U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an interview in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

President Donald Trump Interviewed by Bloomberg News: Transcript

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump was interviewed Monday by Bloomberg News reporters Jennifer Jacobs and Margaret Talev. Below is a lightly edited transcript of their conversation.

BLOOMBERG: So we -- we did want to thank you very much for taking the time for us...

TRUMP: That’s OK.

BLOOMBERG: So much has happened. We have a lot of ground to cover...

TRUMP: A little bit has happened, yeah...


BLOOMBERG: Well, it’s a forward-looking interview. Your first hundred days are...

TRUMP: Right.

BLOOMBERG: ... are behind, so we -- we wanted to take a look with you at -- at things to come.

TRUMP: OK, good.

BLOOMBERG: The spending deal, will you sign it? Are you sure you’re going to sign it?

TRUMP: Which one?

BLOOMBERG: The spending deal on the -- on the budget, on the -- you know...


TRUMP: Well, assuming it’s like we agreed. You know, we’re getting a billion and a half for border security, which is very important to me. We’re already down 63 percent of crossings, which is at a record. There’s never been a record like that.

I’m sorry, 73 percent as of this morning, 73. It was actually reported last week at 73. It’s going to go up this week too, so it’s going to -- you know, so we’re doing very well.

Some people say, “Oh, you’re doing so well, maybe you don’t need the wall.” We do need the wall, for drugs. We need the wall for human trafficking, which is a problem that you should write something about at some point. You know, unrelated to me, but the human trafficking problem is probably worse than it ever was in history, if you think about it. You know, you think about 400 years ago or something but if -- human trafficking is an unbelievable problem, a worldwide problem, so we need the wall.

But no, we have a billion and a half for -- for border security. You saw that.

BLOOMBERG: Yes. So you sound confident.

TRUMP: No, we’re very happy with it. And I think it’s important that we keep moving along. I think both sides are happy.

Excuse me?

BLOOMBERG: You were -- you’re going to sign it you think? I mean, you’re pretty...

TRUMP: Well, I have to see what the final is. But yeah, if it’s -- if it’s as we discussed, the answer’s yes.


I mean, it doesn’t have some -- you know, your $18 billion in cuts. It does fund Planned Parenthood...

TRUMP: Well, you have to remember, this is all coming due again in September, October, and we’re going to have another round of discussions.


So for -- for now, it sounds like it is a good deal to you?

TRUMP: No, I think it’s a deal that is -- look, the Democrats are obstructionists; that’s all they can do is obstruct. They have no leadership. And we have to agree, and I think both -- both sides agree, we have to keep government going, we don’t want to shut government. So -- so we’re -- we’ll have more of these to discuss in the future.

BLOOMBERG: Wanted to jump to health care.

BLOOMBERG: There’s been a lot of discussion about what the health care bill that the House is -- poised to sign off on will or won’t do. This notion of pre-existing conditions is obviously of tremendous concern...

TRUMP: Yeah, we’re having pre-existing conditions. That’s it. Plus, we’re having the pool, we’re doing a lot of things.

And the best thing that is happening with the health care is premiums will come down. We’ll have tremendous competition; you know, we’re getting rid of the border state lines, and we’re going to have tremendous competition. We’re going to have insurance companies fighting, like life insurance. You know, we -- life insurance, you have these companies that are like -- like going all over the place. We’re going to have a tremendous -- tremendously competitive market and health care costs are going to be forced down.

The one thing people don’t say is how bad Obamacare is doing.

You know, I was in Tennessee, where half of the state has lost its insurance and the other half is going in two months. That means Tennessee has no carriers. That means they have no insurance.

Kentucky is going to be pulled out. They’re pulling out of many states.

And people don’t report the fact that Obamacare is dead. It’s not like -- it’s not like, “Oh, gee” -- like for instance, when they want to compare -- first of all, we’re going to have lower premiums. We’re going to have lower deductibles. We’re going to have much better health care.

But they like to try and compare things, the ideal situation to Obamacare. But there is no Obamacare.

Obamacare is -- is dead. You -- you understand what I mean by -- it can’t survive.

BLOOMBERG: I do hear you.


