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Trump: After Speaking to NRA, They're "Ready To Do Things"; White House Briefing as Trump Proposes Gun Law Changes. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired February 22, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: We begin with a new kind of momentum in a movement many said was tragically stalled especially after the mass murders of first graders more than five years ago.
[14:00:01] But now, one week and one day after 17 students and staff were killed at a Florida high school, a Republican president is signaling it is time to change some of the nation's gun laws.
Today, President Trump met with school, civic and law enforcement officers to hear their thoughts on how to stop school shooters and before hearing their thoughts on what should change, the president himself laid out his ideas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've called many senators last night, many congressmen, and Jeff and Pam and everybody in this room, I can tell you, Curtis, they're into doing background checks that they wouldn't maybe be thinking about two weeks ago. We're going to do strong background checks. We're going to work on getting the age up to 21, instead of 18. We're getting rid of the bump stocks and we're going to be focusing very strongly on mental health because here is a case of mental health.
Part of the problem is we used to have mental institutions. And I said this yesterday, we had a mental institution where you take a sicko like this guy, he was a sick guy, so many signs. And you bring him to a mental health institution. Those institutions are largely closed because communities didn't want them, communities didn't want to spend the money for them. So you don't have any intermediate ground. You can't put them in jail because he hasn't done anything yet but you know he's going to do something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: And President Trump says he will stand up to the NRA, the National Rifle Association, for the first time since the school shooting. We are hearing NRA leaders speak. It was quite clear after days and days of student survivors calling for gun reform that the NRA has not changed its political call to arms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CEO, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: Lean in. Listen to me now. And never forget these words. To stop a bad guy with a gun it takes a good guy with a gun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: NRA chief Wayne LaPierre had a lot more to say. And we'll dig into that in just a moment.
But, first, let's begin at the White House with our correspondent Pamela Brown, standing by for that press briefing which is set to begin any moment now.
So, Pamela, first to you, just -- the president made a lot of news just a little while ago. Talk me through those some of those headlines.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. He made a lot of news in this listening session, offering more specifics on some of the ideas that he has, including the idea of arming teachers. He said he would agree with or support arming teachers who were highly adept with firearms and he also offered up the suggestion, Brooke, to give bonuses to those teachers who would, in fact, go to firearm training. So, that is not something that we have not heard from this president.
Now, when he was asked about those teachers who don't like this idea -- we heard that last night at the CNN town hall. One of the teachers stood up and said she was not supportive of that. The president dismissed the idea that teachers shouldn't be supportive, saying it would only make schools safer, he called shooters cowards, saying that they wouldn't go into schools where 20 percent of the teachers have guns and he says, he was very clear on the idea that he does not like gun-free zones in school.
But he was also clear on this idea that this wouldn't apply to all teachers in his view, again only those who are highly adept.
And the question is, Brooke, what is he going to do to confront the NRA on what he is supporting now, this idea of raising the age limit for those who can buy AR-15 rifles, other types of similar weapons?
Here is what he had to say about the conversations he's had with NRA officials on that matter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I spoke to 'em. And they're ready to do things. They want to do things.
You know, they're good people. They're patriots. They love this country.
But the NRA is ready to do things. And, you know, people like to blame and they do have power and all of that, but they want to -- they actually came up with certain of the rules and regulations that we have now.
But we're going to have to toughen -- I told them, we're going to have to toughen them up because it doesn't make anybody look good and, most importantly, I saw the devastation of these families. We can't allow that to happen.
But again, we need a hardened school. But we want to harden it without having everybody standing there with a rifle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So, of course, you know, one of the questions here during this briefing, of course, will be about how is he going to get the NRA on board with some of the ideas, possible solutions that he has? As you pointed out, Brooke, the NRA has not changed its position in the wake of this latest shooting. And so the question is, how will the president lead on this matter, Brooke?
BALDWIN: Pamela, thank you. We'll stand by for that briefing.
In the meantime, the NRA today responding to last week's massacre in Florida, not necessarily with thoughts and prayers but with a warning. The head of the NRA insisting to the group's 5 million members that this outcry for gun control is not really about safety but an exploitation of tragedy and a ploy to infringe upon their rights.
