Trump: “We’re building a lot of wall right now. The wall is going to get built, one way or another.
If you look at El Paso, it was one of the most dangerous cities in the whole country, it immediately became one of the safest cities in the whole country. A lot of you know this. We’re building a lot of wall. I started this 6 months ago. I could see we were getting nowhere with the wall.”
Q: Are you concerned that you will immediately be injoined by some court?
A: “We have very, very strong legal standing. They tend to go to the 9th Circuit and when they go to the 9th Circuit, things happen. In many case—in most cases—it has nothing to do with the 9th Circuit. We have very, very strong legal standing. We are doing it regardless. This is cash on hand. We have a great system, a uniform system. We have a very good, solid system that is very good and very very strong.”
Q: Will you declare another government shutdown?
A: (Trump) “We’re building now. When I see the tremendous obstruction, knowing that the only saving of our southern border is our wall, all of a sudden it went from being a horrible hell-hole to being something that really is safe. One story: in San Diego they were begging us to build the wall…(mentioning the mythical criminal-riddled caravans)…We’ve done a great job. It’s been really amazing to see when you have it and when you don’t. The old expression, walls work, whether you want it or not. In Israel they have a wall and it is 99.99% successful. We have a few areas where they (the walls) just spread in. The Democrats are doing a tremendous disservice to our country. Human trafficking can go down by a tremendous amount if we had a wall. What’s going on in the back seat? What’s going on in the trunk? We’ll be up to about 115 miles of wall, some renovated, some new. We’re going to make a tremendous announcement in the next few weeks. What would help a lot is if the Democrats were being honest. I’d like to hear what they talk about in their rooms. They know they’re not being honest. They cannot justify not having a barrier between our country and Mexico. 38,000 people were being murdered in Mexico, up 38% from previous years. It is one of the most unsafe countries in the world. That doesn’t include Honduras. We’re looking very seriously at taking away all fundings for some of these countries. Same thing for Guatemala and El Salvador. For hundreds of years we’ve done things for them. We’ve had tremendous numbers of criminals that we’ve caught in the caravans before they get here. The Democrats are always instructing, ‘Don’t do a wall.’ They’re doing this for one reason, they think: ‘Maybe we can beat Trump.’ I’ve done other things. I’ve done more than any other president has ever done in the first 2 years of his presidency. I’ve done more in the first 2 years than any other president. But it’s not going to work.”
Q: Will you make a national emergency declaration?
A: “ I think we might have to do that. I’m saying listen closely to the state of the Union”. (State of the Union happens Feb. 5, whereas the Dem/GOP talks do not end until Feb. 15th).
Q: Are you willing to commit the U.S. military?
A: “No, I don’t want to say that, but it’s always an option. It’s always an option.”
(Rambling) “We had an incredible meeting yesterday with the Vice Premier of China and we had an amazing meeting on trade and also, actually, on fentanyl. China has agreed to criminalize fentanyl. It’s going to have a tremendous impact on illegal drugs coming into the country.”
Trump: “We had a lot of walls that we never used, anyway. They were in such bad shape that we have taken them down. We’re doing a combination of renovation and new wall. By the way, we’re doing a lot of it. We’re already appropriating. It’s already done. One of the things we’re considering is a national emergency. It’s an invasion of drugs into our country; it’s an invasion like you’ve never seen before. 90% of the heroin coming into our country comes in through the Southern border. If we built a proper barrier with great technology, too, we would see crime go down in percentages that you’ve never seen before. No country has had the success that we’ve had over the past two years. If the other party got into office, instead of having the great results with jobs (straying from topic and rambling)…If we had a deal with China, it would be a different world for us. We lost $500 billion a year before.” (Reference to tariffs).
“If you look at all of these other chain migration(s), we have to fix all of it…we have to fix the loopholes. You’re 100% right.” (*Note: before “fixing the loopholes,” Trump brought all of Melania’s family into the U.S. and recently they were named citizens, using chain migration that he now wants to “fix.”)
Q: Is there a new arms race with Russia?
A: “ Honestly, I don’t think Nancy has a clue. It’s all rhetorical. She’s hurting our country very very badly.”
