tv White House Briefing on Presidents Davos Trip CSPAN January 23, 2018 10:30pm-11:01pm EST
donald there will not be a trade war. there will only be stock increases for the companies, which you saw today, and when you look at the washing machine companies, that is what happened today. you will have people getting jobs, and we will make our own items again. thank you. ask thank you. -- >> thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: president trump will be in davos, switzerland, and we have an update during the trip. the white during house briefing. this is just under 30 minutes. good to see everyone. thank you, sarah.
it is great to be here today with general mcmaster, my cohort into briefing you guys. , as sarah said we are going to the world economic forum to share president trump's economic america is open for business. we want the world to invest in america increase jobs for hard-working americans. president trump's economic agenda has unleashed the u.s. economy. his policies have led to a rising stock market, low unemployment and strong gdp growth. the administration's commitment to deregulation and archive thing of copperheads of tax reform have helped level be playing field for our businesses and workers. as a direct result president trump's tax reform and tax cuts, over companies have announced 100 policies that will grow our economy. this story will only get better
as we continue to invest and rebuild america's infrastructure. at the world economic forum we will reiterate america's commitment to domestic and global economic growth and prosperity, strengthen close ties with other world leaders and catalyze international , business support for the president's agenda. president trump will reiterate that a prosperous america benefits the world. when the united states grows, so does the world. the president will continue to promote fair economic competition and will make it clear that there cannot be free and open trade if countries are not held accountable to the rules. as the president has said repeatedly, america and his administration supports free and open trade, but it needs to be fair and reciprocal. we will now share a little bit about the present schedule and the economic agenda, and then, i will hand it over to general mcmaster to discuss our security priorities at the world economic forum and the president's meeting with world leaders. the president to parts tomorrow evening and arrives thursday
morning local time in switzerland. on thursday, he will have a variety of meetings with world leaders and a quick meeting with the founder of the world economic forum. on thursday night the world , economic forum will host a reception with world leaders to honor the president. later on that night, the president will host a small dinner with select european companies to share our economic success story and to encourage them to continue to invest in america. the attendees run companies that have sizable footprints in the united states. they have invested in our economy, and we want them to continue to do so and encourage others to join them. the president looks forward to hearing from these ceo's and how his administration can help them continue to grow their businesses in the united states. on he will have more meetings friday, with world leaders, and then he will deliver his speech which will emphasize everything we have talked about today.
now, i will hand it over to general mcmaster to talk about the meeting. general mcmaster: good afternoon, everyone. the president will use this travel to the world economic forum to reiterate his commitment to be true we aseficial partnerships, and gary said, to fair and reciprocal economic systems. as the president has repeatedly said and has made clear in the national security strategy. economic security is national security. the president will also use his to discuss other national security issues including the international effort to denuclearize the korean peninsula, our coalition to defeat isis, our efforts to counter iran's destructive agenda to perpetuate violence across the greater middle east, as well as iran's ballistic missile activity and the fundamental flaws in the iran nuclear deal. on thursday, the president will meet with prime minister may of the united kingdom to discuss
the conflict in syria, iran's destabilizing behavior, ways to discuss shortcomings in that deal, and our shared goal of denuclearizing the korean peninsula. he will also meet with prime minister netanyahu of israel in efforts to reduce i ran --iran's influence in the middle east. on friday, the president will meet with the president of rwanda, who is currently the chairman of the african union to reaffirm the u.s. africa relationship and discuss shared priorities, including trade and security. he will also meet with the president of switzerland, the host nation for the world economic forum, to discuss bilateral investment, economic growth, and innovation. in all of his meetings, the president hopes to increase economic opportunities for the american people, to build partnerships to address common security goals, and to find new ways of reforming international and regional organizations to
make them more effective and more accountable. the president looks forward to a very productive trip on behalf of the american people. thank you. mr. cohn: he outranks me, so he said i have to go first. go ahead. first question, in terms of economic growth, we just had a litany of businesses that are going to give back to the american people. isn't it unfair to give the president credit for that? they already had that money in their coffers. right customer i mean are you , saying they would have not turned it lose otherwise? and then i have a question for him. mr. cohn: i would disagree with your premise completely. if they had their money in her coffers they could have done it the year before, the year before, the year before. it seems like -- not seems like,
since we passed the tax reform plan all these announcements have been made. if you look specifically at the words in most of these press releases, all of them are talking about the regulatory relief, which we saw on the jpmorgan announcement, and we have seen the tax plan mentioned directly, that companies now feel more comfortable about the economic position they are in, they feel better about the u.s. economy, they feel more confident about the earnings and , they feel the lower tax rate allows them to share more of their potential earnings with their employees. so i think there is a 100% correlation between what we have seen these almost close to 200 companies do, and what we have done from a regulatory standpoint and a tax policy standpoint. >> my follow-up question, you mentioned, general mcmaster north korea, they have said they , are in talks with south korea. has the president's policy led to where we are now, and how big a threat is north korea now compared to even three weeks ago? gerald mcmaster: well as