[14:05:09] Wayne LaPierre said yes, what happened last week in Florida was horrible. But he and his NRA spokeswoman say guns are not to blame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAPIERRE: The elites don't care not one whit about America's school system and school children. If they truly cared, what they would do is they would protect them. For them, it's not a safety issue. It's a political issue. Their goal is to eliminate the Second Amendment, and our firearms freedoms so they can eradicate all individual freedoms.
DANA LOESCH, SPOKESWOMAN, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: We will not be gaslighted into thinking that we are responsible for a tragedy that we had nothing to do with. It is not our job to follow up on red flags. It is not our job to make sure that safe -- reporting to the background system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Rebecca Berg was there. She's our CNN political reporter, and who listened to those speeches today, these rallying cries.
And, Rebecca, it seemed to me there was a lot of blame going around from particularly Wayne LaPierre in the wake of what happened in Parkland.
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Absolutely, Brooke. And none, of course, for the NRA. The blame was placed squarely on the shoulders today in this room on Democrats, on the media. They said, LaPierre and Dana Loesch, who you heard there speaking, spokesperson for the NRA, they said Democrats and the media are trying to exploit this tragedy, ultimately trying to eliminate the Second Amendment all together and they warned the crowd here of that threat.
Take a listen to a little bit more of what LaPierre had to say about Democrats and about the media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAPIERRE: What they want are more restrictions on the law abiding. Think about that. Their solution is to make you, all of you less free. They want to sweep right under the carpet the failure of school security, the failure of family, the failure of America's mental health system, and even the unbelievable failure of the FBI.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERG: One thing LaPierre did not mention there, Brooke, as you can hear and throughout this whole speech was the president of the United States. He did not go after him for his tweet earlier today where the president supported strengthening background checks, raising the minimum purchasing age for guns to 21 years old and banning bump stocks. These are all things that the NRA would oppose in some fashion.
But Wayne LaPierre did not mention the president explicitly in that regard today. Instead he sent sort of a suggestion to the president and Republicans that this is still a political issue. He received, LaPierre, a standing ovation here today. So, clearly, a lot of support still for the NRA among conservative activists at CPAC.
BALDWIN: I think your point on the president is key.
I want to begin with that with my panel, Rebecca, thank you very much, in the D.C. area.
I want to have a bigger conversation, right? As we begin -- waiting for this White House briefing. We've got Jamie Gangel here, our CNN special correspondent, Chris Cillizza, our CNN politics reporter and editor at large, and Dana Bash, our CNN political correspondent.
And so, Dana, let me begin there. I mean, I think it's really important that we score, you know -- or underscore what the president said a bit ago at the White House. He made changes, he made news about how he wants to strengthen background check, he wants to get rid of bump stocks, he want to raise the age of buying these weapons, you know, to 21. As Rebecca said, that is something that the NRA vehemently opposes.
And he specifically said that he talked to the NRA and they are willing to, quote, do things.
Do we know what the things he's referring to are?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, we don't. But just the fact that he said pretty specifically that he talked to the NRA and he told them that they need to do things is quite interesting. And I would love to see if we could find out -- I don't even know if it's knowable, if Wayne LaPierre changed his speech at all, turn off the heat because it was pretty hot. It's clearly focused on the White House and Republicans like Marco Rubio, who are considering proposals that the NRA completely opposes. So, you know, we'll see.
The question, though, Brooke, that I'm hearing from sources on Capitol Hill where this would actually have to, if not originate, it would certainly have to -- have percolated and be passed is the president talking, and it is early. So, you know, we certainly have to cut everybody here looking for solutions some slack, but will it get to the point where we're talking about an actual legislative solution.
And, more importantly, will the president use his political capital with gun rights voters, with the NRA and use that kind of muscle and capital to push Republicans in Congress, and some Democrats, who are from red states who don't want to touch this, to get this through the House and the Senate?
[14:10:19] And, of course, the question is, what is the "this"?
BALDWIN: Yes. Chris, what do you think about what the president said?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & EDITOR AT LARGE: I mean, I'd echo a lot of what Dana said. I would add this is a day-to-day presidency. I know I say it a lot, but back to immigration, remember on a Tuesday, Donald Trump was saying we have to do comprehensive. We're going to do DACA. We're going to do border security. We're going to get all this done, yes, we can do a clean DACA bill to Dianne Feinstein, before Kevin McCarthy, the House majority whip, jumped in. By Thursday, all that was out the window.
