President Donald Trump sat down with CBN Founder Pat Robertson for an exclusive interview at the White House this morning.
It comes as the media firestorm over Russia and the election continues to dominate headlines.
The president addressed a wide range of issues, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to the North Korean threat, as well as the problem of terrorism funding from Middle Eastern countries. The interview will air in its entirety Thursday on “The 700 Club.”
In the one-on-one discussion, President Trump said his core goals are different than Putin’s because he’s working for America’s best interests while Putin is fighting for Russia.
“Well he wants what’s good for Russia, and I want what’s good for the United States. And I think in a case like Syria where we can get together, do a ceasefire, and there are many other cases where getting along can be a very positive thing, but always Putin is going to want Russia and Trump is going to want the United States and that’s the way it is,” Trump said.
But Trump said his first face-to-face meeting with Putin at the G20 summit was still productive.
“Sometimes you’re not going to get along on things and sometimes you will. But we had a good meeting, it was a face to face meeting, it was a long meeting. It was two hours and 15 minutes. Everyone was surprised by the amount of time but that was a good thing and not a bad thing. Yeah, I think we get along very well and I think that’s a good thing, that’s not a bad thing. People said, ‘Oh they shouldn’t get along.’ Well, who are the people that are saying that? I think we get along very, very well. We are a tremendously powerful nuclear power, and so are they. It doesn’t make sense not to have some kind of a relationship,” Trump said.
He reiterated the ceasefire in Syria is an important example of the success he’s achieved with Russia so far.
“I think we had an excellent meeting. One thing we did is we had a ceasefire in a major part of Syria where there was tremendous bedlam and tremendous killing. And, by the way, this is now four days. The ceasefire has held for four days. Those (previous) ceasefires haven’t held at all. That’s because President Putin and President Trump made the deal, and it’s held. Now, I don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe as we’re speaking they start shooting again. But this has held unlike all of the other ceasefires that didn’t mean anything,” Trump said.
“So, that was a great thing that came out of that meeting. I think a lot of things came out of that meeting but I do believe it’s important to have a dialogue and if you don’t have a dialogue, it’s a lot of problems for our country and for their country. I think we need dialogue. We need dialogue with everybody,” he continued.
In an effort to debunk claims that Russia wanted to help him win the election, the president argued that’s an illogical conclusion.
He thinks Putin would actually have been happier with Hillary Clinton in the White House because he’s building the U.S. military and working to export U.S. energy, which Russia opposes.
“We are the most powerful country in the world and we are getting more and more powerful because I’m a big military person. As an example, if Hillary had won, our military would be decimated. Our energy would be much more expensive. That’s what Putin doesn’t like about me. And that’s why I say, why would he want me? Because from day one I wanted a strong military, he doesn’t want to see that,” Trump told Robertson.
“And from day one I want fracking and everything else to get energy prices low and to create tremendous energy. We’re going to be self-supporting, we just about are now. We’re going to be exporting energy – he doesn’t want that. He would like Hillary where she wants to have windmills. He would much rather have that because energy prices would go up and Russia as you know relies very much on energy,” he continued.
“So there are many things that I do that are the exact opposite of what he would want. So what I keep hearing about that he would have rather had Trump, I think ‘probably not,’ because when I want a strong military, you know she wouldn’t have spent the money on military,” he said. “When I want tremendous energy, we’re opening up coal, we’re opening up natural gas, we’re opening up fracking, all the things that he would hate, but nobody ever mentions that.”
The president also addressed important domestic topics like health care reform, taxes and religious liberty.
The media’s constant drumbeat on Russia has made it difficult for Congress to focus on the many big goals they’re trying to achieve, like replacing Obamacare and relieving the tax burden for small businesses.
So far, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been unable to rally enough Republicans to repeal and replace the health care law. That’s why he just canceled the first two weeks of the Senate’s August recess.
“I am sitting in the Oval Office with a pen in hand, waiting for our senators to give it to me. For years, they’ve been talking about repeal-replace, repeal-replace. I think they passed it 61 times, repeal and replace, but that didn’t mean anything because you had the minority, the Republicans, they didn’t have the majority so it wasn’t going to get to the President, but if it ever did, Obama wasn’t going to sign it,” Trump told Robertson.
“Now we have a President that’s waiting to sign it. I have pen in hand so now it means something. You know, those other times, those many, many times, that they passed it, it didn’t mean anything.”
But Trump does believe the goal can be accomplished, despite all the setbacks.
“You have very good people. These are very good people. We have 52 senators. It’s very hard to get… We need almost all of them. You need almost all of them and that’s the hold up. And states are somewhat different. But with all of that being said, it has to get passed. They have to do it. They have to get together and get it done.”
“What will happen if they don’t?” Robertson asked him.
“Well, I don’t even want to talk about it because I think it would be very bad. I will be very angry about it and a lot of people will be very upset. But I’m sitting waiting for that bill to come to my desk. I hope that they do it. They’ve been promising it for years. They’ve been promising it ever since Obamacare which is failed. It’s a failed experiment. It is totally gone. It’s out of business and we have to get this done. Repeal and Replace.”
“Mitch McConnell is a tactician of great skill. Do you think he can pull it off?” Robertson asked.
“He’s got to pull it off. Mitch has to pull it off. He’s working very hard. He’s got to pull it off.”