President Donald Trump used a speech before the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday to call out House Democrats a day before the start of public impeachment inquiry hearings.
Trump accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her caucus of pursuing what he called "outrageous hoaxes and delusional witch hunts," instead of putting forward a vote on his administration's most recent trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.
The president told the group of business leaders that House Democrats' multiple inquiries into his presidency and business dealings "are going nowhere, don't worry about it."
Pelosi last month dismissed claims by Trump and House Republicans that the impeachment inquiry was delaying a vote on the USMCA trade deal, saying that Democrats were close to reaching an agreement with the administration over some of their concerns with the deal.
"The people who are saying that don't know what they're talking about or have a different agenda that they want to present,” Pelosi told reporters during an Oct. 17 news conference.
Trump, in a nearly hourlong speech, also doubled down on his criticism of the Federal Reserve, arguing that the interest rate-setting board puts the United States “at a competitive disadvantage to other countries.”
The president, who has faced bipartisan criticism ahead of Wednesday's meeting at the White House with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, defended his meetings with authoritarian leaders, saying he was willing to meet with all leaders if it's in the best interest of the country.
"When I meet with the leaders of countries as they come in — kings and queens and prime ministers, and presidents and dictators — I meet them all," Trump said, straying from his prepared remarks. "Anybody who wants to come in. ... Dictators, it’s OK. Come on in. Whatever’s good for the United States. We want to help our people."
Trump, in a speech that touted his “America First” economic agenda, argued that past interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve Board were hampering U.S. economic growth as other countries moved to lower their interest rates. The president’s remarks came despite the Fed cutting interest rates in October for the third time this year, essentially reversing the 2018 hikes.
"We are competing against these other countries, and the Federal Reserve doesn't let us play at that game,” Trump said, speaking to the group of business leaders at the New York Midtown Hilton Hotel in Manhattan.
The president has long railed against his appointed Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome H. Powell, arguing the Fed should drop interest rates to zero or below zero as other European nations have done to encourage borrowing.
"Give me some of that money. I want some of that money," Trump said, referring to negative interest rates. The off-the-cuff remark drew laughter from those on hand.
The president praised his stewardship of the nation’s economy, saying he has pushed for “pro-American” policies.
“As president, I understand and embrace the fact that the world is a place of fierce competition,” Trump said. “We’re competing against other nations for jobs and industry growth and prosperity. Factories and businesses will always find a home. It’s up to us to decide whether that home will be in a foreign country or right here in our country.”
The speech marked the second time Trump addressed the group. He spoke before the nonpartisan club as a presidential candidate in September 2016, using the occasion to lay out his economic agenda.
The address came as part of Trump’s four-day stay in New York City that started on Saturday. The president also headlined a closed-door campaign fundraiser at Manhattan’s InterContinental Barclay hotel and was set to return to Washington in the evening.