February 23, 2017 / 10:56 PM / 3 years ago

Highlights of Reuters interview with Trump

    Feb 23 (Reuters) - Here are some of the highlights of the
Reuters interview with U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday.

    ON HIS DECEMBER TWEET SAYING THE UNITED STATES SHOULD EXPAND
ITS NUCLEAR CAPABILITY
    "We've fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity. And I am
the first one that would like to see ... nobody have nukes, but
we’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a
friendly country, we’re never going to fall behind on nuclear
power. And I did tweet that. It would be wonderful, a dream
would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are
going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack.”

    ON NEW START DEAL WITH RUSSIA
    "It's a one-sided deal like all other deals we make. It’s a
one-sided deal. It gave them things that we should have never
allowed. ... Just another bad deal that the country made,
whether it’s START, whether it’s the Iran deal, which is one of
the bad deals ever made. Our country only made bad deals, we
don’t make good deals. So we’re going to start making good
deals.”

    ON RUSSIA'S DEPLOYMENT OF A CRUISE MISSILE IN VIOLATION OF
ARMS CONTROL TREATY 
    “To me, it’s a big deal ... If I meet (Putin), if and when
we meet, I would bring it up. It’s a big deal. Because it’s a
violation of an agreement that we have.”

    ON CHINESE MILITARY ACTIVITY IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA
    "I know exactly what's going on between China and North
Korea and everybody else. But I don't like talking about
military strategy in newspapers ... I'm not liking it. This
didn't take place under the Trump administration, this took
place under the Obama administration. Many things took place
that should not have been allowed. One of them is the building
of a massive, you know, massive military complex in the middle
of the South China Sea. And don't forget I've only been here for
four weeks. This is something that took place and has been
started three years ago and you were in a much better
negotiating position three years ago. I am not happy about it."

    ON ALLEGED CURRENCY MANIPULATION BY CHINA
    “I think they’re grand champions at manipulation of
currency. So I haven’t held back. We’ll see what happens.”

    ON CHINA HALTING COAL IMPORTS FROM NORTH KOREA
    "Well, we appreciate that. You know, I have a very, very
good, I’ve had very good phone calls with the president,
President Xi, and I’ve had very, very good talks with him, and
the call is a start. But we have a very big problem and a very
dangerous problem for the world with North Korea. ... I think
China has tremendous control over North Korea. Whether they say
so or not is up to them, but they have tremendous control over
North Korea. I think they could solve the problem very easily if
they want to.”

    ON NORTH KOREA'S MISSILE PROGRAM
    “It’s very dangerous and something should have been done
about it years ago. It’s very dangerous and very unacceptable.
... And very unfair to Japan.”

    ON TALK OF ACCELERATING MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM FOR JAPAN AND
SOUTH KOREA
    "There's talks of a lot more than that. We’ll see what
happens. But it’s a very dangerous situation, and China can end
it very quickly in my opinion. ... It’s one of many things that
can be done. Missile defense is one of many things that can be
done.”

    ON WHETHER MEETING WITH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG UN IS A
POSSIBILITY
    “I guess ... I would never say no. It may be very late. It’s
very late in the picture right now. ... We’re very angry at what
he’s done, and frankly this should have been taken care of
during the Obama administration.”

    ON THE BORDER ADJUSTMENT TAX PROMOTED BY REPUBLICANS IN
CONGRESS
    “It could lead to a lot more jobs in the United States. ...
I certainly support a form of tax on the border because
everybody else does. We’re the only country, we’re one of the
very few countries, possibly the only country, that has no
border tax. And that’s not a tax to the consumer, because that’s
going to be a tax to companies and it’s going to be a tax to
other countries much more so than it is to the consumer. That’s
a tax to other countries. And what will happen is, don’t forget
there is no tax if we make our product in the United States. So
I don’t consider it a tax. That’s a tax if companies are buying
their product outside of the United States. But ... if they make
their product in the United States, there is no tax. So what is
going to happen is companies are going to come back here,
they’re going to build their factories and they’re going to
create a lot of jobs and there’s no tax.”

    ON THE TARGET FOR THE CORPORATE TAX RATE
    “We’re going to have a corporate tax cut ... anywhere from
15 to 20 percent (as a target for the corporate tax rate). ...
We're going to have other things that are very good and we’re
going to have a tremendous regulatory cut because the
regulations are piled up on top of each other and you’ll have
many regulations for the same thing within different industries
and it’s out of control. The regulations in this country are out
of control. And it makes it hard for businesses to even open in
the United States. We’re going to get rid of a lot of the
unnecessary regulations.”

    ON TAX REFORM AND OBAMACARE
    "We're going to submit legislation. We’re going to be
working with Congress to do legislation, yes. .... We're
mandated to do the healthcare first. We have to. And that's for
budgetary reasons. So the healthcare will come first. It's
moving along really well. I would say before the middle of
March. ... We have a very, very good healthcare plan which will
give great healthcare to great numbers of people. We have to
also remember, Obamacare is a disaster. It doesn't work. It just
doesn't work. So we have a plan that will be a far better plan
which will cost people less money, which will cost our country
less money also 'cause Obamacare is very expensive for the
country. And we will be submitting sometime during the month of
March. ... It'd be repeal and replace. ... The tax reform comes
immediately thereafter."

    ON THE ECONOMY AND BUDGET DEFICITS
    "The economy, we have close to 100 million people that are
not working. We're going to get the economy revving again
through meetings like I had today with the biggest companies in
the world and the biggest manufacturers in the world, through
tax reform, and through regulatory reform, and it will take a
little period of time, but yeah, we're going to have, I mean, we
had massive deficits under Obama, under President Obama, massive
deficits, and until it gets kicked in, there'll be some deficits
but something which we can very easily handle."

    ON MEXICO AND THE NAFTA TRADE DEAL    
    "We have a $70 billion trade deficit with Mexico, which is
unacceptable. Unacceptable. On top of the $70 billion, many of
our jobs and companies have fled to Mexico, and that, and they
sell their product back in the United States. It's just not
acceptable. So, hopefully, we'll be able to work something out
with Mexico, we'll see. Maybe we will, maybe we won't. ... We
have the right to do a lot of things that I haven't done yet. We
have a lot of rights that people don't know about and they never
did know about until I came along."

    ON THE TWO-STATE SOLUTION IN ISRAEL
    "I like the concept of the two-state solution. People have
been talking about it for so many years now, it so far hasn’t
worked. But I am satisfied with whatever makes both parties
happy."
  
    ON SUPPORTING THE EUROPEAN UNION AS A GOVERNING BODY?
   “I do, sure. I have very good relations with the EU. But I
thought that the UK would pull out of Brexit and I was right.
...  But the EU, I’m totally in favor of it. I think it’s
wonderful, if they’re happy. If they’re happy – I’m in favor of
it.”
   
    ON NATO MEMBERS PAYING 2 PCT OF GDP FOR THEIR OWN DEFENSE
    "Remember the first time I talked about NATO, I said they
all owe money? The first time anyone ever asked me a question
about NATO ... I said two things: It’s obsolete because it
doesn’t cover terrorism. They have now opened up a division to
cover terrorism, solely because of me. And experts on NATO that
do nothing but study it said, 'You know, Trump is right.' And I
knew nothing about NATO, I mean, I knew very little about NATO.
... But you watch what’s going to happen. They’re paying.
They’re paying big league. ... They owe a lot of money. Many
countries owe a lot money. Number one, 2 percent is a low
number, and number two, only five countries are paid up.”

 (Compiled by Kieran Murray; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
  
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