How much will does he have for any of these fights? I would say what you've seen in the past 24 hours is sort of a laundry list of potential proposals. It's arming teachers who tried to modify that, raising the age in which you can buy a gun, strengthen background checks. I don't think you get all those things. That doesn't mean you don't ask for them, right? I mean, that's part of the process. As Dana points out we're in the beginning, not the end of this I think.
But what does he choose to focus on? And is it something within what he's talked in the last 24 hours? Does he continue to talk about this? Does he continue to care about it? Does he continue to push it?
Just because he's doing it today and he did it yesterday doesn't tell us all that much.
CILLIZZA: Remember, two days ago, we were talking about Donald Trump and his attacking -- yesterday -- Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, for not doing enough about Hillary Clinton. I mean, so, that -- he does and says a lot. Can he stay on it? Does he care enough to stay on it? Can he impact it in a meaningful way as it relates to legislation?
BALDWIN: Sure. It's a totally valid point.
On the menu of options presented here in these early stages, Jamie, one of the issues we heard from, of course, the president and even, actually, the NRA today, this whole notion of hardening our schools, right, and this notion of arming teachers. And the president a bit ago at the White House took it a step forward and he said give them bonuses to carry a weapon would be more cost effective rather than hiring armed guards. Armed teachers, less expensive.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So, I come from a family with a lot of teachers, some principals in it. And they did not become teachers and principals to be law enforcement people. But apart from that, apart from what Marco Rubio said last night about --
BALDWIN: Which he disagreed with the president on this.
GANGEL: He disagreed. The police show up. Who is the adult with the gun? What's going on? I watched last with a veteran Secret Service agent, our town hall. I've been talking to law enforcement officials all week long.
BALDWIN: Actually, Jamie --
GANGEL: There we go.
RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Good afternoon, everyone.
Since its founding in the 1940s, White House Council of Economic Advisers has written and delivered a report to Congress on the annual economic report to the president. The 2018 report, which was delivered yesterday, covers the president's economic successes to date and our agenda going forward.
To dig into the details, we have with us today, Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Kevin will make a brief statement and answer your questions on the economic report. Then I'll be back to take your questions on the news of the day.
So, with that, I'll give it to Kevin.
KEVIN HASSETT, CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Thanks a lot, Raj. It's a dark, dreary day. I heard the White House press corps was a little depressed. So, I said, let's do some economics and cheer everybody up.
And digging around the chairman's office, I noticed that on my book shelf, there was a copy of the first report of the president from 1947 and Harry Truman in it said this. He said: The economic report is an opportunity for national self examination and self criticism. It's a challenge to the president and the Congress to determine the causes of whatever problems we face in our economic life and to find the solutions of those problems.
That's what we endeavor to do at the Council of Economic Advisers and what we endeavored to do with this report that came out yesterday. We briefed the president on it yesterday at 11:30 in the Oval Office. I encourage you all to read it because it's really a scintillating read.
The economic report has eight chapters. The first chapter is an economic outlook where we projected that our policies will create about a 3 percent growth rate going forward over the next ten years. Real GDP will be about $2 trillion higher in 2028 because of the president's policies.
And each of the chapters after that, going to taxes and growth, deregulation, labor market policies, infrastructure investment, enhancing global trade and innovative policies for America's health, they all basically go into a big literature that looks at how our policies will affect economic growth.
[14:15:11] And we start with the baseline of 2.2 percent growth, that show that we can get to 3 percent growth just by adding what the economic literature says about the economic effects of our policies. Now, we're supposed to also come up with measures of our nation's problems that help set priorities and quantify how bad our problems are. We have two attempts of the economic report to do that. One is we have a chapter on cyber security where we did a lot of original research to find the cyber theft is costing us about $100 billion a year right now in the U.S. in 2016.
And the second thing we did was look at the opioid crisis, finding that's costing us $5 billion a year. And with that, that's what the economic report says. I've got a few minutes for questions but also anyone who wants to can reach out to us and come over to the CEA office and ask me questions there. I'll start with you in the back.
