Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER> Date: August 11, 2017 Guest: Kelly O`Donnell, Gregory Meeks, Peter Alexander, Hugh Hewitt, Michael McFaul, Kevin Cirilli, Lynn Sweet, Karen Finney, Eric Columbus, James Melendres
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: - and we are talking about coming up with an answer when - Rex, tell me.
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: By September 1.
TRUMP: By September 1, you will have a response, but we have reduced payroll very substantially, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, a lot of Americans are on edge with this rhetoric going back and forth between United States and North Korea, what can you tell them? What you can tell them -?
TRUMP: You know what I can say? Hopefully, it will all work out. Nobody loves a peaceful solution better than President Trump. That I can tell you. Hopefully, it will all work out.
But this has been going on for many years. Would have been a lot easier to solve this years ago before they were in the position that they are in, but we will see what happens. We think that lots of good things can happen and we could also have a bad solution. But we think lots of good things can happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would be a bad solution, sir?
TRUMP: I think you know the answer to that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, please, when you say bad solutions, are you talking about war? Is the US going to go to war?
TRUMP: I think you know the answer to that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Iran abiding by the nuclear agreement in your view?
TRUMP: Well, we have some pretty strong opinions. But I would say that they are certainly not abiding by the spirit of the agreement. And I`d go really a further step, but I would say that the spirit of the agreement, Iran is not abiding by. Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Staying in that region, do you have the right generals in place right now for the fight in Afghanistan?
TRUMP: Well, we`re going to make a determination, Peter, in a very short period of time as to Afghanistan. I have been looking at it. It`s our longest war in history, 17 years. That`s unacceptable.
We will be making decisions, as you know very well, and we`re looking into that very closely. We talked about it a little bit today. We talked about Venezuela today also, by the way. Venezuela is a mess. It`s a very dangerous mess and a very sad situation. But we talked about Venezuela also.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re a couple of weeks into Gen. John Kelly`s time as you chief of staff. What have you done differently? What has he done to change the way you act or has been the way that your White House acts?
TRUMP: Well, I think Gen. Kelly has done a fantastic job. He is a respected person, respected by everybody. I think it`s all has come together very nicely.
And I have to say, I think probably, and I have gone through this a lot, but I think very few presidents have done what we`ve done in a six-month period, whether it`s optimism in business, whether it`s the stock market, whether it`s picking up $4 trillion in value with companies and equity, whether it`s all of the many things including the Supreme Court justice, regulations being cut massively.
We have - I think it`s 48 bills being passed and being - I`m talking legislation, not just executive orders. I think few have done anywhere near what we`ve done.
And we`ll work now on tax reform cuts. We`ll never stop working on, as you know, healthcare. That`s also working.
We`re working on other things, including infrastructure. We`re going to have a very big infrastructure bill.
So, I think nobody has done - very rarely - could I say that anybody has done? I am not sure that anybody has done what we`ve done in a six-month period.
But I think that Gen. Kelly has a tremendous - has brought something very special to the office. Chief - I call him chief.
He is a respected man. He is a four-star from the Marines and he carries himself like a four-star from the Marines. And he is my friend, which is very important.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, a number of Republican senators have rushed to the defense of Senate Majority Leader McConnell in the last day or so. What do you make of that? And have you reached out -?
TRUMP: I don`t make anything of it. We should have had healthcare approved. He should have known that he had a couple of votes that turned on him and that should have been very easily to handle, whether it`s through the fact that you take away a committee chairmanship or do whatever you have to do.
But what happened, in my opinion, last week is unacceptable. People have been talking about repeal and replace for seven years, long before I ever decided to be doing what I am doing. Seven years, they`ve been talking repeal and replace and it didn`t happen.