Donald Trump Press Conference Transcript with Italian President: Trump Says Chaos in Syria “Has Nothing to Do with Us”
Donald Trump held a joint press conference with Italian president Sergio Mattarella today. They also held a news conference in the afternoon. Trump spent a lot of the time defending his decision to withdraw Syria and dodging responsibility for the US to defend the Kurds. Read the full transcript right here.
Morning Press Conference Transcript
Donald Trump: (00:00)
He’s meeting today with some of our representatives. Mike Pence is leaving today, as you know. We needed to take an extra day for security reasons, but Mike is leaving. Mike Pompeo will be meeting also, who’s here right now with us and who’s going to be joining the meeting.
Donald Trump: (00:17)
We have a lot of great people over there we’ll see. In the meantime, our soldiers are not in harms way, as they shouldn’t be, as two countries fight over land. That has nothing to do with us. The Kurds are much safer right now, but the Kurds know how to fight. As I said, they’re not angels, they’re not angels. If you take a look, you have to go back and take a look, but they fought with us. We paid a lot of money for them to fight with us and that’s okay. They did well when they fought with us. They didn’t do so well when they didn’t fight with us.
Donald Trump: (00:51)
When I refused to allow the Americans, a year and a half ago, to fight with the Kurds against Iraq I said, “Wait a minute. This country, stupidly, just spend a fortune on fighting for, with, around Iraq.” Nobody knows how they spent it, but they spent, actually, we’re in the Middle East now for $8-trillion, if you can believe that stupidity. In Iraq, we’re in for probably five-and-a-half-trillion.
Donald Trump: (01:20)
They’re telling me, “Wait a minute, we just spent five-and-a-half-trillion fighting in Iraq, and with Iraq. Now, we’re supposed to spend money to fight with the Kurds against the Iraq. I said, “No thank you.” What happens is, when I said we’re not going to fight with the Kurds, the Kurds left. They didn’t want to fight against Iraq, which right now isn’t the greatest fighting force in the world. That happened twice. The Kurds actually are pulling back substantially from Turkey, and Syria is pulling in.
Donald Trump: (01:48)
Syria probably will have a partner of Russia, whoever they may have. I wish them all a lot of luck. Russia was involved in Afghanistan. It used to be called the Soviet Union. Now, it’s called Russia for a reason. Because, they lost so much money in Afghanistan that they had to downsize. A very big downsizing. If Russia wants to get involved with Syria, that’s really up to them. They have a problem with Turkey, they have a problem at a border, it’s not our border. We shouldn’t be losing lives over it. Again, we only had 28 soldiers. It was 26, 28. I got all different numbers. It ends up being 28, between the 26, 28. Two people, and they’re fully accounted for.
Donald Trump: (02:33)
That’s the story. It’s very simple. We’re watching, we’re negotiating, and we’re trying to get Turkey to do the right thing, because we’d like to stop wars regardless. Whether Americans are in, or whether they’re not in, we want to see war stopped. That’s a very important thing. On a humanitarian basis, we want to see that happen. Steve?
How confident are you that Mike Pence will be able to arrange a cease fire?
Donald Trump: (02:56)
Why don’t you go and dictate? Yes, please.
Translator 1: (02:59)
Yes. The answer was [crosstalk 00:03:01] not at all. [Italian 00:03:21]
Donald Trump: (04:52)
I viewed the situation on the Turkish border with Syria to be, for the United States, strategically brilliant. Our soldiers are out of there. Our soldiers are totally safe. They’ve got to work it out. Maybe they can do it without fighting. Syria is protecting the Kurds. That’s good. By the way, every player hates ISIS. Everybody were talking about. Syria, more than us. Russia, more than us. They’ve done a big number on Russia, and were over there fighting ISIS but they’re over there fighting ISIS too. They can handle it, and they should handle it. We can fight our own battles on our own territories. You have a lot of countries over there that ha hate ISIS as much as we do. In some cases, probably more. They can take care of ISIS.
Donald Trump: (05:43)
We have them captured. The United States captured them. Some were released just for effect, to make us look a little bit like, “Oh gee, we got to get right back in there.” You have a lot of countries over there that have power, and that hate ISIS very much. As much as we do. I think we’re in a very strategically good position. I know the fake news doesn’t make it look that way, but we’ve removed all of our, as we said, 50 soldiers, but much less than 50 soldiers. They’re now in a very, very safe location, heading into an even safer location.
Donald Trump: (06:19)
We will help negotiate. We have tremendously powerful sanctions. Our countries become economically much more powerful than, frankly, it ever was. We picked up trillions, and trillions of dollars in worth. The market was up big yesterday. It’s going to be up big today, it looks like. The trade deal with China, just having to do with what we’ve done with the financial services, with banks, with the farmers has been incredible. Far greater than anyone ever thought. I agree, it hasn’t been papered yet, but it’s being papered.
Donald Trump: (06:50)
In the meantime, as you know, and as we’ve said many times, China’s already started buying. They want to buy, they want to make a deal. They really have to make a deal. Their economy has been hurt very badly by what we’ve done, and by the tariffs that we’ve charged. We’ve taken in tremendous amounts of tariffs. A small portion of that we’ve given to the farmers, which has more than made up for what they’ve lost. Go ahead.
Donald Trump: (08:59)
Because of the newfound economic power of the United States, because of the fact that we’ve made so many trillions, many, many trillions of dollars in worth of the United States to, I call it the newfound economic power. If my opponent would have won, China would right now be the most powerful nation economically in the world, and right now they’re not even close. If we’re smart, they never will get close. It depends on who sits in this chair.
Donald Trump: (09:27)
The United States has tremendous economic power. Far more power than playing around with having a few soldiers shooting each other at the border. You have a few soldiers, back and forth killing each other at the border. The power we have with sanctions and tariffs as far greater than what we’re talking about. With that being said, our military has been completely rebuilt. Much of the equipment’s already been delivered. We spent two-and-a-half-trillion dollars rebuilding it over the last three years. Our military power is at the highest level, and our economic powers is at the highest level. I’d always rather use economic power before I use military power, because people aren’t getting killed with economic power, okay?
Donald Trump: (10:07)
Translator 1: (10:07)
Mr. President, you’re scheduled… Oh.
Translator 2: (11:49)
Before the members of the press introduce topics that have already been discussed this morning, President Trump was talking about the possible implementation of tariffs on European products following the whole Airbus affair. Of course, that’s a topic that we will certainly be discussing this morning, and I do hope that we can come up with a cooperative-based approach, and a frank discussion so that we can avoid retaliation between the two parties.