REPORTER: Thank you, Kevin. Two questions for you. One on the dollar and the other on the stock market. Stock market volatility over the past month or so. I'm wondering if you think that that volatility has any impact on the real economy beyond just Wall Street.
HASSETT: Yes, stock market volatility is something that's to be expected. You know, it's a regular thing in the stock market and it tends to go up a lot when the market has gone up a lot, as it has in response to our policies. I don't think it's anything unusual for something for people to be concerned about.
REPORTER: Follow-up on the dollar?
HASSETT: The dollar, Secretary Mnuchin has talked a lot about the dollar and the dollar policy has not changed of this administration.
REPORTER: Whether the United States still has a strong dollar policy.
REPORTER: Some comments to suggest that maybe the United States --
HASSETT: Secretary Mnuchin is in charge of communications about the dollar policy.
REPORTER: -- some of the critics who say that economic policies of this president may lead to greater inflation. HASSETT: Yes, that's right. That's something that people are
concerned about. And certainly, there's been some inflation data that has caused some pause for markets and concern for markets. Our view is that most of our policies are going to create growth for the economy on the supply side and that when the supply side growth comes and that's actually good for inflation, because the increased supply, it puts downward pressure on prices.
So, we think that we can get the 3 percent growth that we forecast without a big pick up in inflation. In fact, at the CEA, when we modeled this, we get forward interest rates that are about what the Fed forward guidance is right now.
REPORTER: You cut taxes, and to stoke -- that's the concern, that will stoke the fire for inflation --
HASSETT: Yes, thanks for the question. Well, if you cut marginal tax rate on investment then what happens is you get more capital spending, and that increases supply. If we were to do something like have a big cash for clunker program like we did eight years ago, that would increase demand and cause inflation.
REPORTER: My question on the stock market as an indicator, the president has often pointed to the rising stock market as evidence of the success of his economic policies and strength of the economy. If the stock market goes down, should we conclude the reverse, should we conclude that the president's economic policies are failing and the economy is not healthy?
HASSETT: The stock market is a great forward-looking indicator because the value is basically the market's assessment of the president value of future earnings after tax or free cash flow. And so, you know, swimming through the ups and downs, the stock market is a great indicator. And, of course, there are going to be up days and big down days in the short term, I'm a random walker, there's big literature on this, your best guess of what the stock market is going to do tomorrow is flip a coin and that will tell you the answer.
But in the long-run, economic policy matters. And I think in this regard, the stock market is up probably about 35 percent since the president was elected, I could run the latest numbers. And that's pretty consistent with what you would expect, given all the positive policy changes we've made. In particular, cutting those statutory corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. While in the present value of the firm earnings, there's the one minus the tax rate out front, if that goes from 0.65 to 0.79, then that means you should expect markets to go up.
But equity markets go up and down. That's the nature of the business.
REPORTER: When you see fair market, you know, come about we should conclude there's fundamental problems in the economy, fundamental problems?
HASSETT: Sure, if there's a bear market that's sustained, then that would likely happen because there was a lot of bad news about earnings growth and the state of the economy. And so, the stock market is a reasonable indicator of the current state of the economy. It's been going up a lot because of optimism about the president's policies.
I'll go to the middle and then come back to the front row. I'm sorry I still don't know everybody's names.
REPORTER: That's right. Thanks a lot, Kevin.
Have you done any forecasts about what it would mean to the U.S. economy, a net positive and net negative if the U.S. is to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement?
HASSETT: At the CEO, we've done a heck of a lot of analysis to help guide the president's thinking on trade. There are a lot of decisions coming up. And our job is to provide objective analysis of the pluses and minuses of each of the moves that are being considered. That analysis, of course, is confidential that has been shared with the president and I'm sure can be FOIA-ed in analysis of time but I can't comment further on that.
[14:20:01] REPORTER: Top line, obviously, you can't go in to your analysis, but would it be good for the U.S. economy if the U.S. just said, we're done with NAFTA?
HASSETT: You know, I would point you to the trade chapter of the economic report to the president. We have a really extensive discussion of trade. And one of the things that surprises me as an economist or surprised me as an economist as I dug into the details is how right the president is about trade in the following sense, that our trade deals really are asymmetric, that we charge pretty much no tariff at all on imports into the U.S., but a lot of our trading partners have high tariffs or high nontariff barriers.