, president mood has said, it is the president's ability to rally international support behind the campaign of maximum pressure that has made a significant difference. what you see that is fundamentally different from a year ago is the common commitment across all nations that denuclearization is the only acceptable outcome on the peninsula. second, that the international community and china in particular does have a great deal of coercive economic power to be able to bring to bear this. and the third element is that everyone recognizes that we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. really, to fall for what in the past has been the north korea employee to create the illusion of success in talks and use that to lock in the status quo as the new normal while they continue to pursue these programs with undiminished vigor. so the danger is growing. and i think it is important for all of us to recognize the north korean regime for what it is,
and how great a threat this is to the world. mr. cohn: one other thing, the our wages is obviously coming out of future warnings and stock grants are obviously them making investments in their future. we will go to you. yes. >> a question for the general. tothe president is going davos to present his america first agenda. how can one swear in america first agenda with goals of increasing trade? the president has spoken of many deals in which the u.s. is being ripped off and other countries are laughing at us. does he believe that all of these negotiations and agreements are inherently zero-sum? and that for america to come first, do other countries have
to take a backseat, or can an agreement be truly win-win? cohn: the president believes in win-win. america first is not america alone. i said in our remarks, when we grow, the world grows. we are part of a world economy , and the president believes that. he is going to talk to world leaders to make sure we all respect each other, abide by the laws, we all have free and fair reciprocal trade. if we live in a world where there are not artificial barriers we will all grow and , help each other grow. the president truly believes that. he went to the g-7, g20, nato, aipac, and he went to the u.s. he has talked about this consistently, and this is exactly what the president is going to talk about at the world economic forum. >> for the general also.
general mcmaster, there were reports in the news recently that authoritarian leaders in particular southeast asia are using one of the president's favorite phrases, fake news, to describe reporting that is not flattering and reflects poorly on their country, despite being true. president trump has made a point of not publicly talking about things like human rights and freedom of speech, freedom of expression. is he concerned at all -- or are you concerned -- that the president's rhetoric combined with his silence on these issues is creating a climate where authoritarian leaders feel they have free reign to do what they
want and the united states will not speak up publicly? gen. mcmaster: it's just not true. it's not accurate that the president has not spoken loudly, both in words and in deeds against those who violate human rights. so i would ask you to go to his speech he delivered in warsaw where he talked about the , importance of individual rights and rule of law. i would say go to the speech in riyadh where he said all nations of the world have to come together to defeat this wicked ideology that perpetuates terrorism. i would say look at his u.n. general assembly speech where he to find a sovereignty as strong sovereign nations who respect the sovereignty of the citizens and the sovereignty of their neighbors. look at his deeds. look at his deeds in confronting the most brutal dictatorial regime in the world, north korea. how could that not be a human rights issue? how about in syria, when the syrian regime committed mass murder against its own people with the most heinous weapons on
earth? the president struck at that regime's ability to deliver those weapons. how is that not human rights? look at the cuba policy. when the previous policy had done nothing but strengthen the grip of that authoritarian regime. there is a nuclear policy which now try to encourage a more pluralistic economy and different power centers in cuba that can better protect the rights of the cuban people. look at what the president has said and done on venezuela. the list goes on. this false premise that the president has not spoken on human rights is demonstrably false in words, but also in deeds. thanks for that question though. >> you mentioned -- general mcmaster, there has been a lot of talk about you possibly going back into the military. can you tell us today if you are planning on staying in your current role? general mcmaster: i have a job. it is a tremendous honor to do
this job every day, to advance and protect the interest of the american people to do my best to , provide options to our president, and with the execution of those decisions. i have a job and it is my , intention to go as long and as hard as i can in service of the president and the nation in this job. wondering ifs just you could talk a little -- mr. cohn: by the way, he does a great job. >> don't let me forget to ask you if you are staying in your current job, too. mr. cohn: uh, over here. [laughter] >> i know first you are going to davos. i want to make sure i understand what goes into the president's decision to go to davos. he is first sitting president to go since 2000. a lot of what this forum seems to be about seems to go against his populist america first agenda. can you explain this process? mr. cohn: america first, not alone. the president is very proud of
the competency has created his first year on gdp growth, unemployment numbers, the stock market, what we have done in reform, which is an artificial tax on businesses, what we have done on tax reform. we are competitive today with the rest of the world. we have a tax break that is competitive with the rest of the world. the president is going to davos to speak to world leaders about moving businesses to the united states hiring american workers, , changing the direction of our economy to be one of the biggest and best in the world. the president has done that, as i said. as he has gone around the world that's what he is talked about. he is firmly committed to being the best salesperson the u.s. has to drive economic growth and drive prosperity and drive a better quality of life for american citizens. >> gary, can i ask a question? about some talked
positive economic numbers. can i give you the grill down on workforce participation rate? 62.8% back in june of 2017. what can or is the administration do to get that number up to 70%, 75% or higher? mr. cohn: i talk about the first friday of every month when the unemployment number goes out. we had two really disappointing moments of the unemployment reports, for the last five years. no wage growth in the united states and our participation rate has remained stagnant at best. part of our tax reform plan was to get people back into the workforce. we need to create more jobs. by creating a tax system that allows us to compete globally with the rest of the world, we are now at a 21% corporate rate, now at a very effective rate for personal businesses that allows them to compete with the rest of the world. we can now compete. when you compete against the rest of the world, you grow your business. you hire people.
