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Trump Addresses GOP Leadership at Retreat in Philadelphia; Trump: Meeting with Mexico President "Fruitless". Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired January 26, 2017 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And saving families from the catastrophic rise in premiums and debilitating loss of choice and just about everything else.
[13:30:00] And remember this for this room in particular -- Obamacare is a disaster. The Democrats are up and they're saying, oh, they're putting up signs like it's wonderful. It's a disaster.
TRUMP: I actually talked with Paul and the group about just doing nothing for two years, and the Dems would come begging to do something because '17 is going to be catastrophic price increases. Your deductibles are through the roof. You can't use it. Can't use it.
And they would come to us, except we have one problem. We have to take care of the American people immediately.
So we can't wait.
But every time they tell you about Obamacare, we're taking them out a big jam -- big jam. We're putting ourselves at risk, to a certain extent, because we're taking it off their platter. But I think, Congressman, I think we have no choice. I think we have no choice. We have to get it going.
I'm serious. If we waited two years, it's going to explode like you've never seen an explosion. Nobody's going to be able to afford it. It's a disaster.
And that's politically what we should do, but we don't want to do that. We want to get something done and get it done right. And by the way, Tom Price is going to do a phenomenal job.
I don't know if he's here, but he's going to do a phenomenal job.
On my first day in office, I signed an executive order to roll back the burdens of Obamacare and pave the way for real reform, like health savings accounts that empower individuals to choose the customized plan that is truly right for them. They'd have so many choices.
Tom Price will soon be leading Health and Human Services. He is a true advocate for patients. He's going to do a phenomenal job. We have no doubt about that. He joins an all-star roster that includes many of your colleagues -- Ryan Zinke, Mick Mulvaney. These guys have had a pretty tough time in Congress, too, but they -- in the Senate, but actually came out very well -- Mike Pompeo.
Is Mike here? Mike? Mike Pompeo, phenomenal guy; and Jeff Sessions. Jeff is a fine person.
(APPLAUSE) Jeff was one of my earliest endorsers and never endorsed a presidential candidate before, and he was one of my earliest endorsers, respected by everybody. And did unbelievably in front of committee; unbelievably.
In addition to fixing our healthcare, we're going to pursue new trade deals that create higher wages and more opportunities for American workers, bringing back those magnificent words, "made in the USA." We used to have that. We don't have it anymore.
It's going to be America first again. We will create millions of new good-paying jobs by removing the economic burdens that cripple our ability to compete. At the center of that agenda is bold tax reform that massively lowers taxes for our middle class and for all American businesses.
We will also pursue financial reforms that will help striving Americans get the credit they need to realize their dreams. Republicans have always been the party of American industry and the American worker. We must embrace that heritage, rebuilding this country with American goods and American labor. And we've started, believe me, over the last couple of months.
I don't know, I'd like to say I did about as much as anybody or more in terms of getting industry to start coming back to our country before I took office. But we have a lot of great news with Ford and General Motors and Fiat-Chrysler and so many others. We have a lot of great news -- Lockheed is adding a lot of people, a lot of additional people; Boeing. We have a lot of positive things happening, and it's really going to start bursting out. You're going to be seeing it very soon.
We want to get our people off of welfare and back to work. So important.
It's out of control. It's out of control. And we believe that the world's best country ought to have the world's best infrastructure. It's what our people deserve. And it's what we will ensure they get. Our infrastructure is in serious trouble. We will build new roads and highways and tunnels and airports and railways across the nation. We will fix our existing product before we build anything brand new, however. We have to fix what we have. It's a mess.
So we're going to fix it first. The thing I do best in life is build. We will fix it first because we have a lot of things that are in bad shape.
And we will rebuild our military and take care of our great veterans.
And we're working hard with the veterans. We're going to do something very special with the veterans. It's time.
At the same time, we will unleash the full power of American energy, ending the job killing restrictions on shale, oil, natural gas and clean beautiful coal. And we're gonna put our coal miners back to work.
And we will protect our farmers, our ranchers, our hunters, our anglers and all who enjoy the outdoors. But to be a rich country, we must also be a safe country.
Right now, too many families don't feel secure, just look at the 30 largest cities. In the last year alone, the murder rate has increased by an estimated 14 percent. Here in Philadelphia, the murder rate has been steady -- I mean just terribly increasing. And then you look at Chicago, what's going on in Chicago? I said the other day, what the hell is going on?
TRUMP: A lot of truth to it.
That is why we will continue to stand with the incredible men and women of law enforcement.
Yesterday, I had the honor of swearing in General John Kelly as our secretary of Homeland Security, he's gonna be amazing.
Tomorrow, I will swear in General James Mattis as our new secretary of Defense.
These men have devoted their lives to defending America, and now, I look forward to working with them, along with our great new head of the CIA -- you know we have -- we have so many different people that we are putting in office, I think it's the group of all-stars like really, nobody has seen before, right? Where is -- where is Pompeo? Where the hell is he? Did he ever come here?
TRUMP: He's working?
He is -- he is so -- he's gonna be another one of the big stars. I have to mention him every single time. He's gonna be great --- one of you.
