Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Post interview

I don't know why he's giving all these interviews lately to people other than Fox, but here's another beaut: Q: Why are we still in Afghanistan?
We’re there because virtually every expert that I have and speak to say if we don’t go there, they’re going to be fighting over here. And I’ve heard it over and over again. We’re in the process of doing some — you know, as you know, we are talking about peace over there with the Taliban, with the group of people that have a lot to do with it. They would like to see it after all these years, and we’ll see what happens. A little bit too early to say what’s going to happen. But we are talking about things. But it’s a very sad situation when I look — we have incredible people, incredible fighters. But we’re going to see what happens. We’re going to see what happens. But it’s very sad.


RUCKER: Are you going to make it over there to Afghanistan?

TRUMP: At the right time I will.

RUCKER: Before Christmas, you think?

[TRUMP speaks off the record.]
Q: Are you going to do anything to help Paul Manafort?
Let me go off the record because I don’t want to get in the middle of the whole thing.

[Trump speaks off the record.]
Q: What's the status of the possible government shutdown?
[W]e desperately need a wall - I think that’s been shown better than ever in the last short period of two weeks — that we need a wall. I see the Democrats are going to want to do something, because they understand too. Those pictures are very bad for the Democrats. We’re not having a wall because of the Democrats. We need Democrat votes to have a wall. Now, if we don’t get it, will I get it done another way? I might get it done another way. There are other potential ways that I can do it. You saw what we did with the military, just coming in with the barbed wire and the fencing, and various other things.
Yes, and we noted that it might well have been an illegal move.
We almost had a deal, except when — I mean, actually, it wasn’t their fault, wasn’t our fault, it was on DACA. We almost had a deal, and then the judge ruled shockingly in favor of Obama’s signature, when even Obama said what he’s doing is not legal. Essentially, he said, it’s not going to hold up. But when the judge ruled, all of a sudden it was like, that’s the end of that deal. But we were very close to having a deal — $25 billion for a wall and various other things on the border. And DACA. And when the judge shockingly — you know, the Democrats never thought they were going to win that, and then you had another couple of judges rule, and then you had judges rule the other way. It’s going to be settled, I assume, in the Supreme Court. But we were close to having a deal on DACA until that ruling.
No question was proposed, but in the middle of his DACA rant, he switched to the Mississippi election for Senator.
Hopefully today we’ll have another success [in Mississippi]; we’ll see what happens. I did 4 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and one in the middle. Based on the enthusiasm we saw there, I think we’re going to do very well, but we’ll see. I know one thing: If she loses, I’ll be blamed, and if she wins, I’ll be given no credit. That’s the only thing I know.

But anyway, do you guys want something to drink?

DAWSEY: We’re okay, thank you.
Q: Why are you skeptical of the climate report your government just published?
One of the problems that a lot of people like myself — we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers. You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and when you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including — just many other places — the air is incredibly dirty. And when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific, it flows, and we say where does this come from. And it takes many people to start off with.

Number two, if you go back and if you look at articles, they talked about global freezing, they talked about at some point the planets could have freeze to death, then it’s going to die of heat exhaustion. There is movement in the atmosphere. There’s no question. As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it — not nearly like it is. Do we want clean water? Absolutely. Do we want clean air to breathe? Absolutely. The fire in California, where I was, if you looked at the floor, the floor of the fire, they have trees that were fallen, they did no forest management, no forest maintenance, and you can light — you can take a match like this and light a tree trunk when that thing is laying there for more than 14 or 15 months. And it’s a massive problem in California.

Josh, you go to other places where they have denser trees — it’s more dense, where the trees are more flammable — they don’t have forest fires like this, because they maintain. And it was very interesting, I was watching the firemen, and they’re raking brush — you know the tumbleweed and brush, and all this stuff that’s growing underneath. It’s on fire, and they’re raking it, working so hard, and they’re raking all this stuff. If that was raked in the beginning, there’d be nothing to catch on fire. It’s very interesting to see. A lot of the trees, they took tremendous burn at the bottom, but they didn’t catch on fire. The bottom is all burned but they didn’t catch on fire because they sucked the water, they’re wet. You need forest management, and they don’t have it.
Wheeeeeeee doggies. Somebody's sucking something; that's for certain.

