President Donald Trump bragged about lying to the Canadian prime minister, argued a Democrat who just won a special election was just like him and tried to sell his trade policies to a group of Republican donors Wednesday.
Speaking behind closed doors at a fundraiser for Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is running for the Republican Senate nomination, Trump said that he told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the U.S. has a trade deficit with Canada, then conceded that he did not know if that was true, according to audio obtained by TIME. (It is not.)
He also weighed in on the recent special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, claiming that Democratic candidate Conor Lamb is essentially a conservative.
“He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me,” Trump said of Lamb. “I was saying ‘is he a Republican?’ It sounds like a Republican to me. But I guess when you’re popular in a certain area that’s probably a good tactic.”
Read the full transcript of Trump’s speech from Hawley’s fundraiser below:
We have a lot of friends in this area and I just stopped at a little place called Boeing. We just looked at the new plans without pilots now, we have a situation so important here [INAUDIBLE] … they had a very big success, a $2 billion success. That’s a big success. It’s a testament to a wonderful guy whose running who knows what it’s all about. He’s someone that can win, he’s leading in the polls, just about all the polls I’ve seen. There’s one that is a little bit down, and that’s the one you have to run on, because you always have to run a little bit scared, right? A little bit scared. I saw fortunately the following [INAUDIBLE, LAUGHTER]. But you’re doing good, I’ll tell you. Every one of them. You’re the one that can do it. And the whole world is watching, really. We have to change things. We need the votes. We need those votes. You’re working on the phone [INAUDIBLE] but once you get in there, right I know that. Wouldn’t that be nice if we had 51 instead of 60? Wouldn’t it be nice? Someday, someone is going to explain that to me. What’s going on here?
Some of the senators that have been there really for a long time are just dead set on that. But we’re gonna get, we have a chance to win a number of seats and I think we have a really good chance to win a large number of seats. So we’ll see what happens. Mr. Ashcroft, where is Mr. Ashcroft, I didn’t see him. I met his son by the way. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]. Your son is damn good by the way. [Cheers and applause, inaudible conversation].
I met John’s son, he said where is your father? He’s up speaking. I said [inaudible]. Terrific man, terrific family. But we have a chance to do something that is going to be very important. And it starts right here. It starts right here. And I guess last night, I don’t know, I guess the final results aren’t quite in, but we had an interesting time because we lifted seven points up. That’s a lot. I was up 22 points. And we lifted seven. And seven normally would be enough. But we’ll see how it all comes out. It’s virtually a tie. Where is our great Ronna, is she here? Ronna? Ronna McDaniel, whose done — who won Michigan for me, and we won the state of Michigan, first time since Reagan. [Applause]. Anybody that wins Michigan … and I think by some 200,000 odd votes, it was 400 and something. Four-hundred something votes. And I don’t know whats gonna happen and I know he came up a lot in the last few days. We went there, with a speech, the place was packed. It’s actually interesting because it’s only a Congressman for 5 months. I don’t know about that one, Josh. It was a lot of work for five months. They’re redistricting. But we’ll see what happens. But I told Josh just a little while ago, I’m coming back here just before the race and we’ll get a bigger, we’ll get a big something … [APPLAUSE AND LAUGHTER] The country’s watching. This is one of the most important races because this is one we can win because of Josh. We had to get Josh to do it. Once that was over that was a big thing. Because you do need the right candidate. And we have a few of them. We have a few pretty good ones. You know about whats happening. A couple of other guys joined and they’re gonna have, I think great success. So we look forward to it.
One of the things that Josh actually mentioned that I think is probably underscored, understated, is judges. We are going to be appointing 145. They came in 140. You know, my whole life I’ve helped a few people become a federal judge, not gotten it for them but I helped. And they never forget. It’s a big deal. A federal judge — so I come in, there’s this whole pile of paper on my desk, these are federal judges, these are applications. I said how many do we appoint? 145. I said 145? Because for two years, two and a half years in Congress none were appointed by President Obama. So I said thank you President Obama. [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE].
We have 17 court of appeals judges. We have one Supreme Court judge who has done a fantastic job, Justice Gorsuch. We will see what happens on that score. But we have 145 judges and 17 Court of Appeals judges and we have appointed, I guess we’ve had almost 30 approved already. And what a difference that’s making. That will be almost half the judiciary, will be appointed by us. We’re thinking. [APPLAUSE]. Thats something. I mentioned before, we have to run on the tax cuts because that has become the most popular thing. Everybody’s happy. The companies like it like crazy. You know, the companies, we didn’t expect, when we did tax cuts and you know they called it tax reform. I said do me a favor don’t call it tax reform. It hasn’t worked in 45 years. Tax reform. People say, are you going to raise my taxes? They’re reforming taxes. I said that means taxes can go up. They said oh well no, it’s always called tax reform. I said let’s call it tax cuts. They said what would you like to call it? Call it tax cut cut cut plan. Which I did, I actually did, but they thought it sounded a little hokey so we called it the tax cut and job plan. I like the first one better.
