President Trump President Macron Joint News Conference CSPAN April 24, 2018 2:15pm-3:07pm EDT
republicans have ballots early, so mean they oesn't voted for the republican or democrat, but it means these are people who primarily consider themselves republicans so far. ost: ron [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] >> a short time ago president trump and the french president finished up a joint news conference in the white house east room. here's a look at their comments followed by reporters' questions.
macron, mrs. macron, to the white house. thank you very much. it's a great honor. we're thrilled that the first official state visit of my presidency is not only with a great friend, but with a leader of america's oldest ally, the republic of france. today in our nation's capital, the stars and stripes proudly fly alongside the tricolor flag, a symbol of the world and to the world of unity, fraternity and friendship that forever links our nations together. 40 years after the end of our war of independence, the great general traveled to george washington's home at mount vernon to visit the grave of the father of our country. president macron, we're deeply moved that nearly two centuries
later, the president of the republic of france made that same tribute last night. beautiful evening. thank you. president macron: thank you. president trump: thank you very much. this past summer, melania and i had an incredible visit with you and bridget in paris to celebrate bass till day -- bastille day. we were awed by the beauty of your country and the great hospitality of your incredible people. they are incredible people. together we commemorated the 100th abe verse of -- anniversary of america's entry into the first world war. we remembered the french and american patriots who shed their blood together in defense of civilization. their noble ac fice will echo -- sacrifice will echo through time forever, an immortal tribute to our people and to our freedom. during the horror of the first world war, more than one
million people were killed or injured from chemical warfare, in the aftermath of that horror, civilized nations came together to ban chemical weapons. two weeks ago, following syrian dictator bashar al-assad's barbaric use of chemical weapons against his penal, the united states -- his own people, the united states, france and the united kingdom joined together to strike at the heart of the syrian chemical weapons program. these actions were designed to establish a strong deterrent against the use of these heinous weapons. president macron, i thank you for your leadership in this effort. and it was a well executed effort at that. and i thank you and the members of the french military for
their courage and their great skill. the united states and france are also cooperating to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. we are grateful for france's key partnership in our campaign of maximum pressure on the north korean regime. as you know, i will soon be meeting with kim jong un, as we seek a future of peace, harmony and security for the whole korean peninsula, and in fact for the whole world. however, in pursuit of peace, we will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations. the campaign of maximum pressure will continue. france and the united states also agree that iran cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. and that regime must end its support of terrorism.
all over, no matter where you go in the middle east, you see the fingerprints of iran behind problems. i also want to thank president macron for france's vital contribution to our very successful campaign against cispa. -- isis. as we drive these isis killers from sirks it's essential that the responsible nations of the -- syria, it's essential that the responsible nations of the middle east step up their contributions to prevent iran from profiting off the ssk our nti-isis effort. there are very rich chris in the middle east. they have to make contributions . a major topic we discussed a little while ago. they have to step up tremendously. not a little bit. but tremendously their financial effort.
