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Roosevelt Room

12:33 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate everybody coming in.

We had some very late nights getting the tax-cut bill to conference. Last was very smooth, and I think we’re going to make it so that it comes out very beautifully. I call it “the mixer.” It’s a conference where everyone gets together and they pick all the good things and get rid of the things they don’t like.

But it’s a fantastic bill for the middle class. It’s a fantastic bill for jobs and for companies wanting to bring back massive amounts of money into our country. It’s really — I view it more than anything else, is it’s a tremendous bill for jobs and for the middle class.

And I think people see that, and they’re seeing it more and more. And the more they learn about it, the more popular it becomes. And I think the end result will be even better. We had a choice — we could have gone directly for a vote, and we decided, though, let’s put it into the conference and let’s come out with something where everything is perfecto. And that’s what we’re going to do.

This group of wonderful Republican senators is here to discuss the tax bill — very important. And we’re also going to be talking about trade and NAFTA — what’s going on with the NAFTA negotiations. We have tremendous losses with Mexico and losses with Canada, and covered by NAFTA. Last year, we lost approximately $71 billion in trade deficit; we have a trade deficit with Mexico of $71 billion. With Canada, it was about $17 billion.

We have trade deficits with everybody. Virtually every country in the world we have trade deficits with. And that’s going to be changing — it’s already changing — but it’s going to be changing fast. We went to China; we brought back over $300 billion worth of contracts from Asia. It was a very successful trip.

But now we’re going to look at NAFTA very seriously. We have Bob Lighthizer here, we have Gary Cohn, and we’re already starting the negotiation. Not easy to have an election coming up, so we’ll see how that plays. But it’s going to be very successful.

So we’re going to be talking about trade, we’ll be talking about healthcare, we’ll be talking about other subjects. The taxes, we’re so thrilled about and so popular. And I think something is going to be coming out of conference pretty quickly, as opposed to long term. I think it’s going to go pretty quickly. We’re all on the same page. There’s a great spirit in the Republican Party like I’ve never seen before — like a lot of people have said they’ve never seen before. They’ve never seen anything like this, the unity.

So I think a lot of very good things are going to happen and it’s going to happen very fast. I want to thank you all for being here. And let’s have a great lunch, and let’s talk about trade. And let’s make great trade deals instead of the horrible trade deals that we all got stuck with.

Thank you very much. Thank you, everybody.

Q Mr. President, why did you decide to formally endorse Roy Moore?

THE PRESIDENT: I think he’s going to do very well. We don’t want to have a liberal Democrat in Alabama, believe me. We want strong borders, we want stopping crime. We want to have the things that we represent, and we certainly don’t want a liberal Democrat that’s controlled by Nancy Pelosi and controlled by Chuck Schumer. We don’t want to have that for Alabama.

Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you very much.


12:36 P.M. EST