enabled to get away with it for so long, for so many decades. so, we just have to do something and we did it. mnuchin,sk secretary have not chosen to be a great friend. have a great christian pastor there, a great man. unrelated to the pastor, i think it is a terrible thing. we got somebody out for him. he needed help getting out someplace, they cannot, they want to hold our wonderful pastor, not fair, not right. but unrelated to that, how are we doing with sanctions on turkey and as you know, we doubled of the tariffs on steel and aluminum, aluminum will happen very shortly. how are you doing with sanctions? we are doing well. we were clear with our center
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part today on the release of the pastor. we put sanctions on several of their cabinet members working than we, we have more are planning to do if they do not release them quickly. i would comment on the rollout sanctions, nuclear is going very well. strong sanctions preventing things there. we continue to be focused on implanting the tax cuts and jobs act. lowest ratesut the will have for small business and pass-throughs since the 1930's and a big part of what larry kudlow talked about in terms of economic growth. pres. trump: great job. we have choice pass for our that's so they don't have to wait in line for six weeks and end up with a simple condition that is terminal because they can't get to a doctor. and we areof choice
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proud of a lot of the things we're done for the vets, but could you give us a little, how are you doing with that? >> it is doing well, but i would start with something else. aa lowering unemployment rate fr vets. that is a boon for our warriors across the country. act, we of the vision will be talking about it tomorrow. to doe the opportunity what has not been done in many years and that is when it comes to the health choices today , they have tontry drive 500 miles round-trip.
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they can do this at home. we are making advances in telehealth. time, we have tools to make the lives of veterans better and it is a wonderful thing. pres. trump: thank you. congratulations. you are going to be there for a long time. doing a fantastic job. it is the first time a secretary has had a chance to do a fantastic job, as without choice advocate would have been impossible. we have choice now and our vets are taking care of. just make sure they the right doctor, right? when they needed. sometimes they won't need it because you are plenty of great doctors at the ba. if i could ask -- at the va. if i could ask secretary acosta
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about your health care plan that is completed, in-service. how are you doing? sec. acosta: in the past week, there were newspaper articles, a number of chambers of commerce have reported that they started this plan, there in the process of offering it to small businesses. chambers in nevada, texas, some in iowa, up in minnesota. associations here in washington that represent businesses across .he country are looking at them just today at the department, representing members of the gig economy who are looking to start these up. for a rule that is just weeks old, we are already seeing implementation and quite a bit of excitement. the u.s. chamber had a call with the member chambers of commerce and initially, they were not going to do the call is it is august and things are quiet, but they decided to do it anyhow.
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they had a near record number of chambers call in to the call to learn how they can go about doing this. there is quite a bit of energy and excitement. pres. trump: i appreciate that and also, you are moving very nicely on your health-care plans. one of the big things is the individual mandate is gone. we got rid of that from obamacare. that was by far the most unpopular thing in obamacare. we actually got rid of obamacare except for one vote, but we are essentially doing it piecemeal and it will be done pretty soon. a fantastic job, i heard great things about the health care plan and a lot of people are signing up. a lot of associations are signing up. far ahead of a we even projected. maybe i could just finish off with secretary perdue. we love the farmers.
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our farmers are brave and they are great patriots and as you know, china attacked our farmers by try not to buy from them. they know the farmers like trump and i like them, i love them. i hear, despite everything, they are starting to really do well. they are incredible patriots, but they are incredible entrepreneurs and their selling everythingybean and at levels that are pretty good levels. farmers have been hurt for 15 and 20 years. a lot of bad things were happening. i talk about soybeans, where prior to my election, if you go five years back, soybean prices were cut 50%. this was happening long before us and markets are closed, canada charges us for dairy products 275% tariffs. ridiculous makes it and impossible, but we are
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taking care of that situation pretty easily. how are the farmers doing? i am hearing it is starting to pick up. are perdue: farmers resilient. they embody the american values and a spirit of entrepreneurship. we talked about before, you called them patriots and they are. obviously, there are some price constraints right now, but they believe what you're doing in china as you have tried to indicate to them will lead to a better, brighter future when we get these trade relationships are established and we believe that will be soon. having onons are various fronts, we think we have the attention and leverage of the international community regarding the abuse american farmers have taken in many places. in the eu and china and other places, we think things will be rectified very soon. pres. trump: the word abuse is a
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good word, because this country was abused by other countries, both friend and foe. than many did better of our enemies when it came to trade. it was a terrible thing that happened for many years and we are changing the around. what i will do is i will speak to one more, just give us an update quickly on where we are with nafta and the various trade deals. we are doing very well. i am in no rush. we want to make the right deal. nafta has been a disaster. mexico and canada were, if you deficit,ut making or we had a deficit of $135 billion per year on nafta. you look at new england, different places where factories are still empty. they still have not recovered. now companies are moving back. we're either going to a good nafta, a fair nafta for us, or
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no nafta at all. where are we? mr. lighthizer: i just want to underline what you say and that is we have a trade deficit for a long. of time. of time.long period here, iw, as we sit hope the next several days we will have a breakthrough with the mexicans. there are still difficult issues to work with as there are always at the end. pres. trump: and if we don't, that is ok. if you don't have a breakthrough, don't do the deal. it is a lousy situation for the united states. we have much better alternatives for that, you understand? if you can't make the right deal, don't make it, all right? i tell him that every day. mr. lighthizer: yes, sir. >> [laughter] he also tells me
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what the alternatives are. i think in this particular case, the best alternative is a good agreement. i think there is a possibility of that, hopefully with mexico and canada. aseel good about that, but you say, there are still some things to go through. we have made headway on a number of other areas, we have as i have told you some 15 or 20 other small agreements in other areas. every time you're at that is not a home run, we are getting single after single. there are several, i want good for them, but there are several in place that will make a real difference to specific people and factors in agriculture. korea, as you know, that agreement is a step in the right direction. initiative that larry kudlow and i are working on.
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that is a major issue and something we are putting together. the kind of team we need to negotiate on tariffs. hopefully, we will open up new opportunities for american products. pres. trump: i think i can say that we are talking to china. they very much want to talk. they're just not able to give us a deal that is acceptable so we will not do any deal until we get one that is fair to our country. , we are doing very well. they did not want us to tariffs on their cars and decided that they were extremely happy with the deal they had. they told me, we would rather not negotiate, we are very happy with the deal we had. billion last1 year, they should be happy. .ut i said, i am not happy we were ready to do tariffs on their cars, but they came and saw us a week ago. i think we're doing well with
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respect to the eu. we are negotiating something that will be fair to everybody. a big difference from now. right now it is impossible. they have barriers were we can't get anything through. as far as mexico and canada, mexico, we are not negotiating with canada right now. there tariffs are too high so we are not talking to them but we will see how that works out. thank you. >> [indiscernible] announcer 1: aretha franklin died this morning in detroit. she was 76 years old. she sang, my country to visit the at barack obama's presidential inauguration in 2009.