tv President Trump and Greek Prime Minister Joint News Conference CSPAN October 17, 2017 11:18pm-11:55pm EDT
announcer: later the impact of the opioid epidemic. we take you to the washington 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span three, c-span.org, or the free c-span radio app. president trump signaled his support for short-term bipartisan deal between senators alexander and murray at a joint news conference with the greek prime minister in the white house rose garden.
announcer: ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states and the prime minister of the helennic republic. pres. trump: thank you very much. i just want to make an initial comment that the stock market just hit an all-time record high. it broke for the first time ever, $23,000. we are very happy about that. i hope that greece will be doing the same thing very soon. i think they will. i am honored to welcome prime minister tsipras from greece. he is a very special man who is has done a special job. we are grateful to the prime minister and his entire delegation for visiting us today at the white house. greece is a cradle of western civilization, so true, of democracy, literature philosophy, science and so much , else. america looks on that glorious heritage with wonder and awe.
you do indeed have a tremendous heritage, mr. prime minister. perhaps for this reason, america's friendship with the greek people has been long and enduring. thomas jefferson wrote, "at the dawn of the modern greek state, no people sympathize more with greek patriots and none offer more sincere and ardent prayers to heaven for their success, than the american people." jefferson's words are true to this day. mr. prime minister, i am proud to report that this past march we celebrated greek independence day right here at the white house. that was great. america and greece draw on this common history and heritage and on our peoples' abiding commitment to freedom and sovereignty. when working together on great challenges and opportunities now
and before us, there are tremendous opportunities before us in so many different ways. the prime minister and i have just concluded a productive discussion on the cooperation between our two countries , including on matters of defense, energy, commerce, and trade. i want to thank the prime minister and the greek people for serving as gracious hosts to our u.s. naval forces. i also commend greece for being one of the few nato countries currently spending at least 2% of gdp on defense. my administration has also informed congress of a potential sale to greece to upgrade its f-16 aircraft. this agreement to strengthen the hellenic air force is worth $2.4 billion and would generate thousands of american jobs. we are also making great strides in our economical operation. the american people stand with the greek people as they recover from the economic crisis that recently afflicted their nation.
i have encouraged the prime prime minister in his continued implementation of reform and reform programs, that i've totally reaffirmed our support for responsible, debt relief plan. a strong and flourishing greece opportunity for american trade, investment, and job creation. i thank the prime minister, his predecessors, and the greek people for their efforts to return stability and prosperity to greece. on energy we appreciate greek contributions to european energy security through its support of the trans-adriatic pipeline, the oreece-bulgaria interconnect o and liquefied natural gas facilities that are capable of transporting diverse sources of energy to europe including potential liquefied natural gas exports from the united states of which that particular route
and businesses getting bigger and bigger and bigger as you know. make both are people safer and create good jobs for our hard-working citizens. finally i am also very proud that the united states will be the honored country at next year's international fair in greece. this historic business and trade exhibition will showcase american technology, enterprise, and innovation on the world stage. we look very much forward to sending a high-level delegation to attend this wonderful event. mr. prime minister, thank you again for being here today and for your partnership in addressing critical issues facing our countries. i look forward to have many productive discussions with you and to having a very close and warm cooperation on a wide range of shared objectives. we will build upon our foundation of shared history and values to pursue a future of
productive discussions we had today. the friendship between our two countries is very strong and it is based on our common democratic principles. on the values that we jointly share is peoples. it is correct that the founders of the united states were inspired by ancient greece. the greek revolution was inspired by the american revolution for independence. at the same time our relationship is based on a very dynamic diaspora which offers many things for both countries. the greek-u.s. relationship may be at their best, compared to the past, since the second world war when our peoples work together and fought together, shoulder to shoulder against fascism. i believe there are many reasons for this. today our strategy is based on mutual respect and it is fed by the significant support provided by the u.s. to greece and to the greek people during the hard times of the economic crisis, support for the exit of greece from the crisis, and at this point i would like to focus.
greece fulfills three basic objectives which do not only relate to greece, but i would say of special significance at an international level. first, it is definitely coming out of a crisis, noting wonderful growth rates and it is beginning to attract investment and increase its exports. as we see as well from the greek-u.s. balance of trade. it means leaving behind not only a crisis, but leaving behind the economic model that led to the crisis. second, greece today is the most significant power of security and corporation in one of the most important, but at the same time, unstable and sensitive areas of the planet.