a long, long time. it's uncontrolled migration. in the united states we are taking strong action to regain control over our borders and over our sovereignty. it's gone on for too long. we've slowed it down substantially but we're going to stop illegal immigration. i know you've experienced imilar things in france. both of our elections owe much of the success to the desire of everyday citizens to be heard, to be listened to, and to have control over their own nations and their own futures. let us demonstrate through our
partnership that the voice of the people will always reign at all times, it will reign. during our meetings today, we also discussed the robust economic relationship between our countries. the united states is setting records in business and we will continue and i know that france will be setting records under your leadership very soon. we look forward to exploring increased opportunities for bilateral trade and investment based on the principle of fairness and, importantly, reciprocity. mr. president, thank you again for accepting our invitation to the white house. the been such an honor. the foundation of our friendship draws from the deepest wells of civilization and is sustained by our people's love of their history, culture and liberty. for two centuries the alliance between france and the united states has been the cornerstone
of freedom. now the strength of this mighty alliance is in our hands, linked together by fate and destiny. i am confident that our future has never, ever looked brighter. thank you, mr. president. president macron: thank you very much. thank you, donald. thank you, mr. president. thank you to you and to the first lady for your warm welcome. please allow me to tell you how pleased we are, together with my wife and the whole of the french delegation, how pleased we are to be your guests for three days. , and this wonderful visit the honor you made, you made us by attending bastille day in
paris. in both speeches earlier today and ferred to the deed mentioned our two countries. these go back to the founding revolution of your country and both our true through histories. they both are based upon our deep attachments to freedom and peace. each time they have been threatened, we stood by one another. and we celebrated last night, the four of us, by going to mount vernon, given that no one else could illustrate as well as george washington the strength of the commitment between our two countries. please allow me
to go back to a number issue ofs which are fundamental for -- issues which are fundamental. the first is iran. you said once again in front of the press what your position was during the campaign and as well as the president of the united states. it's not a mystery, we did not have the same parting position, extensive. and neither you nor i have a habit of changing our fences or going with the wind. that being said, i can say that we've had a very frank discussion on that, just the two of us. you consider the iranian deal, the jcpoa, the one negotiated in 2015 with iran, as a bad deal. for a number of months i've been saying that this was not a it's ent deal, but that
enabled us, at least until 2025, to have some control over their nuclear activities. we therefore wish from now on to work on a new deal with iran. what we need, and i believe that on that our discussion allowed us to shed light on our convergence, is that we node to cover four topics. the first one is to block any nuclear activity of iran until 2025. this was feasible thanks to the jcpoa. the second is no nuclear iranian activity. the third, to be able to put an end to the ballistic activities of iran in the region. and the fourth one is to enerate the conditions for
political solutions to contain iran in the region, in yemen, in syria and iraq and in lebanon. on these topics, i did not change. i constantly said that we needed to find the framework so that together, and with the paris of the region, and with the iranian leaders, manage to find a deal. i therefore would like us to commit to that effect in the weeks and months to come. this is the only way to bring about stability. france is not naive when it comes to iran. we have also a lot of respect , which iranian people through their heftry, history has always shown its strength. but we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. it's time we tried to unilaterally replace sovereignty of the people with
-- we've brought about some more tariffs. before our alliance. and we want stability. i believe that the discussions we've had together make it possible to open the way, to pave the way for a new agreement, an agreement on which we will work and beyond our european parties we would like to involve the regional parties. and of course russia. and turkey. it is also within this framework, as a matter of fact, that together, together in the long run, we can find a solution to the sirian situation -- syrian situation. in syria we are together, engaged within the international coalition against dice and we will continue -- daiish and we will continue with this framework until victory. that being said, in the long run, we need to win peace and make sure that syria does not
fall into any -- [inaudible] -- in the region. o that effect, the approach, -- the approach means at that we can work and work on all of the situations, the whole situation in the region. and with these efforts, to contain iran in the region. we will continue to work to that effect within the u.n. security council, to make sure that law, the prohibition of chemical weapons are fully complied with and will continue to shoulder our responsibility to that effect. but we'll also work with all parties in building a sustainable political solution, an inclusive one that will terrorism in the future. we also talked about the
