U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions from the media after the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before departing from the White House on March 13, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to California to view prototypes of a proposed border wall.
Photo by Mark Wilson—Getty Images
By Alana Abramson
March 15, 2018

President Donald Trump bragged about lying to the Canadian prime minister, argued a Democrat who just won a special election was just like him and tried to sell his trade policies to a group of Republican donors Wednesday.

Speaking behind closed doors at a fundraiser for Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is running for the Republican Senate nomination, Trump said that he told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the U.S. has a trade deficit with Canada, then conceded that he did not know if that was true, according to audio obtained by TIME. (It is not.)

He also weighed in on the recent special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, claiming that Democratic candidate Conor Lamb is essentially a conservative.

“He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me,” Trump said of Lamb. “I was saying ‘is he a Republican?’ It sounds like a Republican to me. But I guess when you’re popular in a certain area that’s probably a good tactic.”

Read the full transcript of Trump’s speech from Hawley’s fundraiser below:

We have a lot of friends in this area and I just stopped at a little place called Boeing. We just looked at the new plans without pilots now, we have a situation so important here [INAUDIBLE] … they had a very big success, a $2 billion success. That’s a big success. It’s a testament to a wonderful guy whose running who knows what it’s all about. He’s someone that can win, he’s leading in the polls, just about all the polls I’ve seen. There’s one that is a little bit down, and that’s the one you have to run on, because you always have to run a little bit scared, right? A little bit scared. I saw fortunately the following [INAUDIBLE, LAUGHTER]. But you’re doing good, I’ll tell you. Every one of them. You’re the one that can do it. And the whole world is watching, really. We have to change things. We need the votes. We need those votes. You’re working on the phone [INAUDIBLE] but once you get in there, right I know that. Wouldn’t that be nice if we had 51 instead of 60? Wouldn’t it be nice? Someday, someone is going to explain that to me. What’s going on here?

Some of the senators that have been there really for a long time are just dead set on that. But we’re gonna get, we have a chance to win a number of seats and I think we have a really good chance to win a large number of seats. So we’ll see what happens. Mr. Ashcroft, where is Mr. Ashcroft, I didn’t see him. I met his son by the way. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]. Your son is damn good by the way. [Cheers and applause, inaudible conversation].

I met John’s son, he said where is your father? He’s up speaking. I said [inaudible]. Terrific man, terrific family. But we have a chance to do something that is going to be very important. And it starts right here. It starts right here. And I guess last night, I don’t know, I guess the final results aren’t quite in, but we had an interesting time because we lifted seven points up. That’s a lot. I was up 22 points. And we lifted seven. And seven normally would be enough. But we’ll see how it all comes out. It’s virtually a tie. Where is our great Ronna, is she here? Ronna? Ronna McDaniel, whose done — who won Michigan for me, and we won the state of Michigan, first time since Reagan. [Applause]. Anybody that wins Michigan … and I think by some 200,000 odd votes, it was 400 and something. Four-hundred something votes. And I don’t know whats gonna happen and I know he came up a lot in the last few days. We went there, with a speech, the place was packed. It’s actually interesting because it’s only a Congressman for 5 months. I don’t know about that one, Josh. It was a lot of work for five months. They’re redistricting. But we’ll see what happens. But I told Josh just a little while ago, I’m coming back here just before the race and we’ll get a bigger, we’ll get a big something … [APPLAUSE AND LAUGHTER] The country’s watching. This is one of the most important races because this is one we can win because of Josh. We had to get Josh to do it. Once that was over that was a big thing. Because you do need the right candidate. And we have a few of them. We have a few pretty good ones. You know about whats happening. A couple of other guys joined and they’re gonna have, I think great success. So we look forward to it.

One of the things that Josh actually mentioned that I think is probably underscored, understated, is judges. We are going to be appointing 145. They came in 140. You know, my whole life I’ve helped a few people become a federal judge, not gotten it for them but I helped. And they never forget. It’s a big deal. A federal judge — so I come in, there’s this whole pile of paper on my desk, these are federal judges, these are applications. I said how many do we appoint? 145. I said 145? Because for two years, two and a half years in Congress none were appointed by President Obama. So I said thank you President Obama. [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE].

