President Trump expresses second thoughts on trade war with China

“I have second thoughts about everything,” the president said.
3:13 | 08/25/19

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Transcript for President Trump expresses second thoughts on trade war with China
And we begin tonight with president trump's surprising comments about his escalating trade war with China just hours before the stock markets open in the U.S. The president surrounded by leaders at the g-7 summit in France, insisting America's allies are not pressuring him over his tariff battles. Reporters asking him if he is having second thoughts about the trade war, his confusing answer and the white house clarification. Jonathan Karl at the g-7 to lead us off. Reporter: For a president who rarely, if ever expresses regret, today in France, president trump made what seemed to be a surprising admission. Mr. President, any second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China? Yeah, sure. Why not? Reporter: Second thoughts? Yes? Might as well. Might as well. Do you have second thoughts about escalating the war with China? I have second thoughts about everything. Reporter: At the same time, the president struck a decidedly more conciliatory tone towards the Chinese. We're getting along very well with China right now. We're talking. I think they want to make a deal much more than I do. Reporter: He said he was dropping, at least for now, his threat of declaring an economic emergency to force U.S. Companies out of China. I have the right to, if I want, I have no plan right now. Reporter: But just a few hours after the president acknowledged those, quote, second thoughts, white house press secretary Stephanie Grisham put an entirely different spin on the president's words. Issuing this statement -- "His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President trump responded in the affirmative because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher." Reporter: Those words from the press secretary would seem to signal a ratcheting up of the trade war with China, but shortly after that, the treasury secretary signaled the president had simply misheard the question. Does he have second thoughts and believe tariffs should be higher, or did he not hear the question? Again, he doesn't have second thoughts about what he's done. If anything, he wanted to clarify that if he had second thoughts, it would be to raise the tariffs. Reporter: And is that something that's really on the table, raising tariffs? Not at the moment, okay? But if China retaliates again, that's obviously an option the president would consider. Jon, another surprise at the g-7 today. The Iranian foreign minister tweeting this photo of his sidelines meeting. We see French president macron as well. Some calling the invitation to Iran disrespectful to the U.S. What are you hearing from the white house tonight? Reporter: Tom, it was quite a sight, to see an Iranian jet in the south of France as the summit was getting under way. That said, Stephanie Grisham did not respond to inquiries. But they did note that president trump has said that if the Iranians want to meet with the United States, the president is willing to have those meetings without preconditions. And the president himself said earlier, you can't stop people from talking. If they want to talk, they can talk. Jon, thank you. And back here at home, some

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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