climate. and here also we know where we stand. france will continue to work on major pieces, including the global compact for the environment. our think i can say that businesses, our researchers can continue to work on solutions in the field. and we are both attached to that. now on trade. like you mentioned it, i hear what you said when you called upon fair and equitable trade. when we look at international trade today, we have some common challenges. there are specific capacities in a number of sectors which are well known. and we shall work together to make sure that this does not destabilize our markets or brings about -- [inaudible] -- but i believe we can say that we can make sure that between allies there's compliance with international trade law. at least france is attached to
that. we have preferences. and there are situations we can probably improve. but i believe that both you and i want to make sure that our businesses, our companies can operate in a sustainable and table framework. mr. president, i meant to mention these viewpoints which you commented as well. allow me to say once again that the discussions we've today, the ones we will have tomorrow, are set not only by the trend of our historical bonds but also by a sincere friendship, which i believe we share. so thank you once again, mr. president, madame, for the extremely warm welcome, for the three days spent with you. and thank you as well for being there to meet the challenges
syria? and on one other topic, you mentioned today that you thought the leader of north korea has behaved openly and honorably. this is someone who many people have accused of starving his people, killing family members, what did you mean when you called him that? president trump: well, we will start with your second part of the question. i hope that we will be able to deal in a very open and honorable fashion with north korea. i started a process and when i did, everybody thought i was doing it absolutely wrong. but in the meantime, for 25 years people have been dealing and nothing happened. a lot's happening right now, i can tell you that. a lot is happening. and i think it's going to be very positive. and i hope it's going to be very positive for north korea. and for south korea and japan and the rest of the world. i am starting at a level that frankly i shouldn't have had to start. this should have been worked out a long time ago. this should have been worked out many years ago. we were discussing that. we shouldn't be having this situation happen to the united
states and the world. this should have been resolved by other presidents and by other leaders of our countries a long time ago -- other countries a long time ago with that being said, i think we're doing very well -- ago. with that being said, i think we're doing very well. meetings are being set up. i want to see denuclearization of north korea. we have made no so concessions, despite -- -- no concessions, despite some of the media saying i have made concessions. i haven't even discussed a concession. other than the fact that meeting is a great thing. and i'm sure that a lot of other people would have liked to have had the position we're having. i will say this. we've put the strongest sanctions on a country that we ever have put on any country by far. china, president xi has been very strong in helping us to solve this problem. in his case at the border. he's allowing very little to get through. i think he's doing that for a number of reasons. we have a very good relationship and also it's very important in terms of trade.
because do i play the trade card. if you look at what's happening with trade in china, hasn't been fair for many years to the united states. and we're going to solve that problem. in fact, we're having secretary mnuchin and a couple of other folks heading over to china at the request of china. they came here last week. we're having very substantive discussions on trade. but i think it all plays to the border and the fact that they have been extremely strong on the border and very little has gotten through. much to the surprise of a lot of people. i believe the trade will work out. but i also think that china has never treated with us more respect than they have over the last short period of time that i'm president. i have a very excellent, as you know, relationship with president xi and i think that relationship is very important as to what's happening with north korea. the end result is we'll see.
and we have done a job that nobody has been able to do. but with that being said, i do want to come home. but i want to come home also with having accomplished what we have to accomplish. so we are discussing syria as part of an overall deal. when they made the iran deal, what they should have done is included syria, when i say should have, before giving them iran, $150 billion and $1.8 billion in cash, $1.8 million in cash, you think about this. before giving this kind of tremendous money, ok, $150 billion and $1.8 billion in cash, in barrels i hear it was taken out. and in boxes it was taken out. cash. they should have made a deal that covered yemen, that covered syria, that covered
president macron: as for the second question, is -- [inaudible] -- on the trade issue to be very clear. when you look at the trade issue between our which to two countries, they are bald. -- between our two countries, they are balanced. there is no unbalanced relationship. second, we are following and respecting the rules because we are the one who contributions to the creation of it and we think it makes sense to respect the rule you decided to create. in general. in life. that's a good method. third, because i do believe that we have an issue on trade, which is overcapacity in steel and aluminum. it doesn't come from europe and not even from france. and it's good to work together when you're alive and especially when you work so closely together on security issues like iran and syria.
so i'm confident about the future of the relationship. i think it's part of a broader picture where our interests are totally alined. i for the iranian situation, think i said in my introduction, for me the key to the new approach we want to adopt, it's what president trump says. we have nuclear on the short run. we have nuclear on the long run. we have ballistic activity. we have regional presence of iran. we want to fix the situation for this. syria is part of the fourth one. with have to work on iran and the different parties in the region, the b-5 and our allies, is to find a third deal where we can fix the situation.