And with you in Congress to keep our country safe from the many threats we face today, that includes protecting Americans from radical Islamic terrorism.
We also need to keep the ballot box safe from illegal voting. And believe me...
... you take a look at what's registering, folks. They like to say Trump, Trump, Trump. Take a look at what's registering. We are going to protect the integrity of the ballot box and we are going to defend the votes of the American citizen, so important.
All of us here today, for the same reason, to serve the citizens of our country. We are not here for ourselves, we are here for them. We are here for the people . We are blessed by divinity, and honored by history, with the task of preserving this great republic and expanding its blessings to every single American.
(APPLAUSE) All of us are joined in this effort. All of us are bound by duty and bound by God to give our full devotion to this country and its people. That obligation forms the moral foundation of our agenda. That agenda includes a lean, efficient government. Appointing Supreme Court Justices, so important.
Who will uphold and defend our Constitution, reducing taxation and regulation.
Fair trade that creates a level playing field as opposed to what we have right now. And fostering respect for our country and its flag. We are now only at the beginning of this incredible journey together. I am honored to be your partner in this amazing quest. I am privileged to stand with you, shoulder to shoulder, as we work every single day to make America great again.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America. It's a great honor to be here. Thank you very much.
[11:40:38] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Speaking for nearly a half an hour, the president of the United States addressing congressional Republican leadership at their retreat in Philadelphia. Going through a whole range of issues, promises he made during the campaign, promises he says he's now going to deliver on. Among the issues, he said no more multilateral trade deals. One-on-one trade deals. The immediate removal, he said, of what he called criminal aliens in the United States. They'll be gone fast. Cracking down, he said, on sanctuary cities. Federal funding gone. Mexico, the wall. Reiterating Mexico, that along that border with Mexico, there will be a wall. Also, saying NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, with Canada and Mexico, is a terrible deal. That has to be renegotiated. And repealing and replacing Obamacare immediately. It's a disaster, the president said.
Gloria, there's a lot more that he said there. These were campaign promises he made and now he's beginning the process of delivering.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he also told what has been reported, which is that he had suggested to congressional leaders that it might be better for them politically to kind of wait on dealing with Obamacare because he -- as he put it, we're putting ourselves at risk because we're taking it off the Democratic platter. He knows very well that whatever they do is going to be compared to what came before, and that the Democrats will start calling it Trumpcare. And if people lose any benefits that they believe they have, that it could become a huge liability. And he knows that, and the people sitting in that room, Wolf, know that as well. And that's something that they are trying to figure out how to handle, obviously. BLITZER: What do you think? The international leadership, the people
around the world listening, watching this nearly half-hour speech. They will walk away and say?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's think of what Mexico heard in that speech. President Trump had a line there, "If Mexico doesn't treat us fairly," in his words, "then we'll have to go another way." What does that mean? How is that received in Mexico? Is he talking about you can't end the relationship? You're neighbors, right? There's tremendous integration. But how far is he willing to create space in that relationship to keep his campaign promise, a fairly outlandish one that he's going to get Mexico to pay for the wall? It will have to go another way. The president of Mexico canceling that meeting, that had to send shivers down the spine of people in Mexico, how serious, how far is President Trump willing to go. The other point is casting this economic relationship, he talked about the trade deficit there, $60 billion. That's kind of a cost. You know, the -- I was just reading the "Wall Street Journal" here. A quote that the relationship, the North American trading since NAFTA has -- North America trade, I should say, since NAFTA passed, has tripled to above a trillion dollars.
In these relationships, you don't have many perfectly balanced relationships. And it's mathematically impossible to have a trade surplus with countries around the world. This is part of the give and take of global trade. If you start to view things in those terms, how is that going to change the relationship with not just Mexico but other countries? He's already put his sights on China. There are several U.S. allies the U.S. has a trade deficit for various reasons. How many trade wars is President Trump willing to follow through on?
BLITZER: What I said, no more multilateral trade deals like NAFTA or the TPP. Individual deals with Britain or other countries --
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLTICAL CORRESPONDENT: Because they're mishmash.
BLITZER: -- that's what he wants. --
BASH: He called them mishmash.
BORGER: Mash pot.
BASH: Mash pot. Sorry.
BORGER: Technical term.
(LAUGHTER) BASH: The other thing I thought was interesting, and I -- we were all sitting here saying, what does that mean, is in the context of the wall and building the wall and Mexico paying for the wall, he said, just as an aside, if we decide to go down that route. I'd be interested to know what that means.
But just bigger picture, to listen to a Republican president come out at the retreat of Republican members of Congress and spend the first 15 minutes bragging about all of the executive orders that he signed, after these Republicans spent eight years railing against the Democratic president, President Obama, as an imperial president because he signed so many executive orders, was a little bit like the "Twilight Zone." Of course, some of them was to un-sign, in his words, some of what President Obama did. But not all of them, and not the wall and the pay freeze and the -- you go on down. So, it was a little jarring that he is doing that and he's forcing the Congress to figure out a way to pay for it because of the pen that he used, not -- in an executive order, not legislatively.