And so, even if you look like the U.S. sales of autos into Korea, there's nontariff barriers so that U.S. firms can't sell there. And so, if economists were to sit down and write a trade deal, it would be let's have free trade, right? That's all it would take. Our trade deals are thousands of pages long and those thousands of pages have often been negotiated by feckless negotiators who have disadvantaged American workers. So, I think the president is right to prioritize in improving those deals.
REPORTER: What do you object for the labor force participation rate and those marginally attached in the labor force the next 12 to 24 months? Because the president has identified that. You've identified that as a priority.
REPORTER: He spoke on behalf of the tax cuts and tax reform, thought that would be something positive in the realm of the next 12 to 24 months. What do you project?
HASSETT: Sure is. Downward pressure from the retirement of the baby boomers has been a key underlying factor driving down long-term growth. But -- REPORTER: The labor force participation rate is going down because
people are retiring.
HASSETT: With fewer workers, and basically with fewer workers, you get less output. And so, that's been going on for a while, and we have an extensive analysis of this in the economic report to the president. And our view is that about half of that is the retirement of the baby boomers and half of that is bad economic policies that have chased people away from the labor market, including higher marginal tax rates, the high marginal tax rates from the Affordable Care Act and increase in use of disability and so on.
And so, there are a lot of reasons why our policies, we think, can have a positive effect. But probably the biggest effect in our forecast is just that we think wages are going up. With higher wages, more and more people will be attracted back into the labor force.
REPORTER; you are projecting and you are inviting the American public to look for those numbers to move in a positive direction, noticeably in this coming year?
HASSETT: Relative to the forecast of the Obama administration, yes. It's the still the case the labor participation is a slight negative in our forecast. You can see the details in our economic report, but it's a much smaller negative than the Obama administration thought. We think that's because our policies are going to draw people back into the labor force.
I go back to --
REPORTER: Yes, I wanted to ask about wealth inequality and the fact that that's been growing the past few decades. Is that a concern of this administration? Is that something you want to try and combat?
HASSETT: Yes, I think that inequality, of course, is a concern for everybody who studies the economy and people in the administration and inequality skyrocketed very much over the last eight years, in part because of something that we talked a lot about in the fall, when we were discussing the tax reform and that is that corporate profits were growing about 11 percent rate per year during the Obama administration, while real wages were dropping 4 percent a year.
And so, inequality increased a lot because people who owned equities saw their wealth go up but people who lived on their paychecks saw their wages go down. We think that that happens in part because we were chasing all the corporate activity overseas and that our wealth was more or less creating jobs for Irishmen not Americans. And the corporate tax bill has addressed that, and we would expect that there'd be big wage increases, which you've already seen and there'd been announcements.
So, we're going in on almost 5 million people have received pay raises this year because of the tax bill and we think what that's going to do is reduce inequality.
Do I have time for a couple more questions? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
HASSETT: OK. So I'll go right here, row two.
REPORTER: So, on that wage increase, "A.P." was reporting a Morgan Stanley survey of stock analyst who look at how companies are spending their tax savings, 13 percent was going to workers, 17 percent capital spending and 43 percent to dividends and buy backs, that is shareholders. Your model was that a much higher percentage would ultimately wind up in the pocket of the workers.
HASSETT: Sure, and it will.
REPORTER: So, what are the stock analysts missing there?
HASSETT: Well, the thing that you have to remember is we're starting out with trillions of dollars that were parked overseas and that trillions of dollars, those monies are coming home right now. That's a one-time adjustment. Firms are taking that money and paying bonuses but they're also doing things like increasing dividends and doing share buybacks which sometimes happens when firms find money.
And so, with that money coming back, then right now, we're going to have an adjustment where you see more dividends and share buybacks than wage increases because that's cumulative past earnings. But going forward, we're going to see a lot of capital formation and wage growth. That's where we said three to five years, we'll get the $4,000 number.
[14:25:00] Right now, about almost 5 million people have had a thousand dollar pay raise already, share buybacks have gone up a lot, but that's basically based on the trillions of dollars that used to be parked overseas but have been brought back home and put to work here.