BLOOMBERG: ... this House bill says that it would allow insurers to charge sick people more than healthy people. So, that’s what I’m wondering is, would you sign a bill, if it does include...


TRUMP: I’m going to look -- I’ll look at every provision.

I tell you what. If people are going to -- first of all, this bill is much better for people than Obamacare. And it’s a repeal -- it in the -- in its final form will be a full -- you know, will be a repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

But -- and -- and -- and one other thing. It was a little misunderstood.

I wish they didn’t set a line -- you know, approve it by two weeks ago. Because all this is is a continuation of -- of a negotiation that started a month ago -- a month and a half ago.

Obamacare took 17 months to get approved. We’re now on our sixth week of -- you know, of health care.

The end result is going to be a really good bill if we get it -- if we get it approved.

BLOOMBERG: Do you...


TRUMP: And -- and it’ll be good -- knowing that you have Republicans, Democrats. But even with the Republicans, you have conservatives, you have moderates. You have many different factions. And all good people, and they all want something different. You know, it’s -- it’s something that’s very interesting.

I think the -- the -- I know that the end result will be very good, and...

BLOOMBERG: Might not be good for sick people, though. It might not.

TRUMP: What’s that?

BLOOMBERG: It might not be good for sick people. If sick people have to pay more because they have a pre-existing condition...

TRUMP: Well, I want it to be good for sick people, Jen.

Well, you know it’s not in its final form right now.

BLOOMBERG: I guess that’s -- I think that’s what we want to go to is that would -- do you support the passage of a House bill that has a fairly large loophole that may end up...

TRUMP: I’ll be looking into that...


BLOOMBERG: ... putting sick people in a bad place?

TRUMP: I’ll be looking at it very closely.

But we have -- in terms of exactly what you’re talking about, it will be better than Obamacare.

BLOOMBERG: Is it OK then to pass a House bill that may not protect pre-existing conditions because of the states loophole.

TRUMP: Well, we are protecting pre-existing conditions. And it’ll be every good -- bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.

BLOOMBERG: OK, OK. That’s -- that’s the key focal point (ph), I think.

Taxes, if you don’t mind.

TRUMP: And Obamacare -- just so you know, Obamacare’s terrible on pre-existing conditions. You know why?


TRUMP: Because you’re not going to have it. It’s folding. It’s gone.

If -- if I don’t do anything -- you know my famous statement that I really believe in to this day. Don’t do anything for a year, let Obamacare go out of business, and then come up with a new plan.

So, Obamacare doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions because it’s not going to be here. It -- it can’t...


BLOOMBERG: But when you say it’ll be every bit as good as Obamacare on pre-existing conditions...

TRUMP: No, but...

BLOOMBERG: ... you mean...


TRUMP: But -- but I -- I do...


TRUMP: I do. But I’m just telling you, Obamacare doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions because it won’t be here. I -- I would mind that quote.

BLOOMBERG: OK, I got it.

TRUMP: It’s a risque quote. But it’s true.

BLOOMBERG: But you are -- you are guaranteeing that you will not sign a health care bill...

TRUMP: What I want to do -- I want it to be a great deal for the people. I do.

And if it’s not going to be good, I’m not going to sign it.


TRUMP: No, if it’s not going to be good, I’m not going to sign it.



TRUMP: But it’s going to be...


TRUMP: I’m -- I’m (inaudible).

BLOOMBERG: ... people will want to hear you say that because if they already have cancer or something …


TRUMP: No, no. I want -- I want -- I want people to be taken care of...


TRUMP: ... properly. And they’re not being taken care of now.

BLOOMBERG: If your tax cuts end up being temporary because of the cost, does that take some of the juice out of it? I mean, I just know...

TRUMP: I’d like them to be permanent. You’re -- you’re talking about if they make it like a four-year deal or something?


TRUMP: Yeah.

BLOOMBERG: Because if they’re so expensive and they can’t get...


TRUMP: I know. I -- I’d like it to be permanent.

Don’t forget -- OK, so here’s something very important. So we’re doing a very big tax cut. We need it. The economy’s growing at 1 -- not growing, it’s not growing at all. It’s a GDP of 1 percent.