Translator 2: (12:19)
Italy, and I myself personally, have always felt that it’s better to talk things through to find a common solution, to find some sort of understanding from one-another’s stances. The alternative to that would be tariffs, followed by retaliation, followed by further tariffs. We also have to understand that we are waiting for a solution of the Boeing affair as well. Of course, within the spirit of the Atlantic Alliance, within the spirit of the friendship we’ve always had, I do feel it would be best to discuss these things, and understand one another.
Donald Trump: (12:55)
In theory, there can’t be retaliation, because this was an award that we got because of the fact that the European Union took advantage of past presidents. This was an award that we got for the unfair treatment given to the United States by the European Union, so there should be no retaliation. This was getting us even, because seven-and-a-half-billion dollars worth of things happened. Bad things happened, unfair things happened to the United States by the European Union. This was just getting us back to even, and nobody else but me would’ve gotten that seven-and-a-half-billion dollars back for the taxpayers of the United States.
Translator 1: (13:52)
Donald Trump: (13:54)
Donald Trump: (13:57)
I’m sure you saw reports John Bolton said that Rudy Giuliani was like a hand grenade in the way he was acting. Are you concerned that Bolton could be called to testify in your impeachment in court?
Donald Trump: (14:15)
Now look, John Bolton, I get along well with him. Some people didn’t. Some people didn’t like John Bolton. I actually got along with them pretty well. It just didn’t work out. I don’t know that he got along with Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani was seeking out corruption, and what happens mostly in the 2016 election, because there was tremendous corruption in the 2016 election. I think even you would admit that the election, it was disgraceful what happened, and what happened to me, and what happened to the Republicans. That continues with Nancy Pelosi, and with Schiff. Adam Schiff got caught making up statements that he said I said, that I didn’t say, which is fraud. It’s purely fraudulent, so it continues.
Donald Trump: (14:54)
Rudy was a great prosecutor. He was the best mayor in the history of the city of New York, as far as I can see. I think he’s pretty much acknowledged what he did for crime, and everything else. When he saw what was going on with our election of 2016, the election I won, but the election that was absolutely corrupted by things that took place in government. Now, we’ll see what happens. The IG report’s going going to come out soon, and we’ll see what happens.
Donald Trump: (15:19)
I think people, I know nothing about it in terms of the report. I’m waiting for the report like everybody else, but I predict you will see things that you don’t even believe, the level of corruption. Whether it’s Comey, whether it’s Strzok and his lover, Page, whether it’s so many other people; McCabe, whether it’s president Obama himself. Let’s see whether or not it’s President Obama. Let’s see whether or not they put that in. Wait a minute. Let’s see whether or not.
Donald Trump: (15:47)
Rudy saw that, and I can tell you Rudy Giuliani, because he was very, very incensed at the horrible things that he saw, as are many people, okay, and many Republicans. The Republicans have been treated very unfairly by the Democrats. I’ll say this. Paul Ryan would never issue a subpoena. I don’t say right or wrong. He wouldn’t do it. He had too much respect for our country. Nancy Pelosi hands them out like cookies. Everybody. I don’t even know these people, and for the most part people like that [inaudible 00:16:17]. I don’t even know who they are. I never even heard of some of them, most of them, but I have all these people testifying. Then, they leak out. They don’t say the good parts, they only say the bad parts.
Donald Trump: (16:28)
We’re not allowed to representation. We’re not allowed to lawyers. We’re not allowed to have anything. The Democrats have treated the Republicans very, very badly. Fortunately, we have a lot of good, strong, smart Republicans, but they never dealt, John, with the Democrats the way the Democrats deal. The Republicans won’t forget it, because what they’re doing, what the Democrats are doing to this nation is a disgrace. What they have done, the disrespect that they’ve shown to the Presidency, and it’ll happen to them. If the Republicans have the house, which I think they will, because of impeachment. I think that because of this nonsense, impeachment, it’s based on a perfect phone conversation. An absolutely perfect phone conversation with the President of Ukraine.
Donald Trump: (17:13)
A friend of mine who’s a top lawyer, [inaudible 00:00:17:15], he said, “This is perfect. You didn’t say… Did you know this was going to happen?” I actually thought it was going to happen. There were many people listening to that conversation. When I speak to a leader, like if I speak to the President of Italy, if I speak to anybody, I know that there are many intelligence people on the line. I know that, with my understanding of knowledge. I don’t know exactly who, but I assume there are many people. Fortunately, they had a transcribers, stenographers, people that do this for a living on the line because we have an exact copy of the report of the call.
Donald Trump: (17:47)
The call was put out immediately when I started hearing about the whistleblower. Well, the whistleblower’s report was totally wrong. The whistleblower it didn’t know what he was talking about, or was given false information, or was even worse than that. Now, all of a sudden Schiff doesn’t want to talk to the whistleblower. Now, all of a sudden, quid pro quo doesn’t matter because now they see, in the call, there was no quid pro quo. With Rudy, Rudy was seeking out corruption. I think there’s nothing wrong with seeking out corruption. [crosstalk 00:18:17]
Donald Trump: (18:16)
Did you have, Steve?
But, Rudy registers with foreign lobbyists.
Donald Trump: (18:19)
I don’t know what he did.
Donald Trump: (18:20)
I don’t know. That’s up to him. That, you have to ask… Excuse me, no. You have to ask Rudy those questions, don’t ask me. Rudy was one of many people that was incensed at the corruption that took place during that election. Pure corruption. For instance, I still ask the FBI, “Where is the server? How come the FBI never got the server from the DNC? Where is the server? I want to see the server. Let’s see what’s on the server.” The server, they say, is held by a company whose primary ownership individual is from Ukraine. I’d like to see the server. I think it’s very important for this country to see the server. Nobody wants to see it. The media never wants to see it, but I’ll tell you, Republicans want to see it, so Republicans aren’t treated well.
Donald Trump: (19:12)
Here’s the problem. I think we’re going to take the House based on what’s happening with the impeachment stuff. The Republicans can do the same thing in reverse if they ever have, and I hope it’s going to be a long time because nobody’s done a better job with the economy, with our military. Whether I’ve rebuilt the military, our economy is the best that’s ever been. We have numbers that just came out where, not including taxes, the median household income for the average American has increased $5,000 in a very short time since I’ve been President. Nobody’s ever heard of numbers like that.
Donald Trump: (19:49)
People want to find out, why was it so corrupt during that election? I want to find out more than anybody else. Steve, go ahead.