We have 17 court of appeals judges. We have one Supreme Court judge who has done a fantastic job, Justice Gorsuch. We will see what happens on that score. But we have 145 judges and 17 Court of Appeals judges and we have appointed, I guess we’ve had almost 30 approved already. And what a difference that’s making. That will be almost half the judiciary, will be appointed by us. We’re thinking. [APPLAUSE]. Thats something. I mentioned before, we have to run on the tax cuts because that has become the most popular thing. Everybody’s happy. The companies like it like crazy. You know, the companies, we didn’t expect, when we did tax cuts and you know they called it tax reform. I said do me a favor don’t call it tax reform. It hasn’t worked in 45 years. Tax reform. People say, are you going to raise my taxes? They’re reforming taxes. I said that means taxes can go up. They said oh well no, it’s always called tax reform. I said let’s call it tax cuts. They said what would you like to call it? Call it tax cut cut cut plan. Which I did, I actually did, but they thought it sounded a little hokey so we called it the tax cut and job plan. I like the first one better.

But we have no Democrat votes. Claire McCaskill was against it, because she’s party line. Not that she was against it. She’s party line. She’s gonna go with party line. Like the young man last night that run. He said, oh I’m like Trump. Second Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything. You look at him now. It’s a pretty smart race, actually. But he ran, and he ran on that basis. And the bottom line is when he votes he’s gonna vote with Nancy Pelosi. He’s gonna vote with Pelosi and he’s gonna vote with Schumer and that’s what’s gonna happen. And there is nothing he can do about it. He’s not gonna go and vote with Republicans so it doesn’t matter what he feels. It doesn’t matter Claire McCaskill has voted against everything that we want. Voted against everything that you stand for. And voted against these massive tax cuts that are bringing wealth back into families and bringing wealth into the state of Missouri. And she voted against. Because this wasn’t principle, this was the fact that she was told to vote that way. And she has to vote that way. And if she didn’t vote that way the party would drop her very easily and wouldn’t be around and wouldn’t be spending lots of money on her and that’s the way it is. So she voted against tax cuts, and I believe that anyone that voted against that bill will be very hard to win an election. When you campaign and when you’re out there Josh, you should just keep bringing it up. I read an article and I thought it was very nice actually. She’s not gonna say bad things about President Trump. I must be very popular in this state. [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE].

Last night, the young man, also. He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me. I was saying ‘Is he a Republican?’ It sounds like a Republican to me. But I guess when you’re popular in a certain area that’s probably a good tactic.

But we’re not gonna get her vote. So you have to defeat her. You have to defeat her. And if you don’t it’s going to be trouble. I mean they could actually take away the taxes. They could take away the Second Amendment. Very important, the judges. They could stop putting the judges that we’ve been having poured onto the court over the last eight years, you can’t take it. I mean, you just can’t have it. You see some of the decisions. How about the 9th circuit? How do you know, they always file in the 9th circuit and that’s not right. They’re gonna file in the 9th circuit and they win win win and then they lose hopefully in the Supreme Court and hopefully they will but it’s a very important thing. It shows you how important it is to have fair people put on the bench. So the judges are so important, just so important.

We’re doing a lot of things, companies are moving back into the country. You have Chrysler that’s coming back from Mexico, you ever hear that one? It’s always leaving for Mexico, someone’s leaving for Mexico, someone’s leaving for Mexico and now you have many many companies coming back in. You have steel mills opening up, which hasn’t happened in 30 years. And the tariffs are just a form of life you just can’t keep doing this to the outside world. And some of our worst abusers in terms of what they do on trade are our so-called friends. You look at some of these countries that are our friends and you look at the trade deficits we have and it’s staggering. So thats just phase 1, but it’s a little phase. But we have to get back the respect. You know we built ourselves as a great power, a great manufacturing power and you look how so many jobs were taken. I mean NAFTA has been a disaster for this country. I know it affected [INAUDIBLE] but you go off to New England. They’re still paying the price of losing all of those jobs. And those are real jobs. Those are real, credible, powerful important jobs. Even for defense. We have to build our steel. We have to be able to have aluminum. We’re at a point where we could lose all our steel factories, our steel factories, our steel mills, our plants. And we can’t let that happen. People said oh you know we will get our steel from China. Oh good, let’s see if we have to have a national emergency we’re gonna get our steel from China. It’s incredible.