when you hire people you compete for labor. when you compete for labor, you compete by wages. we need to see wage growth in this country, something we have not seen in almost a decade. as we see wage growth we will make it economically realistic for people to come back into the workforce. it will make sense for them to come back into the workforce. the alternative cost will be way too high once we start seeing wage growth. the big catalyst for everything we are doing is to create a better jobs, higher paying jobs, bring more people into the workforce and grow our economy and tax a broader base. that's exactly what our premise is based on, and so far the very , early data looks very good. so we are excited about where we are going. >> the president announced new tariffs and the prime minister , of canada also announced a big trade. what do you say to critics who argue the president is giving up the united states's seat at the global table? mr. cohn: i disagree. today the president announced
the culmination of something that's been going on for a long time. these are individual companies that tried various remedies. if you read what these companies went through it's extraordinary , what is companies had to go through to try to protect american jobs and american workers against unfair practices from other countries. you finally see companies bring cases in a bipartisan system. they go through the system, it goes up to the ustr, the ustr makes a recommendation based on the bipartisan committee's recommendation and the president makes a final ruling. the president made a ruling that will make the u.s. competitive and help us grow our economy. it just so happens on the washing machine side, both of the companies that had been creating enormous problem for the u.s. manufacturers of washing machines are going to open up manufacturing facilities
in the united states, hiring over 1600 workers. that's exactly what the president wants to see. see companies moving to the united states. we are getting the outcome we want to get. on the solar panels, he left enormous amount of latitude in that decision that where we actually have a business, which is making the panels, not the cells can be, the imported we are protecting our , panel makers because we do make panels here in the united states and we should continue to make panels and hire more workers in the u.s. >> on having candidates take a lead on a big global trade deal and the united states pulling out of some. aboutu not concerned giving up the united states? mr. cohn: the president said this through his asia trip, he said it in europe. we are very open to free, fair reciprocal trade. if you treat us one way we will
treat you the same way. if you have no tariff we will have no tariff. if you have tariff we should have a reciprocal tariff. it is hard to argue against that, that we should treat each other equally. that's our trade policy and we are going to keep going on that. >> a year ago at davos president xi made a big splash internationally. is president trump going to make any effort to counter that? and is his appearance here any effort to counter that? mr. cohn: the president's appearance is there to sell his accomplishments, to remind the world that we are open for business, that we are a competitive country, that we have made america a very competitive, and that everybody should understand what he has accomplished in this first year and what we will continue to accomplish in the next three remaining years. the ceo's we are having dinner
with our european-based companies with large precence in the united states. the president wants to hear what they need to have more business in the united states. he is doing exactly what he should be doing to grow our economy and create jobs in the united states. >> about china and the influence and the -- and the influence it is exerting now, a lot of people observing it is exerting because the u.s. is pulled back from a lot of these. mr. cohn: the u.s. is pulling back from nothing. when the president was in asia he talked about trade agreements and his willingness to have bilateral trade agreements with many of the countries he visited in asia. we are more than willing to have bilateral trade agreements. let me get behind you. >> i would like to get both of you to talk about it. about the africa meeting.
it deals with economics, national security as well as , immigration. in light of all the controversy over immigration in the alleged racist comments that were made. can you both talk about that? and how are you trying to quell the upset over the last week? well thecmaster: , president will be building on the was a very successful meeting on african leaders at the u.n. general assembly last year. the president laid out a very clear direction from a relationship with key african nations in particular. the need is obvious for us to work together on issues of security. our interests overlap completely in security. they are attempting to polarize a society and create violence that is a grave threat to security and also prosperity as a result. and our interests overlap in encouraging american investment in africa and african investment in the united states.
