PORTLAND, Ore. – President Donald Trump talked to Portland radio host Lars Larson from the East Room of the White House on Thursday. Trump discussed the Republican tax plan, the New York City truck attack, Hillary Clinton and whether Washington, D.C. should allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons.
Interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Larson: Can you get [the new Republican tax plan] done for America? What you need to do to make America great again, if Congress can’t get this done?
Trump: I think they’re going to get this done Lars, I really do. I think they’re going to have it in a position.
I think the House is very, very unified. I think they want to get it done. It’s the biggest tax cut in history and I think the Senate’s going to follow very shortly.
We’re going to sit down in the room, we’re going to pick all the best things, and we’re going to have the biggest tax cut and reform of taxes in our history and that’s what we need. We’re doing very well. We’re setting new records every day in the stock market. To really kick it off we want the tax cuts and I think they’re going to happen.
Larson: What do you say to those critics who say, ‘This is only for the rich? It doesn’t do anything for anyone else?’
Trump: Well, it’s really wrong. In fact, a newspaper that I’m not particularly fond of today came out and very strongly criticized [Senate minority leader Chuck] Schumer – they gave him four Pinocchios – because he was using that [explanation]. It’s a standard line. If I was going to fight it I would say the same thing. He didn’t even know what the bill was. This is really for the middle class and it’s for companies who produce jobs. We’re just about one of the highest-taxed countries in the world. We’re not even competitive with other countries.
Thirty-five percent, plus, plus, plus. Then you get into state and city taxes and some of these companies pay 44 percent.
What happens is we’re bringing the tax rate all the way down to 20 percent and a good, solid 20 percent. So we go from just about the highest to one of the highest to a point where we’re one of the lower [taxed countries]. I’d like to say we’re the lowest, we’re not. We could be there some day. If this works how we think, this is going to have a tremendously positive impact on business and on jobs.
Larson: Let me ask you about that terrorist, the man who murdered eight people in New York this week. What should happen to him?
Trump: I think he’s an animal. I think it should be death penalty all the way. I’m very strongly in favor of the death penalty for him and for people like him that take lives like that. These people were so beautiful. I was watching as they were doing the reports on the people that died. Eight people and perhaps that could even increase.
The people were so badly injured. People don’t mention that but they were so badly injured.
This is a man that should be – this should be the death penalty if there’s ever a case for the death penalty this is it.
You know when he was sitting in the room yesterday, the hospital room, probably this beautiful room I can just imagine. He’s saying he wants the ISIS flag and he’s smiling. He was very happy with what he did. I said, ‘We can just not allow this to happen.’ Whether it’s chain migration that we have to stop, we have to stop that Lars, and we have to stop it fast. Or picking people out of a lottery, which is so ridiculous. You know these countries, they don’t put their finest in those lotteries. It’s not like, ‘Oh gee, let’s put in some real great people.’ They’re not putting their finest people in. So we get him out of a lottery. Can’t do it.
Larson: Can we get rid of this lottery system for these visas?
Trump: In fact, I’ve instructed Congress today to immediately terminate that program. That was done by the Democrats. It was actually led by Schumer a long time ago. People have been coming in here a long time. It’s been a problem for a long time for a lot of people but nobody really saw it until this because he came in here through this lottery system. Now we’re going to get rid of it. Congress is very much looking forward to getting rid of it. We’re going to do it fairly soon, too.
Larson: It seems [Hillary Clinton] spent a lot of money to hire a Russian-connected firm called Fusion GPS to write a dossier that … she defamed you. Does she deserve to be punished and is she going to get punished?
(Ed. Note: Hillary Clinton’s campaign helped fund research that was included in a dossier about Trump’s alleged Russian ties. The dossier was initially funded by a Republican donor before the primary election. Clinton has defended the decision.)
Trump: They’re looking at it. As you know, I’m not involved with the justice department because I’m not supposed to be involved as the president of the United States, and I feel like they can do a lot more. They can do a lot more when you look at certain things. I heard Donna Brazil came out with a book that really shows the corruption.
She came out with a book that says that Bernie Sanders was really defrauded by Hillary Clinton and by the whole Clinton gang. That’s something they have to look at too in addition to the fake dossier which was disgraceful. From what I’m hearing they could have given money to Russia.
You know it’s interesting with Russia. The last person Russia should want is me because I want a strong military, and I want tremendous amounts of energy and oil pouring out of the ground and coming out gas and that’s what they don’t want us to be doing. Those things are what they don’t want us to be doing.
Larson: Reciprocity. You were for it. I carry [concealed weapons] at home [in Oregon]. I can’t carry in the District of Columbia. Is that going to happen?
Trump: We’re talking about it. A lot of people want that and they feel it’s important. It’s interesting. This guy uses a truck, which you don’t hear so much… we have Judge Gorsuch now. Your second amendment I believe is extremely safe.
I’ve been a big second amendment person right from the beginning. They endorsed me very early. I heard the earliest endorsement of a candidate ever from the NRA, who are very good people, they want what’s best for the country.
Reciprocity’s an interesting thing. I’m not sure that we’re going to be probably pushing it at this moment right away but a lot of people like it. And it’s something that I would certainly consider. I mean what happens – you can have it in Virginia but you can’t come across a state line which makes life a little bit difficult.