The President’s Post-Election Press Conference

RUSH: Let’s now join the president from the White House. He’s still in his opening statement phase. Questions will come soon.

THE PRESIDENT: Let’s stay away. They did very poorly. I’m not sure that I should be happy or sad, but I feel just fine about it. Carlos Curbelo —

RUSH: By the way, take this down one second, Mike. One thing, we’re ready to go here with a bunch of analysis, what happened and what it means, what’s decent, good about it last night, what’s not so good. All that’s ready to go. We just need to do the president here for a little while, set some of the stage and find out what his take is on it and get back to it.

THE PRESIDENT: Venezuela, but Mia Love gave me no love. And she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia. And Barbara Comstock was another one. I mean, I think she could have won that race but she didn’t want to have any embrace. For that, I don’t blame her. But she lost, substantially lost. Peter Roskam didn’t want the embrace. Erik Paulsen didn’t want the embrace. And in New Jersey, I think he could have done well, but it didn’t work out too good. Bob Hugin I feel badly because I think that’s something that could have been won. That’s a race that could have been won.

RUSH: This is all important.

THE PRESIDENT: Those are some of the people that, you know, decided for their own reason not to embrace, whether it’s me or what we stand for, but what we stand for meant a lot to most people. And we’ve had tremendous support —

RUSH: Very important point here.

THE PRESIDENT: — and tremendous support in the Republican Party, among the biggest support in the history of the party. I’ve actually heard at 93% it’s a record, but I won’t say that ’cause who knows. But we’ve had tremendous support. America is booming like never before, doing fantastic. We have Larry Kudlow here, and he said the numbers are as good as he’s ever seen, numbers at any time for our country.

RUSH: They’re better than that.

THE PRESIDENT: He’s a young man so he hasn’t seen that many numbers. Where’s Larry? You’re a young man, right, Larry? And you haven’t been doing this too long, but they’re as good as you’ve ever seen.

RUSH: 82 or something like that.

THE PRESIDENT: And we may have — if you have a question for Larry, we’ll do that. But I want to send my warmest appreciation and regards to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who really worked very well together. We have been working very well together. We actually have a great relationship. People just don’t understand that. Which is fine. And also to perhaps, looks like, I would think, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

RUSH: No.

THE PRESIDENT: And I give her a lot of credit.

RUSH: I have —

THE PRESIDENT: She works very hard.

RUSH: — a different thought about that. I don’t think so.

THE PRESIDENT: I give her a great deal of credit for what she’s done and what she’s accomplished.

RUSH: Yeah, well.

THE PRESIDENT: Hopefully we can all work together next year to continue delivering — (crosstalk)

RUSH: I don’t think those octogenarian Democrats have the slightest idea what’s headed their way from within their own party.

THE PRESIDENT: These are some of the things that the Democrats do want to work on, and I really believe we’ll be able to do that. I think we’re gonna have a lot of reason to do it. And I will say just as a matter of business, I was with some very successful people last night. We were watching the returns.

So if the Republicans won and let’s say we held on by two or one or three, it would have been very hard out of that many Republicans to ever even get support among Republicans, ’cause there will always be one or two or three people that for good reason or for bad reason or for grandstanding — we have that, too; you’ve seen that; you’ve seen that, plenty of grandstanding. But for certain reasons, that many people, you’re always gonna have a couple that won’t do it. So that puts us in a very bad position. In other words, had we kept — and this is no — I’m saying this for a very basic reason. It’s common sense. It puts us — (crosstalk)

RUSH: This is unique. It’s actually good that we lost the House. Okay.

THE PRESIDENT: — and you’ll have one or two or three or four or five even come over and say, you know, look, we’re not gonna go along with this. We want this, this, this, and all of a sudden we can’t even — we wouldn’t even be able to get it in many cases out of the Republicans’ hands before we sent it on to the Senate.

RUSH: Got it, all right. I’m taking notes here, folks. Don’t worry it.

THE PRESIDENT: Now we have a much easier path. Because the Democrats will come to us with a plan for infrastructure, a plan for health care, a plan for whatever —

RUSH: They’re gonna come at you with subpoenas.

THE PRESIDENT: — and we’ll negotiate. And as you know it’s been very hard in the Senate because we need essentially 10 votes from Democrats, and we don’t get those votes, ’cause the Democrats really do stick together well. I don’t agree with them on a lot of policy, but I do agree with them on sticking together. They stick together great. So now we go into the Senate, we don’t have the 10 votes, and what happens? It doesn’t get passed. Even if it gets out of the House it didn’t get passed. So under the new concept of what we’re doing, I say come on, let me see what you have. They want to do things. You know, I keep hearing about investigations, fatigue — (crosstalk)

RUSH: Hey, did the Russians have anything to do with this last night? Has anybody said?