One of the things that has been exposed by the [inaudible 00:20:01] situation is that, as many as 50 nuclear weapons are at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. How confident are you of those weapons’ safety?
Donald Trump: (20:09)
We’re confident, and we have a great air base there. Very powerful air base. That air base alone can… Take anyplace. It’s a large, powerful air base. Turkey, just so people remember. Turkey is a NATO member. We’re supposed to get along with our NATO members, and Turkey is a NATO member. Do people want us to start shooting at a NATO member? That would be a first. That’s all involved having to do with NATO. Yeah.
You’re going to be seeing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today. How do you anticipate that- [crosstalk 00:20:42].
Donald Trump: (20:43)
I’d say this. I think that she’s done this country a tremendous disservice. She’s created a phony witch hunt, another one. First one failed. They’re all failing. This one is just absolutely crazy. All you have to do is read the transcript of the call. Read the transcript. This is a open and shut, simple case. They’re desperate, because they know they’re going to lose the election. They’re desperate to do something, because they know they’re going to lose the election.
Donald Trump: (21:15)
This administration has created the strongest economy in the history of our country. We have the greatest stock market. We had over a hundred times, we broke the record for stock market. If you look at people’s stocks, their 401ks. If you look at anything you want to look at, they’re far better off now than they probably ever have been in this country. Record stock markets. Don’t forget, stock market’s not just rich people, it’s all people. All people own in the stock markets. New York stock exchange, all of them. They’re at record highs. Nobody’s ever done what we’ve done.
Donald Trump: (21:52)
They’re playing games. They figure, they can’t win the election, so maybe we can find some ground. We’ll get somebody that Trump never met and maybe they’ll say something bad about Trump. If they do really bad, maybe it can stick a little bit. I don’t think it’s going to work. They’ve treated the Republican party with great disrespect. Okay, thank you very much.
Donald Trump: (22:13)
Donald Trump: (22:16)
My meeting with the family was really… it was beautiful in a certain way. They did not want to meet with the person in question, but we had a very good meeting. They’re very nice people. We met with the full group. It was four people, actually. You know how it’s all broken up, and the meeting took place right here at about six o’clock last night. It was very sad, to be honest. She lost,, and they lost their son. I believe it was going down the wrong way because that happens in Europe. You go to Europe and the roads are opposite, and it’s very tough. If you’re from the United States, you do make that decision to make a right turn where you’re supposed to make a left turn.
Donald Trump: (23:02)
The roads are opposite, and she said that’s what happened. That happens to a lot of people, by the way. She said that’s what happened. She was in the room right out there. We met right here in this area. I offered to bring the person in question in, and they weren’t ready for it, but I did offer. I spoke with Boris. He asked me if I’d do that, and I did it. Unfortunately, they wanted to meet with her. Unfortunately, when we had everybody together they decided not to meet. Perhaps, they had lawyers involved by that time. I don’t know exactly. I know the people were lovely. They were very nice, and they were desperately sad.
You suggested the family had indicated at one point that they were interested in meeting with her?
Donald Trump: (23:49)
I thought they were. Based on what I saw, they wanted to meet. Now, they say they only want to meet if they’re in the UK. That’ll be up to them. I did meet the family, and I expressed condolences on behalf of our country. Thank you very much, everybody.
Donald Trump: (24:04)
Donald Trump: (24:04)
Donald Trump: (24:07)
Wait, wait. There’s a great question I’m being asked. This is maybe the greatest question I’ve been asked in a long time. Please put those mics over here. Go ahead, say it again.
Because you’re winning with the WTO, because you are growing the biggest economy in the world, are you willing to give Italy a break on tariffs?
Donald Trump: (24:28)
We are looking at Italy very strongly. As you know, the seven-and-a-half is to be a divided the way we say. We’ve divided it up. Italy has got a problem with the way we’ve divided it up, because they said they had much less to do with it, and Germany had more to do with it, and France had more to do with it, as an example. We are going to look at that very strongly. Ambassador Lighthizer is here. We’re going to look at it very strongly, okay? Thank you. Good question.
Donald Trump: (24:53)
I love that question.
Donald Trump: (24:56)
Thank you all very much.
Donald Trump: (25:12)
Donald Trump: (25:12)
They’re doing a bad thing. I’ll talk to you. Thank you.
Donald Trump: (25:17)
Thank you very much, everybody.
Donald Trump: (25:22)
Steve, please treat them nicely. Treat Italy nicely.
Afternoon Press Conference Transcript
Donald Trump: (00:00)
Thank you very much. Today, it is my honor to welcome President Sergio Mattarella of Italy to the White House. We’ve known each other for a while. We’ve dealt with each other for a while, and we’ve had some really great conversations. We’ve had a very productive discussion throughout the day with our staffs and representatives, and I look forward to hosting the president and his daughter, Laura, at a reception for the Italian Americans this evening. I look forward to that very much. The United States and Italy are bound together by a shared cultural and political heritage dating back thousands of years to Ancient Rome. Over the centuries, the Italian people have blessed our civilization with magnificent works of art, science, philosophy, architecture, and music. On Monday, we paid tribute to the Italian explorer who led a voyage of discovery to the New World, a gentleman known as Christopher Columbus, and to me, it will always be called Columbus Day.
Donald Trump: (01:21)
Some people don’t like that. I do. Today, the United States and Italy draw a strength from our cherished heritage as we work together to safeguard our people and promote prosperity. As NATO allies, our countries cooperate closely on a wide range of critical defense issues, including the protection of our nations against radical Islamic terrorism. The problem is that Italy is only paying 1.1% instead of the mandated 2%, which by and of itself is a low number. It should be probably 4%, anywhere from four to five percent. Only eight of the 29 NATO countries are paying the 2%, meaning 20 of the countries are delinquent in the payment to NATO, and they have been for many years. And Germany is at 1.3% at most, depending on calculations. Spain is at less than 1%. Turkey, believe it or not, is almost current, almost paid up, and I want to just thank Secretary General Stoltenberg because he’s going around saying that President Trump was able to raise over $100 billion last year, which is true, but it’s still only a large fraction. It’s still a large fraction of the amount of money that’s owed by many of the countries that aren’t paying their dues.