this is the only way to preserve sovereignty in the region and to build peace on the very long run. otherwise we will have to come back into the region because of new terrorist groups for sure. i'm very happy about what we have together. because we've raising new solutions together and especially the fact that the syrian crisis and situation should be part of this broader picture. and the fact that we are here and we are today in syria, together, international coalition against isis. but tomorrow we will have to find way to fix the situation from a political point of view, not from a military point of view. which means to set up a series of agreements, part of this big deal, in order to be sure that syria tomorrow will be a sovereign country with inclusiveness and free people
others who signed the agreement deal will follow you? president macron: when i said there was no plan b i usually refer to the fact that there's no b plan. it was about -- rather than iran. now regarding iran. i've always been coherent and you can go back to what i said at the u.n. general assembly in september. i always say that there was the jsks cpoa but we needed to -- jcpoa but we needed to add three pillars. the ballistic and the regional influence. i do not know what president trump will decide regarding the jcpoa. it's his responsibility. the jcpoa is the first pillar of this framework i described. so i'm not saying that we're moving from one deal to another. i'm saying it is one aspect of the problem. i've never been critical of the
jcpoa as president trump has because i believe we can usefully add to it. but no matter the decision that trump will take, i would like us to work on a new deal with four pillars, including what is already covered by the jcpoa, that is the ongoing -- i mean, the current nuclear activity, the other activities, the ballistic activities and the regional influence. so this is constant. but over the past few weeks and today, we've been tibling to very much talk about deals. and i believe that we convert on a common reading what have is happening in syria and yemen, in iraq in particular. and on the fact that the nuclear issue is not the only one. that indeed there is a problem with the ballistic activity of iran and their presence in a numb of -- in a number of countries in the region. and that our willingness was
indeed to set the conditions for the stability of the region. once we've built this convergence of view, the ideal moving on to a new deal that would include the solution for syria i believe is a strong step forward thanks to the discussions we've had today. so i very much would like us to work together with all of our the minister of foreign affairs already gathered the small group and they will be doing it again any time soon. the purpose is to have some allies amongst them and of course also the regional powers to work at the level of this small group, shall have some privileged discussions with russia and turkey on regional topics, including syria. so we will work using that
method, in favor -- work towards a deal. i believe we can combine our common views and those differences because we're not -- thank you. i always said we should not take part in the jcpoa and have nothing else. i think this would be -- would not be a good solution. but once we are -- [inaudible] -- of which is to put together a broad agreement covering the four topics, it's very different. first of all, we can take onboard the concerns and the criticism of president trump regarding the deal, which like i said, once again, the deal ith -- supported by former american administrations, previous american administrations. but we can work and it is also
liable for the tremendous cost. the united states is embarrassingly into the middle east, as of a few months ago, as you've heard me say before. and i don't take responsibility, but i would be very embarrassed if i had to, $7 trillion. when we want to build our infrastructure, everybody says we want to be careful with our money. when we want to fix a highway or build schools and lots of other things, tunnels, bridges, they say, oh, let's be careful with our money. and yet we have spent $7 trillion in the middle east and we've gotten nothing for it. nothing. less than nothing. as far as i'm concerned. that's over an 18-year period. the countries that are there that you all know very well, are immensely wealthy. they're going to have to pay for this. and i think the president and i agree very much on that. and they will pay for it.
they will pay for it. we have spoken to them. they will pay for it. the united states will not continue to pay. and they will also put soldiers on the ground, which they're not doing. and we will in fact bring lots of people home. we will have a strong blockage to the mediterranean, which to me is very important. because if we don't, you have iran going right to the mediterranean. not going to have that. but there is a chance, and nobody knows what i'm going to do on the 12th, although, mr. president, you have a pretty good idea. but we'll see. we'll see also, if i do what some people expect, whether or not it will be possible to do a new deal with solid foundations. because this is a deal with decade foundations. it's a bad -- decayed foundations. it's a bad deal. it's a bad structure.