THE PRESIDENT: — they’ve been giving us this investigation fatigue. Spent a long time.

RUSH: Did the Russians want the Democrats to win the House?

THE PRESIDENT: You know why? Because there is nothing. But they can play that game but we can play it better because we have a thing called the United States Senate and a lot of very questionable things were done between leaks of classified information and many other elements that should not have taken place.

And all you’re gonna do is end in back and forth and back and forth and two years is gonna go up and we won’t be have done a thing. I really think and I really respected what Nancy said last night about bipartisanship and getting together and uniting. She used the word “uniting” and she used the “bipartisanship” statement, which is —

RUSH: They have a different definition, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: — so important because that’s what we should be doing. So we can look at us, they can look at us, we can look at them and it will go back and forth and it will probably be very good for me politically. I can see it being extremely good politically ’cause I think I’m better at that game than they are, actually. But we’ll find out. I mean, you know, we’ll find out.

Or we can work together. You can’t do ’em simultaneously, by the way. Somebody said, “Oh, you can do both.” No, you can’t. ‘Cause if they’re doing that, we’re not doing the other, just so you understand. So we won’t be doing that. But now what happens is we send it to the Senate and we’ll get a hundred percent Democrat support and we’ll get some Republican support. And if it’s good I really believe we have Republicans that will help with the approval process, and they will really help with the approval process.

RUSH: The Senate is bigger than anybody knows right now.

THE PRESIDENT: So it really could be a beautiful bipartisan type of situation. If we won by one or two or three or four or five, that wouldn’t happen. And the closer it is, the worse it is. This way they’ll come to me, we’ll negotiate, maybe we’ll make a deal, maybe we won’t. That’s possible. But we have a lot of things in common on infrastructure. We want to do something on health care. They want to do something on health care. There are a lot of great things that we can do together.

And now we’ll send it up and we will really get — we’ll get the Democrats and we’ll get the Republicans or some of the Republicans, and I’ll make sure that we send something up that the Republicans can support. And they’re gonna want to make sure they send something up that the Democrats can support. So our great country is booming like never before, and we’re thriving on every single level, both in terms of economic and military strength, in terms of development, in terms of GDP we’re doing unbelievably.

I will tell you our trade deals are coming along fantastically. The USMCA and South Korea is finished. USMCA has gotten rave reviews. Not gonna lose companies anymore to other countries. They’re not gonna do that because they have a tremendous economic incentive. Meaning it’s prohibitive for them to do that. So it’s not gonna be like NAFTA, which is one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen, although we’ve made some other pretty bad ones too. Now is the time for members of both parties to join together, put partisanship aside —

RUSH: Ah, right, right.

THE PRESIDENT: — and keep the American economic miracle going strong. It is a miracle. We’re doing so well —

RUSH: They don’t believe in it.

THE PRESIDENT: — and I’ve said it at a lot of rallies. Some of you have probably heard it so much you don’t want to hear it again. But when people come to my office — presidents, prime ministers — they all congratulate me, almost the first thing, on what we’ve done economically. ‘Cause it is really amazing. And our steel industry’s back. Our aluminum industry is starting to do really well. These are industries that were dead. Our miners are working again.

We must all work together to protect our military. We have to do that. To support our law enforcement, secure our borders, and advance really great policy, including environmental policy. We want crystal clean water. We want beautiful, perfect air. Air and water has to be perfect. At the same time, we don’t want to put ourselves at a disadvantage to other countries who are very competitive with us and who don’t abide by the rules at all. We don’t want to hurt our jobs. We don’t want to hurt our factories. We don’t want companies leaving. We want to be totally competitive, and we are.

RUSH: If we’re just tuning in, we’re just carrying a little bit of the presidential press conference today.

THE PRESIDENT: — the cleanest air, the cleanest water we’ve ever had and it’s always gonna be that way. We insist on it. So environmental is very important to me. And with that I’ll take a few questions if you’d like.

RUSH: All right. We’ll take a few of these, then we’ll see what happens.

THE PRESIDENT: Whoa, I didn’t know what happened. Go ahead, John. That was a lot of hands shooting up. There’s a lot of to talk about.