a country with a dynamic, multidimensional foreign policy, country which is a reliable partner and ally of the united states which fulfills its nato obligations. and it is in close cooperation with the defense of the united which maintains dialogue with turkey despite the difficulties we face and the challenges of knowing the very important european course of turkey. it is a country also that promotes cooperation in the balkans which contribute to the security and the growth of the area. third, greece being already pretty strong in maritime and tourism is gradually becoming a significant crossroads for transportation and energy. i would like to mention the
tap pipeline, the agreement for a station in and thet greece, prospect that greece will be an area where we can receive exports and imports from the united states fracking. and i would like to mention our ports from athens and other locations, and the promotion of strong and fast rail connections to the balkans. in this context it is clear that the strategic cooperation with the united states is becoming more important than ever. we lookcipal goal, forward, and this is a significant message of my visit here and my meeting with the economic representatives, we look forward to attracting u.s.
investments and substantial support of the u.s. in our effort to exit this crisis. the fact that the united states will be the honored country in 2018 at the international fair will place a significant role to this effort. second because greece can dynamically develop and create a pillar of stability only if it is freed from the fundamental national concerns in the areas of security and defense. the united states has a significant role to play in this matter. not only in the diplomatic, but also the defense sector. and we look forward in this context for the viable solution based on the decisions of the un security council, a solution for
the benefit of all without guarantors or occupying military forces that will give a new perspective to the area. but at the same time, we underline that the dangerous turkey and the presence in the aegean sea must end. it undermines the relationship of two nato allies in a broader, unstable area. country always open to dialogue, but i want to be very clear. it will always protect decisively its sovereignty illicit claims and disputes. with that i would like to warmly thank president trump for the wonderful discussions we held. which i believe will give a
very substantial push to the existing dynamic cooperation, and i believe, and i said we created a work group between the ministers of economy, so we can monitor the ability to have a substantial cooperation in investment and economy and in all sectors. thank you very much, sir. pres. trump: ok we will take a few questions. john, go ahead please. >> thank you, mr. president. good to see you in the rose garden again. pres. trump: it is a nice place. reporter: i have a question for the prime minister in a moment if i could. sir, first, you said a short time ago that obamacare is virtually dead. your plans for graham cassidy have not been able to get off the ground in the senate and
there is no idea whether or not it will in the early 2018. you have been picking around the edges with executive orders some of which critics say are helping to destroy obama care. i am wondering at this point what is your health care plan? pres. trump: >> if you take a good strong look at the insurance companies take a good strong look at the numbers, you will see that since the formation of obamacare they are up 400%, 450%, 250%, 300%. they have made a fortune. the insurance companies. i knocked out the hundreds of millions of dollars a month being paid back to the insurance companies by politicians, i must tell you, that wanted me to continue to pay this, i said i'm not going to do it. this is money that goes to the insurance companies to line their pockets and raise their stock prices. they have had a record run. they have had an incredible run and it is not appropriate. obamacare is a disaster. it is virtually dead as far as i'm concerned.
it is really dead, and i predicted that a long time ago. it is a concept that does not work. and we are very close. we feel we have the votes in as soon as we're finished with taxes, we feel we have the votes to get block grants into the states where the states could much better manage the money and take care of the people rather than the federal government, the state block grants would do massive block grants into to the various states of that the states can run the program. have the votes could we are going to be doing that after the taxes. in the meantime, we are involved with the budget, and after the budget, hopefully back is approved and after the budget, assuming we have the support of all the republicans because we will have no support from the democrats or almost no support because they had become obstructionist. they have no good policies and frankly they are not good politicians, but they are good obstructionist. and that is what they do well. obstruct. the number of nominees i have approved by the democrats are about half of what president
obama had, and when you look at that, and you can look at judicial appointments. look at how slow that is going. i will have 145 ultimately, which is a tremendous number. we will have 17 court of appeals appointments. they are not getting approved. they are being slow walked by schumer and the group of democrats. it is really disgraceful. even people they know they are going to approve, they take it right out to the end. they use every single minute and i think it is a disgraceful situation. obamacare is everything but dead. the people are not going to take it. alaska, they had over 200% increase. in arizona, they were 160% and i hear going up even higher. the people are not going to take that any longer. i think we are in great shape. i think we have the votes. we will be doing that right after the largest tax cuts in the history of our country. hopefully sometime in the very