Q: Are you concerned about a recession?
No, I’m not because what I’m doing is I’m doing trade deals. The trade deals take a little time. The fact is, I think — I disagree with the Fed. I’ve been open about that. I think the Fed is a much bigger problem than China. I think that China wants to make a deal very badly. I think we’ll either make a deal or we’ll be taking in billions and billions of dollars a month in tariffs, and I’m okay with either one of those two situations.
He always talks like tariffs are bringing money in from the country on which he's imposed the tariff. He doesn't seem to understand that the tariffs make their products cost more, and Americans are paying for it.
RUCKER: So who should be held responsible? You mentioned the Fed, but when Harry Truman sat here he had that sign that said the buck stops here —

TRUMP: Oh, I’m not blaming anybody.

RUCKER: — But Mr. President, it doesn’t seem to stop with you.

TRUMP: I’m not blaming — look, I took recommendations. I’m not blaming anybody. But I will tell you, at this moment in time I am not at all happy with the Fed. I am not at all happy with my choice. I think we have to let it go. You know, if you look at — China is being accommodative. The euro and Europe is being accommodative. We’re not getting any accommodation, and we’re also paying $50 billion, we’re paying down our liquidity, is — you can make the case it’s a positive thing in one way, but another thing, it snaps your liquidity. So I’m doing deals, and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed. I’m not happy with the Fed. They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.

RUCKER: But you’re the president, sir.

TRUMP: I’m not blaming anybody. [...] I’m just saying, I’m not happy with the Fed. So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay [Powell for Federal Reserve Board chair]. Not even a little bit.
But he won't be giving the Post any more interviews. He'll be snapping their liquidity. What the hell is he talking about? He's not blaming, but it's the Fed's fault.
And I’m not blaming anybody, but I’m just telling you I think that the Fed is way off base with what they’re doing, number one. Number two, a positive note, we’re doing very well on trade, we’re doing very well — our companies are very strong. Don’t forget, we’re still up from when I came in, 38 percent or something. You know, it’s a tremendous — it’s not like we’re up — and we’re much stronger. And we’re much more liquid. And the banks are now much more liquid during my tenure. And I’m not doing — I’m not playing by the same rules as Obama. Obama had zero interest to worry about; we’re paying interest, a lot of interest. He wasn’t paying down — we’re talking about $50 billion lots of different times, paying down and knocking out liquidity. Well, Obama didn’t do that. And just so you understand, I’m playing a normalization economy, whereas he’s playing a free economy. It’s easy to make money when you’re paying no interest. It’s easy to make money when you’re not doing any pay-downs, so you can’t — and despite that, the numbers we have are phenomenal numbers.
Got that?

