President Donald Trump had a wild time with members of the media on Thursday afternoon at the White House. The conference's original purpose was to announce his new choice for labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, one day after Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination. But that topic of conversation lasted about a minute, before Trump turned his attention on the "out of control" media, the "chaos" he apparently inherited as president, and the many campaign promises he plans to keep. He also bragged about his electoral college win—while making a false claim about his margin of victory.
"I guess it was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan," he said.
This is not true. Presidents Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Obama racked up larger electoral college victories than Trump, which a reporter mentioned during the lengthy and often bizarre question-and-answer session that followed. Despite critiquing the media for "fake news" and promoting falsehoods without appropriate fact-checking, Trump's response was simply that "I was given that information...I've seen that information around."
Here are some of the craziest moments from the Q&A:
"I turn on the T.V., open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos. Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine."
In his opening remarks, Trump said the media misrepresents his administration. But a U.S. Senator tweeted his response to the kind of "machine" he's running:
"We're becoming a drug infested nation. Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars. We are not going to let it happen any longer."
Though this line is pretty outlandish on face value, the Washington Post reports that it's true in some cases, depending on the dose. At one point in 2015, doses of heroin were going for $6 each in Baltimore, and painkillers can be even cheaper per dose than that.
"Obamacare is a disaster, folks. You can say, 'Oh, Obamacare.' They fill up our rallies with people that you wonder how they get there, but they're not the Republican people their representatives are representing."
By "rallies," Trump might mean recent town hall meetings in which Republican members of Congress have been berated over their attempts to repeal Obamacare.
"We had a very, very big margin."
Trump had a very vague response to a specific question about his electoral college win. "You said today that you had the biggest electoral margin since Ronald Reagan," the reporter began, going on to point out that Obama won by a larger margin twice (365 and 332 in 2008 and 2012 respectively), as did George H.W. Bush (426).
"I was given that information, I don't know," Trump replied. "We had a very, very big margin... it was a very substantial victory. Do you agree with that?" The reporter smartly responded, "You're the president."
"The news is fake, because so much of the news is fake."
Asked repeatedly to clarify what he meant by calling leaks from his campaign "fake news," Trump drew a distinction between the leaks themselves and the media's coverage. "The leaks are absolutely real," he said, "but the news is fake, because so much of the news is fake." Which totally clears that up. (Trump also alleged that the "failing" New York Times' recent report on his campaign aides' communications with Russian operatives has been "very much discredited," which is not true.)
"I do get good ratings, you have to admit that."
During one answer about the unfair tone and "untruthful" reporting, he interrupted himself a few times to point out that "I'm really not a bad person, by the way," and "I do get good ratings, you have to admit that." Trump suggested that he knows instinctively when he deserves good press versus bad press, and that the coverage of him is skewed towards the negative. "I'd be a pretty good reporter," he said at one point. "I know what's good, I know what's bad…I want to see an honest press. It's so important to the public to get an honest press. The public doesn't believe you people any more. Now maybe I had something to do with that, I don't know."
"Tomorrow, they will say 'Donald Trump rants and raves at the press!' I'm not ranting and raving, I'm just telling you, you're dishonest people."
No comment, really.
"[A] nuclear holocaust would be like no other."
Trump confirmed he'd been "briefed" on nuclear holocausts, and presumably this means he think they're bad?
"Hillary cheated on the debates."
Asked again about his ties to Russia, he denied having anything to do with Russia, went off on a tangent about Wikileaks, and then somehow blamed the whole thing on Clinton, who allegedly received a preview of at least one debate question. "Can you imagine—seriously—can you imagine if I received the questions?" Trump continued. "It would be the electric chair. Okay? 'He should be put in the electric chair.'"
"We had a very smooth roll out of the travel ban."
One of the most glaring alternative facts to emerge was Trump's characterization of his botched travel ban. "We had a very smooth roll-out," he insisted, claiming that the only problem with the ban was the "bad court" that halted it. "We had a bad decision, but we're going to keep going with that... The roll-out was perfect."
"Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?"
Journalist April D. Ryan asked him if he would include the "CBC" in his plan to help the inner cities. After clarifying that she meant the Congressional Black Caucus, Trump asked Ryan, who is black, if she could set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. The CBC said they reached out to Trump back in January and never heard back.
Watch the clip below for the rest of Trump's antics—the press conference starts about 45 minutes in. Perhaps have a glass of wine handy, although you'll feel like you're drunk by the end regardless:
And here's the transcript, portions of which—primarily some reporters' questions—were inaudible:
President Trump: Thank you very much. I just wanted to begin by mentioning that the nominee for secretary of the department of labor will be Mr. Alex Acosta. He has a law degree from Harvard Law School, great student. Former clerk for Justice Samuel Alito. He has had a tremendous career. He's a member and has been a member of the National Labor Relations Board and has been through Senate confirmation three times, confirmed, did very, very well, and, so, Alex, I have wished him the best. We just spoke, and he's going to be—I think he will be a tremendous secretary of labor. Also, as you probably heard just a little while ago, Mick Mulvaney, former congressman, has just been approved, weeks late—I have to say that, weeks, weeks late—to the Office of Management and Budget, and he will be, I think, a fantastic addition.
Paul singer just left. Paul was very much involved with the anti-Trump or, as I say, "Never Trump," and Paul just left and he's given us his total support, and it's all about unification. We're unifying the party and hopefully we're going to be able to unify the country. It's very important to me. I have been talking about that for a long time, but it's very, very important to me. So I want to thank Paul Singer for being here and for coming up to the office. He was a very strong opponent and now he's a very strong ally, and I appreciate that.
I think I will say a few words and then we'll take some questions. At this time, we have been negotiating a lot of different transactions to save money on contracts that were terrible, including airplane contracts that were out of control and late and terrible. Just absolutely catastrophic in terms of what was happening, and we've done some really good work. We're very proud of that. And then, right after that, you prepare yourselves with some questions, unless you have no questions. That's always a possibility.
I'm here today to update the American people on the incredible progress that has been made in the last four weeks since my inauguration. We have made incredible progress. I don't think there's ever been a president elected who, in this short period of time, has done what we've done. A new Rasmussen poll, in fact—because the people get it, and much of the media doesn't get it -- they actually get it, but they don't write it, let's put it that way—but a new Rasmussen poll came out just a very short while ago, and it has our approval rating at 55% and going up. The stock market has hit record numbers, as you know, and there has been a tremendous surge of optimism in the business world, which is, to me, means something much different than it used to. It used to mean, oh, that's good. Now it means, that's good for jobs. Very different. Plants and factories are already starting to move back into the United States, and big league Ford, General Motors, so many of them.
I'm making this presentation directly to the American people with the media present, which is an honor to have you, this morning because many of our nation's reporters and folks will not tell you the truth and will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve, and I hope, going forward, we can be a little bit—a little bit different and maybe get along a little bit better if possible. Maybe it's not, and that's OK, too. Unfortunately most of the media in Washington, D.C. along with New York, Los Angeles, in particular, speaks not for the people but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system. The press has become so [word missing] about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people, a tremendous disservice.
