President Trump Addresses Media As He Wraps Up Davos Trip

Jan 22, 2020
Originally published on January 22, 2020 8:08 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We're about to bring you live remarks from President Trump, who is at an Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. We'll bring those remarks to you live, and, actually, we're hearing from the president right now, so let's go to him.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: African American youth unemployment has reached the lowest in the history of our country - so proud of that. African American poverty numbers have plummeted to their lowest rate ever recorded - doing really well. Unemployment rate for women has reached the lowest level in almost 70 years. And the veterans' unemployment rate dropped to a record low. Unemployment rate for disabled Americans has reached its all-time record low also. These are incredible numbers (unintelligible). Workers without a high school diploma have received the - and achieved the lowest unemployment rate ever in recorded history, and that's so important - without a high school diploma. We have a lot of great people that don't have a high school diploma. So we have record-low unemployment. A record number of young Americans are now employed. We have the highest number of people working in our country that we've ever had before - we've never had anything even close. We're almost up to 160 million. And we've lifted 10 million people off of welfare, and you know all about food stamps. We talk about it all...

GREENE: We're listening live right now to the voice of President Trump. He is in Davos, Switzerland. He's about ready to board a plane to leave a World Economic Forum there. It is not clear yet whether he's going to take questions and how many, but this could be the first remarks in any detail from President Trump since the impeachment trial began yesterday. Let's listen in to the president here in Switzerland.

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TRUMP: At least $19 trillion in terms of wealth, in terms of wealth creation for our country, beyond the stock markets, and we are now by far the biggest economy in the world. China would have caught us - they were getting very close. It was anticipated that in 2019 - this is for many years, I'm not telling any secrets - that by 2019, China would become the largest economy in the world, and right now, we're much larger. But we have a great new deal with China - great deal. We have, I would say, our best relationship that we've ever had with China, on top of everything else, and we're starting phase two. Phase one turned out to be much bigger than we anticipated because we have intellectual property protections. We have many of the financial deals and aspects of the financial deals that we wanted we got done and other things in addition to the farmers. We've got the total complete package for the farmers. And we think - we estimate that'll be anywhere between $40 billion and $50 billion. The number, I think, is going to be closer to $50 billion - the most they've ever done is $16 billion. So we go from $16 billion to anywhere from $40 billion to $50 billion that they'll be purchasing.

We're an economic powerhouse like, actually, we've never been. Jobs, factories, companies are pouring back into the United States - that's one of the reasons I've been in Davos, is we have had conversations with other - leaders of other countries - where we've traditionally had tremendous deficits - I see have to move factories and plants back here. They took a lot of them. They actually took a lot of them, and now they're going to move them back. They're not going to move them back - the companies are coming back because everybody wants to be here.

But the countries also understand that we have to balance out our trade, and we're doing incredibly well in that way. And one of the people that was very important for me to meet from the World Trade Organization is Roberto Azevedo, and he is a highly respected man. He happens to be this gentleman right here. I thought I'd have him say a few words. But the World Trade Organization is - you know, I've had a dispute running with them for quite a while because our country hasn't been treated fairly. China's viewed as a developing nation. India's viewed as a developing nation. We're not viewed as a developing nation. As far as I'm concerned, we're a developing nation, too. But they've got tremendous advantages by the fact that they were considered developing and we weren't. And they shouldn't be, but if they are, we are. And we're talking about a whole new structure for the deal or we'll have to do something. But the World Trade Organization's been very unfair to the United States for many, many years, and without it, China wouldn't be China. China wouldn't be where they are right now. I mean, China, that was the vehicle that they used, and I give them great credit, and I also don't give the people that were in my position great credit because, frankly, they let that all happen, but the vehicle was the World Trade Organization.

And Roberto and I have a tremendous relationship, and we're going to do something that I think will be very dramatic. He'll be coming with a lot of his representatives to Washington sometime maybe next week or the week after, and we'll start working on it. So I'd like to introduce, just for briefly, Roberto, and say a few words on behalf of the WTO, and then I'm going to introduce Larry Kudlow to say exactly where we are in terms of our economy. Some of you know, but we've had some tremendous numbers just over the very recent past. So please, Roberto.

ROBERTO AZEVEDO: Well, thank you, Mr. President, and I think it's fair to say that we have been saying for quite some time that if the multilateral system, if the WTO is...

GREENE: We've been listening to sound there of President Trump as he wraps up his trip to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. We're going to monitor that event. He has reporters there. He called a last-minute session with reporters before he takes off. And we're going to monitor and see if he addresses the impeachment trial that began yesterday. This would be the first time the president spoke about that trial at any length. We have NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez with me in our studios in Washington, D.C. And, Franco, just remind us about this trip, which, you know, has the president abroad dealing with economic issues at quite a political moment for him back home.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Yeah, it's a big trip. I mean, he's there meeting with political figures, business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, and it comes at, you know, one of the most critical times of his presidency, when he is facing an impeachment trial. Obviously, his mind has been split in different places. One, focusing on the economy - global economy, but also, obviously, he is also paying attention to what's going on here. We see that not only in, like, small comments to the press but also his tweets. And, you know, we are watching, as you know, very closely to see if he addresses it today. We'll be - I would find it hard to believe that he will not in some way.

GREENE: His tweets suggest that he is really paying attention, that he's been watching some of this, even watching the performance of some of his lawyers, right?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, Pat Cipollone, his White House counsel, is the leader of this, and he's kind of known as a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. But - so this is a new spotlight, so it's very clear that Trump is going to be watching him, and he has been tweeting bits of Cipollone talking and also commenting that the team's doing a good job.

GREENE: OK. Our White House correspondent, Franco Ordoñez. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.