That’s really bad, and the first quarter, second quarter really isn’t my quarter. That’s really a leftover from -- in all fairness, I just got here.

So -- so you’re growing at 1 percent or less in the country. So we need something -- we need a stimulus.

But when you talk about putting money back in, my new trade deals are going to bring a lot of money back in, my cost savings are going to bring a lot of money back in.

I’ll give you an example. So, nobody wrote -- wrote this story, but maybe somebody should.

The F-35 fighter jet -- I saved -- I got involved in the negotiation. It’s 2,500 jets. I negotiated for 90 planes, lot 10 (ph). I got $725 million off the price. Probably, if I -- if I added up the entire time I -- I worked on it, it was like an hour, but I got $725 million off the price.

There’s so many things we can save on. There’s so much.

BLOOMBERG: Little bits and pieces here and there.

TRUMP: Including health care. We’re going to end up with better health care at a lower price. People are going to pay less and they’re going to have a lower deductible.

You know, the biggest -- the second biggest problem, other than premiums, with Obamacare is the deductibles. They’re so high, nobody’s going to get to use them.

BLOOMBERG: Gas tax -- let me ask you about the federal gas tax.

To pay for your infrastructure plan, would you be willing to consider increasing the federal gas tax if the money went -- if you had a dedicated revenue stream for your infrastructure plan.

TRUMP: So I’ll tell you what’s -- what was very interesting.

The truckers came to see me. And I have very good relationships with the truckers. I have one friend who’s a big trucker and he’s -- he’s like -- said, “I’ve never seen anything like it,” you know, with the roads -- you’ve heard this story -- with the roads, and his trucks are all being destroyed, and he’s going to start buying cheap equipment now. Yeah, the roads are in bad shape.

But I’ve -- I’ve -- had the truckers come to see me, that if we earmarked money toward the highways that they would -- that they would not mind a tax -- you know, gas tax or some form of tax.


TRUMP: So I haven’t -- I haven’t made a commitment. But they would like it, because they say the roads are in such bad condition.



TRUMP: We can’t allow that.

BLOOMBERG: Can I report that you’re open to raising the gas tax? Would that be fair?

TRUMP: The truckers have said that they want me to do something, as long as that money is earmarked to highways.

BLOOMBERG: For infrastructure.

TRUMP: You could say that I had that meeting.


TRUMP: Well, it’s something that I would certainly consider, that -- because they’ve asked me to consider it.

BLOOMBERG: It sounds -- it seems like it could be an opening, potentially, for some negotiations with Democrats as well -- maybe the only area that I can think of where you would...

TRUMP: Well, on infrastructure...

BLOOMBERG: ... consider a revenue increase.

TRUMP: The Democrats want infrastructure, they want a trillion-dollar bill, and I’m totally open to that. We are in agreement there.

I think where I’m in most -- best agreement with the Democrats are that and trade.

You know, I had -- Jennifer, you reported this once. I had a lot of Bernie Sanders voters for me.


TRUMP: People don’t realize how many. And it was all because of trade, because the one thing that I agreed with him on -- not much -- but the one thing was trade. Because he knows the United States is being ripped off on trade. He’s the only one that got it. And nobody’s tougher on trade than I am.

BLOOMBERG: One really quick question -- go back to your tax reform plan.

TRUMP: Yeah.

BLOOMBERG: Is it a starting point? Like, you’re a negotiator, so is this tax reform plan...

TRUMP: Well, everything...

BLOOMBERG: ... a starting point...

TRUMP: ... honestly, Jennifer...

BLOOMBERG: ... or are you going to insist on everything?

TRUMP: Everything’s a starting point. Look...


TRUMP: Obviously, you can’t just say, you know, I’m living with -- everything’s a starting point. But hopefully, I don’t have to change it very much, and maybe I won’t have to change it at all, but everything’s a starting point.

BLOOMBERG: Is there anything you think you could lose? Is there anything you could shed from that plan?

TRUMP: There’s always something you can lose.

BLOOMBERG: Are there a couple things you can’t lose on that plan...


TRUMP: Yes, there are a couple of things but I can’t tell you what they are.


BLOOMBERG: Oh, give us one please. Please.