the president and administrative body agree they have laid out a very clear vision for how we want to evolve our economic relationships and our development initiatives in africa in particular, in the national security strategy. africa is the perfect place for us to transition from just delivery of assistance to robust trade and economic relationships that benefit the people of the united states and the people of africa. as you know, there have been successfully tremendous programs. one program, for example, which shows the power of when the u.s. works with key african leaders and communities to take on threats that are health involved, but also you see tremendous security cooperation in relationships over time. so there's a lot they are going to be able to talk about, especially because that president will be going in about the african union.
it will be a discussion about how to advance a mutual agenda between the african cotton and and nations in that continent and the united states. >> the relationship with britain at the moment, given the decision by the president to pull out of his trip to the u.k. do you think there will be another arrangement made in the foreseeable future? general mcmaster: of course he is prioritizing his meeting with prime minister may because it's a special relationship. it is how we work together on every issue. it is very, very hard to find any place where our interests do not overlap almost completely with that of the united kingdom. we are working together in a very effective manner. at the u.n., for example, on some of these problems, but bilaterally. the president will talk about these topics of concern.
you can imagine what these are. it is only growth and strength of our relationship and cooperation with a great ally. two more. you, you, and then back. >> you mentioned the president wants bilateral trade agreements, he has made pretty clear he doesn't like multilateral ones. can you tell us which bilateral agreements are in the works right now, and what do you think the first one will be? mr. cohn: we have the ambassador working on a bunch of different agreements as we speak. he is also involved in nafta. nafta renegotiation. we are also having conversations with korea on renegotiating terms with korea, so he has a lot on his plate. there are some discussions we are working on. i'm not going to. i'm going to let the ambassador handle his negotiations in the fashion he wants to handle them.
when he thinks it is time to make them public, he will make them public. last question. and then we have sarah. >> >> you are going to be a hotbed of globalization tomorrow in davos. you are going to get questions about tariffs. the question is always asked by critics isn't this just hurting , american consumers who want to buy washing machines or solar panels? they are going to pay a higher price at the store when they do that. how do you answer that criticism? mr. cohn: on the washing machine situation, as we said, both of these companies are opening manufacturing plants. one could be open in the next 30 days or less, which will hire 1000 new employees. so they will be manufacturing washing machines here in the united states. we do have a very large domestic manufacturer of washing machines. we looked at it and studied extensively.
this is a very rigorous process that went through a bipartisan committee. they made a recommendation. then the trade ambassador held hearings as well. he made a recommendation, then there were extensive meetings with the president. the president understands that and the importance of the economy and the price of consumer goods to consumers. so we have taken that all into account as we made the decisions. the president cares enormously about growing the economy and keeping the economy on the right track and making sure consumers have the best opportunity possible, but he also cares very much but the workforce in the united states and making sure we create a job environment and workforce participation and wage growth. we have to get both of those right, and it is something we are committed to doing. thank you very much. >> you have been to davos a lot over the course of your career. the president i don't believe has been there before. what is one thing you think he will find their that he won't expect? mr. cohn: a lot of snow. 14 feet of snow. [laughter] i have never seen 14
feet of snow either, so that will be interesting to see. announcer: or friday, president thep will be in davos, first sitting united states president to do so since president clinton. we will have that on c-span two. live wednesday on the c-span networks at 10:30 a.m. on c-span, the senate budget committee holding oversight meeting looking at the congressional budget office. a.m., the nomination -- the next health and secretary. then, looking at automotive industry innovations, and a 12:20 p.m., the council of mayors starts their winter meetings in washington. >> the moment itself i described at the time, and i described it as a bizarre moment.
i was surprised that he called when you're in the oval office, and if you says, who are you? , you do. here and: a former washington correspondent talks about covering president trump and his supporters for the irish media during and after the 20 16th presidential election season in her book "in america." swamp" isthe evocative. is that notion that d.c. was built on a swap, and by draining it, taking out -- built wamp, and by s dreading it, taking out others. announcer: and sunday night on "q&a."
discussionit next, a of federal employees and how they relate to president trump's decision to maintain control of his business operations while in office. speakers include the former director of the office of government ethics, new york university brendan's institute in washington, d.c. hosting this 90-minute event. center in washington, d.c., hosting this event. i am with the brennan center for justice. the cohosts ofk this event this afternoon and for being such a great partner