Trump: A wall is a good thing, a moral thing

This is a rush transcript from "The Ingraham Angle," February 11, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: And the president wrapping up his speech that ran about an hour and more than 15 minutes, I think, right, 20 minutes almost. And some protesters along the way, but not really many. We had an incredibly interesting crowd, exuberant reaction.

But now I want to bring you my exclusive interview with the president, conducted just before he went on stage for this rally. Let's watch:

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

INGRAHAM: Mr. President, word broke late today, early this evening that there might be some tentative deal struck to avert a government shutdown. What can you tell us?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I can tell you a lot of things have changed we'll see what happened. I can't go into the exact deal. I just heard it very quickly coming over to see you. It's between the deal and you, and I had to choose you, because I had no choice, right?

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: And I'm very happy I did. But they're are talking, and we'll see what happens.

INGRAHAM: there is an opposing rally kind of going on this the same time as this rally, tonight Beto O'Rourke, young kind of up-and-comer, they say, in the Democrat Party. He and others say the wall is really about hate and racism. To that, you say what?

TRUMP: To that, I say that, number one, very few people showed up to his rally. And this place is packed with thousands and thousands outside. And I guess he challenged us to an event, so maybe this means he's going to have to drop out of the race because this was not a good situation for him. I don't know why he did it.

And it has nothing to do with anything other than safety for the Americans, safety for our people, safety for our country. And a wall is a very good thing, not a bad thing. It's a moral thing, to put it in the opposite terms. And we have tremendous support. We're building it right now. We don't even say build the wall anymore. We say finish the wall because we've built a lot and we are renovating a tremendous amount of old stuff that was really in bad shape but it had good structure. So we are saying finish the wall. Now, walls are very important. If you don't have it, all the technology, Laura, all the drones that they have flying around so nicely up in the air, they don't mean a thing.

INGRAHAM: What about all these border sheriffs, the ones at the border, border mayors, they always say oh, no, we don't need a wall. We're safe. They were challenging some of your statistics on El Paso even though Juarez has had a terrible year last year for murders, another one.

TRUMP: First of all, Juarez, the murders are tremendous, and here they're very few. They are not correct, they know they're not correct.

INGRAHAM: They say the crime is low. Low before the walls.

TRUMP: The crime was very high, and then the wall got built. Really you should talk about the sheriffs that agree with me, which are like 98 percent of the sheriffs in the country, maybe all of them.

INGRAHAM: Detention beds, they threw that out, we're going to reduce the number of detention beds. What was that all about?

TRUMP: When you do that, and the Democrats came up with that, because that means you don't detain people that are very dangerous. That means you have to put them out into our society because our laws are so bad. And if you look at what happened and what's been passed over the years in congress, it's a shame. It's a disgrace. That means we can't just put them back into Mexico or where they came. We have to put them back into our society. In some cases, they are stone cold criminals. We can't do that.

INGRAHAM: Another good piece of economic news came out today. Personal confidence in the economy, I think it's at a 16 year high. With that, why are so many millennials gravitating in some polls toward socialism over capitalism? And what can you do to reinvigorate their understanding of the free market?

TRUMP: I think, number one, they're young. They are idealistic, if you call it idealistic. I think that capitalism is more of an ideal. But if you look at the poll numbers, you look at the kind of numbers that we have, it's been great. I hit my all-time high today, 52 percent. And that's with only bad stories because the press only gives me bad stories. You treat me fairly.

INGRAHAM: Were you surprised when some Democrats didn't stand up when you asked that question at the State of the Union about socialism, we're never going to be a socialist country? Not everybody stood up.

TRUMP: Because that's why they're coming from. When I see some of the responses, when I see some of the statements made by congressmen and women, I say, are we living in the United States of America? We have a country that's doing the best it's ever done. We are just lapping the world. It used to be like we were a second sister to China. Now China is looking up to us. We are doing so well. And other countries are not doing well. And that makes it tougher for us in a certain way because we do business with other countries. But we are setting records in so many ways, including record unemployment, meaning in a positive way, meaning --

INGRAHAM: But they always say Obama started that. And then they'll say there's economic inequality. That's the new buzzword. You're going to hear it a lot in 2020, income inequality, a lot of the young freshman congressman. And some of the candidates in 2020 are really gravitating toward that.

TRUMP: If I would have stayed with what President Obama did, you look at his last months, you look what happened the first month coming into my term, they were very low, the numbers, the GDP numbers and everything else. If I would've stayed with those numbers, Laura, we would've had an economy that would have been going way in reverse, right now. We opened it up. We got rid of regulations that were unnecessary. We did the biggest tax cuts we've ever done in our country. We opened up the oil. You know we're the largest oil exporter now. We are the largest oil and gas in the world right now. Nobody thought that was possible this quickly.