We have to talk about it to find out what's going ... because the press, honestly, is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control. I ran for president to represent the citizens of our country. I am here to change the broken system so it serves their families and their communities well. I am talking and really talking on this very entrenched power structure, and what we're doing is we're talking about the power structure, we're talking about its entrenchment. As a result, the media is going through what they have to go through to, oftentimes, distort—not all the time, and some of the media is fantastic, I have to say, they're honest and fantastic, but much of it is not. The distortion—and we'll talk about it, you will be able to ask me questions about it—but we're not going to let it happen because I'm here to take our message straight to the people.
As you know, my administration inherited many problems across government and across the economy. To be honest, I inherited a mess. It's a mess. At home and abroad, a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country. You see what's going on with all of the companies leaving our country, going to Mexico and other places. Low pay, low wages. Mass instability overseas, no matter where you look. The Middle East, a disaster. North Korea, we'll take care of it, folks. We're going to take care of it all. I just want to let you know. I inherited a mess. Beginning on day one, our administration went to work to tackle these challenges.
On foreign affairs, we've already begun enormously productive talks with many foreign leaders, much of it you've covered, to move forward toward stability, security and peace in the most troubled regions of the world, which there are many. We've had great conversations with the United Kingdom and meetings, Israel, Mexico, Japan, China and Canada, really, really productive conversations. I would say far more productive than you would understand. We've even developed a new council with Canada to promote women's business leaders and entrepreneurs. Very important to me. Very important to my daughter Ivanka. I've directed our defense community headed by our great general now Secretary Mattis, he's over there now working very hard to submit a plan for the defeat of ISIS, a group that celebrates the murder and torture of innocent people in large sections of the world, used to be a small group, now it's in large sections of the world. They've spread like cancer. ISIS has spread like cancer. Another mess I inherited, and we have imposed new sanctions on the nation of Iran who has totally taken advantage of our previous administration, and they're the world's top sponsor of terrorism, and we're not going to stop until that problem is properly solved, and it's not properly solved now. It's one of the worst agreements I've ever seen drawn by anybody. I've ordered plans to begin for the massive rebuilding of the United States military. Had great support from the Senate. I've had great support from congress, generally. We've pursued this rebuilding in the hopes that we will never have to use this military, and I will tell you, that is my—I would be so happy if we never had to use it, but our country will never have had a military like this military we're about to build and rebuild. We have the greatest people on Earth in our military, but they don't have the right equipment, and their equipment is old. I used it, I talked about it at every step. Depleted. It's depleted. It won't be depleted for long. I think one of the reasons I'm standing here instead of other people is that, frankly, I talked about it, we have to have a strong military. We have to have strong law enforcement, also. So we do not go abroad in the search of war. We really are searching for peace, but it's peace through strength.
At home, we have begun the monumental task of returning the government back to the people on a scale not seen in many, many years. In each of these actions, I'm keeping my promises to the American people. These are campaign promises. Some people are so surprised that we're having strong borders. Well, that's what I have been talking about for a year and a half, strong borders. They're so surprised. Oh, having strong borders. Well, that's what I have been talking about to the press and to everybody else. One promise after another after years of politicians lying to you to get elected. They lied to the American people in order to get elected. Some of the things I'm doing probably aren't popular, but they're necessary for security and for other reasons. Then coming to Washington and pursuing—and then coming to Washington and pursuing their own interests, which is important to many politicians. I am here following through on what I pledged to do. That's all I'm doing.
I put it out before the American people, got 306 electoral college votes. They said there's no way to get 222. 230 is impossible. 270 which you need, that was laughable. We got 306, because people came out and voted like they've never seen before. So that's the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan. In other words, the media is trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on pledges that were made, and they're not happy about it, for whatever reason, and—but a lot of people are happy about it. I will be in Melbourne, Florida, 5:00, Saturday, and I just heard the crowds are massive that want to be there. I turn on the TV, open the newspapers, and I see stories of chaos, chaos, yet it is the exact opposite.
This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite the fact that I can't get my cabinet approved, and they're outstanding people. Like Senator Dan Coates, who's there, one of the most respected members to have in the Senate, he can't get approved. How do you not approve him? He's been a colleague, highly respected, brilliant guy, great guy, everybody knows it. We're waiting for approval. So we have a wonderful group of people that's working very hard, that's being very much misrepresented about, and we can't let that happen. So if the Democrats, who have—all you have to do is look at where they are right now. The only thing they can do is delay because they've screwed things up royally, believe me.
Let me list to you some of the things we've done in just a short period of time. I just got here. I got here with no cabinet. Again, each of these actions is a promise I made to the American people, so we'll go over just some of them, and we have a lot happening in the next week and the weeks coming. We've withdrawn from the job-killing disaster known as Trans-Pacific Partnership. We're going to make trade deals but we're going to have one-on-one deals, bilateral. One-on-one deals.
We've directed eliminations of regulations that undermine manufacturing and call for expedited approval for the permits needed for America and American infrastructure, and that means plant, equipment, roads, bridges, factories. People take 10, 15, 20 years to get approved for a factory. They go in for a permit. It's many, many years. Then at the end of the process they spend tens of millions of dollars on nonsense and, at the end of the process they get rejected. They may be rejected with me, but it's going to be a quick rejection. It's not going to take years. But mostly it's going to be an acceptance. We want plants built and factories built and we want the jobs. We don't want the jobs going to other countries.
We've imposed a hiring freeze on non-essential federal workers. We've imposed a temporary moratorium on new federal regulations.
We've issued a game-changing new rule that says for each one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated. Makes sense. Nobody's ever seen regulations like we have. You go to other countries and you look at industries they have, and you say, let me see your regulations, and they're a fraction, just a tiny fraction of what we have. And I want regulations because I want safety, I want environmental—all environmental situations to be taken properly care of, it's very important to me, but you don't need four or five or six regulations to take care of the same thing.
We've stood up for the men and women of law enforcement, directing federal agencies to ensure they are protected from crimes of violence. We've directed the creation of a task force for reducing violent crime in America, including the horrendous situation— take a look at Chicago and others—taking place right now in our inner cities. Horrible. We've ordered the Department of Homeland Security and Justice to coordinate a plan to destroy criminal cartels coming into the United States with drugs. We're becoming a drug-infested nation. Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars, and we're not going to let it happen any longer.
We've undertaken the most substantial border security measures in a generation to keep our nation and our tax dollars safe and are now in the process of beginning to build a promised wall on the southern border. Met with general now Secretary Kelly yesterday, and we're starting that process, and the wall is going to be a great wall, and it's going to be a wall negotiated by me. The price is going to come down just like it has on everything else I've negotiated for the government, and we're going to have a wall that works. We're not going to have a wall like now which is either non-existent or a joke.