it's falling down. should have never, ever been made. i blame congress, i blame a lot of people for it. but it should have never been made. and we're going to see what happens on the 12th. but i will say, if iran threatens us in any way, they will pay a price like few ountries have ever paid. ok? yes, john. john roberts of fox. reporter: thank you, mr. president. i have a question for president macron as well. but if i could to you, sir, first. your nominee to run the veterans affairs administration, dr. jackson, is running -- has run into some serious political headwinds on capitol hill with serious allegations being leveled at him. i'm wondering what you know of those allegations and do you intend to stand behind him? president trump: i haven't
heard of the particular allegations. but i will tell you he's one of the finest people that i have met. and i think speaking from melania also, he's been the doctor for president obama, i believe for president bush. for me. i've gotten to know him pretty well. he's great doctor. and it was a suggestion. now i know there's an experience problem because lack of experience. but there's an experience problem -- the veterans administration is very important to me. we've done a great job with, it as you know. with the accountability act and many other things. now we're working on choice. it's going to happen. we're going to take great care of our veterans. that's a very, very important thing. we've done a great job. but i told admiral jackson just a little while ago, i said, what do you need this for? this is a vicious group of people that malign and they do, and i lived through it, we all lived through it, you people are getting record ratings
because of it, so congratulations. but i say, what do you need it for? he's an admirable, he's a great leader and they questioned him before he little thing. as you know with the success of -- about every little thing. as you know with the success of what will hopefully secretary of state pompeo, everybody was very surprised. i heard 10 minutes before the vote yesterday on committee that he will not be approved at committee. which would be the first time in many, many decades that something like that would have happened with regard to a secretary of state. except i spoke to rand paul and rand paul has really never let me down. rand paul is a good man. and i knew things that nobody else knew and rand paul said, i'm going to change my vote and he voted and everybody was surprised. he actually got an 11-9 vote. isakson's vote counts if it wasn't the deciding vote. so it was 11-9 with i believe -- there was one vote -- what
would you call that? reporter: a present vote. president trump: not present. so it was 11-9. that was a terrific thing. but they failed to stop him. so now they say, who's next? who's next? and this person, admiral jackson, dr. jackson, wonderful man. i said to him, what do you need it for? and as far as experience is concerned, the veterans administration, which is approximately 13 million people, is so big, you could run the biggest hospital system in the world and it's small-time compared to the veterans administration. so nobody has the experience. what he is is a leader and a good man. but i told him, i said, you know what, doc, you're too fine a person. his son's a top student at annapolis. he's a high-quality person. i said, what do you need it for? so he'll be -- it's totally his decision.
but he'll be making the decision. ut they failed with mike pompeo. and that was a big, big hit because they thought they could stop him and embars -- embarrass. the democrats have become obstructionists. that's all they're good at. they're not good at anything else. they have bad ideas, they have bad politics. the one thing they do is obstruct and that's why i'm waiting for, would you never believe this, i'm waiting for very good people like the ambassador to germany, hasn't been approved yet. been in there for 11 or 12 months. we have angela merkel coming to the united states on friday. we still don't have our ambassador approved. and at this rate, and
many of the papers checked it out yesterday, and they actually said i was right, but it would be nine years before these people are -- we have hundreds of people in waiting to be approved and the democrats are taking 30 hours per person, they're taking the maximum team -- time. they are obstructionists. that's very bad for our
country. i said to dr. jackson, what do you need it for? so we'll see what happens. i don't want to put a man through who's not a political person. i don't want to put a man through a process like this. it's too ugly and too disgusting. we'll seal what happens. he'll -- we'll see what happens. he'll make a decision. reporter: are you saying you will stand behind him? president trump: i would definitely stand behind him. he's a fine man. i'll always stand behind him. i'll let it be his choice. but he's a man who has just been an extraordinary person. his family, extraordinary success. great doctor, great everything. he has to listen to the abuse that -- i wouldn't -- .500 him, -- if i were him, actually in many ways i'd love to be him. but the fact is i wouldn't do. it i wouldn't do it. what does he need it for? to be abused by a bunch of politicians that aren't thinking nicely about our country? i really don't think personally
he should do it. but it's totally his. i would stand behind him. totally his decision. reporter: mr. president, if i could address a question to you as well. you said you and president trump came to some agreement on the way forward in syria. u.s. troops are really at the heart of any solution. how long, president macron, do you believe u.s. troops need to stay in syria? through the defeat of isis? or do they need to stay through a stabilization period until an alternative to the assad government is stood up? president macron: first of all, let me say how proud and honored we are to be part of the international coalition today, alongside with the united states troops norksd to fight against isis -- in order to fight against isis. we decided to increase our contribution and we are totally involved in this war against isis. for sure the very first goal of this intervention and the international coalition on the ground is to finish this work with them. with isis, and definitely to
finish with our enemies. our enemies are isis and the other terrorist groups. beyond this military presence and beyond our troops on the ground, we will have to build, as i said, peace. a new inclusive framework in order to be sure that syrian people will have the opportunity to live in peace. all the different ethnicity, all the different religions, all the different groups. no to be sure that there is hegemony in the region. that's diplomatic work we've already start bud we have to finish. there's something different -- started, but we have to finish. there's something different i would separate the two issues. we are involved on the ground against isis, we will finish this, and it's not to open a new war or to start a new war.