I’ve been using the expression if you have steel you don’t have a country. This isn’t like we’re making pencils. [SLIGHT LAUGHTER]. This is big stuff. Since I’ve announced this we’ve had numerous openings from plants and some are open or expanded right here, and people are starting to see it a little bit differently. We have to do what’s called reciprocal tax. We have countries that charge us 25 percent to get a car in they don’t take the car anyway. Just so you know, they have non-dollar barriers. Ok they’re non-dollar. You know what the dollar is? You can’t sell in our country. That’s worse than heavy taxes. We have countries, or groups of countries, which is even worse. The European Union is very tough. You know, we have the European Union. A lot of you came from Europe, right? And guess what they’re pretty smart. And they formed a group, and they make it very difficult they are very difficult traders. They have these barrier where you can’t keep your product in no matter what you do. If you do get your product in you pay dearly. China is the biggest producer there’s no question about it. So last year with China we lost $500 billion not million, $500 billion it’s a lot. $500 billion and it’s been that way for years. From $200 to $504 billion every year. We rebuilt China, we actually did. Take that money away from China, I mean, we rebuilt it. And it all started with the World Trade Organization. If you look at China it’s like this for many many centuries, world trade is like a rocket ship and much of it came right out of this country. We can’t stop it.

Read More: President Trump Pitched Tariffs to Republican Donors. He Was Met With Silence

I’m very friendly with the President, he’s a great guy. We have great chemistry, a great relationship but he’s for China and I’m for the good old USA. [CHEERS]

As an example, they send a car to us, we charge them a 2 percent tax. We send a car to them, they charge us a 25 percent tax. Somehow that doesn’t work too well. [LAUGHTER]. That’s not a great formula. But 25 most of the time you can’t get it [INAUDIBLE]. Even Japan, look, the prime minister is a great guy, Abe. He’s a warrior. Tough strong, smart. But I said, the trade isn’t so good with Japan. It’s so one-sided. They don’t take our product, we take their cars. The cars are 90 percent … they cars, they just go they need Mario Andretti to drive those cars off the boats. They come off the boats like 16 times [INAUDIBLE, LAUGHTER]. We send a car in Japan, they analyze it for four weeks before they decide to send it back becaue it is not environmentally friendly. It’s unbelievable. It’s actually, one of the drug companies actually had a car made and it was the most environmentally perfect car and it cost them a fortune. They spent a fortune. And they had everything the highest quality you can have. Everything was far better than any car they’ve ever sent to us. They spent three or four hundreds thousand dollars on a car that would sell for like $35,000, right? Not a good deal. But they wanted to see if they could get it in. They’re going crazy. Four days went by, then five days and we’re ready to approach them and they said no no we have to do one more test. It’s called the bowling ball test, do you know what that is? That’s where they take a bowling ball from 20 feet up in the air and drop it in the hood of the car. And if the hood dents, the car doesn’t qualify. Guess what, the hood dented a little bit and they say this car doesn’t qualify. It’s horrible. It’s horrible. It’s horrible. And then you hear about the free traders. ‘Cause I’m a free trader. But I’m like, I want to be a smart trader, I want to be a fair trader. It’s so unfair what’s happening to our country. And I don’t know the politicians have lost their way. In some cases like South Korea they’re making a fortune. We backed them many years ago. But when they became rich we never changed the deal. So we were backing backing backing and no politician ever changed the deal. Now we have a very big trade deficit with them and we protect them.

So we lose money in trade and we lose money in the military. We have right now 32,000 soldiers on the border between North and South Korea. Lets see what happens. We sort of did a good job with that one. Lets see what happens. People said all of this rhetoric is terrible. The rhetoric for the last 30 years hasn’t been so good. It was called appeasement. Please don’t do anything. Obama, let’s not talk about that. Meanwhile Kim Jong Un is making nuclear weapons. He had a test about a year ago and it registered as an 8.6 and you never heard of that on the richter scale. And they said man it was an earthquake, 8.6, someplace in Asia. Where was it, oh it was in North Korea. It was a nuclear test. And it shifted a mountain. This is a real mountain. This is not some 10-foot deal. It actually shifted, that was the power. They’re all saying his rhetoric is terrible, it’s so tough, little Rocket Man. It’s so terrible, the way … and he’s gonna get us into a war. Well you know what is gonna get us into a war is weakness. [APPLAUSE] We put massive sanctions on North Korea. Massive. Like nobody’s ever been sanctioned. And in all fairness, China has really helped at the border. It could help more, but they’ve done more for us than they’ve ever done for any President.