We've ordered a crackdown on sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal law and that harbor criminal aliens and we've ordered an end to the policy of catch and release on the border, no more release. No matter who you are, release. We've begin a nationwide effort to remove criminal aliens, gang members, drug dealers and others who pose a threat to public safety. We are saving American lives every single day. The court system has not made it easy for us. We've even created a new office in Homeland Security dedicated to the forgotten American victims of illegal immigrant violence, of which there are many.
We've taken decisive action to keep radical islamic terrorists out of our country, though parts of our necessary and constitutional actions were blocked by our judges, in my opinion, incorrect, and unsafe ruling. Our administration is working night and day to keep you safe, including reporters safe, and is vigorously defending this lawful order. I will not back down from defending our country. I get elected on defense of our country, and I keep my campaign promises. And our citizens will be very happy when they see the result they already are, I can tell you that. Extreme vetting will be put in place and it already is in place in many places. In fact, we had to go quicker than we thought because to have the bad decision we received from a circuit that has been overturned at a record number. I've heard 80%. I find that hard to believe. That's just a number I heard, that they were overturned 80% of the time. I think that circuit is—that circuit is in chaos, and that circuit is, frankly, in turmoil. But we are appealing that, and we are going further. We're issuing a new executive action next week that will comprehensively protect our country. So we will be going along the one path and, hopefully, winning that, at the same time we will be issuing a new and very comprehensive order to protect our people, and that will be done sometime next week toward the beginning or middle, at the latest part.
We've also taken steps to begin construction of the keystone pipeline and the Dakota access pipelines, thousands and thousands of jobs, and put new buy American measures in place to require American steel for American pipelines. In other words, they build a pipeline in this country and we use the powers of government to make that pipeline happen, we want them to use American steel, and they're willing to do that, but nobody ever asked before I came along. Even this order was drawn and they didn't say that, and I'm reading the order and I'm saying why aren't we using American steel? And they said, that's a good idea. We put it in. To drain the swamp of corruption in Washington, D.C., I started by impose ago five-year lobbying ban on white house officials, and a lifetime ban on lobbying for a foreign government. We've begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It's a disaster. You can say, oh, Obamacare—I mean, they fill up our rallies with people that you wonder how they get there, but they're not the Republican people that are are—that our representatives are representing. So we've begun to repair and repeal and replace Obamacare and in the deep and in the midst of negotiations on tax reform to bring our jobs back to this country big league. It's already happening but big league.
I'm working on restoring a cabinet over the obstruction of Senate Democrats. You've seen what they've done over the last long number of years. It will be one of the great cabinets ever assembled in American history. You look at Rex Tillerson, he's out there negotiating right now. General Mattis I mentioned before, General Kelly.
We have great, great people. Mick is with us now. We have great people. Among the responsibilities, we will be ending the bleeding of jobs from our country and negotiating fair trade deals for our citizens. Now, look, fair trade. Not free. Fair. If a country is taking advantage of us, we're not going to let that happen anymore. Every country takes advantage of us almost. I may be able to find a couple that don't, but for the most part, that would be a very tough job for me to do. Jobs have already started to surge. Since my election, Ford announced it will abandon its plans to build a new factory in Mexico and will instead invest $700 million in Michigan, creating many, many jobs. Fiat/Chrysler announced it will invest $1 billion in Ohio and Michigan creating 2,000 American jobs.
They were with me a week ago. You were here. General Motors committed likewise to invest billions of dollars in its American manufacturing operation, keeping many jobs here that were going to leave. And if I didn't get elected, believe me, they would have left, and these jobs and these things that I am announcing would never have come here. Intel just announced it will move ahead with a new plant in Arizona that probably was never going to move ahead with, and that will result in at least so—in at least 10,000 American jobs. Wal-Mart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives. There will be many, many more. Many more. These are a few that we're naming. Other countries have been taking advantage of us for decades—decades and decades and decades, folks—and we're not going to let that happen anymore, not going to let it happen.
And one more thing—I have kept my promise to the American people by nominating a justice of the United States supreme court judge Neil Gorsuch who is from my list of 20 and who will be a true defender of our laws and constitution, highly respected, should get the votes from the Democrats. You may not see that, but he'll get there one way or the other, but he should get there the old-fashioned way, and he should get those votes. This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country. Again, I say it—there's never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time, and we haven't even started the big work yet that starts early next week. Some very big things are going to be announced next week. So we're just getting started. We will be giving a speech, as I said, in Melbourne, Florida, at 5:00 P.M. I hope to see you there. And with that, I just say God bless America, and let's take some questions.
Mara, go ahead. You were cut off pretty violently at our last news conference.
Reporter: [Inaudible] … Mike Flynn.
Trump: Mike Flynn is a fine person. I asked for his resignation. He respectfully gave it. He is a man who, there was a certain amount of information given to Vice President Pence who is with us today, and I was not happy with the way that information was given. He didn't have to do that because what he did wasn't wrong. What he did in terms of the information he saw, what was wrong was the way other people including yourselves in this room were given that information, because that was classified information that was given illegally. That's the real problem. And you can talk all you want about Russia, which is all a, you know, fake news fabricated deal to try to make up for the loss of the Democrats and the press plays right into it. In fact, I saw a couple of the people that were supposedly involved with this but they know nothing about it. They never made a phone call to Russia, they never received a phone call, it's all fake news. It's all fake news. The nice thing is I see it starting to turn where people are now looking at the illegal—I think it's very important—the illegal giving out classified information. And let me just tell you, it was given out, like, so much. I'll give you an example. I called, as you know, Mexico. It was a very confidential, classified call, but I called Mexico, and, in calling Mexico, I figured, well—I spoke to the president of Mexico, had a good call, and all of a sudden it's out for the world to see. It's supposed to be secret. It's supposed to be either confidential or classified in that case. Same thing with Australia. All of a sudden, people are finding out exactly what took place. The same thing happened with respect to general Flynn. Everybody saw this. And I'm saying—the first thing I thought of when I heard about this is how does the press get this information that's classified? How do they do it? You know why? Because it's an [inaudible] process and the press should be ashamed of themselves, but more importantly the people who gave out the information to the press should be ashamed of themselves. Really ashamed.
Reporter: [inaudible] … kept your vice president in the dark for almost two weeks?
Trump: Because when I looked at the information, I said, I don't think he did anything wrong. If anything, he did something right. He was coming into office, he looked at the information, he said, huh, that's fine. That's what they're supposed to do. He didn't just call Russia, he called and spoke to, both ways, I think there were 30-some-odd countries. He was just doing his job. The thing is, he didn't tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn't remember, so either way, it wasn't very satisfactory to me. And I have somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position and that also helps, I think, in the making of my decision. But he didn't tell the vice president of the United States the facts, and then he didn't remember. And that just wasn't acceptable to me. Yes?