Donald Trump: (02:48)
We hope that Italy will boost its defense spending in order to meet NATO’s minimum 2% of GDP, and I will say that they have just purchased, and we learned about it today, 90 brand new, beautiful F35s. The Strike Fighter program is doing phenomenally well. One of our major challenges and the challenge facing NATO today is instability in the Mediterranean, North Africa areas, and much of the volatility in that region stems from the violence in Libya, which is very close to Italy’s borders. President and I were talking about that at great length, big problem. The ongoing Libyan conflict has led to a migration crisis, placing significant and unfair burdens on Italy in particular. I’ve asked that the European Union get much more involved because they’re not involved enough. That’s a problem for the European Union. They do very well with us on trade. They had a trade surplus with the United States over the last five or six years of about $150 billion a year. They have to get more involved and help Italy.
Donald Trump: (03:58)
The Italian government has stepped up as a leader to fight this illegal immigration. We urge, also, our NATO and European partners to take firm action to halt illegal immigration and uphold sovereign borders. Immigration control is critical to national security and essential to the well-being of our citizens. Nations must be able to vet, screen, and properly manage entry and admission into society. You know the legislation that we had passed, we have absolutely no help from the Democrats on our borders, absolutely nothing. The closure of loopholes, which would be very easy to do, they refuse to do. They want open borders, and Italy doesn’t want open borders, and we’re not going to have open borders, and our numbers are very good. I want to thank, also, Mexico and the president of Mexico for the great help they’ve given us. They’ve helped us much more than the Democrats. Here in the United States, we’re taking dramatic action to secure our borders, shut down smuggling networks, and speed the removal of illegal immigrants.
Donald Trump: (05:04)
We’re moving the MS-13 gang members out literally by the thousands. They’re getting out. We’re dropping them out of our country, and they can’t come back. And what we’ve done with Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador is, they tell me, close to a miracle, the agreements that we’ve signed. They accept them back, and they keep them back. It’s a much different relationship than we’ve ever had with those three countries, and I want to thank the leadership of those three countries. We’ve been working well, very well together. Our message is clear. If you enter illegally, the United States, you will be promptly returned home. They’re all returning home. It takes a long time because we’ve had years of people coming and staying, and that’s the end of that. President Mattarella, he also discussed the steps we must take to enhance commerce and economic growth between our two countries. Our nations are already investing nearly $70 billion in each other’s economies. Without the burdens, as unfair as they are, imposed by the European Union, we would actually have a much higher number than $70 billion between Italy and the United States.
Donald Trump: (06:19)
However, we can do more, and we can achieve fairness and reciprocity, which we don’t have right now. America’s trade deficit with Italy accounts for about 20% of our nearly 150 to 170 billion dollar, probably according to some estimates, it could even be $178 billion annual trade deficit with the European Union. We welcome Italy’s support for a mutually beneficial trade agreement with the EU that ensures a level playing field for American workers, and it hasn’t been that for many, many years. I could solve the problem instantly, but it would be too harsh. It’d be too harsh. It would involve tariffs on European products coming into this country, and for right now, we’re going to try and do it without that. But that would solve the problem instantly because the United States is not being treated fairly. We also welcome Italy’s participation in combating predatory trade and investment practices worldwide, especially in technology. We must work together to shield our intellectual property, critical infrastructure, ports, and data security.
Donald Trump: (07:31)
I applaud Italy’s recent commitment to use only safe and trustworthy technology providers, components, and supply chains, especially relating to the 5G networks. We will work together to take further steps to secure the technology of the future, and speaking of 5G and how it relates to China, we’ve done a rather incredible trade deal, especially right now, phase one, for our farmers and for the finance industry, financial services, and it’s been really quite amazing.
Donald Trump: (08:04)
Excuse me? Is there a problem back there? It’s been quite amazing. The level of receptivity has been much different than in the past. China and myself are representatives. They’re representatives. I made a deal from 40 to 50 billion dollars in farm products, agricultural products. People said we were hoping for 20. So, China’s been good, and they’ve already started purchasing, by the way. That’s already started. The agreement, we hoped to have it signed sometime prior to Chile. We’re going to Chile. President Xi and myself will probably do a signing over there of phase one, assuming it all gets finished up, which we think it will. There’s been a lot of good will between the United States and China over the last period of time. So, we’re signing from 40 to 50 billion dollars, and that will … because it was incorrectly reported in the press, shockingly. That will take place. It’s already started taking place. They’re already purchasing a lot of foreign product.
Donald Trump: (09:05)
All of the banking regulations and all of the financial services, all of the other things that are included, and there are many other things in phase one that I won’t talk about now, but all of that is moving along rapidly. Bob Leitheiser is with us someplace here, and he is in the process of getting it completed. Have a great staff of people working on both sides. Mr. President, it’s a true pleasure to host you in our nation’s capital, you and your family and your deeply personal relationship to your country. You love your country so much. Just in speaking to you for a short while, I see how much you love Italy, and I can understand that. It’s really an inspiration, a testament to the patriotism and pride of the Italian people, great spirit for Italy. America is grateful to have true friends and allies in the citizens of Italy. We have such a great relationship with the people of Italy.
Donald Trump: (10:00)
The United States is, likewise, thankful to be home to more than 16 million Italian Americans. Tonight, here at the White House, we’ll celebrate our deep and abiding friendship with Italy and the really incredible Italian people, the US-Italian alliance is stronger than ever before, and we’re going to be celebrating that tonight with you, Mr. President. So, I look forward to that very much in a little while. And in the meantime, thank you very much, and we’d love to have you say a few words. Thank you.
I want to thank President Trump very much for his invitation and for the welcome, both to myself and my entire delegation. The relationship between the United States and Italy are marked by a deep friendship and by common interests, both strengthened by the presence here in the US of so many Americans of Italian descent. That’s another reason why I’m so happy to be here on this visit in October, dedicated this year, again, to Italian heritage. I’d like to go back to what President Trump was saying when he mentioned Christopher Columbus, who opened up new horizons. He got to know and connected continents, which ignored one another, and based on the role that US is in the world, it seems to me that he did a good job back then.
To Italy, the US is not only a fundamental ally. It is also a country with which it shares the same path of democracy, a country which shares the same values of freedom, of the protection of human rights, of the respect for minorities, of the rule of law. But Italy’s international vision is based on the pillar, which is the Atlantic Alliance, which then, over time, also led to European integration of the European Union, which was a consistent process. These are two essential elements in our foreign policy, and in our cooperation. We are united. The US, Italy, and Europe are united due to our history, due to our common references, due to the culture we share and due to the very intense human relations we have between our fellow citizens.