[13:45:27] NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And really interesting, in many ways, this was his inaugural address. And we got to see, I think, for the first time, how the members responded, the people who are going to be responsible for carrying out some of these plans and these executive orders. And you could see he was talking to Republicans, obviously, and they were receiving this message well on several things. You could tell by the clapping. Putting coal miners back to work, the abortion restrictions, removing criminal aliens, as he called them. Not a lot of clapping when he talked about removing us from TPP. Of course, this is something most Republicans didn't want him to do. Even when he talked about NAFTA, not a lot of clapping there. The wall, infrastructure rebuilding, not a lot of clapping or response when he talked about those agenda items which were key to what he wanted to do, particularly on infrastructure reform. This is a party -- the Republican Party for years railed against government spending, and here we have a Republican president coming in saying he wants to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure, rebuilding, and something like $15 billion on a wall.
BLITZER: There's going to be a lot more to assess. And the president also once again railing against what he called illegal voting. He wants to defend the integrity of the ballot box. Lots of discussion on that in recent days as well.
Everybody stand by.
President Trump just wrapping up his speech over at the GOP retreat in Philadelphia. His visit there was also met with protests. There are some live pictures from outside the event.
In that speech, the president called for a -- called a potential meeting with Mexico, quote, "fruitless." This comes hours after the president of Mexico canceled his scheduled meet in Washington with President Trump on Tuesday. We'll discuss that and more. The former Mexican ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, is here. We'll get his reaction and analysis right after this.
[13:51:40] BLITZER: Let's get back to the breaking news. A major diplomatic rift, a crisis between the United States and Mexican over plans to build a wall on the border. The president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto has cancelled his meeting with President Trump next Tuesday. Not coming to Washington.
President Trump addressed that issue moments ago during his speech in Philadelphia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting schedule next week. Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless and I want to go a different route.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Strong words from the president of the United States.
Let's discuss this with the ambassador Mexican Ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan.
Ambassador, thanks very much for joining us.
ARTURO SARUKHAN, FORMER MEXICAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Pleasure, Wolf.
BLITZER: What's your reaction to those strong words?
SARUKHAN: I think the bilateral relationship is certainly at a reflection point. It's been a very productive, strategic, forward- looking relationship for the past 20 years, in part, because of NAFTA, but also because of the security cooperation that we developed after 9/11. But obviously, with this ambush with high-level Mexican government officials were met with the decision to sign the executive orders with the wall, with this morning's tweet, it's sort of poisons --
BLITZER: Why do you say it's an ambush? Donald Trump, when he was a candidate, he was promising in almost every speech there will be a wall and Mexico will pay for it.
SARUKHAN: It's an ambush because you're receiving the foreign minister and the economy minister to start talks to prepare for next week's visit with President Enrique.
BLITZER: The foreign minister arrived here in Washington.
SARUKHAN: The foreign minister and the economy minister --
BLITZER: -- to have meetings with top officials --
SARAUKHAN: At the White House. BLITZER: -- at the White House, including Jared Kushner, the senior advisor to the president.
BLITZER: And you're saying that, what?
SARUKHAN: That when they're landing, the White House is announcing that, the next day, the president will be signing the executive orders. And then, this morning's tweet, which obviously complicates any context for the president to come up. There's no upside for either the Mexican president or even the U.S. president, Wolf, to meet when you don't have a full U.S. cabinet in place, you don't have the agency officials that will be in charge of the day-to-day relationship. If the Mexican government, as President Pena Nieto signaled, wants to talk about every single issue of the bilateral relationship, there's no one to sit next to you at the table in a week that will be able to discuss that full-fledged list of agendas.
BLITZER: Could you see some creative way that Mexico, in the end, will pay the $15 billion, or whateve4r it costs, to build that wall?
SARUKHAN: Wolf, Mexico and the United States have done a lot of great things together, and we'll continue to do a lot of great things together, but one thing you won't see the United States and Mexico doing together is building a wall. That's not going to happen. Mexican money is not going to cross the border. Mexican money from the treasury is not going to cross the border and fund the wall. What the United States in its own sovereign right does either on border security or to try and use remittances or border adjustment tariffs to try and have Mexico pay for the wall, that's another story. But what you won't see is a transfer of Mexican resources from Mexico City to Washington.
BLITZER: It sounds like that crisis in U.S./Mexican relations is going to continue.
[13:55:09] SARUKHAN: It is. And with the problem is, Wolf, with a relationship as complex and rich, with so many moving parts, if you try to apply a chainsaw to it, you are going to cut off your own foot. And Mexico isn't a global superpower, but we're not toothless. There are a lot of issues that could impact U.S. national security and U.S. economic interests if Mexico suddenly said, look, we're going to rethink the way we have been working for, for the past 20 years.
BLITZER: Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, thank you so much for joining us.
SARAUKHAN: My pleasure.
BLITZER: We'll continue these conversations. Clearly, this crisis not going away.
That's it for me. I'll be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern in "The Situation Room."
For our international viewers, "Amanpour" is coming up next.
For our viewers in North America, NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right after a quick break.