From: Josh Dawsey
Date: April 6, 2017 at 2:56:19 PM EDT
Subject: Travel Pool Report #2
We are wheels down in sunny Florida at 2:50 PM after a rocky flight. President Trump and Press Secretary Sean Spicer came to the press cabin and chatted.
Comments from the president are below, and I will send Spicer separately as soon as possible.
President Trump came to the back of Air Force One around 2:05 pm and poked his head into the press cabin. He took about four minutes of questions and seemed to be enjoying the banter very much.
Asked about whether Assad should step down, the president said “I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity, and he’s there, and I guess he’s running things, so I guess something should happen.”
“What Assad did is terrible. What happened in Syria is truly one of the egregious crimes and it shouldn’t have happened. And it shouldn’t be allow to happen.”
“I don’t want to say what I’m going to be doing with respect to Syria,” POTUS said, when pressed on what specific steps he might take.
The president praised Rep. Devin Nunes, who removed himself from a House investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign and now faces an ethics committee investigation for potentially sharing classified information.
“I just heard that he did. He is a very honorable guy. I think he did that maybe for his own reason. He’s a high-quality person.”
Asked if he believed Nunes shared classified information improperly, Trump said: “Nobody shared it with me, that I can tell you. Because I haven’t looked.”
Of Rep. Conaway, who is replacing Nunes, he called him “a highly-respected man” and “high-quality” but said he hadn’t met him.
PURPOSE OF TRIP
He said the two biggest issues on the trip are “North Korea and trade” and that the president of China had landed in Palm Beach.
“I think China will be stepping up,” he said, asked about North Korea.
“We have been treated unfairly and have made terrible trade deals with China for many, many years. That’s one of the things we are going to be talking about. The other thing of course is going to be North Korea.”
NUCLEAR OPTION/SUPREME COURT
The president said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoking the so-called nuclear option wouldn’t affect his future decisions for Supreme Court justices.
“No, it won’t at all,” he said.
“We have a great person right now in Judge Gorsuch.
"Hopefully if there is a second one in my administration — there could be as many as four... I don't think the nuclear option has anything to do with at all.”
POTENTIAL OF A STAFF SHAKE-UP/HOW THINGS ARE GOING
Asked if a staff shakeup is looming, the president said he thought the administration had “already shaken things up.”
"I think we’ve had one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of the presidency,” he said, citing job creation, negotiations on the price of airplanes and ordering a “vast” amount of military equipment.
White House Reporter