Trump: 'Call Me a Nationalist If You’d Like, But I Don’t Want Companies Leaving’

By Melanie Arter | October 24, 2018 | 10:19am EDT
President Donald Trump (Screenshot)

( – President Donald Trump referred to himself again as a “nationalist” during the White House State Leadership Day Conference on Tuesday, saying that he doesn’t want U.S. companies to move their businesses overseas.

“Call me a nationalist if you'd like, but I don't want companies leaving. I don't want them firing all their people, going to another country, making a product, sending it into our country -- tax-free, no charge, no tariff, no nothing. And in the meantime, we end up with empty plants, unemployment all over the place. We end up with nothing. So those deals are not happening anymore,” he said.

Trump used the same term on Monday night at a rally for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in Houston.

“A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country so much. And you know what? We can't have that. You know, they have a word. It sort of became old-fashioned. It's called a nationalist. And I say, really, we're not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I'm a nationalist, OK? I'm a nationalist,” the president said. "Nationalist. Nothing -- use that word. Use that word."



During Tuesday’s event, Trump touted the success of the economy during his first two years in office.

“This is a truly exciting time for America. You've heard me say this before, but we just got the World Economic Forum the recognition that the United States has reclaimed its rightful place, after many years of being off the list, as the most competitive economy anywhere in the world,” he said.

“And if you look at consumer confidence, we're at the top of every list. We're setting records in terms of that, too. But we got back on the list in the number-one position and world's most competitive. Following the passage of our massive tax cuts and regulation cuts, the unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest level in more than 50 years,” the president said.

“We have created more than 4.2 million new jobs and lifted over 4 million Americans off of food stamps,” he added. “Median household income in 2017 was the highest level ever recorded.”

Trump applauded low unemployment numbers among Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans. He also heralded the creation of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“We've reached a deal to replace NAFTA, and, as you know, I wasn't a big fan of NAFTA. I think it's one of the worst trade deals ever entered into. I rate it second; I won't tell you what the first is. There's another one that's actually worse, and I won't tell you it's the WTO. Okay? I refuse to tell you the name,” he said, as the audience laughed. “But that's a total disaster, also. I refuse to say what it is, though. Keep it quiet. Am I allowed to say ‘off the record?’ Let's see.”

“And we have a tremendous new deal with -- so, with the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The ‘USMCA,’ we call it. I didn't want the ‘NAFTA’ name on it, because I saw what NAFTA did many years ago to towns and factories and businesses and what it did to the car companies where -- not so much to companies -- to Michigan, and Ohio, and Pennsylvania and Kentucky and so many other places where these companies just left the United States. And we still have empty factories all over the place from that devastation of NAFTA,” the president said.

“Well, we have just the opposite: the USMCA. One of the strongest things about that, you're not going to have companies leaving anymore, because they have a disincentive to leave. I don't want them to leave,” he said.

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