Last question on the far back.
REPORTER: I have a couple for you on that if you don't mind. You sort of laid the foundation in there for increasing the gas tax, talking about how it hasn't been touched in about 25 years while construction prices have risen. How realistic is it that there could be a hike in the gas tax, question one. And then question two, when you look at the chart of the GDP growth over ten years, it's essentially above at or below 3 percent. When you look at past tax cuts, Reagan, JFK, and even what this president has talked about, maybe 4 percent or 5 percent, why only at 3 percent?
HASSETT: OK, sure. Well, let's start with the gas tax. In the economic report, we have a chapter about infrastructure and we talked about what a 21st century financing mechanism might look like for infrastructure and talk about the challenges for the current administration that are presented by innovation and you can imagine, for example, the thought experiment, suppose everybody in this room, everybody in all of society had an electric car if we're all driving around in Teslas, then how is the gas tax going to pay to use fix the pot holes because no one using gasoline anymore. And so, as we approach the 21st century, the president has a very
ambitious infrastructure agenda and he's basically instructed everybody to think creatively about how we're going to finance that and to make sure the thing that's legislated becomes law and that all of the possible tools are on the table. As for why we didn't go 4 percent or 5 percent growth, I think that you can go -- and I think our economic report is extremely transparent. You can see that we get a 2.2 percent baseline growth forecast out of one of the best, most reliable models in the literature, and then we had a chapter on each of the president's policy objectives that you might expect is.
That gets up to 3, 3.2 percent -- 3 percent on average over ten years and that's based on very hard science. We have more than 50 pages of economic references in the back where those numbers come from. If those numbers had led us to 5 percent, then we would have been at 5 percent.
Let me close, though, by putting that perspective. The median forecast for economic reports of the president going back to this one is that economic growth will be about 3.2 percent and so, we're a little bit below the median. The economic growth forecast for the Obama administration, the first four years, was it would be about 3.2 percent. They were right on the median that we inherited all the way back from Harry Truman.
But then what happened was that at the end of their administration, because we kept having low growth years after low growth years, they on average overestimated growth over those eight years by 1.2 percent. Then they finally came up with a story as to why we should expect low growth forever.
We at the CEA and this White House don't accept that there's a new normal. We think if you read the economic report of the president, you're going to see that there's a very strong case to be made that we can just go back to normal and stop modifying the word normal when we think about the economy.
REPORTER: Can we not expect potentially 4 percent growth or higher at some point down the line, is that aggressive?
HASSETT: The president and I have talked about this. And it's one of those things about, if you think about what a 3 percent year looks like, a 3 percent year is never, three, three, three, three, three. A 3 percent year is four, two, four, two.
So, I think that the odds over the next few years, having some quarters where we have growth that's in excess of three are probably pretty high given the very ambitious agenda that's partially enacted.
And with that, I guess Raj is telling me I have to go.
Thank you so much for your attention. It's an honor to be here again.
REPORTER: There's no fear you have as a recession at all anywhere in the foreseeable future? HASSETT: Oh, I think economists are always attentive to developments
and wary of exogenous factors that we can't anticipate. I think the unconditional odds of recession are something that, you know, people who study this talk about. But right now, there's so much momentum in this economy that we're heading into Q1 with three-quarters growth with an average of 3 percent. Our model suggests that the first quarter should be a little bit above that because there was an inventory drag in the fourth quarter that should offset in Q1.
And so, right now, we're looking at an economy that's about as solid and as good as we've seen since before the financial crisis. Thank you very much.
SHAH: Thanks, Kevin.
Moving on, as you all saw yesterday, the president hosted an extraordinary listening session with teachers, students, and families impacted by school shootings. It was an emotionally incredibly constructed conversation, included in many perspectives, very different opinions. And it focused on solutions, which is exactly what the president is looking for.
As the president tweeted yesterday, I'll always remember the time I spent today with courageous students, teachers and families. So much love in the midst of so much pain. We must not let them down. We must keep our children safe.
Today, that conversation continued with local leaders. The president knows the best ideas usually come from the local level and not from Washington, D.C. That's certainly the case here.
Next week, the president will welcome governors to the White House and the top issue will be school safety.