Q: Do you think the Senate should impose stronger punishment on Saudi Arabia?
I’m going to listen to what they say. They’re all friends of mine, and I get along with them great. I’m going to certainly listen to what they have to say, Josh. In the end, though, they’re spending massive amounts of billions of dollars. If you look at Iran and what they do, and you look at many other countries — I don’t have to embarrass other countries by saying it — if you look at what they do, it’s a rough part of the world. It’s a dangerous, rough part of the world. But they’ve been a great ally. Without them, Israel would be in a lot more trouble. We need to have a counterbalance to Iran. I know him. I know him well, the crown prince. And, by the way, never did business with them, never intend to do business with them. I couldn’t care less. This is a very important job that I’m doing right now. The last thing I care about is doing business with people.
I wonder if the interviewer's eyes were rolling by this point.
Somebody said, well, maybe they’re an investor in one of his jobs. The answer is no. But I just feel that it’s very, very important to maintain that relationship. It’s very important to have Saudi Arabia as an ally, if we’re going to stay in that part of the world. Now, are we going to stay in that part of the world? One reason to is Israel. Oil is becoming less and less of a reason because we’re producing more oil now than we’ve ever produced. So, you know, all of a sudden it gets to a point where you don’t have to stay there.
Q: Why have you taken the word of MbS over your own intelligence agencies?
Phil, I haven’t done that. If you look at my statement, it’s maybe he did and maybe he didn’t. But he denies it. And people around him deny it. And the CIA did not say affirmatively he did it, either, by the way. I’m not saying that they’re saying he didn’t do it, but they didn’t say it affirmatively. I’m saying this: We have $52-a-barrel oil right now and I called them about three months ago, before this whole thing happened with Khashoggi, and I let him have it about oil. We were up to $82 — probably two and a half months ago — we were up to $82 a barrel, and it was going up to $100, and that would’ve been like a massive tax increase, and I didn’t want that. And I called them and they let the oil start flowing, and we’re at $52. In fact, now I’m being blamed for traffic jams. This was the greatest. Actually in the Palm Beach Post, they had a thing that I’m causing traffic jams because they have the —
That thought got cut off, I guess. But, the Palm Beach Post never said any such thing. What they said was people should expect heavy taffic near Mar-A-Lago because His Lardship was going to be there. Also, it appears they published an article explaining that, and then decided to take it down.

That link goes to a "page not found" notice now.

Q: Do you think you're getting the best advice from your people since you keep doubting what they're saying?
Phil, I’m getting advice. I’m the president of this country. I have to do what’s the best for our country. We have a very important ally in Saudi Arabia. We have an ally that has tremendous oil reserves, which are — frankly, they can make prices go up and down, and I want to keep them down. We have an ally that’s investing billions and billions of dollars in our country. They could very easily invest $110 billion, $450 billion overall over a period of time, fairly short period of time. $110 billion in military. Russia and China would love to have those orders, and they’ll get them if we don’t. They’ll have no choice, but they’ll get them if we don’t. So I take everything into consideration, and again, he totally denies it, and he denied it to me on three different occasions, on three different calls, and a lot of other people deny it, too. Did he do it? As I said, maybe he did and maybe he didn’t, but in the meantime Saudi Arabia’s spending billions and billions of dollars in the United States, and I want them to spend it here. I don’t want them to spend it in China and Russia.

The Washington Post Fact Checker has ruled that these numbers are fantasy.
Q: What about Russia's aggression toward Ukraine?
I don't like that aggression. I don't like that aggression at all. Absolutely. And by the way, Europe shouldn't like that aggression. And Germany shouldn't like that aggression. You know they're paying 1 percent, and they're supposed to be paying much more than 1 percent. [...] They’re absolutely not doing enough. Germany? Absolutely not. Many of those countries are not doing enough toward NATO. They should be spending much more money.
Q: What are your thoughts on Matt Whitaker, acting attorney general?
He’s a fine person.
Q: Has he talked to you about the Mueller investigation?
I can tell you that Matt Whitaker is a respected man. He’s doing an excellent job. We’re looking at possible attorney generals right now. And within — I will tell you, within the Justice Department he is a highly respected person, and he’s doing a very good job. I also think he’s a very good person. I think he’s a very good person. And he had a reputation for being — I think he was six years in Iowa as the U.S. attorney. He had a reputation for being very strong, very smart, very good.
Q: Repeat, has he talked to you about the Mueller investigation?
We don’t talk very much. I mean, I haven’t spoken to Matt very much. I put him there. But we speak really very little. The Mueller investigation is what it is. It just goes on and on and on.


RUCKER: Would you commit right here to letting Mueller continue his work until the investigation concludes?

TRUMP: This question has been asked about me now for —

KELLYANNE CONWAY: A thousand times.

TRUMP: — almost two years. And in the meantime, he’s still there. He wouldn’t have to be, but he’s still there, so I have no intention of doing anything.

SANDERS: All right. Thanks, guys.

TRUMP: Okay? Thank you, fellas.
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

At this point, he could bark his answers like a St. Bernard and it wouldn't surprise a soul.

  Charles P Pierce

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