As President Trump mentioned earlier, we talked about NATO, and NATO is, first and foremost, a community of values, which Italy recognizes and to which Italy participates with a [inaudible 00:13:06] convention and very factually. Italy has always contributed very intensely to NATO missions and operations and with a [inaudible 00:13:16] effectiveness. And we have substantially supported the activities of the alliance, and I’d like to remind you of the fact that besides being the fifth contributor to NATO, Italy is the second contributor in terms of the troops. It devotes to NATO missions, and after the US, we rank number two in the number of troops participating in NATO operations, along with all of the other missions we perform through the UN and the coalition against terrorism, which has developed in recent years.
And I’d like to remind you of the fact that as we speak, six Italian F35s of the Italian Air Force are patrolling the skies over Iceland within the framework of the second NATO mandate as a way of ensuring peace and security. Italy has constantly reiterated that the transatlantic spirit has to be nurtured, protected with all of our strength and all of the dimensions of the relationship we share. And with this spirit in mind, I hope that with the new five-year parliamentary term within the new European Union, we can foster our cooperation on trade between the US and the EU. We are aiming to define solutions that can strengthen our relationships because commercial trade tensions are to the benefit of no one. We feel that imposing tariffs on one another mutually is counterproductive, and it damages both of our economies.
And I’d like to add that we share with the US the belief that the WTO should be reformed as a way of making it more efficient and more effective. And as President Trump mentioned, we talked about Syria. We are deeply concerned with Turkey’s offensive in the northeastern part of Syria, and this attack in a limited number of bases already caused a number of casualties and tens of thousands of refugees and displaced people. And there were plenty of victims amongst civilians as well. This is an attack which also has another risk, namely that of offering new space, which was unthinkable a few days ago, to ISIS and to its criminal terrorist activities in Syria, in the Middle East, but not just in the Middle East, also in other continents around the world. Italy, in line with the EU’s position, condemns the Turkish operations, which are ongoing. We have also talked about Libya, and we talked about this topic, as all of the other topics, with a spirit of friendship and in a very tangible way. The current situation in Libya is a source of deep concern to us, and we are convinced of the fact that the violence and the military attacks can destabil-
The violence and the military attacks can destabilize all of North Africa. It increases the threat of terrorism and it contributes to creating an environment which fosters all kinds of illegal trafficking. And of course it jeopardizes the production of energy in that country and most of all, it denies the Libyan people the possibility of finding a peaceful solution which it deserves after so many years. We talked about our relationships with China together with President Trump and through an open dialogue with China, we want to defend the world order based on clear rules with the UN at the center of the world order and an open and fair market. One which complies with the principles of the World Trade Organization.
And from this point of view, we discussed two topics, namely security concerning new technologies. And I’m referring to 5G. Italy has been paying close attention to our national security requirements. It has paid close attention to it and it will continue to do so. We also underlined the need to have a level playing field in trade and an investments so that there can be a fair and healthy trade relationship. And there needs to be an access to the market which doesn’t discriminate anybody and we need to be able to protect intellectual property for all of the economic players involved without any theft of technology.
All of these topics were discussed with a full spirit of friendship, with a great deal of cooperation along with many other topics. And this opportunity was also an excellent opportunity to reiterate the friendship between the US and Italy and the very strong relationship between our two countries within the framework of the Atlantic Alliance. And for that reason, I want to thank President Trump very much for our meeting, for our talks, for your welcome and I’ll be seeing you again this afternoon on an occasion which will be filled with a great many elements of meaning and importance. Thank you, Mr. President.
Donald Trump: (19:22)
Well, thank you very much Mr. President and the WTO, the World Trade Organization, as everyone knows, we just won seven and a half billion dollars because of unfair trade practices and that will be distributed in a fair way throughout various countries in Europe. And we’re talking to the president about that as it pertains to Italy. He thought we were a little bit harsh on Italy and we don’t want to be harsh on Italy. We’ll never do that, so we’ll look at that. Very strongly. We will look at that for you. That was one of the requests made and we will be taking a look that. Please. How are you?
Mr. President, I wanted to ask about Turkey. Did President Erdogan’s decisions surprise you and if they did not surprise you, would you make the same decision as you made before in removing US Forces and I guess we just heard that UAW and GM may have been able to work out a deal. If I could get your reaction to that and what that might mean for the US economy. And Mr. President, if I could ask you about the digital tax, did the two of you discuss a possible digital tax as it relates to Amazon and Google? What progress were you able to make on that front? Thank you very much.
Donald Trump: (20:40)
Now, President Erdogan’s decision didn’t surprise me because he’s wanted to do that for a long time. He’s been building up troops on the border with Syria for a long time as you know. Our soldiers are mostly gone from the area. We only had 26, 28 but under 50. We think it’s probably 28 but under 50 soldiers. And which is a very tiny force. And it didn’t surprise me at all. This is, they’d been warring for many years. It’s unnatural for us, but it’s sort of natural for them. They fight and they fight long and they fight hard and they’ve been fighting Syria for a long time and on the border, that’s the border with Syria. And I say, “Why are we protecting Syria’s land? Assad’s not a friend of ours. Why are we protecting their land?”
Donald Trump: (21:27)
And Syria also has a relationship with the Kurds. Who, by the way, are no angels, okay, who is an angel. There aren’t too many around, but Syria has a relationship with the Kurds. So they’ll come in for their border and they’ll fight. They may bring partners in, they could bring Russia in. And I say, welcome to it. Russia went into Afghanistan when it was the Soviet Union and it became Russia, became a much smaller country because of Afghanistan. You can overextend, you could do a lot of things, but frankly, if Russia is going to help in protecting the Kurds, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. But it would be led by Syria and Syria doesn’t want Turkey to take its land. I can understand that, but what does that have to do with the United States of America if they’re fighting over Syria’s land? Are we supposed to fight a NATO member in order that Syria who is not our friend, keeps their land? I don’t think so.
Donald Trump: (22:24)
But Syria does have a relationship with the Kurds. The thing that’s common is that everybody hates ISIS. Now the PKK, which is a part of the Kurds as you know, is probably worse at Terra and more of a terrorist threat in many ways then ISIS. So it’s a very, a semi-complicated, not too complicated if you’re smart, but it’s a semi-complicated problem and I think it’s a problem that we have very nicely under control.
Donald Trump: (22:53)
We have two countries wanting their land. We have one country that wants land, perhaps that doesn’t belong to them because they want to have a 22 mile strip of, they call it freedom, they call it a lot of things. They want to get terrorists out. You have another country that says you can’t have our land and they’re going to have to work that out.