Reporter: Since you brought up Russia, I ask for clarification here, during your campaign did anyone with your team communicate with members of the Russian government or Russian intelligence? And if so, what was the nature of those conversations?
Trump: The New York Times wrote a big, long front-page story yesterday, and it was very much discredited, as you know. It's a joke. And the people mentioned, I noticed they were on television today saying they never even spoke to Russia. Really, it was such a minor part. I hadn't spoken to themI think the one person—I don't think I've ever spoken to him. I don't think I ever met him. I think he said he was a very low level member of a committee for a short period of time. I don't think I ever met him. It's possible he was sitting in a room when I was there but I don't think I ever met him. I didn't talk to him ever and he thought it was a joke. The other person said he never spoke to Russia, looked at his phone calls, etc. etc, and the other person knew he represented various countries but I don't think he knew he represented Russian but knew he represented various countries. That the what he does. People know that. That's Mr. Manafort who is, by the way, a respected man.
He's a respected man. But I think he represented the Ukraine or Ukraine government or somebody. But people knew that, everybody knew that. And he said that he has absolutely nothing to do and never has with Russia, and he said that very forcefully. Most to have the papers don't print it because it's not good for their stories. So the three people they talked about all totally deny it, and I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia, I have no loans in Russia, I don't have any deals in Russia. President Putin called me up nicely to congratulate me on the winning of the election and called me up completely nicely to congratulate me on the inauguration, which was terrific, but so did many other leaders, almost all other leaders from almost all other countries. Russia is fake news. This is fake news put out by the media.
The real news is the fact that people, probably from the Obama administration because they're there, because we have our new people going in place right now, as you know -- Mike Pompeo has now taken control of the C.I.A., James Comey at F.B.I. Dan Coates is waiting to be approved, I mean, he is a senator and a highly with respected one and waiting the to be approved, and our new people are going in. And just while you're at it, the Wall Street Journal did a story today that was almost as disgraceful as the failing New York Times story yesterday, and it talked about—this is front page. So Director of National Intelligence just put out a statement, any suggestion that the United States intelligence community—this was just given to us—is withholding information and not providing the the best possible intelligence to the president and his national security team is not true. So they took this front-page story out of the Wall Street Journal, top, and they just wrote the story that it's not true. And I'll tell you something, I'll be honest, because I sort of enjoy this back and forth and I guess I have all my life, but I've never seen more dishonest media than frankly the political media. I thought the financial media was much better, much more honest. But I will say that I never get phone calls from the media. How do they write a story like that in The Wall Street Journal like that without asking me? Or how do they write a story in the New York Times put it on the front page. Like the story they wrote about the women and me, front page, big story, and it was nasty. Then they called and said, we never said that, we like Mr. President Trump. They called my office, we like Mr. Trump, we never said that. And they totally disrespected those very wonderful women, I have to tell you, totally disrespected. I said give us a retraction. They never gave us a retraction and I, frankly, went on to other things. Go ahead.
Reporter: Mr. President, very simply, you said you had a biggest electoral votes since Ronald Reagan. President Obama got 365, president Obama 332 and George W. Bush—
Trump: I was given that information. I don't know. We had a very, very big margin.
Reporter: Why should Americans trust you when you say information they received is fake when you're providing—
Trump: Actually, I've seen that information around, but it was a very substantial victory. Do you agree with that?
Reporter: You're the president.
Trump: Okay, thank you. Good answer. Yes?
Reporter: President, thank you so much.
Reporter: Can you tell us in determining Michael Flynn did no wrongdoing in your mind, what evidence was weighed? Did you ask for transcripts of the telephone intercepts—(inaudible)—aggressively pursue the sources who leaked.
Trump: We are.
Reporter: We've also heard about a review of the intelligence community by Stephen Feinberg. What can you tell us.
Trump: We now have Dan Coates hopefully soon, Mike Pompeo and James Comey, and they're in position, so I hope we'll be able to straighten it out without using anybody else. The gentleman you mentioned is a very talented, successful man, and he's offers offered his services and it's something we may take advantage of. But I don't think we'll need that at all because of the fact I think we'll be able to straighten it out easily on its own. As far as the general is concerned, when I first heard about it, I said, huh, that doesn't sound wrong. My counsel came, Don McGahn, white house counsel, and he told me, and I asked him, and he can speak very well for himself, he said he doesn't think anything is wrong. It was really what happened after that but he doesn't think anything was done wrong. I didn't either. To me, he was doing the job. The information was provided by -- who I don't know -- Sally Yates, and I was a little surprised because I said, doesn't sound like he did anything wrong there, but he did something wrong with respect to the vice president, and I thought that was not acceptable as far as the actual making the call, in fact I've read various articles. It turned out he was just doing his job. And by the way, with all of that being said, I do think he's a fine man. Yes, John?
Reporter: What will you do on the leaks? You've said twice today --
Trump: We're looking at them very, very seriously. I've gone to all of the folks in charge of the various agencies, and where I've actually called the justice department to look into the leaks, those are criminal leaks. They're put out by people either in agencies -- I think you will see it stopping because now we have our people and, you know, again, we don't have our people in because we can't get them approved by the Senate. We just had Jeff Sessions approved, just as an example. So we are looking into that very seriously. It's a criminal act. You know what I say, when I was called out on Mexico, I was shocked, because all this equipment, all this incredible phone equipment. When I was called out on Mexico, I was -- honestly, I was really, really surprised. But I said, you know it doesn't make sense, that won't happen. But it wasn't that important a call, it was fine, I could show it to the world, he could show it to the world the president who is a very fine man, by the way. Same thing with Australia. I said, that was terrible it was leaked. But what happens when I'm dealing with the problems in North Korea and the Middle East? Are you folks going to be reporting all that very, very confidential information, very important, very -- you know, at the highest level? Are you going to be reporting about that, too? So I don't want classified information getting out into the public in a way that was almost a test. So I'm dealing with Mexico, I'm dealing with Argentina. We were dealing in this case with Mike Flynn. All this information gets put into The Washington Post and The New York Times, and I'm saying, what's going to happen when I'm dealing on the Middle East? What's going to happen when I'm dealing with really, really important subjects like North Korea? We've got to stop it. That's why it's a criminal penalty. Yes, John?
Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to get you to clarify a very important point. Can you say definitively nobody on your campaign had any contacts with the Russians during the campaign, and on the leaks, is it fake news or real leaks?
