THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release August 10, 2017
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP
BEFORE SECURITY BRIEFING
Trump National Golf Club
Bedminster, New Jersey
2:25 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Were having some meetings. I know youre going to be watching a couple of them. We have a lot of people here today, a lot of subjects under discussion, including Venezuela; including, of course, North Korea; and other things that I think were making tremendous headway.
Well be spending quite a bit of time here, and then during the weekend, as you know -- toward the end we go into Manhattan where I have a lot of meetings scheduled in Manhattan.
Q Mr. President, the North Koreans said yesterday that your statement on Tuesday was nonsense -- thats the word that they used. Do you have any response to that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I dont think they mean that, and I think they -- its the first time theyve heard it like they heard it. And, frankly, the people that were questioning that statement, "Was it too tough?" -- maybe it wasnt tough enough. Theyve been doing this to our country for a long time -- for many years. And its about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries.
So, if anything, maybe that statement wasnt tough enough, and were backed 100 percent by our military. Were backed by everybody, and were backed by many other leaders. And I noticed that many senators and others today came out very much in favor of what I said. But, if anything, that statement may not be tough enough.
Q What would be tougher than fire and fury?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, youll see. Youll see.
Q Mr. President, is one of the options being considered a preemptive strike or first strike --
THE PRESIDENT: We dont talk about that. I never do. Im not like the other administration that would say were going into Mosul in four months. I dont talk about it. Well see what happens.
But I can tell you that what theyve been doing and what theyve been getting away with is a tragedy, and it cant be allowed.
Q Mr. President, would you ever consider negotiations under different circumstances?
THE PRESIDENT: Sure. Well always consider negotiations, but theyve been negotiating now for 25 years. Look at Clinton. He folded on the negotiations. He was weak and ineffective. You look at what happened with Bush, you look at what happened with Obama. Obama -- he didnt even want to talk about it. But I talk. Its about time -- somebody has to do it. Somebody has to do it.
Q Mr. President, can you talk about your relationship with Senator McConnell?
THE PRESIDENT: I just want him to get repeal and replace done. Ive been hearing repeal and replace now for seven years, but Ive only been doing this for two years. And Ive really only been doing this for six months. But Ive been running, so now its almost two years. And all I hear is repeal and replace, and then I get there and I said, "Where is the bill? I want to sign it" -- first day -- and they dont have it.
And they passed repeal and replace, but they never had a President, frankly, or a Senate that was going to do it. But they never had a President, so it didnt matter. So I say very simply: Where is repeal and replace? Now I want tax reform and tax cuts. Were going to reduce taxes for the people. We pay more tax than anybody in the world, and were going to reduce taxes.
So I say tax cuts, tax reform, and I want a very big infrastructure bill, where were working on that very hard on that already, and we can do that. And we may even get bipartisan on infrastructure, but we want to have it.
But I said, Mitch, get to work and lets get it done. They should have had this last one done. They lost by one vote. For a thing like that to happen is a disgrace, and, frankly, it shouldnt have happened -- that I can tell you.
Q Should Senator McConnell consider stepping down as Majority Leader? Theres some conservative analysts, including Sean Hannity, who say its time for him to retire.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Ill tell you what, if he doesnt get repeal and replace done, if he doesnt get taxes done -- meaning cuts and reform -- and if he doesnt get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure -- if he doesnt get them done, then you can ask me that question.
Q So what is that, a yes or a no?
THE PRESIDENT: You can ask me the -- that means ask me that question. Lets hope he gets it done.
Q Mr. President, is the opioid crisis an emergency? And if so, why havent you declared it one?
THE PRESIDENT: The opioid crisis is an emergency, and Im saying officially right now: It is an emergency. It's a national emergency. Were going to spend a lot of time, a lot effort, and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.
Q But do you need emergency powers to address it?
THE PRESIDENT: Were going to draw it up and were going to make it a national emergency. It is a serious problem, the likes of which we have never had. You know, when I was growing up they had the LSD and they had certain generations of drugs. Theres never been anything like whats happened to this country over the last four or five years.
And I have to say this, in all fairness, this is a worldwide problem not just a United States problem. This is happening worldwide. But this is a national emergency, and we are drawing documents now to so attest.
Q Mr. President, there's been some mixed messages coming out of your administration on North Korea. Secretary Tillerson seemed to advocate diplomacy. (Inaudible) seemed to advocate --
THE PRESIDENT: There are no mixed messages. There are no mixed messages. I mean, to be honest, General Mattis may have taken it a step beyond what I said. There are no mixed messages. And Rex was just stating the view -- look, heres the view. I said it yesterday. I dont have to say it again. And Ill tell you this: It may be tougher than I said it, not less. It may very well be tougher than I said. Okay?
How about one more?
Q Can you offer any assurance to the American people who are understandably anxious about the situation with North Korea? They see images of these missiles coming up in the air, the threats to Guam, they see your statement about fire and fury. Should they be comfortable that you have this under control?
THE PRESIDENT: The people of this country should be very comfortable. And I will tell you this: If North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack of anybody that we love or we represent, or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous -- Ill tell you why -- and they should be very nervous. Because things will happen to them like they never thought possible. Okay?
Hes been pushing the world around for a long time. And I have great respect for what China and what Russia did and those 15 -- we got 15-0 vote. I have great respect for China and Russia -- what they did on sanctions. I believe that will have an effect. I dont think it will have the kind of effect -- even though we were the ones that got it. And Nikki Halley did a great job. We all did a great job. But I have great respect for what they did, I have great respect for the 15-0, but probably it will not be as effective as a lot of people think it can be, unfortunately.
Q Can China do more?
THE PRESIDENT: I think China can do a lot more, yes. China can. And I think China will do a lot more. Look, we have trade with China. We lose hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. They know how I feel. Its not going to continue like that. But if China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade. A lot differently toward trade.
So we will do, I think -- the people of our country are safe, our allies our safe. And I will tell you this: North Korea better get their act together or theyre going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world. Okay?
Thank you very much. Were going down to the other side, and we were going to take a few more questions. Okay? Thank you.
END 2:32 P.M. EDT
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