January 17, 2018 / 10:43 PM / 8 months ago

HIGHLIGHTS-Key quotes from Reuters interview with Trump

WASHINGTON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Here are highlights of the Reuters Oval Office interview with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

ON NORTH KOREA’S KIM JONG UN

“Well, I’d sit down but I’m not sure that sitting down will solve the problem.

“I’m not sure that talks will lead to anything meaningful. They’ve talked for 25 years and they’ve taken advantage of our presidents, of our previous presidents.”

ON WHETHER HE HAS COMMUNICATED WITH KIM

“No, I just don’t want to say as to whether or not we’ve had communication. But, but we will see how that plays out. OK? And hopefully it can be done in a peaceful way but it’s very possible that it can’t.”

ON A PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE AGAINST NORTH KOREA

“Well, again I don’t want to say what options I want to consider. I just don’t think we should be talking about options to the media.”

ON WHAT HIS REACTION WOULD BE TO NEW NORTH KOREAN ICBM TESTS

“I don’t like talking about things like that.

“We’re playing a very, very hard game of poker and you don’t want to reveal your hand.”

ON CHINA, RUSSIA ROLES IN NORTH KOREA ISSUE

“I spoke with President Xi (Jinping) the other day, who I have a great chemistry with, I have a great relationship with.

“They’re doing a lot. ... But they can do more. Ninety-three percent of the trade goes through China.

“Russia’s not helping us at all with North Korea. He (Russian President Vladimir Putin) can do a lot. But unfortunately we don’t have a relationship - it’s too bad, but unfortunately we don’t have much of a relationship with Russia, and in some cases it’s probable that what China takes back, Russia gives. So the net result is not as good as it could be.”

ON WHETHER NORTH KOREA COULD HIT THE U.S. WITH A MISSILE

“I don’t think - they’re not there yet, but they’re close. And they get closer every day. And again, this is a problem that should have been handled over the last 25 years before they were this close or before they did have the capability.”

ON MISSILE DEFENSE EXPANSION

“We’re ordering more missile defense and we’re ordering more missile offense also. We have been very depleted as a nation and I would love to spend money on other things but I’m also a person of great common sense.”

ON TIMING OF TRADE ACTIONS

“We’re going to be doing and we’ll announce something.

“I’ll talk about it at the State of the Union.

“It’s not only China. China’s just the biggest. It’s everybody.”

ON NAFTA TALKS

“We’re renegotiating NAFTA now. We’ll see what happens. I may terminate NAFTA. A lot of people are going to be unhappy if I terminate NAFTA. A lot of people don’t realize how good it would be to terminate NAFTA because the way you’re going to make the best deal is to terminate NAFTA. But people would like to see me not do that.”

ON SKIRMISH DURING IMMIGRATION MEETING

“I’m not going to get into what I said, but I will tell you, it was a tough meeting.

“The reason it was a tough meeting was, I was told that we had a deal - and the deal was an unacceptable deal.

“Lindsey (Graham) - he meant well - but I said: ‘Well, how many Republicans agree with this?’ So far, I find one: Lindsey.

“After about 30 seconds, I realize – this deal’s terrible. It’s horrible for the security of our country.

“It’s the opposite of what I campaigned for.

“They gave very little funding for the wall, which we desperately need, by the way. But it also was weak on chain migration. They were very weak on chain migration. Very, very weak.

“The lottery system has to go, and the chain migration system is killing our country.

“I’ve had many meetings over the years. I’ve never had somebody run out to the press and say: ‘Trump said this, Trump said that, Trump said this.’ That’s not the way you make deals.

“I’ve lost all trust in (Democratic U.S. Senator Dick) Durbin.”

ON THE NUMBER OF IMMIGRANTS FROM HAITI, AFRICA

“I think you have great people from all countries. And I look at the individual and I want to bring in great individuals. I think much less about the country ... I want to bring in great people, great individuals.

“I love the people from Haiti. I campaigned, I went two or three times down to Little Haiti in Miami.’

“I mean, I love the people. There’s a tremendous warmth. And I was very well-received. And they’re very hard-working people.

“We need workers in this country. So I’m not like somebody that wants to shut off people coming in – I think just the opposite. I want a lot of people to come in. But they have to come in through merit.” (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe, James Oliphant, Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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