TRUMP: I would like to keep it as low as possible.

But we’re going to bring a lot of money in on trade. We’re going to bring a lot of money on reciprocal. You know, as an example, when you have countries with a big tax and we get nothing for the same product and we’re paying -- our companies are paying 100 percent tax in some countries and if they send their product to us we pay nothing. Doesn’t make sense.

I’m a big believer in a reciprocal tax.

Now, this is trade we’re talking about, not...


TRUMP: But you know -- because I actually think the border tax -- the concept of border tax is more of a trade issue than it is a -- so when we talk about income coming in, I believe border tax in its form, if we use that, reciprocal tax is a tax that I really love because basically nobody can fight it. If a country’s charging us 52 percent and we’re charging them nothing for the same product going back and forth, nobody can fight.

I’ve even said to other countries -- I’ve said, “Listen, you’re charging us a lot. We’re going to charge you the same thing.” They shrug their shoulders. They can’t fight it.

But if you say you’re going to put a 10 percent tax on -- everyone says, “Oh, you’re taxing. You’re taxing.”

I love a reciprocal tax. Nobody can fight it, it’s fair and it’s something that we are working on very strongly.

But a lot of the taxes in terms of income coming in are taxes that I’m viewing more in the trade tax than I am in the other.

Like you’ve heard me say that when somebody -- when a big car company -- you saw they’re moving back into Michigan. They’re moving big league back into Michigan. I mean, I don’t want to say it, because I don’t want to anger the Mexicans any more than they’re already angered. But, you know, a couple of companies started building plants and they actually stopped and now they’re expanding in Michigan and they’re moving back in into Ohio and different states.

They’re moving back in because they think that I’m going to charge them 35 percent if they build their -- fire all their employees, go to Mexico, build a factory, build a car and put it -- or air conditioner or whatever it is -- and sell it back in. I tell them, “You’re going to have a 35 percent tax to pay,” or a very substantial tax.

And now, they’re saying, “We’re building in Michigan and we’re building in Ohio.”

You see what’s going on with the car companies. You ought to call Ford. Call Mr. Fields, the head of Ford. Call Mary Barra, head of General Motors. You could call Fiat. You know, you could call Fiat. You could call -- we had that meeting. They’re all talking about building in the United States because of me.

BLOOMBERG: How would you sell...

TRUMP: By the way, if my opponent won, you would have -- the companies would be fleeing right now.

Now, couple of things.

They love the tax cut, OK? They love my regulation cuts, which are going to be -- I think they’re -- personally, it’s a big thing. I think the regulation cuts are going to have an even bigger impact than the massive tax cuts.

And this is the biggest tax cut in history. This is bigger than Reagan. Remember we used to say, “The biggest since Reagan"? I used to say that. This is actually bigger than Reagan tax cuts.

But what they are is the biggest regulation cuts in history by far.

BLOOMBERG: I’d like to ask you about North Korea. But very quickly on the gas tax question, if that is something that ultimately you decide you’d like to support, how would you sell the Republicans on this? Because no tax increase...


TRUMP: Well, when the industry comes to me, when the trucking industry comes to me and says that the highways are so bad that their trucks are being destroyed, you know, badly hurt, badly -- really badly hurt, damaged from New York to California, and that truckers want to buy crummy equipment now because they -- you know, I mean, this guy used to always pride himself on buying the best.

He said, ‘‘I get -- I go from New York to California and we got -- our tires are all beat up and” -- because, you know, they’re running over potholes, they’re running over gravel, they’re running over bad roads, you know, the roads are worn out so it wears out the rubber. And the -- the stuff goes and splatters all over the -- you know, the bottom of the trucks and they’re all beat to hell.

BLOOMBERG: It’s bad for business?

TRUMP: Well, he said it would never -- I said, “How has it been?” He’s -- 40 years he’s been in business. I said, “How has it been?” He said, “It’s never been like this.”

BLOOMBERG: And on the reciprocal tax, you think you could get that through Congress as well?

TRUMP: Well, I’m just telling you, I -- I haven’t even mentioned this to anybody. I mean, I’m giving you something first.