But we have no Democrat votes. Claire McCaskill was against it, because she’s party line. Not that she was against it. She’s party line. She’s gonna go with party line. Like the young man last night that run. He said, oh I’m like Trump. Second Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything. You look at him now. It’s a pretty smart race, actually. But he ran, and he ran on that basis. And the bottom line is when he votes he’s gonna vote with Nancy Pelosi. He’s gonna vote with Pelosi and he’s gonna vote with Schumer and that’s what’s gonna happen. And there is nothing he can do about it. He’s not gonna go and vote with Republicans so it doesn’t matter what he feels. It doesn’t matter Claire McCaskill has voted against everything that we want. Voted against everything that you stand for. And voted against these massive tax cuts that are bringing wealth back into families and bringing wealth into the state of Missouri. And she voted against. Because this wasn’t principle, this was the fact that she was told to vote that way. And she has to vote that way. And if she didn’t vote that way the party would drop her very easily and wouldn’t be around and wouldn’t be spending lots of money on her and that’s the way it is. So she voted against tax cuts, and I believe that anyone that voted against that bill will be very hard to win an election. When you campaign and when you’re out there Josh, you should just keep bringing it up. I read an article and I thought it was very nice actually. She’s not gonna say bad things about President Trump. I must be very popular in this state. [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE].
Last night, the young man, also. He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me. I was saying ‘Is he a Republican?’ It sounds like a Republican to me. But I guess when you’re popular in a certain area that’s probably a good tactic.
But we’re not gonna get her vote. So you have to defeat her. You have to defeat her. And if you don’t it’s going to be trouble. I mean they could actually take away the taxes. They could take away the Second Amendment. Very important, the judges. They could stop putting the judges that we’ve been having poured onto the court over the last eight years, you can’t take it. I mean, you just can’t have it. You see some of the decisions. How about the 9th circuit? How do you know, they always file in the 9th circuit and that’s not right. They’re gonna file in the 9th circuit and they win win win and then they lose hopefully in the Supreme Court and hopefully they will but it’s a very important thing. It shows you how important it is to have fair people put on the bench. So the judges are so important, just so important.
We’re doing a lot of things, companies are moving back into the country. You have Chrysler that’s coming back from Mexico, you ever hear that one? It’s always leaving for Mexico, someone’s leaving for Mexico, someone’s leaving for Mexico and now you have many many companies coming back in. You have steel mills opening up, which hasn’t happened in 30 years. And the tariffs are just a form of life you just can’t keep doing this to the outside world. And some of our worst abusers in terms of what they do on trade are our so-called friends. You look at some of these countries that are our friends and you look at the trade deficits we have and it’s staggering. So thats just phase 1, but it’s a little phase. But we have to get back the respect. You know we built ourselves as a great power, a great manufacturing power and you look how so many jobs were taken. I mean NAFTA has been a disaster for this country. I know it affected [INAUDIBLE] but you go off to New England. They’re still paying the price of losing all of those jobs. And those are real jobs. Those are real, credible, powerful important jobs. Even for defense. We have to build our steel. We have to be able to have aluminum. We’re at a point where we could lose all our steel factories, our steel factories, our steel mills, our plants. And we can’t let that happen. People said oh you know we will get our steel from China. Oh good, let’s see if we have to have a national emergency we’re gonna get our steel from China. It’s incredible.
I’ve been using the expression if you have steel you don’t have a country. This isn’t like we’re making pencils. [SLIGHT LAUGHTER]. This is big stuff. Since I’ve announced this we’ve had numerous openings from plants and some are open or expanded right here, and people are starting to see it a little bit differently. We have to do what’s called reciprocal tax. We have countries that charge us 25 percent to get a car in they don’t take the car anyway. Just so you know, they have non-dollar barriers. Ok they’re non-dollar. You know what the dollar is? You can’t sell in our country. That’s worse than heavy taxes. We have countries, or groups of countries, which is even worse. The European Union is very tough. You know, we have the European Union. A lot of you came from Europe, right? And guess what they’re pretty smart. And they formed a group, and they make it very difficult they are very difficult traders. They have these barrier where you can’t keep your product in no matter what you do. If you do get your product in you pay dearly. China is the biggest producer there’s no question about it. So last year with China we lost $500 billion not million, $500 billion it’s a lot. $500 billion and it’s been that way for years. From $200 to $504 billion every year. We rebuilt China, we actually did. Take that money away from China, I mean, we rebuilt it. And it all started with the World Trade Organization. If you look at China it’s like this for many many centuries, world trade is like a rocket ship and much of it came right out of this country. We can’t stop it.