REPORTER: Mr. President, you talked at length just now about bipartisanship, the presumed Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, talked about it last night. I’m sure that’s encouraging for the American people, but do you really believe, given what the relationship has been like between this White House and the Democratic Party, that that will happen?

THE PRESIDENT: I think there’s a good chance. I think there’s a very good chance it will happen.

REPORTER: Will you have to compromise on certain issues to the point where it could hurt you in 2020, and do you expect that when the Democrats take over the chairmanship of all these important committees, you’re going to get hit with a blizzard of subpoenas on everything from the Russian investigation (cross-talk) to your cell phone use to your tax returns?

THE PRESIDENT: Ready? Then you’re going to… If that happens, then we’re gonna do the same thing and government comes to a halt, and I would blame them, because they now are going to be coming up with policy. They’re the majority in the House. I expect that they will come up with some fantastic ideas that I can support on the environment, on so many different things —

RUSH: No, they won’t!

THE PRESIDENT: — including prescription drug prices which we’ve made a big dent in already —

RUSH: Don’t get alarmed by this, folks. This is his “pacing.” This is what he always does. Don’t sweat this stuff.

THE PRESIDENT: — including some of the things we’re working on for the vets. We’ve gotten choice approved. We’ve got a lot of things approved. But they have some other elements that we want. There are many things we can get along on without a lot of trouble, that we agree very much with them and they agree with us. I would like to see bipartisanship. I’d like to see unity. And I think we have a very good chance of seeing that. And maybe not on everything, but I think we have a very good chance of seeing that. Go ahead.

RUSH: One more.

REPORTER: One question on the lame duck, sir, and one on your cabinet. You toyed with the idea during the campaign of a shutdown before the midterms in order to security border wall funding. Are you prepared to go on a shutdown strategy during the lame duck since this might be your last, best chance to secure that?

THE PRESIDENT: Not necessarily. Look, I speak to Democrats all the time. They agree that a wall is necessary.

RUSH: They do?

THE PRESIDENT: A wall is necessary. And as you know, we’re building the wall. We’ve started.

RUSH: (laughs)

THE PRESIDENT: But we should build it at one time, not in chunks.

REPORTER: But you want much more money and you want it sooner.

THE PRESIDENT: No, we need the money to build the wall — the whole wall and not pieces of it. But we are doing it. Now we have the military. Now we have other elements of a wall that are pretty nasty, to be honest with you. But nevertheless, it’s pretty hard to get through it. But, no, I’d like to see the wall. Many of the people that we’ll be dealing with, you know, in 2006 they approved the wall, essentially. It was a very strong border fence, but it was the same thing. And they all approved it. They all agreed. I have statements from every one of them. We have them saying, “We need the wall!” I mean, they sound like me.

REPORTER: Mmm-hmm.

THE PRESIDENT: But we do need it because we have people coming in. I’m not talking about just the caravans. We have people coming through our border that you physically can’t put that many people… It’s a 2,000-mile stretch. You can’t put that many people along that stretch to guard it — and even if you did, tremendous fighting would ensue. So we need the wall. Many Democrats know we need the wall. And we’re just gonna have to see what happens. I mean, we’ll be fighting for it. They have done everything in their power to make sure… I got the military, $700 billion —

RUSH: Okay. I’m gonna make the executive programming decision here to bump out of the presidential press conference. We got most of his opening statement here. We’re gonna continue to roll on this. If there are fireworks in the Q&A, we will have them. But I have no idea on this thing, how long it’s gonna go on. It could easily go on for a full hour, and we can’t — for a bunch of reasons — carry the whole thing. I also want to get into the breakdown of what happens.

Some of the things the president said here are very, very important and I want to try to put it all in some kind of understandable context to somehow try to explain a little bit of what happened yesterday and how it’s being misrepresented or misreported. In addition, for example, just one thing on immigration here. It’s not being said by anybody, but it is an undeniable fact that while President Trump has been the biggest anti-illegal immigration politician in our memory — and while he has talked about the wall and while he has made it clear that he definitely opposes it — do you know that illegal immigration the past two years has happened at a record number?

It’s not being stopped. I mean, there are plenty of arrests. There are plenty of stops, there are plenty of citations, but the numbers of people continuing to storm the border is at an all-time high. And the past two years, there has not been a serious decrease in the number of illegals getting in. Now, how many people yesterday who voted are aware of that and think that the promises on immigration simply aren’t happening? They’re not being made.