So here’s the funny part. Everyone’s saying, “‘oh, he’s gonna get us in trouble.” Then three weeks later you hear, we’d love to go to the Olympics and participate. Everyone goes “What? Where did that come?” So they participate in the Olympics. And then the delegation comes over from South Korea and they just left North Korea and they said Mr. President, Kim Jong Un would love to meet with you and he will not do any testing and he will not do any missile watches and he would love to meet with you. So I said really wow that’s good. [INAUDIBLE]. They go out to the press and the press is there and you never saw so many reporters. Because they heard it was a big announcement on North Korea. So the worst, like CNN fake news. Erin Burnett says “This will make him a great President.” [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE] She actually said, this could make him a great President. Even the worst of them, for two hours, three hours, they couldn’t believe, they’re looking at each other, they couldn’t believe, they said where did this come from? After 25-30 years where did this come from? And then it happened. A day later. “Obama could have done that too.” Obama could not have done that. [Crowd: “NO WAY”]. It’s really sad. It was almost, you have to smile, because it’s so out of control. But what I heard — I woke up the next morning and I said finally I’m getting stuff.

I’ve done a lot of things. Taxes, a lot of stuff. Our military is stronger now and we just got $700 billion and we have to build it because it’s totally depleted. We don’t have our military we’re not gonna be here [APPLAUSE]. We’ll be walking into the doors. [INAUDIBLE]. We’ll make the greatest equipment in the world, right down the street with Boeing. Other places. It’s jobs. But we have no choice, But when i heard that, I wake up, I just heard the greatest statements from MSNBC, from CNN, from all the haters they couldn’t believe it. Reporters, professionals the ones you see hating all the time. I said this is the most incredible thing, we’ve never seen this. But by the time we woke up the next morning they had a new line. Anybody could have done that. Obama could have met. Bush could have met. Bush friends are here but Bush [INAUDIBLE AND LAUGHTER]. But they couldn’t have met. Because nobody would have done what I did to set the plan. And they are suffering. I don’t want them to suffer. But they’re suffering. Lack of food, lack of everything. Nobody would have done that. So you see the narrative changes. Now they are saying will take at least two months to be able to negotiate. So these are the people. They say it will take two months to be able to negotiate. He shouldn’t go there. And the greatest line is President Trump has agreed to meet. These are people that said I can’t believe it. Unbelievable This is great news. This is the biggest thing that has happened in forty years. The next day. President Trump has conceded a meeting with Kim Jong Un. Because has done that he has already given them a victory because he’s a great debater. I mean if media [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]

The greatest is when you’re watching them and these are the people that are so afraid that it was all gonna be [INAUDIBLE] and they say it was incredible and then their [INAUDIBLE] told them what to say. They say, maybe he’s not the one to negotiate. He’s got very little knowledge of the Korean peninsula and maybe he’s not the one. Maybe we should send in the people that have been playing games and didn’t know what the hell they’re doing for 25 years. APPLAUSE. You’ll be fine. … [INAUDIBLE] It’s a beautiful young, a beautiful couple, and everyone thinks he’s a star and he is a star and I don’t know how the press treats you. [LAUGHTER, INAUDIBLE]

It was somewhat of a miracle, it’s far ahead of schedule. And then you hear that you know, we’re making a major concession by agreeing to the meeting. It’s the craziest thing. But go back a couple weeks earlier and listen to the [INAUDIBLE].

So we’re always a little bit of a disadvantage because of the media. You have it here, I know you have it here too. But the advantage we have is our people are really smart. They did it. When I did the tariffs, and what I’m really saying is it’s not so much tariffs, it’s really saying we can’t be taken advantage of anymore by these people that come in and dump everything in our country and destroy our mills and destroy our workers and destroy everything. When I did the tariffs,m ost people understand what I’m doing is fighting for them. I’m fighting for these companies that are being abandoned, and the jobs that have been abandoned. And that’s why we have a lot of companies moving back in. When you see happening and we look we’re renegotiating NAFTA right now. I don’t know that we can make a deal. I tell people openly. The best deal is to terminate it and then make a new deal. But I don’t know that we can make a deal because Mexico is so spoiled from this horrible deal. From our standpoint, horrible, from their standpoint. So think of it — Mexico makes more than $100 billion a year on the United States. How stupid is this? But you know sometimes something is so good but how do you negotiate? The best way, terminate. Let’s start all over again. Let’s start all over again. Some of the politicians are afraid to terminate, oh we don’t want to terminate NAFTA. Take a look at these empty mills all over the place that they turn into nursing homes, [INAUDIBLE] walls on the outside. But it’s it just can’t be. I really think we’re making the point, a lot of people are digging it, I will tell you the people that really count which is you, the workers, everybody, they’re really understanding what’s going on. Nobody’s done what I’m doing, it’s sort of really virgin territory. It’s absolutely virgin territory. It’s territory that, our country for 50 or 60 or 70 years has not wanted to go there. They just haven’t for whatever reason. And our wealth has been taken. Our jobs have been taken. Our companies have moved and now they’re starting to move back. So it’s a formula that it is absolute there’s disruption, there’s anger. And just remember our friends, that everyone says, our friends, our allies. I know our allies, but our allies care about themselves. They don’t care about us. You look at our trade deficits with these countries that are our allies. It’s unbelievable. And they understand it. I don’t blame them. I told Japan so we would lose $100 million a year with Japan. $100 million. So why are we taxing their cars when they come in? We would lose nothing. We might even make something. And you know what they’re gonna do? They’re gonna say, well we don’t want to pay that tax, so lets build plants in the United States. They already have some. But they’ll expand them and they’ll build [INAUDIBLE]. Because they don’t want to pay the tax. And I want them to pay the taxes. I want them to build new plants in the United States. Let them make United States cars.

