President Donald Trump on Friday morning touted a Department of Commerce report estimating that the nation’s gross domestic product grew 4.1 percent in the last quarter.
“These numbers are very, very sustainable. This isn’t a one-time shot. I happen to think we’re going to do extraordinarily well in our next report next quarter. I think it’s going to be outstanding,” Trump said on the White House’s South Lawn, flanked his vice president, treasury secretary, commerce secretary and economic advisers. “I won’t go too strong because then if it’s not quite as good you’ll not let me forget it. But I think the numbers are going to be outstanding. We’ve accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportion.”
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Trump did not respond to shouted questions from reporters regarding a CNN report that Michael Cohen, his longtime attorney, is prepared to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that the president was aware of a 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian attorney who had promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Trump also celebrated reductions in U.S. trade deficits that he said are the result of his hardline trade policies, including the imposition of tariffs on China as well as on allies and partners like Canada, Mexico and South Korea. Those tariffs have brought heavy criticism onto Trump from congressional Republicans who have long pushed for fewer trade barriers.
The president also stepped outside of his administration’s claimed economic victories, celebrating reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs as well as the return by North Korea of what are believed to be the remains of U.S. servicemembers killed during the Korean War. He said Vice President Mike Pence would meet the remains when they arrive, along with family members.
The AP reported Friday that those remains will first be flown to a lab at Joint Base Pearl-Hickam in Hawaii for verification. A spokeswoman for the vice president did not immediately return a request for comment on where Pence would meet the remains.