Donald Trump: (23:14)
Now with that being said, Vice President Mike Pence is going there. He’ll be leaving either late tonight or tomorrow and he was going to leave yesterday, but they have to have certain security done. He’s very important man in our country and he’ll be leaving with Secretary of State Pompeo. We already have representatives there negotiating with Turkey. We put massive sanctions on Turkey and we have additional sanctions on Turkey and when I ran, I ran on a basis we’re going to bring our great soldiers back home where they belong. We don’t have to fight these endless wars. We’re bringing it back home. That’s what I won on. And some people, whether you call it the military industrial complex or ,beyond that they’d like me to stay. One of the problems I have and one of, for instance with the witch hunt, you have people that want me to stay. They want me to fight forever. They do very well fighting. That’s what they want to do. Fight. A lot of companies want to fight because they make their weapons based on fighting, not based on peace and they take care of a lot of people.
Donald Trump: (24:20)
I want to bring our soldiers back home. We’re not a police force. We’re a fighting force. We’re the greatest fighting force ever. I spent two and a half trillion dollars over the last almost three years rebuilding our military. When I took it over, it was a mess. It was an absolute mess. It was totally depleted. You know that. A lot of people know that. Honest people all know that. When I was thinking about having to do something, one of our generals came in to see me and he said, “Sir, we don’t have ammunition.” I said, “That’s a terrible thing you just said.”
Donald Trump: (24:53)
He said, “We don’t have ammunition.” Now we have more ammunition than we’ve ever had. We have more missiles, we have more rockets. Our nuclear has been totally updated and in some cases, new. Hopefully to God we never have to use it, but we have the most powerful nuclear base by far in the world and we have things that we never had before. We have a great modern military, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to waste it. It doesn’t mean we’re going to deplete it like we did before with these crazy endless wars.
Donald Trump: (25:24)
So Turkey and Syria will hopefully work it out between themselves. Hopefully ISIS will be guarded. I told, I spoke with, as you know, a wonderful man yesterday, a general from the Kurds. You all know who I’m talking about. Some of you have seen the letter that I put out to Erdogan.
Donald Trump: (25:49)
I gave it to him, President Erdogan, and some of you have seen it. With the general, I said, “Listen, don’t open those doors and let them out just to create more havoc so that we come in.” Because some of those doors we just opened, let’s create some havoc and some political exposure for the president of the United States. We were the ones that contact, we were the ones that got ISIS. We’re the ones that took care of it, specifically me because I’m the one that gave the order because when I came in under President Obama, ISIS was a disaster all over that area. I was the one that got them. We were the ones that captured them. And I will say this, that Russia, Iran, Syria and to maybe a slightly lesser extent, Turkey, they all hate ISIS as much as we do and it’s their part of the world.
Donald Trump: (26:44)
We’re 7,000 miles away. I campaigned on bringing our soldiers back home and that’s what I’m doing. That includes other places, too, many other places. Statutorily it takes a period of time. Diplomatically, it takes a period of time. But you know, we’re in many countries, many, many countries. I’m embarrassed to tell you how many, I know the exact number, but I’m embarrassed to say it because it’s so foolish.
Donald Trump: (27:10)
We’re in countries, we’re protecting countries that don’t even like us. They take advantage of us. They don’t pay, nothing. You probably saw, some of you wrote and covered the fact that we’re sending some additional troops to Saudi Arabia. That’s true. And I appreciate the fact that I negotiated for a short period of time, a matter of minutes with Saudi Arabia and they’ve agreed to pay for the full cost of all of that deployment and more, much more. A very rich country, they should be paying. And so should many other countries be paying if they want this kind of protection.
Donald Trump: (27:46)
Same thing with NATO. We’re at 4% and other countries are at 1% and certainly a European country benefits much more than we do with NATO. I mean it’s there for a reason and perhaps we benefit, but not nearly as much as the European countries. Some people say we don’t benefit at all. We put ourselves in harm’s way. But we do that for Europe, but then they treat us badly on trade, not fair.
Donald Trump: (28:13)
So I would say that we’re in a great position. We’re doing what I said. We have two countries that are going to argue over their border. Hopefully they’ll work it out. We’re going to try and work it out. I think our vice president is a very capable man. We’ll do well tomorrow. He’s going to meet with President Erdogan. President Erdogan said he wouldn’t meet with anybody and he took that back just a little while ago and he said, “No, I will.”
Donald Trump: (28:38)
And I think they’ll have a successful meeting. If they don’t, the sanctions and tariffs and other things that we’re doing, we will do and are doing to Turkey will be devastating to Turkey’s economy. I’ve got Pastor Brunson home. Nobody else could do it. The previous administration tried very hard. They were unable to do it. I did it very quickly and let’s see what happens, but I think we’ll be successful. But we got to get out of the endless wars. We have to bring our troops back home. I go to Walter Reed and I give out Purple Hearts. Just did it on Friday. I see the incredible soldiers coming home to Dover, coming home in a coffin on areas that we have nothing to do with. We have nothing to do with and it’s heartbreaking. I sign letters all the time to parents whose son was shot in different places in the Middle East, mostly.
Donald Trump: (29:33)
It’s very heartbreaking to see. Very heartbreaking. So I’ve said it and it’s through strength, not through weakness, much harder to do what I’m doing. I could be, like all of these others, oh, just leave them there, leave them there. Now I can’t do it. Much easier for me much, probably politically better for me just to say, “We’ll leave a lot of people there and we’ll fight.” They don’t even know what they’re fighting for.
Donald Trump: (29:58)
It’s much more difficult politically. It’s not politically expedient. It’s just the opposite. And I have people, even on my side, they want to fight. I say, “Why are we fighting? I don’t know.” They don’t even know. So you have Syria and you have Turkey. They are going to argue with that. Maybe they’re going to fight it out, but our men aren’t going to get killed over it and just one other thing. They’ve been fighting for hundreds of years. It’s been going on for hundreds of years. So it’s a long answer, but I think I’ve got much of it out. Thank you very much. Please question?
Speaker 3: (30:44)
You had a question for the President?
Speaker 2: (30:44)
Yes, it was a question for [inaudible 00:30:47].
Oh sure. Thank you. Mr President. I was asking if the two of you discussed possible digital tax and where that discussion might be going in particular as it might relate to Google and Amazon and others. Thank you, sir.
[foreign language 00:14:06]. Yes, I understood the question. No, we did not talk about this and of course this is an open issue. It’s very important. It is being discussed in a number of different international contexts so that this important issue can be discussed and solved.
Donald Trump: (31:25)
By the way, the digital tax, I have to say is interesting because I did discuss it with another European union member, namely France and France is basically doing the digital tax. And I’m no fan of those companies. They were against me. Somebody said, I lost maybe 2 million votes, maybe more, because of Facebook, but these are American companies and whether you like it or not, they’re great big American companies, and I’m not happy with the digital tax where France and European union is taxing our companies.