We opened up our country. We are letting people work again. We have more people working today, almost 160 million people, we have more people working today than have ever worked in the United States. It's great.

INGRAHAM: And yet we didn't have some people stand for that at the state of the union. You say record low unemployment. What does that tell you? I got lots of texts. They are trying to paralyze our economy with investigations, all this oversight, you're getting hammered with requests for documents and so forth, which is part of the oversight. What's going on there?

TRUMP: What's happened to me should never be allowed to happen to another president, with investigations on things that never took place, like Russia. The Russia collusion delusion we call it. I call it a hoax. And in fact, it was very nice. Richard Burr, the other day, came out after almost two years of investigation. They found absolutely no collusion between Trump and the Russia, which I could've told a lot of people, and which I have been saying to a lot of people.

This has never happened. The Democrats know it's a hoax. This is a political game. So now the Russia thing is dead, and they say well, we're going to look at every company that Donald Trump was ever -- they don't have any information or anything. We're going to look at every company that Donald Trump was ever involved in. I did great. I made a lot of money. Now they want to go back and investigate every company. We want to go -- and we have and I think 79 different letters from different committees --

INGRAHAM: How are you going to respond to these letters?

TRUMP: Well, for the most part, they are conflicted.

INGRAHAM: Meaning?

TRUMP: I got one from Pocahontas today where it said that Donald Trump, we want to investigate some company. It's so disgraceful. I said, just write her back and say she's got a conflict of interest, OK, and she should focus more on her heritage and not being ashamed of what she is. She should really focus on herself.

But we've gotten letters, Laura, from so many committees. I didn't know we had so many committees. I think it's up to 79 letters. This is based on no information of any wrongdoing, because I'm a very straight person.

INGRAHAM: African-Americans --

TRUMP: So we went through this whole Russian hoax. Nobody has ever done what I did where I was hit with this. Now, think of this -- hit with it, and we probably have the greatest first two years of any president in our history in terms of what we've accomplished with employment, with GDP, with everything. And companies are moving back into our country, which is one of the great stats.

INGRAHAM: African-Americans in this country, what would you say to the young African-American today in Virginia who is seeing the turmoil in that state and wants to understand what the race issue is pummeling us on all sides?

TRUMP: It's a terrible situation. I think that the Republicans are going to do very well in Virginia. I think a lot of things are happening in Virginia. I didn't campaign in Virginia because I was told that a Republican --

INGRAHAM: Not much, a few stops, not much, at the very end.

TRUMP: Very little, virtually not. But I started looking at numbers, I said, why aren't I there? But they sort of assumed that it's a Democrat state. And as you know, I did very well there without having gone. I think Virginia is ready to flip over to something. And I'll tell you, African-Americans are coming to the Republican Party like nobody can believe. A lot of things are happening, a lot of very positive things.

INGRAHAM: Should Northam resign?

TRUMP: I watched his news conference. It was pretty sad. It was sad. Look, let them figure out what to do. But I felt -- actually, I felt sorry for his wife. And his wife saved him from doing, as you know, Michael Jackson. He was going to try and imitate Michael Jackson with the moonwalk. Nobody can imitate Michael with the moonwalk, and this would not have been pretty. You and that little couple of seconds of footage onto what he did. But it was a pretty bad situation.

INGRAHAM: Mr. President, thank you very much for being here.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

INGRAHAM: Reaction to my exclusive interview with President Trump live from El Paso, it's chilly here, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

INGRAHAM: All right, who knew it was so cold in Texas? But it's warm out here with all of our friends.

(APPLAUSE)

INGRAHAM: Here in El Paso, my first trip to El Paso. I'm so happy. We had an exclusive interview with President Trump before the rally. My dear friend, Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick is with us. Also Monica Crowley, "Washington Times' columnist, And Chris Hahn, former aide to Senator Chuck Schumer.

All right, guys, we've got lot of ground to cover, not much time to do it. Dan, there's breaking news on this border deal, a potential border deal between congressional negotiators -- $1.375 billion for barriers but not walls. What is going on here?

TEXAS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR DAN PATRICK: Look, the president is going to build a wall of the end of the day no matter what they do, so they need to quit messing around and either give them what he wants or understand he's going to move forward.