I find that people are very open to the reciprocal tax. Because it’s just all we’re doing is saying, “Whatever you’re doing, we’re doing.”

It’s -- it’s -- I love the reciprocal tax.

Now, in theory -- if they’re charging 50 percent and we’re charging nothing, in theory what they should do is say, “OK, we’ll all charge nothing.” But either way, it’s -- you know, it’s -- it’s a great tax. And it’s a very free trade tax if you think about it, because, you know, depending on the amount and the volumes and everything else, in theory they should bring it down to nothing or whatever they get, we get.

BLOOMBERG: On North Korea...

TRUMP: So you could do the reciprocal tax is something that’s very important to me.

So we’re going to have a lot of money coming in. But it comes in through trade and it comes in through renegotiating NAFTA. Now, just -- and by the way you’ve been to plenty of my speeches. I would always say, “We will renegotiate NAFTA or terminate it, right?” I never said, “We’ll terminate it.” I said we’ll (inaudible) it.

So -- and just so we put it finally on the record, I think you saw me do the little quick interview there on the NAFTA because it’s very simple. I was getting ready to terminate NAFTA, I got a call from Mexico and he said, “I would appreciate you not doing that.”

I got a call, amazingly, within 20 minutes from Justin, from Canada -- and I have a good relationship with both; I like them both a lot. And they said, “Could we negotiate instead of you terminating?” I said, “Yes.”

I was going to terminate on Saturday. I had the papers. Is it true? The papers were ready -- the termination papers were ready.

BLOOMBERG: Are you any further along the road on knowing what you want to change...


TRUMP: Well, the biggest problem I have is this -- this fast start or whatever they call...

(UNKNOWN): Fast-track.

TRUMP: Fast-track. It’s a horrible situation. We put our papers in 60 days ago for fast-track. We still haven’t been approved, because the Democrats are holding them up.

So I want to start negotiating and is it a 90- or 100-day period, what is it?

(UNKNOWN): Ninety days.

TRUMP: Ninety-day period. So I put my papers in 60 days ago to renegotiate NAFTA and I can’t -- I still don’t have them approved. That means in theory, we can’t negotiate until they’re approved. The Democrats are holding them up. Wyden.

BLOOMBERG: Is there anything you want to change for Mexico and for Canada at this point...

TRUMP: A lot.

BLOOMBERG: Is there anything you can tell us...

TRUMP: Yeah, a lot. Oh, it’s got to be -- it’s very unfair.

(UNKNOWN): (inaudible) go back to...

TRUMP: We have massive deficits with Mexico. You know, we’re losing -- we have a trade deficit with Mexico of almost $70 billion. We have a trade deficit with Canada of approximately $15 billion.

The lumber coming in from Canada is -- is killing us -- is killing us. The dairy that’s not going into Canada from Wisconsin, a state that I happen to love, is absolutely unfair.

BLOOMBERG: So I’d love any clues on what you would change in NAFTA.


TRUMP: Oh, we’ll change a lot in NAFTA. But -- but you have to understand, I have a problem with Congress. They won’t approve to start. So this is supposed to be fast-track, but it has to be approved. You put your papers in, and they’re tying it into my trade negotiator. They’re saying, “It doesn’t start until your trade negotiator’s approved.”

Well, they’re holding him up. The law -- it says, you know, the trade -- your trade representative, which is Lighthizer.

TRUMP: Which -- by the way, which is very unfair. You understand that.

So I’m trying to get -- because Mexico wants to start now and so does Canada. They’re all set. And I’ve got to keep waiting for Congress? Our system is archaic.

TRUMP: The biggest thing -- and they don’t talk about it. But the biggest beneficiaries are going to be the middle class, of the tax cut, and we’re going to keep it that way.

When you say, “Is there anything you won’t change?” that’s something I won’t change.

And also...

BLOOMBERG: How do you figure? How are they the biggest beneficiaries?

TRUMP: Because they’re going down to 10 percent. They’re going down to 10 percent. And don’t...

BLOOMBERG: You have put, throughout your career, a great emphasis on forging personal relationships -- and that’s true in the White House also -- and your ability to make deals, in part based on those personal relationships.

So what I want to ask you is, have you thought about this: Would you be willing to meet with Kim Jong Un personally to try to reach a...

