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On the heels of the heart shattering tragedy that took place in Las Vegas, and following the destruction hurricane Harvey left on the island of Puerto Rico, Donald J. Trump opened up to Mike Huckabee after perhaps his hardest week in office.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders
The president initiated the conversation by praising Huckabee’s daughter. Trump said Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Saunders was perhaps one of the “most talented” he has ever known; stating that he was most impressed with the “brilliance” and “coolness” that she handles the hostile press briefing room.
However, the conversation quickly moved to the challenges currently facing the president.
Las Vegas Shooting
Very optimistic tones ran throughout the Roosevelt room as Donald Trump explained what he saw and felt in regard to the response after the Las Vegas response. The president took significant time to thank those involved in the recovery efforts.
“They have done such an incredible job, the Sheriff and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police. The job they've done out there has been really incredible... And all of the hospitals did a fantastic job.”
This sentiment was also echoed by the first lady Melania, who Trump described as very private, but with a heart for others.
“It's amazing how she's taken to this. But she's taken to it because she loves to help people” Trump said.
As Trump and Melania visited the hospitals in Las Vegas they were moved by a specific young man. Thomas Gunderson was one of the almost 500 people wounded in the Las Vegas shooting attack. He was hospitalized with a brutal gunshot wound to the leg. Nevertheless, as Trump neared Gunderson’s hospital room, the wounded man made it a point, despite his leg injury, to stand up when the president entered his room.
“I will never lie down when the President of this great country comes to shake my hand!”
“There may be plenty of issues in this country but I will always respect my country, my president and my flag. Shot in the leg or not, I will stand to show my President the respect he deserves!”
Trump also visited Puerto Rico this week, where he was appreciative for the help and support provided by service members.
“'ll tell you, the job that the first responders and FEMA and the Navy, and the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, the Coast Guard in Texas and all over…”
But the gratitude did not stop there, much praise was given to Trump by the Governor and many mayors. Yet, concerns with how unfair the media has documented his trip was also a major point for the president.
“It's a shame. And they really hurt the country because they take away the spirit of the country.”
“I went to Puerto Rico; I came back -- we had an incredible day. The Governor is a terrific guy who was praising the job we've done -- and he's a Democrat. Almost every mayor -- I think there's over 70 -- were praising us!”
It’s unlikely that Dennis Rodman could become a secret ambassador to the United States and bring peace between the U.S. and North Korea, but one thing is certain, Donald J. Trump is firm on remaining tough with North Korea and keeping a strong defense.
“Almost more than any other time, we need a great military. And the people in the military, from top to bottom, are incredible. So many I know, I've become friends with. They're working for the country. I get to know them, the generals. These are great people”, Trump Said.
One topic that is near and dear to the heart of the evangelical is Israel. Donald Trump continues to stand by Israel and is currently working on a plan.
Trump said, “I'm very, very strong on Israel, and I want to see if we can make peace. If we can make peace between the Palestinians and Israel, I think it'll lead to, ultimately, peace in the Middle East, which has to happen.”
Trump did have his doubts concerning his plan for peace, however, he believes he must make an attempt to bring balance to Israel because it will greatly affect the Middle East.
“I want to give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem.”
On the domestic front, a few legislative issues continue to plague the President.
“You know, in theory, I want to focus on North Korea. I want to focus on Iran. I want to focus on other things. I don’t want to focus on fixing somebody's back or their knee or something. Let the states do that. The states should do it”, says Trump.
When it comes to healthcare, a solution seems far off, but President Trump is optimistic and has a solution to reverse what he calls the obstruction.
President Trump said, “I could almost say we are just about there in terms of the vote. So, I expect to be getting healthcare approved. But I'm disappointed.”
Trump’s disappointment comes from a few sources but mainly the “filibuster rule.”
Trump says, “the problem we have is we have 52 senators and they have to get rid of the just absolutely crazy voting where you need 60.”
Donald Trump believes that once this rule changes, all kinds legislation can be passed.
Nothing made Donald Trump more excited than to discuss his thoughts on tax reform.
“I love this; this is my wheelhouse and I understand it so well”, said Trump.
Trump says that he is really focused on the middle class and companies and promises the largest tax cut ever.
“We are going to have more money to spend. It's like handing people money. We're going to have more money to spend on buying product and on doing things. And we're going to do -- it's going to be very, very special.”
Despite the circumstances, Trump’s overall outlook was quite positive. When asked about the difficulty of his role as president during these events, he said, “in one way, it's a wonderful thing because you're helping people.”