There are all kinds of little things like this that might factor into what happened yesterday in the election. I also want to take the time to discuss the races that are outstanding, the surprise races that the Republicans won. What happened in the Senate is big for a host of reasons, just beyond the numbers. So we have a lot to do, lot to break down. We’ll come back and get started with all of that. And just a reminder: Some of your local affiliates may stick with the presidential press conference.

That’s totally their decision. We may JIP it for a few minutes here or there as it continues, but we’re gonna be back to our regular programming as of now.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Well, I’m sorry, folks. I bumped out of this too soon. Jim Acosta was just practically thrown out of the White House — the CNN reporter — by President Trump. He got up and he started accusing the president of calling the caravan a bunch of “invaders” when they’re just a bunch of migrants and why does he call them that, and he got into an argument of what the definition of invaders are and illegal immigration.

And then he started asking, “Are you worried about the Russia investigation?” and Trump kept telling him, “I’m through answering your questions. We move on.” He wouldn’t surrender the microphone. Trump then said, “You’re an embarrassment to CNN. I can’t believe CNN has you working for ’em. It’s an absolutely embarrassment what you’ve done. You’ve got no ratings,” and so forth and so on. It was the classic…

We were rolling on it. We’ll have the audio for you in moments. But it was a microcosm of the media’s relationship with Trump from the get-go. It was filled with disrespect and effrontery, if you will. It is the kind of thing that in the past, you know, a network would not want one of their reporters acting this way. I mean, Acosta did try to take over the entire press conference and just pepper Trump with questions. The Drive-Bys so far up to that point, the only questions had been about his tax returns.

“Are you gonna release your tax returns? Are you gonna do this? Are you gonna do that? Will you release this? You’re gonna be investigated! What do you think about the investigations?” and so forth, after Trump had tried to make a big deal out of working with them and being bipartisan. So we’ll have the audio of that coming pretty quickly. I want to start at what I think is the beginning of this, and that goes back to December of 2017 when the media started talking about this blue wave that was headed our way that was gonna wipe out the Republican Party because everybody hated Trump.

And shortly after that, we started hearing about all these Republican members of Congress announcing their retirements, and there were 40 to 45 of those — and that was huge in what happened yesterday.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: All right. Let’s go back and JIP this. The press is out of control here, folks. It’s not… They’re not even asking questions. They’re just badgering here, and in the process they’re reelecting Donald Trump, is what they’re doing — and so did the thing last night. I’m getting away ahead of myself. I’m so itching to tell you what I think of what happened, but let’s bring this back up because the press is out of control at this thing. April Ryan, Jim Acosta, they just so hate this guy, they will not even behave politely to each other!

THE PRESIDENT: — took place two or three days ago, the poll. I have the best numbers with African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans that I’ve ever had before. And you saw the same poll. So I can’t say that. I can say this. You look at median income, you look at all of the employment and unemployment numbers, they’re doing the best they’ve ever done, and it reflects — it really is very reflective in the polls.

REPORTER: Mr. President, I’m from Brooklyn so you’ll understand me.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I understand you very well.

REPORTER: My question is on health care. How is it possible to keep premiums down and cover preexisting conditions without the individual mandate to fund it?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, what we’re doing — and if you look at the Department of Labor also —

RUSH: I’ll tell you what, I come back and I JIP it and they get boring again. I can’t buy a break today. Hang on with me, folks. Stick with me.

THE PRESIDENT: — the prices right down. But we are getting rid of the individual mandate ’cause was very unfair to a lot of people. But at the same time, we’re covering the people that need it. But the individual mandate was a disaster —

RUSH: It’s unconstitutional to boot!

THE PRESIDENT: — because people who couldn’t necessarily afford it were having to pay for the privilege of not having to pay for health care, and it was bad health care at that. So we are working many plans for health care. We’re creating tremendous competition. We had Obamacare repealed and replaced. Unfortunately, one person changed his mind at the last moment and we had no Democrat support. I have to say that. We didn’t have one vote. We would have repealed it, replaced it. We would have had a large-scale, very good health care plan. Now we’re doing it a different way. We’re doing it a different way. But getting rid of the individual mandate is a very, very popular thing and a very important thing, and people very much appreciate it.

REPORTERS: (shouting questions)

THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead. No, no. That’s enough. Go ahead, please.