TRUMP: I had a feeling she was getting there.

BLOOMBERG: It was a slow wind-up. Sorry.

TRUMP: Breaking -- we have breaking news. Is this going to be breaking news, Jennifer?


BLOOMBERG: Depends on what you say.


So, we have a potentially very bad situation that we will meet in the toughest of all manners if we have to do that.

If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely -- I would be honored to do it. If it’s under the -- again, under the right circumstances. But I would -- I would do that.

Hey, look, I’m meeting with Abbas on Wednesday, the leader of Palestine. You think that’s slightly smaller, right? I’m meeting with Abbas on Wednesday. And people are saying that’s a very good thing to do, because I’d like to see peace in the Middle East and I’d like to see the Palestinians and the Israelis come together and Israel come together and have peace.

Now -- so under the right circumstances, I -- under the right circumstances, I would be.

BLOOMBERG: Do you think these are the right circumstances now?

TRUMP: Well, I think he is -- look, we have tremendous power over there and we cannot allow him to do what he’s doing. We cannot allow him to say what he’s saying. He’s making very provocative statements. We cannot allow that.

We have tremendous --

TRUMP: So, we cannot let a situation happen where -- under any circumstances where he can launch missiles into the United States. Plus we happen to have great allies in that area and I feel very strongly toward those allies.

So, yes, under the right circumstances, I would absolutely meet with him.

BLOOMBERG: And your thinking -- are you thinking...

TRUMP: Now, most political people would never say that. But I’m telling you, under the right circumstances, I would meet with him. We have breaking news.

BLOOMBERG: You did make a little bit there, sir.

TRUMP: Yes, no.

BLOOMBERG: Quick staffing question. In a month or two, Bannon, Priebus, do you think that they’ll be in their exact same roles in a month or two, six months from now?

TRUMP: I think so.

You know, the one thing -- and I think you see it -- we have a lot of people that really do get along... Seriously, we have a lot of people.

(UNKNOWN): (inaudible)

TRUMP: Jared is a very brilliant young guy. Bannon has -- has, you know, I like him a lot.

TRUMP: He’s actually a very good guy. Sometimes, I call him alt-left, OK? I mean, he’s a...

BLOOMBERG: What’s that mean?


TRUMP: Bannon’s more of a libertarian than anything else, if you want to know the truth, OK? He’s really -- you know, they give him a -- a bad rap.

Bannon is a very decent guy who feels very strongly about the country. Likewise, Jared. And they’re getting along fine.

We have a -- they’re getting along well. We have -- we have a lot of people that are getting along well. Although, it’s coming out better now than it was, you know, for a while. And for a while it was a little testy, I guess for some of them, but I said, ‘You’ve got to get your acts together.’

You know, they’re very competitive. We have very competitive people in this administration.

BLOOMBERG: Kellyanne and Sean are in the room, too.

TRUMP: No, well, they’re not competitors...

BLOOMBERG: Same vote of confidence?

TRUMP: He’s become the biggest star on television now, you know?

BLOOMBERG: So you’re going to keep Kellyanne and Sean?

TRUMP: He’s getting more than the “Bold and the Beautiful” guys, those handsome guys that they pay a fortune, right?

BLOOMBERG: Are you happy with the job both of them are doing also?


TRUMP: Yes, I am. I’m happy with everybody. I am.

BLOOMBERG: So no one is -- is moving at all in the near future?

TRUMP: No, I don’t expect to see it.

Now, I will tell you, probably people are going to get job offers. You know, things happen. But -- but I’m very happy with our group. We’re doing very well.

I think we’re -- and you know, it’s interesting. I think I’m getting very high marks on foreign policy. I noticed that over the last couple of days.

I don’t think of it as much, but we’re getting very, very high marks on foreign policy. Great relationship with China.

I mean, I’ll give you an example of currency manipulation. First of all, since I started running, they haven’t increased their -- you know, they have not manipulated their currency. I think that was out of respect to me and the campaign. But literally, since when I -- when it looked like I was starting to win the Republican primaries, which was actually pretty early, but they -- they haven’t been.