Trump: Well, the leaks are real. You're the one who wrote about them and reported them. The leaks are real. You know what they said, you saw it. The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake. So one thing that I felt it was very important to do, and I hope we can correct it, because there is nobody I have respect for -- well, maybe a little bit -- but than good reporters. It's very important to me and especially in this position. Very important. I don't mind a bad story. I can handle a bad story better than anybody as long as it's true. You know, over the course of time, I'll make mistakes and, you'll write, badly, and I'm OK with that, but I'm not OK when it is fake. I mean, I watch CNN. It's so much anger and hatred and just the hatred -- I don't watch it anymore because it's very good -- he's saying no. It's OK Jim, you will have your chance. But I watch others, too. You're not the only one, so don't feel badly. But I think it should be straight. I think it would be, frankly, more interesting. I know how good everybody's ratings are right now, but I think they would actually be better. People -- I mean, you have a lower approval rate than congress. I think that's right. I don't know, Peter, is that one right? Because, you know, I think they have lower -- I heard lower than congress. But, honestly, the public would appreciate it I would appreciate it -- again, I don't mind bad stories when it's true, but we have an administration where the Democrats are making it very difficult. I think we're setting a record or close to a record in the time of approval of a cabinet. The numbers are crazy when I'm looking. Some of them were approved immediately, but we still have a lot of people we're waiting for. That's all they're doing is delaying. You look at Schumer and the mess he's got over there and they have nothing going. The only thing they can do is delay. I think they would be better served by approving and making sure they're happy and everybody is good. Sometimes, I know President Obama lost three or four and you lose them on the way and that's OK, that's fine, but I think they would be much better served, John, if they just went through the process quickly. This is pure delay tactics, and they say it and everybody understands it. Go ahead.
Reporter: Can you definitely say --
Trump: I have nothing to do with it. I have nothing to do with Russia. I have no deals there. When Wikileaks comes out, which I have nothing to do with, they're giving classified information. They're giving information about Hillary cheating on the debates. No one mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates. Seriously, can you imagine if I received the questions? It would be the electric chair, OK? He should be put in the electric chair. You would even call for the reinstitution to have the death to have -- reinstitution of the death penalty. Maybe not you, John.
Reporter: Did you direct Mike Flynn to discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador?
Trump: No, I didn't.
Trump: Excuse me.
Trump: No, I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence, very simple. Mike was doing his job, calling countries and his counterparts, so it certainly would have been OK with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn't doing it. I didn't direct him but I would have directed him because that's his job, and it came out that way. And in all fairness, I watched Dr. Charles the other night saying he was doing his job. I agreed with him. Since then I've watched other people say that. No, I didn't direct him but I would have if he didn't do it. Jim?
[Editor's note: This is CNN's Jim Acosta.]
Jim Acosta: Thank you very much and just for the record, we don't hate. I don't hate you.
Trump: I don't hate you. Ask Jeff Zucker how he got his job.
Jim Acosta: If I may follow up on some of the questions that have been asked here.
Trump: Well, not too many. You do have other people and your ratings aren't as good as some of the other people who are rate waiting
Jim Acosta: They're pretty good now, actually.
Trump: OK, go ahead.
Jim Acosta: You said earlier Wikileaks was revealing information about the Hillary campaign during the election cycle. You welcomed that. You said you loved Wikileaks. At another campaign press conference. You called on the Russians to find the missing 30,000 e-mails.
Trump: She was actually missing 33- and that got extended. But I did say 30 but it was actually higher.
Jim Acosta: If I may ask you sir, it sounds as though you do not have much credibility here when it comes to leaking if that is something that you encouraged the campaign --
Trump: Good question. Ready --
Jim Acosta: I'm asking a follow-up --
Trump: Do you mind?
Jim Acosta: Yes, sir.
Trump: So in one case you're talking about highly classified information. In the other case you're talking about John Podesta saying bad things about the -- I will say if John Podesta said that about me and he was working for me I would have fired him so fast your head would have spun. He said terrible things about her. But it wasn't classified information. In one case you're talking about classified. Regardless, if you look at the RNC, we had a very strong -- at my suggestion and I give Reince Priebus credit for this -- at my suggestion, because I know something about this world, I said I want a very strong defensive mechanism, I don't want to be hacked, and we did that, and you have seen that they tried to hack us and they failed. The DNC did not do that, and, if they did it, they could not have been hacked. But they were hacked and terrible things came in. And, you know, the only thing I do think is unfair is some of the things were so -- when I heard some of those things -- I picked up the papers the next morning and I go, oh, this is going to be front page, and it isn't even in the papers. Again, if I had that happen to me, it would be the biggest story in the history of publishing or the head of newspapers. I would have been the headline in every newspaper. I mean, think of it, they gave her the questions to the debate, and she should have reported it herself. Why didn't Hillary Clinton announce that, I'm sorry, but I have been given the questions to a debate or a town hall, and I feel that it's inappropriate, and I want to turn in CNN for not doing a good job?
Jim Acosta: And if I may follow up on that, something Jonathan Karl was asking you about, you said the leaks are real but the news is fake. I guess I don't understand. It seems there is a disconnect there, if the information from the leaks is real, then how can the stories be fake?
Trump: Well, the reporting is fake. Jim, the public read newspapers, see television, they watch, they don't know if it's true or false because they're not involved. I'm involved. I have been involved with this stuff all my life, but I'm involved, so I know when you're telling the truth and when you're not. I just see many, many untruthful things. And I tell you what else I see, I see tone, you know, the word tone. The tone is such hatred. I'm really not a bad person, by the way. The tone is such -- I do get good ratings, you have to admit that. The tone is such hatred. I watched this morning a couple of the networks, and I have to say, Fox and Friends in the morning, they're very honorable people, not because they're good, because they hit me, also, when I do something wrong, but they have the most honest morning show. That's all I can say. It's the most honest. But -- it's the most honest. But the tone, Jim. If you look, the hatred. I mean, sometimes somebody gets --
Jim Acosta: They don't hate you, sir.
Trump: Well, you look at your show that goes on at 10:00 in the evening. You just take a look at that show, that is a constant hit. The panel is almost always exclusive anti-Trump. The good news is he doesn't have good ratings, but the panel is almost exclusive anti-Trump, and the hatred and venom coming from his mouth. The hatred coming from other people on your network. Now, I will say this -- I watch it, I see it, I'm amazed by it, and I just think you would be a lot better off, I honestly do -- the public gets it. When I go to rallies, they turn around and start screaming at CNN, they want to show their placards at CNN. I think you would do much better by being different. But just take a look at some of your shows in the morning and the evening. If a guest comes out and says something positive about me, it's brutal. Now, they'll take this news conference -- I'm actually having a very good time, OK -- but they'll take this news conference -- don't forget, that's the way I won't remember, I gave you a news conference every time I made a speech which was every day.
Jim Acosta: [Inaudible]
Trump: No, I won by news conferences and speeches. I certainly didn't win by people listening to you people, that's for sure. But I'm having a good time. Tomorrow, they will say, Donald Trump rants and raves at the press. I'm not ranting and raving. You're dishonest people. I'm having a good time doing it. But the headlines tomorrow will be Donald Trump rants and raves. I'm not ranting and raving.
Jim Acosta: One more follow up --
Trump: Should I let him have --
Trump: Peter, should I let him have a little bit more?
