Dobbins Air Reserve Base
(April 29, 2021)
7:43 P.M. EDT
Q How was your visit with the Carters today, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: It was great. It was great to see President Carter. He reminded me that I was the first person to endorse him outside of Georgia. And we sat and talked about the old days. And he introduced me to a friend of his — a reverend who he wanted me to get to know. And Rosalynn was great too. We just had a nice time. It was just — they’re old friends.
Q How is his health been?
THE PRESIDENT: His health has gotten better. I mean, he — you know, he’s really — it’s amazing. He keeps — keeps bouncing back. And we talked a little bit about cancer research and a few other things. But it’s just great to see him.
Q Mr. President, what do you know about this supposed direct energy attack on the Ellipse and the person who was injured?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know anything about it.
Q So you have not been briefed on it?
THE PRESIDENT: I have not been briefed on it.
Q What did you make of the protestors tonight at your rally, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, when they found out I had agreed with them, they finally stopped. Because I’ve been opposed to funding private prisons, and that’s what they were talking about. But I think they were just very emotionally excited. That’s why I stopped and let them go on a little bit, and then told them where I (inaudible). And when they found out — they wanted me to do it immediately, like I could sign a paper and make it happen. But, I —
Q You said you (inaudible) in five more days.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.
Q That’s not going to be enough, is it?
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, (inaudible). I was teasing about — you know, I can’t get — I have to get it passed. And that’s what I — but I do support eliminating funding to private prisons.
Q Does that extend to ICE?
Q Can you tell us more about your conversation with Senator Capito?
THE PRESIDENT: We had a good conversation. And I invited her to come with anyone she wants to bring with her to the White House. And they’re — they’re off next week — the Senate — so I said, “If you wanted to come next week, that’s fine. But if you want to wait and have our staff talk some more…”
But she seemed very positive about wanting to do something serious about it. And I — I’m anxious to hear what they have to say.
Q (Inaudible) opportunity for common ground if you want to raise taxes to pay for this and they say, “That’s a nonstarter”?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, if they say “We’re not going to pay for it,” then that’s back to the old Republican position of, you know, cut taxes — $2 trillion, go into debt, and not pay. I mean, it’s ironic how the — how this has all changed.
So I — I told her that we could do it in two ways. Let’s decide on infrastructure — what they think is infrastructure. So if the first piece of it is they don’t think broadband is infrastructure — I’m not saying she says that either.
But let’s decide what is — what are they prepared to consider in terms of what constitutes infrastructure, how much of it, and then we can talk about how to pay for it if we get to the point that we actually have a real number.
But if it’s like last time — and I don’t — I think she’s serious — but if, like last time, they come in with one fourth or one fifth of what I’m asking and say, “That’s a final offer,” then there’s — you know, it’s a no-go for me. Then we have to go and —
Q (Inaudible) Senator Tim Scott to the White House to talk about police reform? Are you planning —
THE PRESIDENT: Well, no, I’d happy to have him at the White House, but right now he has a serious negotiation going on with Senator Booker. And we should let the Senate work its will on how they’re going to move that.
Q And how much of a role would you play in that? Are you going to —
THE PRESIDENT: No, I wouldn’t play a role in that at all, other than I’ve made my position clear what it is, and let them negotiate. If they — if it’s a negotiation that I can support, then that’s fine. If it’s not, then I will be prepared to continue to — the negotiation.
Q (Inaudible) really successful Climate Summit. Do you need to call a gun summit if you want to get something done on guns?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t think a guns summit is the way it is going to go. I think there’s certain things that have already been passed in the House. It should be — they should do it. It’s time for the Congress to step up.
And — and one of the things that I’ve been doing and I’m going to continue to do is make the case to the American people: This makes no sense. The idea that over 250 people were shot dead between the first time I came down and the second mass murder a week later — I mean, this is — it’s absolutely —
And, by the way, a significant portion of gun owners and NRA members support eliminating the assault weapons. And who the hell needs 100 rounds in a gun that can —
I mean, so, the vast majority of the American people are getting fed up with it. And I think, eventually, that’s going to break the back of what — the opposition.
But, look, there’s a lot on the plate. What I’ve got to figure out is what can I get — get done, when. It’s a matter of sequencing a lot of things. There’s a lot going on, and it’s only been 101 days.
7:49 P.M. EDT