Donald Trump: (31:58)
And as you know, we imposed a big tax on French wine because of it. So just to answer your question, Kevin, I’m not happy about the fact that they are taxing our companies. I’m not a fan of those companies, but if anybody’s going to text those companies, it should be the USA. It shouldn’t be France and the European Union, who have really taken advantage of the United States. Okay. Thank you very much. Good question. Okay. You can pick somebody, Mr. President. Yes.
Speaker 2: (32:29)
[foreign language 00:32:29]
Speaker 3: (32:31)
The question for President Mattarella. As far as Syria is concerned-
Speaker 3: (32:43)
[foreign language 00:32:37].
As far as Syria is concerned, in recent days, you talked about the risks Europe runs in terms of not responding to the situation. In recent days some European countries, including Italy, have discussed the possible a ban on selling weapons to Turkey. Do you think this can be an adequate way to respond to the situation? Also, considering that Turkey is and continues to be a member of NATO.
Speaker 3: (33:09)
Mr President, I would like to ask you on a September 27 Attorney General Barr as being in Rome to meet with Italian intelligence officials. I would like to know if you personally talked with Prime Minister contact to arrange this meeting, which kind of information Attorney General Barr was looking for, and if you are satisfied from the information the Italians intelligence gather for you. Thank you.
Donald Trump: (33:34)
Well, I don’t know the details. I just know that our country is looking into the corruption of the 2016 election. It was a corrupt election, whether it’s Comey or McCabe or Strache or his lover, Lisa Page, the two great lovers. There was a lot of corruption. Maybe it goes right up to President Obama. I happen to think it does, but you look at Brennan and you look at Clapper. Then you’ve got some real beauties. I know that they’re looking into the corruption. Obviously the IG reports coming out soon, so we’ll-
Donald Trump: (34:03)
… get into the corruption. Obviously the IG report’s coming out soon, so we’ll find out. I don’t know anything about the meeting, but certainly it would be appropriate because the word is, and you read it in the same papers that I do, that they did go to other countries to try and hide what they were doing. Italy may have been one of them. So you’ll really have to ask Attorney General Barr. Okay. Thank you.
Yes, Turkey is a member of NATO and that is something very important, of course. I’d like to remind you of the fact that currently there is an Italian contribution to Turkey. We have an anti-missile system which Italy has been having in Turkey for a number of years within the context of a NATO mission.
As a Latin said, [Latin 00:00:54], which means something more important than my friendship is the truth. The relationships and friendships and alliances of course don’t mean that we can’t say that the Turkish attack on Syria is a serious mistake. So we condemn that attack with no hesitation whatsoever due to the reasons I mentioned earlier. The solution, of course, doesn’t lie in sanctions and if the situation continues, sanctions will be inevitable. And Italy has made announcements as has the European Union. The only solution is to stop all military operations and to retreat from that area as a way of stopping all the dangers that I mentioned earlier.
Donald Trump: (35:45)
John, go ahead.
Well, I want to pick up on your comments on Turkey and Syria.
Donald Trump: (35:52)
Even after all you have seen, ISIS prisoners freed, all the humanitarian disaster, you don’t have any regret for giving Erdogan the green light to invade?
Donald Trump: (36:02)
I didn’t give him a green light.
Well, did you tell him [crosstalk 00:36:04]-
Donald Trump: (36:04)
[crosstalk 00:36:04] the same thing as you just … When you make a statement like that, it’s so deceptive. Just the opposite of a green light. First of all, we have virtually no soldiers there. They were mostly gone. Just a tiny little group and they would’ve been in harm’s way. You have a massive army on the other side of the border. But more importantly, I didn’t give him a green light. And if anybody saw the letter, which can be released very easily if you’d like, I could certainly release it. But I wrote a letter right after that conversation, very powerful letter. There was never given a green light. They’ve been wanting to do that for years and frankly they’ve been fighting for many, many years.
Donald Trump: (36:36)
And when you ask a question like that, it’s very deceptive, John. It’s almost as deceptive as you showing all of the bombings taking place in Syria and it turned out that the bombing that you showed on television took place in Kentucky. So I’m not even sure that ABC apologized for that, but certainly it was a terrible thing. I’m looking at this, I say, “Wow, that’s pretty bad.” And it was in Kentucky. It wasn’t in Syria. So I don’t know what you’re going to do about that, but I think ABC owes an apology.
You see, Lindsey Graham just said of your remarks that you’ve made in the Oval Office, that if you keep talking like that, “This will be a disaster worst than Obama’s decision to leave Iraq.”
Donald Trump: (37:12)
No. Lindsey Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years with thousands of soldiers and fighting other peoples’ wars. I want to get out of the Middle East. I think Lindsey’s focused right now when judiciary, like the Democrats, the Do Nothing Democrats as I call them, because they’re doing nothing. They’re getting nothing done. They’re not getting USMCA done between Canada, the United States and Mexico. They’re getting nothing done and I think Lindsey should focus on judiciary. He ought to find out about what happened with Comey, what happened with McCabe, Lisa, what happened with Peter Struck, what happened with President Obama, what happened with Brennan. That’s what Lindsey ought to focus on. That’s what the people of South Carolina want him to focus on. The people of South Carolina don’t want us to get into a war with Turkey, a NATO member, or with Syria.
Donald Trump: (38:05)
Let them fight their own wars. They’ve been fighting for a thousand years. Let them fight their own wars. The people of South Carolina want to see those troops come home and I won an election based on that. And that’s the way it is. Whether it’s good or bad, that’s the way it is. And if you look at this country, I’d be willing to bet anything, political instinct, that that’s what the country wants. I’m not going to get involved in a war between Turkey and Syria, especially when, if you look at the Kurds … And again, I say this with great respect, they’re no angels. If you look at PKK, take a look at PKK. ISIS respects PKK. You know why? Because they’re as tough or tougher than ISIS.
Donald Trump: (38:47)
You take a look at a lot of the things having to do … You have to say it. Nobody wants to say it. We’re making the Kurds look like they’re angels. We’ve paid a lot of money to the Kurds, tremendous amounts of money. We’ve given them massive fortunes. And you know what? It’s wonderful they fought with us, but we paid a lot for them to fight with us. But just so you understand, we were the ones that captured ISIS. People let some go. They opened a couple of doors to make us look as bad as possible.