near future. reporter: so is graham cassidy still the plan? pres. trump: essentially, yes, block grants. reporter: in march of 2016, you said the potential for donald trump presidency, "i hope we will not face this evil." i wonder if after spending time with the president you have change your mind or are of the same mind? pres. trump: i wish i knew that before my speech. pm tsipras: the meeting we had with the president, his approach, and the way he
addresses us, the u.s. is a strong part and their ability to intervene for good are very important. i want to confirm that the meeting we had was very productive. i saw there was a very fertile outlook here in order to satisfy any differences we may have to find the common ground. the common ground, which is really important for the relationship between our two peoples that are traditional and historical and for our common objectives. we need common values. we have common values, excuse me. don't forget that the value of democracy and freedom was born in greece, and it is one of the basic values that traverses american culture and american tradition. the president today of the u.s. continues this tradition. i think our collaboration will be very substantial and i'm very
optimistic after the meeting we had today. pres. trump: thank you, mr. prime minister. i might just add that a number of countries were a little bit nervous at the beginning and i have very good relationships with the leaders of virtually every country i have dealt with. the reason they were concerned was because i will not allow our country, the united states of america, to be taken advantage of by so many other countries all over the world. if you look at our trade deficits, massive trade deficits , with virtually every country. you look at our jobs moving out to certain countries. the companies are leaving and they are firing the people and the product is made elsewhere and then it is sold back into the united states. i will not be allowing that. i can understand how certain countries and the leaders of certain countries may feel but we are just not going to allow the united states to be taken advantage of by other countries anymore. there is nothing we can do about that. thank you. ok, you have a question. reporter: mr. prime minister,
how do you plan to attract the long-term foreign direct investments in greece and if you can elaborate please on the steps greece is making to ensure that investors around the world know that greece is ready for business. mr. president, how can the u.s. support the greek efforts to fully turn the page, attract investments, and manage its debt? thank you. this is, one thing is to intervene legislatively to attract. it is different to work on a daily basis to implement these intentions in a stable environment.
we opted to reflect on the basic illnesses of greek public administration and to create a friendly environment for foreign investment, because this, investments means jobs and jobs means less unemployment and it means return of young people that have left greece. educated greeks that have left greece to go to other countries to come back to greece. so what did we do? we passed a law in parliament that provides a stable tax environment, a fixed tax rate for 12 years for investments of high-value. we simplified the procedures to provide licenses to investments.
we introduced the fast track process for strategic investments. we also made significant changes to hit and combat bureaucracy, the digitization of administration procedures. our vision is to have a digital public administration, but we want to make it practicable. i have made a change in the prime minister's office so we can see if the laws are being implemented. and we are sending out a strong signal of political will to promote these projects. the president asked me earlier, what is happening with the old airport? where years ago, he himself as a businessman, was interested in it and he saw himself the weaknesses of public
greek public administration. it is moving along. very soon we will see this area being formed to a very large state project increase that we are hoping will be an attraction for other investments from abroad. i would like to also say that greece for the first time is the absorbing european funds, investment capital from european structural funds. we find ourselves at a turning point. a point where investments can provide the ability to exit the crisis. the message i want to pass on to u.s. investments, is greece is not just a tourist attraction , but it is also an investment attraction. an investment destination as well. pres. trump: i can say that we have a great confidence in greece.
it is a land of tremendous potential. i know many people are looking to invest in greece. a lot of the problems are behind it. there had good leadership. they have done, they made difficult decisions. we are helping as you know with a massive renovation of their air force and airplanes generally going to greece. they are looking at buying additional planes from boeing. we are very much involved with greece and with helping greece get back on its feet. we have a tremendous greek population in this country. people whose heritage is greece and we love that country, special country, one of the most beautiful countries in the world , so i think it has got great potential and we are helping it along. ok jennifer, do you want to go? ,reporter: thank you mr.