Like China makes them…[INAUDIBLE] We have a company. They want to build planes, Boeing is being forced to build plants. I don’t like that. I don’t like it. And I’m not saying China’s wrong. When I was with President Xi I was with a big group of people and I was saying how China is ripping off the United States. And he was like woo, this is so uncomfortable. [LAUGHTER]. 700 press. I’m saying China is ripping off … but I don’t blame you. I said it’s great you were able to do it for yourselves. I blame the people that represented our country. Because they were not doing their jobs they were delinquent in allowing this to happen to us. So we owe $21 trillion, we lose $800 billion a year. Josh will say I don’t think I’m gonna run. [LAUGHTER, INAUDIBLE]. He might say, forget about it I’m gonna run. Think of it Josh. We lose $800 billion a year on trade. Who made these deals? Who made these deals? Then you have certain people that think it’s ok to lose $800. You know, these worldly people. You know why they’re worldly people because they have stuff on the other side. [LAUGHTER, INAUDIBLE] There can’t be another reason. But we lose $800 billion a year on trade. We lose our jobs we lose everything and it’s not happening anymore because it’s starting to come back.

But over the next few months you are going to find it even much more interesting. Because things are really, you know we have such an [INAUDIBLE] you have to do this this this, wait 90 days, wait 6 months, you can’t do it, you’re not allowed to legally. We have agreements that are so bad, we don’t want an agreement with the trade. [INAUDIBLE]. I said does that agreement terminate it’s terrible. Sir. There is no termination. I said what do you mean? We don’t have the right to term — I said, look. OK. 10 years, 20 years. No sir. There is no right. I said what the hell, you know what I do, I just terminate it [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]

[INAUDIBLE.]

We’ll call it unconstitutional, these deals are so one-sided. I’ll give another example, Mexico. I have this great deal. The day it was signed it was a bad deal. Because they have a 16 percent VAT tax. And we don’t. So they were already up 16% before the deal and nobody saw that. And by the time they realized it, the deal was done. But instead of adjusting the deal, what was it, thirty years ago, when it was first signed. Instead of adjusting the deal, we lived with it. What the hell difference does it make? So they have a 16% step up [INAUDIBLE] and they have for many years. And Mexico and Canada. And by the way, Canada? They negotiate tougher than Mexico. Trudeau came to see me, he’s a good man, he said we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please. Nice guy, good looking guy. Comes in. Donald we have no trade deficit. He’s very tough. Everyone else, getting killed or whatever. But he’s tough. I said, well Justin, you do. I didn’t even know. Josh, I had no idea. I just said you’re wrong. You’re wrong. It was so stupid. [LAUGHTER]. I thought it was fine. I said, you’re wrong Justin. He said, nope we have no trade deficit. I said, well in that case I feel differently. I said but I don’t believe it. I sent one of our guys out. His guy, my guy. They said check because I can’t believe it. Well, sir you’re actually right, we have no deficit but that doesn’t include energy and timber. [LAUGHTER]. Well you don’t have timber, and when you do we’ll lost $17 billion. It’s incredible.

Read More: President Trump Claims the U.S. Has a Trade Deficit With Canada. That’s Not So Clear

So you’re in good hands. And I know Josh [APPLAUSE]. Claire McCaskill is a guaranteed negative vote on every single thing that you people stand for, and frankly the vast majority of the people of Missouri stand for. It is a negative vote for our country and you have to defeat it. Claire McCaskill, last time she got really lucky, she got lucky, she was going to lose. That was a done deal. And then something happened. I was watching. I said oh yeah, what happened? That was big. I said yeah, I was right. [INAUDIBLE]. So you gotta get her out. Bad for Missouri. Bad for the country. And this is going to be a great United States senator. Thank you very much.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

You May Like

EDIT POST