[This was a reaction to us pulling out of the arms treaty with Russia.] Trump: “It’s no good to comply with an agreement if the other parties are not complying with the document. The INF agreement is being violated by the Russians.”
Leon Panetta: 10:36 a.m. PT from Marina, California – “There is a real concern among a lot of people, especially in Europe. The concern is whether we are now beginning to have a new arms race, especially in regards to nuclear weapons. There is no question that the Russians are violating these treaties. They are deploying cruise missiles along their borders. This administration does not have a very good track record of dismissing agreements and then replacing them with something better. People in Europe are worried that we are in a new arms race.I don’t think it’s a bad thing to try to sit down and try to get our allies and Russia to get a treaty that everybody will abide by. There’s not a good track record there. This administration pulled out of the trade agreement with southeastern nations, the Iran agreement (nothing has replaced that), out of the Paris climate accord (nothing has replaced that.) The Intel chiefs testified publicly on camera in contradiction to the administration.”
Q: (To Leon Panetta): How would you view all this if you were still CIA director?
A: (Leon Panetta) “When the President rejects their (FBI and CIA) speaking truth to power, he not only attacks them, he now is saying they were misquoted. The reality is that if this president is going to face the tough decision that presidents have to face, he has to receive good, truthful intelligence. It sends a real message to the world that we now have a president who operates on his own and does not listen to his intelligence chiefs. He’s now operating on his own. It’s a terrible situation to have a president who rejects the intelligence from the very people he has hired. Their responsibility is to speak truth to power. We have a president who doesn’t want to listen to intelligence. This president says that Iran is cheating on the national agreement; our intelligence says that is not the case. He rejects anything that doesn’t comply with his world view. So, the danger here is to have a president who has his version of what he thinks should be true. Basically, it is what he wants the world to look like. The purpose of intelligence is to have people who tell the president what the world is, not what he wants it to be.
Q: (To Trump:) What is happening with the nuclear arms agreement with Russia?
A: (Trump) “One side has not been adhering to it. Unless they’re going to adhere to it, we aren’t going to keep it. You have to have everybody adhere to it. We have a certain side that pretty much pretends it doesn’t exist. Unless everyone is going to comply with it, we can’t have a treaty where we are complying and other people are not paying any attention.”
Take-aways from the above (from the CNN talking heads):
- Trump is totally dismissing the ongoing Democratic/Republican talks (scheduled to go on until Feb. 15th) and gearing up to announce a national emergency, which he has said might occur as early as Feb. 5 when he gives the State of the Union message. He’s likely going to have to announce a national emergency and then Trump urges us to tune in to the state of the Union address. There are a few problems with his national emergency message: it sounds like he’s found enough money that he’s mitigated the threat of the caravans; it’s going to be bizarre if he is going to say the wall is a national emergency when he just sat there talking about how he has built so much wall already.”
- Congress is a co-equal branch They are opposed to declaring a national emergency. It’s going to be a huge show for him. There is going to be push-back from Congress.
- Now, It sort of sounds like the wall is already being built and it sounds like he is saying “finish the wall.”
- This is certainly not the wall that he campaigned on every day in 2016. He’s trying to find his fig leaf on the wall so he can say “he got the wall.” That wall across the Southern border that he said Mexico would pay for is not the one he was talking about today. (A.B. Stoddard, Associate Editor & Columnist for RealClearPolitics.)
- Congress is supposed to have “the power of the purse.”
[On another note: Cory Booker has entered the Democratic primary battle.]
My own inclination is to check out the veracity of the statements bold-faced above, such as Trump’s remark about 80% of heroin coming in over our Southern border. It is somewhat amusing that he accuses Democrats of being untruthful when he has told somewhere around 8,450 lies in his first 2 years in office. No single president has been less truthful during his time in office, and yet the pot calls the kettle black.
Let’s all make a game of picking apart the factual remarks (when Trump could stick to the topic long enough to make one in the verbatim transcript above, taken from his 12:30 (CDT) appearance in the Oval Office) and try to find out if ANYTHING he has said is truthful.