Reporter: Just because --
Trump: Sit down.
Jim Acosta: Just because the attack of fake news and attacking our network, I want to ask you --
Trump: I'm changing it from fake news to very fake news. ( Laughter ) No, go ahead.
Jim Acosta: Real news, Mr. President. Real news.
Trump: And you're not related to our new --
Jim Acosta: I'm not related, no, sir. I do like the sound of Acosta.
Trump: I looked at that name and I said, wait a minute, is there any relation there?
Jim Acosta: I'm sure you checked that out.
Trump: I checked it. They said, no, sir. I said, do me a favor and go back and check the family tree.
Jim Acosta: Aren't you concerned you're undermining the people eats faith in the first amendment, the freedom of the press in the country when you call stories you don't like fake news? Why not just say it's a story I don't like?
Trump: I do that.
Jim Acosta: When you say fake news you undermine confidence in our news media.
Trump: You're right about that, except this. I know when I should get good and when I should get bad. Sometimes I'll say, wow, that's going be a great story, and I get killed. I know what's good and bad. I would be a pretty good reporter. Not as good as you. But I know what's good and bad. And when they change it and make it really bad, something sometimes something that should be very positive they will make OK, they'll even make it negative. So I understand it. So because I'm there, I know what was said, who was saying it, I'm there. So it's very important to me, look, I want to see an honest press. When I started off today by saying it's so important to the public the to get an honest press. The public doesn't believe you people anymore. Maybe I had something to do with that, I don't know. But they don't believe you. If you were straight and really told it like it is, as Howard Cosell used to say, right? Of course, you had questions, also, but if you were straight, I would be your biggest booster, your biggest fan in the world, including bad stories about me. But if you go, as an example, CNN, I mean, it's story after story after story is bad. I won. I won. And the other thing, chaos. There is zero chaos, we are running -- this is a fine-tuned machine. And Reince is doing a good job but half his job is putting out lies by the press. I said to him yesterday -- this whole Russia scam you're building so you don't talk about the real judgment which is illegal leaks -- but I watched him yesterday working so hard to try and get that story proper and I'm saying, here's my chief of staff, a really good guy, did a phenomenal job at the RNC, we won the election, won the presidency, got some senators, all over the country you take a look, he's done a great job, and I said to myself, you know, you take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. They're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame? Because he'd rather be working on healthcare, he'd rather be working on tax reform, Jim. I mean that, I would be your biggest fan in the world if you treated me right. I understand there is a certain bias, by Jeff or somebody, for whatever reason, and I understand that, but you've got to be at least a little bit fair, and that's the way the public sees it. They see it. They see it's not fair. You take a look at some of your shows and you see the bias and the hatred, and the public is smart, they understand it. Go ahead.
Reporter: [audible] for those who believe there is something do it, is there anything that you have learned over the last few weeks that you might be able to reveal that might ease their concerns that this isn't fake news and second
Trump: I think they don't believe it. I don't think the public believes it. That's why the Rasmussen Poll sends me through the roof. I don't think they believe it. I guess one of the reasons I'm here today to tell you, the whole Russian thing, it's a ruse. It's a ruse. And by the way, it would be great if we could get along with Russia, just so you understand that. Tomorrow you will say Donald Trump wants to get along with Russia, this is terrible! It's not terrible. It's good.
We had Hillary Clinton try and do a reset. We had Hillary Clinton give Russia 20% of the uranium in our country. You know what uranium is, right? The thing called nuclear weapons and other things and lots of things are done with uranium including some bad things. Nobody talks about that. I didn't do anything for Russia. I've done nothing for Russia. Hillary Clinton gave them 20% of our uranium. Hillary Clinton did a reset, remember with the stupid plastic button that made us all look like a bunch of jerks here? Take a look. He looked at her with what the hell is he doing with that cheap plastic button? Hillary Clinton, that was a reset. Remember, reset? If I do that, oh, I'm a bad guy. If we could get along with Russia, that's a positive thing. We have a very talented man, Rex Tillerson, who is going to be meeting with them shortly. I told him, politically it's probably not a good thing for me. The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that's 30 miles offshore right out of the water. Everyone in this country will say, oh, that's so great. That's not great. That's not great. I would love to be able to get along with Russia. Now, you've had a lot of presidents that haven't take that tack. Look where we are now. Look where we are now. So, if I can -- now, I love to negotiate things. I do it really well and all that stuff, but it's possible I I won't be able to get along with -- maybe it is. But I just want to tell you the false reporting by the media, by you people, the false, horrible, fake reporting makes it much harder to make a deal with Russia, and probably Putin said, you know, he's sitting behind his desk a and he's saying, you know, I see what's going on in the United States, I follow it closely, it's going to be impossible for President Trump to ever get along with Russia because of all the pressure he's got with this fake story, OK? And that's a shame. Because if we could get along with Russia and, by the way, China and Japan and everyone, if we could get along, it would be a positive thing, not a negative thing.
Reporter: Mr. President --
Trump: Tax reform should happen rather quickly. We're going Obamacare in the final stages, should be submitting the initial plan in March, early March, I would say, and we have to, as you know, statutorily and for reasons of budget, we have to go first -- it's not like -- frankly, the tax would be easier, in my opinion, but, for statutory reasons and budgetary reasons, we have to submit the health care sooner, so we'll be submitting healthcare sometime in early March, mid March, and after that, we're going to come up, and we're doing very well on tax reform.
Reporter: Mr. President you mentioned Russia. Let's talk about serious issues that have come up in the last week.
Reporter: Spy vessel off the coast in United States.
Trump: Not good.
Reporter: Ballistic missile test.
Trump: Not good.
Reporter: And a Russian plane buzzed the U.S.
Trump: Not good. I listened -- excuse me. When did it happen? It happened when, if you were Putin right now, you would say, hey, we're back to the old games with the United States. There's no way Trump can ever do a deal with us because the -- you've got to understand, if I was just brutal on Russia right now, just brutal, you would say, oh, isn't that wonderful? But I know you well enough. Then you would say, oh, he was too tough, he shouldn't have done that. Look --
Reporter: I'm just trying to find out your orientation to --
Trump: Excuse me. All of those things that you mentioned are very recent because probably Putin assumes he's not going to be able to make a deal with me because it's politically not popular for me to make a deal. So Hillary Clinton tries to reset, it failed. They all tried. But I'm different than those people. Go ahead.
Reporter: How you interpreting those moves and what do you intend to do by them?
Trump: Just what I said.
Reporter: Have you given Rex Tillerson any advice or counsel on how to deal?
Trump: I have, and I'm so beautifully represented, so honored the Senate approved them. He's going to be fantastic.
Reporter: Is Putin testing you, do you believe, sir?