but at the same time we have to open a new work together, that's what we decided to do, in order to build in the other region a new framework and especially in syria. we will access during the -- ask us during the coming weeks and month what is we have to do. because when you're probably much more at the end of a war, you have have to adapt to the enemy and the reality on the ground. so we are not here to say this day whether he leave the floor. that's impossible. because it will depend on the reality on the ground. . we want to finish this war and fix in the long run the situation to have peace in this region. that's our duty. it's not just with our troops, it's with our diplomats, our team. with all the people in the region. president trump: we pretty much
finished with isis and we're going to be making some big decisions in a very short period of time but we're working very closely together with france and with the president. ok. thank you very much. reporter: mr. president, you know you will enjoy very friendly relationship with president trump compared to previous presidents. at the same time we know you don't agree on a number of topics. there are more and more of them. we've seen that earlier in the oval office on iran. it seems like the initial deal with iran will not be able to be saved. what about this relationship? can it have some great impact on france -- it can be beneficial to france and to europe? you talked about reciprocal interests. is that the case today? president macron: yes,
definitely. i believe the reason why we enjoy this relationship, the relationship between our two countries. indeed, we have a different background but it is maybe policisans. th not easily change one's mind. i think if you listen to this press conference, you watched us, you will have the answer to your question. regarding iran, we have disagreement regarding the jcpoa. by deciding to work towards a deal, a noble deal that will enable to deal with the issue of nuclear issue but also treat it together with another three issues which were not being dealt with so far. o should the decision --
[inaudible] and i have the conclusion being that u.s. -- the united states of america would walk away from the jcpoa and france would not move, then our friendship would be wasted. but it is about making sure that we're each taking into account the position and the interest of all reciprocal countries. it is unprecedented. we never before taken joint possession, joint stance on syria the way we did and on iran, in favor of a deal that will enable us to cover the four pillars. the intense work between our teams. otherwise it would not have -- would not be in position [inaudible] in the past, sometimes france argued that it was time to take action against chemical weapons and france was not followed by
its allies, including the united states at the time. it is not what happened this time. we decided together what was possible and what was not, what was legitimate within the international framework, as two members of the security council and we conducted an unprecedented military convention at an unprecedented level of cooperation. please allow me to pay tribute to our troops, to our armies and to that of the united kingdom because we led unique operations, proportionate one and we were able to do so thanks to this relationship. in syria, iran, the credibility of the international community against the use of chemical weapons, you've seen it. we have the evidence that showed that relationship between our two countries and our friendship enable us to achieve some concrete results and this is an improvement from a couple weeks ago.
president trump: i think we have a lot in common, i must say. i think many things we -- certainly, most things we agreed with we can change and we can be flexible. you know, in life you have to be flexible. as leaders of countries, you have to show flexibility. i think we actually get along on many of the subjects we discussed today. and i will say, france is a great country, and i believe france will be taken to new heights under this president. it's -- he's going to be an outstanding presidents. it's an honor to call you my friend. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
>> prior to the news conference, president trump and french president macron held two other public events. we'll show you oval office comments and a meeting president trump had with mr. mcron and french officials. president trump: mr. president, they are saying what a great relationship we have and they are absolutely correct. it's not fake news. finally, it's not fake news. so it's a great honor. great honor that you're here. but we do have a very special relationship. in fact, i'll get that piece of dandruff off. we have to make him perfect. he is perfect. that is really -- it is really great to be with you and you are a special friend. thank you. president macron: thank you. thank you. thank
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