Donald Trump: (39:15)
We have a situation where Turkey is taking land from Syria. Syria is not happy about it. Let them work it out. We shouldn’t be over there. And you should get your accounts correct. And you shouldn’t be showing up buildings blowing up in Kentucky and say it’s Syria because that really is fake news.
Donald Trump: (39:35)
Yes, please ask a question.
But you don’t think the country is worried about ISIS? I mean, you mentioned earlier that you think some of the countries might hate ISIS more than the United States.
Donald Trump: (39:44)
Absolutely. Russia. Russia hates ISIS. Russia hates ISIS as much as the United States does. Iran hates ISIS. I mean, we’re fighting a war for Russia. We’re fighting a war for Iran. You look at Syria, Syria hates ISIS. We’re over there killing ISIS and we’re killing … Don’t forget, we’re 7,000 miles away. So we’re killing ISIS. We’re 7,000 miles away. Russia’s much closer. Iran is right there. Turkey is right there. They all hate ISIS. Turkey a little bit less so. But the others very much. Russia had a plane blown up by ISIS. Russia wants nothing to do with ISIS. Russia’s tough. They can kill ISIS just as well and they happen to be in their neighborhood.
Donald Trump: (40:28)
And all I’m saying is this, I’m not going to lose potentially thousands and tens of thousands of American soldiers fighting a war between Turkey and Syria. Syria is not our friend. Assad is not our friend. That’s the way it goes. Please ask a question [crosstalk 00:40:44].
But, Mr. President, you said you withdrew 28 troops.
Donald Trump: (40:48)
28. They say it was 28. We thought it was 50, but it was about 28, 26 to 28 troops. And all accounted for, nobody injured. Listen, all accounted for. Nobody injured, nobody missing. It’s really nice.
Look, but look what’s happened since those troops were withdrawn and since you had that conversation with President Erdogan.
Donald Trump: (41:04)
You know what’s happened? No American soldiers have been killed. That’s what’s happened. And other people will go in and very easy to recapture those people that probably the Kurds let go to make a little bit stronger political impact. And that’s okay. I fully understand it. But that’s the way it goes. We’re bringing our soldiers back home and we’ve done a great job.
Donald Trump: (41:23)
We were supposed to be in Syria for one month. That was 10 years ago, and we’ve been a police force. It’s time to bring our soldiers back home. That’s the way it is. We’ve had no soldiers injured or hurt. That’s because I’m president and we’re the boss. Just remember that. We have the most powerful military in the world by far. Please.
Mr. President, what is the view in Europe of the president’s decision to withdraw? So to make the abrupt decision to withdraw from Syria?
Well, I already answered a question regarding Syria. I’m not here to judge what other countries do, but to say what my country’s position is. And our position is what I mentioned earlier on Syria, on the fact that we condemn what Turkey decided to do in recent days with no possible ambiguity.
Speaker 4: (42:31)
[Italian 00:42:31] A question for President Mattarella. President Trump seems to being open on discussing the possible tariffs. So do you think it will be possible to avoid tariffs being imposed in two days time? And a question for President Trump. Now, we all know your concerns concerning Huawei entering Italy’s security system. Are you satisfied with the measures that Italy decided to implement?
Donald Trump: (43:05)
Well, I’ll answer first. Yes, I am satisfied. They’ve been very accommodating. They weren’t at the beginning and they have been since then. And I want to just thank the Italian government and your Prime Minister actually in addition to the President. But as you know, I had long conversations with my friend and they were very nice. So I am very satisfied and we just discussed the same conversation with the President. Very satisfied. Thank you.
As far as the topic of tariffs is concerned, tariffs following the WTO decision on the EU’s contribution or the subsidies to the Airbus Consortium, I already mentioned what our belief is. Let me repeat it. I think that within the transatlantic relationship and with the friendship that there has always been between the US and the EU, it would be preferable to discuss our respective positions so that we can find a solution which takes into account the requirements of both parties. And that’s wholly possible.
The alternative would be that of imposing tariffs. Currently following the WTO’s decision concerning Airbus, there may be tariffs and there may be tariffs in six months’ time concerning the subsidies given to Boeing. This is a mere race between tariffs and mutual tariffs. I think it would be best to meet and to deal with our mutual needs so that a solution can be found. But if we don’t do this now, it will have to be done soon and I believe it would be best to find a solution immediately instead of imposing tariffs, which would lead to other tariffs and that would be a damage to both of our economies.
Donald Trump: (45:17)
Well, actually the tariffs situation is interesting because we just, it’s like I said with China and turned out to be true. We cannot lose a war of tariffs because the imbalance is so great between the United States, and in this case, the European Union, also true with China. That turned out to be right. We’ve collected tens of billions of dollars of tariffs. We’ve given some to the farmers to make them even. And now the farmers are going to have a bigger contract than they ever thought possible. They won’t be able to produce even that much, but I think they will because of their incredible ingenious. As I say jokingly, but probably not jokingly, they’ll just have to buy larger tractors, which is probably what they’re doing right now. But the farmers come out so well. But in a war of tariffs with the European Union, the trade imbalance is so great that we can’t lose that because they do much more business than we do. And that’s unfortunate. But the word reciprocity is probably my favorite word. Of all of these words, all of the semi-complicated, complicated, to me not complicated at all things that we’re doing, it’s got to be reciprocal. And it’s not. The European Union’s taken tremendous advantage of the United States. Many of us come through one way or the other through the European Union. That’s the good news. The bad news is they’ve been very smart. They’ve been very smart. Jean-Claude has been brilliant. Now he’s leaving, but he’s been brilliant at really helping them and not helping us.
Donald Trump: (46:51)
And so that’s changing now, but we can’t lose that particular war of tariffs because the trade imbalance is tremendous. It’s tremendous. And if you look at what they don’t have, the barriers that they put up, they put up tremendous barriers to our doing business in Europe. Tremendous barriers, both from a monetary standpoint and what they call non-monetary barriers.
Donald Trump: (47:17)
It’s a very tough thing. Our farm products, very hard to get them in. Our cars, very hard to get them in. And yet they send Mercedes, they send BMW, they send Volkswagen, Renault in the case of France. So it’s a very tough situation for us for many years, but now it’s a very tough situation for them because I can remedy the situation very easily. And there really is not any financial counter attack. Hopefully I don’t have to do that. With all of that being said, we are talking. We’re talking with some new people in Europe and I hope it’s going to be successful. That way we don’t have to talk about it or worry about it because our relationship should be a great one. But we have to be treated fairly on NATO and we have to be treated fairly on trade with the European Union.