REPORTER: Thank you, sir. Two questions. One, I know you went through the results and you obviously (chuckles) studied them late last night. What lesson will you learn most from looking at those results? Was there one thing, as you kind of reviewed them, that you’ll change your strategy, not just for Congress, but time going forward? And just a follow-up question —

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the results that I have learned — and maybe confirmed — is I think people like me. I think people like the job I’m doing, frankly, because if you look at every place I went to do a rally… I couldn’t do it with everybody, but — and it was very hard to do it with people in Congress because there just too many. It would be too many stops. But I did it with the Senate. I did it with Andy Barr, as you know, and he won. He won a very —

RUSH: Nine of the people that Trump stumped for won. Nine. They owe him their political futures. That is big. Nine different people.

THE PRESIDENT: — and he won that race. But I could only do that so much because there are just so many players involved. But I did focus on the Senate, and we had tremendous success with the Senate. Really tremendous —

REPORTER: Can I ask you one more —

REPORTERS: (shouting questions)

REPORTER: Guys, one more question!

REPORTERS: (shouting questions)

REPORTER: Mr. President! Mr. President, one more question, if you don’t mind. Sorry. I’m so sorry, sir. It’s a rare opportunity. (chuckles) A lot of people are gonna be rushing to Iowa, rushing to New Hampshire. You know that the Democrats are already looking ahead to 2020. Do you want to lock down your ticket right now, sir? Will the vice president be your running mate in 2020?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I haven’t asked him, but I hope so. Where are you? Mike, will you be my running mate?

REPORTERS: (laughing)

THE PRESIDENT: Huh?

REPORTERS: (laughing)

THE PRESIDENT: Stand up, Mike. Raise your right hand.

REPORTERS: (laughing)

THE PRESIDENT: No, I’m only kidding. Will you? Thank you. Okay, good. The answer is “yes.”

REPORTERS: (applause)

THE PRESIDENT: Okay.

REPORTER: Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: That was unexpected, but I feel very fine.

REPORTERS: (shouting questions)

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, please.

REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. Going back to the Russia investigation and potential investigations from the now democratically — Democratic majority in Congress, some say that you could stop all this by declassifying —

THE PRESIDENT: I could. I could fire everybody right now. But I don’t want to stop it because politically I don’t like stopping it.

REPORTER: Yeah —

THE PRESIDENT: It’s a disgrace. It should have never been started because there was no crime. It is… Everybody has conflicts. They all have conflicts over there —

RUSH: That’s right. That’s exactly right.

THE PRESIDENT: — beyond anything that anybody’s ever seen in terms of conflicts.

RUSH: No crime.

THE PRESIDENT: From the fact that people ask for jobs, from the fact that they have very good friends on the other side — like, really good friends — like Comey, who, by the way, lied and leaked and also leaked classified information. Nothing happened there. It might, perhaps. Maybe something’s happening that I don’t know about. I stay away from it. But you know what I do? I let it just go on. They’re wasting a lot of money, but I let it go on because I don’t want to do that. But you’re right. I could end it right now. I could say, “That investigation is over.” But it’s — it’s really… It’s a disgrace, frankly, and it’s an embarrassment to our country. It’s an embarrassment to the people of our country, and it’s too bad. Go ahead.

REPORTER: What about the declassification of the documents? Some say that that would —

THE PRESIDENT: We’re looking at that. No, no, we’re looking at that very seriously. Declassification we’re looking at very seriously.

REPORTER: Yeah? Okay.

REPORTERS: (shouting questions)

REPORTER: Can I one more question?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s amazing how the people on the other side just don’t want those documents declassified. We’re looking at that very carefully. I certainly wanted to wait ’til after the midterms.

REPORTER: Can I ask you one more question, Mr. President? Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.

REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. You have campaigned as a pro-life the president. You have defended the rights of unborn children. You now have a divided Congress. It’s unlikely to pass —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.

REPORTER: — passing pro-life bills —

THE PRESIDENT: Tough. Very tough issue.

REPORTER: How are you gonna push forward your pro-life agenda?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m gonna push. I’ve been pushing. I’ve done a very good job, too. We’re very happy with me. But it’s a tough issue for the two sides. There’s no question about it.

RUSH: Okay. Let’s take another stab here at leaving our join-in-progress presidential press conference. It’s a risk doing this ’cause there might be fireworks that happen like when Jim Acosta made a total, continuing — he does it in an ongoing basis — fool of himself. He wasn’t even asking questions. He was just trying to tell Trump what a rotten guy Acosta thinks that he is, and these things… The president actually likes these. He likes missing it up with these people in the media.

And he looks at it as an opportunity to get his message out over their in-his-face objections to it.