president. pres. trump: sure. reporter: let me give you a quick question about the federal reserve. do you have any other candidates you're looking at other than powell yellen, those , already named? pres. trump: i think that within those five you will probably get the answer and i will be making the decision over the next rarely short period of time. reporter: can you say who your favorite is? pres. trump: honestly, i like them all. i will make it decision shortly. can i ask you a quick obamacare question as well? pres. trump: sure. reporter: lamarr alexander says he made a deal to stabilize obamacare. has the white house been involved in those negotiations, and will you support that deal? pres. trump: yes, we have been involved. this is a short-term deal. we think ultimately block grants going to the states will be the answer. we think it is a good solution,
save money, give people better health care with a very much smaller premium spike. you look at what has gone on with that. also much lower deductible so they can use it. lamarr has been working hard with his democratic colleagues on the other side, patty murray is one of them in particular. they're coming up and very close fairly close to a short-term solution. the solution will be for a year or two years and it will get us over this intermediate hump. we are very close to having the votes and we will get the votes for having the potential for having great health care in our country. they are indeed working, but it is a short-term solution so that we don't have this dangerous little period for insurance companies, by the way, for a period of one year or two years . we will have a good solution but we will have a great solution ultimately for health care.
they are working together and i know very much what they are doing, ok? thank you. reporter: mr. prime minister, on turkey, do you still regard turkey as a democracy? should turkey remain a member of nato? pm tsipras: i can say that despite our concerns regarding turkey, despite the concerns that are also based on the daily interventions. nevertheless, we continue to support the turkish course towards europe. we respect to this regional power and we believe it must a oriented toward the european tospective, mainly oriented its collaboration with the west and ultimately oriented toward nato. we believe that european outlook
perspective of turkey can also be a lever of pressure so we can have those reforms. democratizationcrat's of the country. my answer to your question is easy. yes, we do believe turkey must remain within nato and its european course. on the other side we have to ensure and we must make it clear to this ally of ours and its government that the road to europe and the collaboration with the west comes with certain conditions, certain responsibilities. one of the necessary conditions is to respect the national law, to collaborate, and not promote tension with allied countries such as greece.
i do believe i had the opportunity to go into detail on this matter with president trump, explaining the need for the fulfillment of these conditions so there are clear messages. also toward the turkish administration. pres. trump: ok, please. reporter: thank you. mr. prime minister, how do you as greeks like to hear about the strategic importance of greece in the region? what is your government planning to do to enhance this role for the benefit of the bilateral relationship? specifically in suda bay, do you have any
plans for it? mr. president, you praised greece's role in nato with the contribution amid the volatile region of the eastern mediterranean. what do you see as the potential of greece being a pillar of stability in the region and what would the u.s. like to see happening in order for greece to achieve this? pres. trump: i should start by saying it has a great role instability in the area. we have a feeling that it will get stronger and stronger. a very stable people, it has the potential, once it gets over this financial hurdle, we think there will be great stability in greece, militarily, and every way we look at it is very important, very important to the united states. we have great confidence in greece as a nation. we have great confidence in what they are doing relative to their military because i know they
have plans to do some terrific things. we know they will be an ally for many, many years to come. you know they have always been a reliable ally and we have always been reliable to them. so we look forward to that for many years. we are going to be friends for many, many years, and stability is important, and we look upon that with respect to greece as being a key. ok. thank you. pres. trump: as regards,m tsipras: regarding the initiatives we have taken to the strategic role of greece as a reliable partner, both in the eu and nato, i would like to say that from the first moment we took over the
administration, we moved, we preceded to a new dogma through the ministry of foreign affairs, but basically to enhance the role of greece as a country that is a pillar of security and stability in a very sensitive and unstable area. we enhanced our collaboration with two significant partners in the area, egypt and israel. and greece, cyprus, and israel, and with other countries in the area such as jordan, lebanon. through theseat multilateral collaborations to ensure the collaboration, stability, peace, and joint development and growth in this area. of course greece for a number of years has been playing, it plays
the role of a reliable ally of the u.s. but it also has a unique, different feature. greece may be talking with the arab world, with other countries in the east, so it is not just a nato member. it is a useful ally for the united states of america. crete and suda bay, we all know it is a strategic important site, we have evaluated it. it can and it must be upgraded. enhanced. >> i want to thank everybody.
the prime minister came out here and he said this is so beautiful. i said, this is the rose garden. i think even the media likes the rose garden. [laughter] >> that is, mr. prime minister, it has been a great honor having you and i look forward to many years of friendship and working together. keep up the good work. thank you very much. pm tsipras: thank you very much. [applause] >> [inaudible]
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delivered remarks at the heritage foundation's annual meeting tonight. he out find his tax reform proposal, which aims to provide $4000 in tax relief for the average american household, reduce the corporate tax rate and eliminate the estate tax. president was introduced by the foundation's founder and president. [applause] >> thank you my dear friends. he promised he would not forget them. he has kept this pse
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