President Trump said the United States is "not going into Syria" and recalled to Fox News the moment when he told Chinese President Xi Jinping over dessert that the U.S. had launched airstrikes in Syria.
Despite urging President Obama to stay out of Syria in 2013, Trump told Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday that he believes conditions in the country would not be as bad if Obama had acted earlier.
"When I see people using horrible, horrible chemical weapons, which they agreed not to use under the Obama administration, but they violated it," he said, "what I did should have been done by the Obama administration a long time before I did it. And I think Syria would be a lot better off than it has been."
Trump explained how he told President Xi that the U.S. military had launched airstrikes in Syria in response to the chemical attack.
"I was sitting at the table, we had finished dinner. We’re now having dessert, and we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you have ever seen, and President Xi was enjoying it," said Trump, who hosted the Chinese president at Mar-a-Lago last Thursday and Friday.
"And I was given the message from the generals that the ships are locked and loaded, what do you do? And we made a determination to do it," Trump said about his decision to sign off on the airstrikes.
He continued, "And I said, Mr. President [Xi], let me explain something to you ... so what happens is I said 'We’ve just launched 59 missiles, heading to Iraq.'"
Bartiromo injected and corrected the president, "Headed to Syria."
"Yes, heading toward Syria," Trump said.
The president would not talk about what the U.S. is considering in regards to North Korea, but said that Kim Jong Un is "doing the wrong thing."
When asked about what the U.S. plans to do regarding North Korea, Trump said, "You never know, do you? You never know."
"I don’t talk about the military," he said. "We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that I can tell you. And we have the best military people on Earth. And I will say this: He is doing the wrong thing."
Bartiromo asked Trump what he thinks about Kim Jong Un's state of mind.
"Do you think he is mentally fit?" she said.
"I don't know, I don't know," Trump replied. "I don't know him. But he’s doing the wrong thing."
During the interview, Trump also addressed domestic matters, including health care and tax reform.
The president told Bartiromo that he remains focused on tackling health care.
"We're going to have a phenomenal tax reform," Trump said. "But I have to do health care first. I want to do it first to really do it right."
Explaining the logic, the president said he will be able to save a lot of money that will then be beneficial to taxes.
"Obamacare is a total mess," Trump said. "So we're saving tremendous amounts of money on health care when we get this done. Number one. And most importantly, actually, we're going to have great health care. All of that saving goes into the tax. If you don't do that, you can't put any of the savings into the tax cuts and tax reform."
He would not put a deadline on when the agenda items will be accomplished but said he’ll move onto tax reform if health care doesn’t happen quickly enough.