En Route West Palm Beach, Florida
2:08 P.M. EDT
Q (In progress.) — the Chinese President?
THE PRESIDENT: North Korea and trade.
Q And on North Korea, you had said in the — interview that you’re willing to act alone if China doesn’t step up. What are you going to try to get from the Chinese?
THE PRESIDENT: Certainly, I would be. But I think China will want to be stepping up.
Q What do you want them to do specifically?
THE PRESIDENT: You’re going to see. We’ll be talking about it.
Q Have you told members of Congress —
THE PRESIDENT: The President just arrived. He just landed in Palm Beach, so I just saw that.
Q Mr. President, have you told members of Congress that you’re considering using military action in Syria?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t want to mention that, but the answer is no, I haven’t.
Q So what should we make now, going — I think we’re ending the 13th week or so — how your staff is doing? Are you shaking things up and rebooting a little bit?
THE PRESIDENT: I’ve shaken them up, and I think we’ve had one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of Presidents. If you look at all that we’ve done and all of the jobs we’ve created, if you look at the kind of cost-cutting we’ve been able to achieve with the military and at the same time ordering vast amounts of equipment — saved hundreds of millions of dollars on airplanes, and really billions, because if you take that out over a period of years it’s many billions of dollars — I think we’ve had a tremendous success. And we’ve just begun. And we’re going to have a very interesting couple of days.
Q In terms of your staff, though, are you realigning your staff?
Q Are you committed to doing something in Syria?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t want to say what I’m going to be doing with respect to Syria.
Q What would you like the Chinese president to do regarding North Korea?
THE PRESIDENT: We have been treated unfairly and have made terrible deals — trade deals with China for many, many years. So that’s one of the things we’re going to be talking about. The other thing, of course, is going to be North Korea, and somehow they will mix. They really do mix. So we’re going to be talking about both trade, North Korea, and many other things.
Q Will the use of nuclear option change how you consider which nominees to put before the Senate?
THE PRESIDENT: No, not at all. No. We have a great person right now in Judge Gorsuch, I mean a great person. And hopefully if there is a second one for me during my administration — and there could be as many as four — in fact, under a certain scenario there could even be more than that — but no, I don’t think the nuclear option has any impact on that at all.
Q What do you think of Devin Nunes recusing himself this morning? Were you briefed on that? Was that a good decision?
THE PRESIDENT: He’s a very good person. I just heard that he did. I think he’s a very good person, he’s a very honorable guy. And I think he did that maybe for his own reason. He’s a high-quality person. And the gentleman replacing him, who I don’t know, I hear is a very, very highly respected man, high-quality.
Q — for him sharing classified information? Did he share classified information?
THE PRESIDENT: With who? What?
Q For the ethics investigation now undergoing for him sharing classified information. Do you think he’s guilty of sharing classified information?
THE PRESIDENT: Nobody shared it with me, that I can tell you —
Q Mr. President —
THE PRESIDENT: — because I haven’t looked.
Q Mr. President, two questions. Do you think Assad should leave power? And will you discuss the Syria —
THE PRESIDENT: What Assad did is terrible. I think what happened in Syria is one of the truly egregious crimes and it shouldn’t have happened and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen.
Q Have you talked to Putin about this? Will you talk to the Russian president about what happened?
THE PRESIDENT: At some point, I may. I haven’t, but at some point I may.
Q Just to follow on that, though, do you think that Assad should leave power in Syria?
THE PRESIDENT: I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity. And he’s there, and I guess he’s running things, so something should happen.
Thanks, folks, I’ll see you in a little while.
2:12 P.M. EDT