Trump: No, I don't think so. I think Putin probably assumes he can't make a deal with me anymore because politically it would be unpopular for a politician to be making a deal. I can't believe I'm saying I'm a politician but I guess that's what I am now. Because it would be easier to be tough on Russian than make a deal. I don't know if we'll make a deal. We might, might not. But it would be easier for me -- the tougher I am on Russia, the better. I want to do the right thing for the American people. I want to do the right thing for the world. If Russia and the United States actually got together and got along, don't forget, we're very powerful nuclear country and so are they. There's no upside. We're very powerful nuclear country. I've been briefed, I can tell you one thing about briefing that we're allowed to say, anybody that read the most basic book can say it, nuclear holocaust would be like no other. They are very powerful nuclear country, so are we. If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that's a good thing, not a bad thing.
Reporter: When you say they're not good do you mean that -- I read off the three things --
Trump: But they happened
Reporter: Do they damage the relationship.
Trump: They all happened recently. I understand what they're doing. Because they're doing the same thing. Now, again, maybe I'm not going to be able to do a deal but at least I will have tried. I don't, does anybody really think that Hillary Clinton would be tougher on Russia than Donald Trump? Does anybody in this room really believe that? OK. But I tell you one thing, she tried to make a deal. She had the reset. She gave all that valuable uranium away, she did other things away. They say I'm close to Russia. Hillary Clinton gave away 20% of the uranium. She's close to Russia. You know what I gave to Russia? You know what I gave?
Reporter: There will nobody responds to these particular prove occasions?
Trump: I'm not going to tell you anything about what response. I don't talk about military response. I don't say I'm going into Mosul in four months. We're going to attack Mosul in four months. Next week, we are going to attack. In the meantime Mosul is very difficult. You know why? Because I don't talk about military -- and I don't talk about certain things. You're going to be surprised hear that. My whole campaign I say that. I don't have to tell you, I don't want to be one of these guys that say, yes, here is what we're going to do. I don't have to do that.
Reporter: There will be a response?
Trump: Wait a minute. I don't have to tell what you I'm going to do in North Korea. And I don't have to tell you that I'm going to do with Iran. You know why? Because they shouldn't know. Eventually you guys are going to get tired of asking that question. So when you ask me what am I going to do with the ship, the Russian ship as an example? I'm not going to tell you. But hopefully I won't have to do anything. But I'm not going to tell you. OK?
[He calls on another reporter.]
Reporter: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
Trump: Where are you from?
Trump: Here's another beauty.
Reporter: That's a good line. Impartial, free and fair.
Trump: Sure just like CNN, right?
Reporter: All of a sudden, we can banter back and forth. On the travel ban, Would you accept that that was a good example of the smooth running of government?
Trump: I do. Let me tell you --
Trump: Wait, I know who you are, just wait. Let me tell you about the travel ban. We had a very smooth roll out of the travel ban. We had a bad court. Got a bad decision, had a court that's been overturned I may be wrong but I think it's 80% of the time. A lot. We had a bad decision we're going to keep going with that. We're going to put in a new executive order next week sometime. But we had a bad decision. That was the only thing. You have Delta with a massive problem with their computer system at the airports. You had some people that were put out there, very nice buses put out at various locations. Despite that, only problem that we had, we had a bad court. We had a court that gave us what I consider to be with great respect a very bad decision. Very bad for the safety and security of our country. The roll out was perfect. Now, what I wanted to do was do the exact same executive order but set one thing, I said this to my people. Give them a one-month period of time, General Kelly, now secretary compellingly, said if you do that, all these people will come in in a month. The bad ones. You do agree there are bad people out there, right? Not everybody that's like you. There's some bad people out there. So, Kelly said, you want do that and he was right. As soon as he said it, wow, never thought of it. How about one week? No good. You got to do it immediately because if you do it immediately they don't have time to come in. Now nobody ever reports that. But that's why we did it quickly. Now if I would have done it a month, the problem is, we would have wasted a lot of time. Maybe a lot of lives because a lot of bad people would have come into our country. Now in the meantime, we're vetting very, very strongly. Very, very strongly. But we need help and we need help getting that executive order passed.
Reporter: But if the -- go ahead.
Reporter: I just hoping we could get yes or no answer involving Russia. Can you say whether you are aware whether anyone who advised your campaign had contact with Russia during the course of the election?
Trump: I told you general Flynn obviously was dealing so that's one person. As he should have been.
Reporter: During the election?
Trump: Nobody that I know of.
Reporter: Not aware of any contact during the course of the election.
Trump: How many times do I have to answer this question … But Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven't made a phone call to Russia in years. Don't speak to people from Russia. Not that I wouldn't, I just have nobody to speak to. I spoke to Putin twice, he called me on the election, I told you this. He called me on the inauguration, a few days ago. We had a very good talk. Especially the second one, lasted for pretty long period of time. I'm sure you probably get it because it was classified so I'm sure everybody in this room perhaps has it? We have very, very good talk. I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does. Now, Manafort has totally denied it. Now people knew he was a consultant over in that part of the world for awhile, but not for Russia. I think he repped Ukraine or people that -- whoever. But people knew that. Everybody knew that.
Reporter: In the capacity as your campaign manager was he in touch with Russian officials?
Trump: You know what, he said, no. I can only tell you -- now, he was replaced long before the election, you know that, right? He was replaced long before the election. When all of this stuff started coming out it came out during the election, Paul Manafort who is a good man, also, by the way, Paul was replaced long before the election took place. He's only there for a short period of time. How much long should we stay here folks? Five more minutes is that OK? Five? Wait, let's see -- I want to find a friendly reporter. Are you a friendly reporter? Watch out -- watch how friendly he is. Go ahead.
Reporter: So first of all my name is Jake Turx, from the [Jewish Orthodox] Ami Magazine. Despite what some of my colleagues may have been reporting. I haven't seen anyone anybody in my community [say you've been ant-Semitic]. We understand that you have Jewish grandchildren … However what we are concerned about what we haven't really heard you address is, an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it. There's been a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people who are committing anti-Semitic acts or are threatening to --
Trump: You see, he said he was going to a very simple, easy question. And it's not. It's not. Not a fair question. Sit down. I understand the rest of your question. So, here's the story, folks, number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you have ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism. The least racist person, in fact we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican -- quiet! You see he was lying that he he was going to ask a very straight simple question, you know, welcome to the world of the media. But let me just tell you something. That I hate the charge, I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me, you heard the prime minister, you heard Netanyahu yesterday, did you hear him? He said, I have known Donald Trump for a long time and then he said, I get it. You should take that instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question. Go ahead.
Reporter: Thank you, Lisa from the --
Trump: Just shows you about the press, built that's the way the press is.
Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President. Lisa Desjardins from PBS "Newshour." On national security and immigration can you give us more details on the the executive order you plan for next week even broad outline, will it be focused on certain countries, in addition, on the DACA program for immigration, what is your plan? Do you plan to continue that program or to end it?
