Trump plays down employment figures, says 'I inherited a mess'

President Donald Trump told Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that last week's optimistic jobs figures were "not really the numbers" and said the economy was recovering from a "very, very weak" position.

"When I came into this job, I inherited a mess ... You have people that want jobs that have given up looking for jobs," Trump told host Tucker Carlson in the second part of an exclusive interview that aired Thursday night, "and when you start adding those numbers on to your numbers, it’s not really reflective of where I see."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February as the unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent.

The president described so-called "discouraged workers" as "the people that got me elected" and vowed to "take care of those people."

Trump again touted his economic message of "buy American, hire American."

"Now, since I was president-elect, the word is out: you want to open a plant in Mexico, that’s fine, but you’re going to pay a very big import tax if you’re going to bring that car back into this country," the president said. "And you know what? Ford, General Motors, Fiat, so many others … they’re not moving anymore."

When Carlson asked how Trump spends his spare time, the president said, "I love to read," but bemoaned his lack of opportunities to do so.

"Every time I do about a half-a-page," Trump said, "I get a phone call that there's some emergency, this or that ... I don't get to read very much, because I'm working very hard on lots of different things."