But tonight, this was a bold move. For him to come to Beto O'Rourke's, Robert Francis O'Rourke's hometown, out draw him tonight, Laura. I think Beto O'Rourke's presidential campaign came to an end. He may run, but it's over. When you can't carry your own town, when he comes out and turns out a crowd like this, it is over for Beto O'Rourke, and all the Democrats are going to seize on this tomorrow morning and say look what Beto did. He was an embarrassment to our party in his own city. Trump knocked him out of the race tonight.

INGRAHAM: Chris Hahn, I bet you have something to say about that. Chris?

CHRIS HAHN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I would say be careful what you wish for, Lieutenant Governor. Beto O'Rourke is an exciting candidate. I don't know if he's going to be the Democratic nominee, but if he is, be careful.

But the question I have to ask is, does the president does he think he was elected in 2008? He did not inherit a mess. Obama inherited a mess. He inherited a roaring economy that was already producing more energy than any country in the world when he took office. Things were going well, they continue to go well. Thank God for that. I give him some credit for that. But he didn't inherit a mess. He inherited a great thing. He got elected in 2016.

INGRAHAM: Chris, what was going on with wages? Chris, what was going on with wages? I'll ask Monica. Monica, wages for middle-class workers, blue collar workers, what was happening with manufacturing in the United States, manufacturing jobs that people were laughing about? Tell us.

MONICA CROWLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: To Chris's point, if everything were going so great in 2016 thanks to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton would have won the presidential election. The American people voted in Donald Trump in large part to reverse most of what Barack Obama did, and to, in Donald Trump's words, make America great again. That's exactly what he has done in two short years. He has delivered a thriving economy. He has turned the country around in manufacturing and other economic areas. And he's also delivering a stronger U.S. military and U.S. international position. That's why what you saw tonight was the kickoff to 2020. And Laura, nobody does it better than Donald Trump.

INGRAHAM: Let's go to Dan. It's about --

HAHN: He's campaigning in Texas for 2020. If he feels he got to worry about Texas in 2020, then we've got real --

INGRAHAM: This is El Paso. I've got it. Nice talking point.

(APPLAUSE)

INGRAHAM: Now, Chris, Chris. This is El Paso. This is Beto country. I've got to tell you something, that arena, I ducked into the arena, I ducked in.

PATRICK: Thousands outside. Beto didn't outdraw him tonight. The president came here and beat him in his own city, in his own backyard.

INGRAHAM: What about the mayor of El Paso? The mayor of El Paso was throwing a lot of shade on the president today.

PATRICK: Let me give you the real story about the fence, because it's important. That's what we are here to talk about. On the other side of the fence, which is not far from here, 1,100 people were murdered last year, Laura, 23 in El Paso. In the last three years --

INGRAHAM: Wait a second. I want everyone to understand this. I want everyone to understand this -- 1.100 people were murdered in Juarez last year, 23 here.

PATRICK: Twenty-three here. That's just on the other side of the fence. In the last three years, 59 people have been murdered in El Paso and 2,416 in Juarez. If this fence were not here, that violence of decapitating people, of hanging people from bridges, of cutting off their heads and rolling them in poolhalls and down the street.

HAHN: Yes.

PATRICK: That violence would be here in El Paso. That fence -- Chris, you're wrong. You are a denier or a deceiver -- 1,100 people to 23.

HAHN: Governor, you know that crime was going down in El Paso long before the wall. You know it.

PATRICK: Chris, I'm not talking about that. Chris, I'm talking about today.

HAHN: Or your just ignorant to it for some reason, in which case maybe you shouldn't be governor.

PATRICK: Today, today. Get in today's time.

HAHN: I think it's a real shame that you would demagogue around this. We know that the law enforcement, the hardworking men and women in law enforcement are why that crime is down, not because of some barrier --

INGRAHAM: They're all for Trump.

PATRICK: Chris, let me tell you something.

(APPLAUSE)

INGRAHAM: Nice try. Nice try, Chris. I've got 30 seconds here. OK, if we tried to do this show just a few, 500 yards from here tonight, it would be a different deal. So don't tell me.

PATRICK: We would be endangered.

INGRAHAM: We are going to hit a hard break. Guys, we'll be right back. So stay right there. We have got a great crowd on a cold night here in El Paso. The president killed it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

INGRAHAM: This is my first trip to El Paso. I'm really glad I came. It was wild to see what was happening inside the arena -- the president's speech, exclusive interview -- but also outside. We've had a chance to talk to a lot of the folks here, amazing people in El Paso. We're going to be in Dallas, Texas, tomorrow night. And make sure to follow my podcast. We'll be launching that again, new episode tomorrow. Follow me @ingrahamangle on Twitter. And now, the -- we're going to have Shannon Bream and the "Fox News @ Night" team take it from here.

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