Trump: We're going to show great heart. DACA is a very, very difficult subjects, one of the most difficult. You have these incredible kids in many cases, not in all cases, in some of the cases they are gang members and drug dealers, too. But you have some absolutely incredible kids, I would say mostly. They were brought here in such a way, it's a very, very tough subject. We are going to deal with DACA with heart. I have to deal with politicians, don't forget, I have to convince them what I'm saying is right. And I appreciate your understanding on that. But the DACA situation is a very, very difficult thing for me because, I love these kids. I love kids. I have kids and grandkids. And I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do. You know, the law is rough. I'm not talking about new laws, the existing law is very rough. It's very, very rough. As far as the new order, the new order is going to be very much tailored to the -- what I consider to be a very bad decision but we can tailor the order to that decision and get just about everything, in some ways more. But we're tailoring it now to the decision. Some of the best lawyers in the country working on it. And the new executive order is being tailored to the decision we got down from the court, OK?
Reporter: [Melania Trump] does a lot of great work for the country. Can you tell us a little bit about what Melania Trump does for the country [inaudible]?
Trump: Now that's what I call a nice question. That is very -- who are you with?
Trump: Good, I'm going to start watching. Thank you very much. Melania is terrific. She was here last night. We had dinner with Senator Rubio and his wife works is lovely. We had a really good discussion about Cuba because we have very similar views on Cuba. Cuba was very good to me in the Florida election as you know, the Cuban people, the Americans. I think that Melania will be outstanding. She just opened up the visitor center, in other words touring of the White House. She, like others that she's working with, feel very, very strongly about women's issues, women's difficulties. Very, very strongly. She's a very, very strong advocate. I think she's a great representative for this country. Funny thing happens, she gets so unfairly -- the things they say, I have known her for a long time, she was a very successful person, a very successful model. She did really well. She would go home at night and didn't even want to go out with people. She was a very private person. She was always the highest quality that you'll ever find and the things they say, I've known her for a long time. The things they say are so unfair. Actually been apologized to by various, because they realized -- I just tell think, she's going to be a fantastic first lady. She's going to be a tremendous representative of women and of the people. And helping her and working her will be Ivanka who is a fabulous person and fabulous, fabulous woman. They're not doing this for money. They're not doing this for pay. They're doing this because they feel it, both of them. And Melania goes back and forth, after Barron finishes school, it's hard to take a child out of school with a few months left, she and Barron will be moving over to the White House. Thank you, a very nice question. Go ahead. Yes. It's going to be a bad question, but that's OK. Because I enjoy watching you on television, go ahead.
Reporter: Thank you so much. Mr. President, I need to find out from you, you said something as it relates to inner cities, that was one of your platforms during your campaign.
Trump: Fix the inner cities.
Reporter: What will be that fix and your urban agenda as well as your HBCU [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] executive order that is coming out this afternoon? Wasn't bad, was it?
Trump: That was very professional, very good. We'll announce the order in a little while; I'd like to have the order speak for itself. It will be very good for everybody concerned we'll talk to you about that after we do the announcement. As far as inner cities, I was very strong on the inner cities during the campaign, I think it's probably got me much higher percentage of the African American vote than lot of people thought I was going to get. We did much higher than people thought I was going to get. I was honored by that. Including the Hispanic vote which was also much higher and by the way, if I might add, including women's vote which was much higher than people thought I was going to get. We are going to be working very hard on the inner cities having to do with education, having to do with crime. We're going to try and fix as quickly as possible, you know it takes a long time, it's taken a hundred years or more for some of these places to evolve and they evolved many of them very badly, but we're going to work very hard on health and health care. Very, very hard on education and also we're going to be working in a stringent way and very good way on crime. You go to some of these inner-city places and it's so sad when you look at the crime. I've seen this, I sort of witnessed it, in two cases I have actually witnessed it. They lock themselves into apartments, petrified to even leave in the middle of the day. We can't let that happen. We're going to be very, very strong, it's a great question and it's a very difficult situation because it's been many, many years, it's been festering for many years, but we have places in this country that we have to fix. We have to help African American people that, for the most part, are stuck there, Hispanic American people. We have Hispanic-American people that are in the inner cities and they are living in hell. You look at the numbers in Chicago, there are two Chicagos as you know. There's one Chicago that's credible, luxurious and all and safe. There's another Chicago that's worse than almost any of the places in the Middle East that we talk about and that you talk about every night on the newscasts. We're going to do a lot of work on the inner cities, I have great people lined up to help.
Trump: When you say the inner cities are you going to include the CBC [Congressional Black Caucus] in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner-city agenda, as well as include the congressional black caucus --
Trump: I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?
[Editor's note: The reporter asking the question is African American.]
Reporter: No, no, I can't set up the meeting. I'm just a reporter -- I'm sure --
Trump: Are they friends of yours? Let's go, set up a meeting I would love to meet with the Black Caucus, it's great, the Congressional Black Caucus, I think it's great. I actually thought I had a meeting with congressman Cummings and he was all excited. Then he said, I can't move, it might be bad for me politically. I was all set. We called him and called him. He was all set. I spoke to him on the phone, very nice guy.
Reporter: I hear he wanted that meeting with you as well.
Trump: But we called, called, called, can't make a meeting with him. Every day I walked in I said, I would like to meet with him. Because I do want to -- but he probably was told by Schumer or somebody like that some some other light weight, he was probably told -- he was probably told, don't meet with Trump. It's bad politics. And that's part of the problem in this country. OK, one more. OK, one more. One question. Two we can't handle. This room can't handle two. Give me the better of your two.
Reporter: I want to follow up with my colleagues question on anti-Semitism. It's not about your personality or your beliefs, we're talking about a rise in anti-Semitism by supporters in your name.
Trump: Can I be honest with you? This has to do with racism and horrible things. Some of it written by our opponents, do you understand that? You don't think anybody would do a thing like that. Some of the signs you'll see are not put up by the people that love or like Donald Trump. They are put up by the other side. And you think it's like playing it straight, no? But you have some of those signs and some of that anger is caused by the other side. They will do signs and they will do drawings that are inappropriate. It won't be my people. It will be the people on the other side to anger people like you. OK Go ahead.
Reporter: But you're president now. What are you going to do about it?
Trump: I'm working on it. Look, just so you understand. We had a totally divided country for eight years and long before that, in all fairness to President Obama, long before President Obama, we have had a very divided -- I didn't come along and divide this country. This country was seriously divided. We are going to work on it very hard one of the question that was asked, very good question about inner cities, that's part of it. But we're going to work on education, we're going to work on -- going to stop -- try to stop the crime, great law enforcement officials. We're not going to try to -- we're going to stop crime. But it's very important to me. But this isn't Donald Trump that divided a nation.
We went eight years with President Obama and we went many years before President Obama. We lived in a divided nation. And I am going to try -- I will do everything within my power to fix that. I want to thank everybody very much. It's a great honor to be with you. Thank you. Thank you very much.