But here’s -- assuming they were and they’re helping me with North Korea, I’m going to say -- “By the way, how are you doing with North Korea?” “Well, blah, blah, blah.” “Well, listen. We’re going to name you a currency manipulator.”

Think of it. “I’m naming you a currency manipulator. How are you doing with North Korea?” I guess you could put it that way (inaudible).

BLOOMBERG: You’ve -- you’ve invited...

TRUMP: Do you understand? So -- so ridiculous, but nobody ever says that. They’ll say, “Donald Trump did not come through with his thing on currency manipulation.” You can’t be having them help us on something where millions and millions of lives are at stake and then say, “We’re going to name you a currency manipulator,” right?

BLOOMBERG: You mentioned...

TRUMP: I like to tie them -- they never like to tie them together.

BLOOMBERG: You mentioned the meeting with Mr. -- you mentioned the meeting with Mr. Abbas. You’ve also invited Mr. Duterte to the White House.


BLOOMBERG: There’s been a lot of criticism or concern about his human rights record in his own country.


TRUMP: Philippines is very important to me.

BLOOMBERG: You’ve mentioned the importance of North Korea. Is that -- does that take precedence over concerns about extrajudicial killings in the Philippines? And will you -- like, how do you balance those? How do you explain to people why...

TRUMP: The Philippines is very important to me strategically and militarily. And I’ve had numerous conversations with the leader of the Philippines and -- and he’s got a big problem. He’s got a massive drug problem. He’s been very, very tough on that drug problem, but he has a massive drug problem.

BLOOMBERG: Do you think he’s...

TRUMP: He is very popular in the Philippines. He has a very high approval rating in the Philippines. But he’s very popular in the Philippines.

I -- yes, I -- I look forward to meeting him. If he comes to the White House, that’s fine. I look forward to meeting him.

The Philippines are a very important -- I have many, many friends from the Philippines. They’re great people. The Philippines strategically is very important to us. I think we’ll have a great relationship with the Philippines. I think it’s strategically very important to do so.

BLOOMBERG: Should we break up the big banks? Do you support that?

TRUMP: Uh I'm looking at that right now as we speak, oh you, Listen to you.

TRUMP: I’m looking at that right -- I didn’t know this one was going to be brought up. But we are looking at that.

There are -- you know, some people that want to go back to the old system, right? So we’re going to look at that. We’re going to -- we’re looking at it right now as we speak.

And Dodd-Frank is -- is going to be very, very seriously changed so the banks can go back to loaning money.

BLOOMBERG: How long on GDP bounce back?

TRUMP: Listen to you. You’ll -- you’ll start seeing things happen. You’ll start seeing things happen. Right now, this is the end of the Obama era.

BLOOMBERG: A year to get to 4 percent? Eighteen months?


TRUMP: I don’t like to put -- you know, guidelines on it. I can say this. You know, everyone talks about the 3 percent, 3 percent. I think we can do far more than 3 percent. And I think we can do more than 4 percent, eventually.

Take time to get there. We’ve been more about (ph) -- we’ve been a country that has had such horrible rules and regulations.

And there have been -- we’ve been stifled. We’ve been artificially stifled for so long. But I really think we can go higher than 4 percent, eventually.

BLOOMBERG: Is Melania still going to move here with Barron? Do you think it’s a good place for Barron to live? You still -- you still think he should come live here?

TRUMP: I think so, I think great. He’s all set.


BLOOMBERG: You must miss him.

TRUMP: I do. Well, they come down on the weekends. She just left. She’s coming back down later.

BLOOMBERG: So you talked about it being a cocoon. So you think it’s OK for a 10-year-old to be here, though?

TRUMP: It’s a cocoon.

BLOOMBERG: But they’ll -- they’ll -- they’ll come full time? You still plan (ph) -- you think...

TRUMP: Yeah, they’re -- they’re already set (ph). In fact, we just got him into a good school.

BLOOMBERG: Would -- would you share with us?

TRUMP: I won’t tell you.


BLOOMBERG: In D.C., though? But within D.C.?




To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Jennifer Jacobs in Washington at jjacobs68@bloomberg.net, Margaret Talev in Washington at mtalev@bloomberg.net.