Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport
2:45 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: I’ve got — I got good news for you: They just elected you Speaker. (Points to reporter.) (Laughter.)
Q Hey, what did you and Senator McConnell talk about in the limo ride?
THE PRESIDENT: We talked about foreign policy, about Ukraine, about keeping everybody together — not in the Congress, but just internationally.
Q Are you going to be visiting the border when you head down to Mexico?
THE PRESIDENT: That’s my intention. We’re working out the details now.
Q Do you think the NFL is getting too dangerous?
THE PRESIDENT: No. Look, the idea that you’re going to have — look, you got guys that are 6’8”, 340 pounds running a 4.8 40. I mean, you know, you hit somebody with that kind of force — now, that’s not what happened here.
But I just think it’s a — I don’t know how you avoid it. I don’t — I think working like hell on the helmets and the concussion protocols — that all makes a lot of sense. But it’s — you know, it is dangerous. You got to just acknowledge it.
Q Mr. President, are you con- — are you concerned about the implications of there not being — of there not being a functioning House of Representatives at this point?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, obviously, I am. In terms of –-
I’ll put my hat on here.
For two reasons. One, it’s embarrassing for the country. I mean, literally. Now, I’m not making a (inaudible). It’s just the reality is that, you know, to be able — have a Congress that can’t function is just embarrassing. We’re the greatest nation in the world. How can that be?
And we’ve had a lot of trouble with — I’m sorry for the noise — a lot of trouble with the attacks on our institutions already. And it just — that — that’s what worries me more than anything else.
Q What about Bradley Fighting Vehicles for Ukraine? Is that on the table?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Are you worried about how China is handling COVID right now?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, yes, I am. But I think we just got to make the protocol we set out: that if you’re flying from China, you got to be tested, and so on.
Chi- — China has not been — I know they’re very sensitive about sugge- — when we suggest they haven’t been that forthcoming.
Q Thank you, sir.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, everybody. Thank you.
Q Mr. President, can you talk about the significance of having Mitch McConnell here with you today? And —
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s for all you to decide.
Q And — (laughs) — and how you —
Q No, but for you —
Q — and how your relationship will be — will — how the relationship will matter in this next Congress with House Republicans being what they are?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, I’ve had a relationship with Mitch McConnell for years. And when, in the — when, in the Obama administration, they were going to — weren’t going to pay the debt, you know, McConnell and I stayed up, as you remember, on New Year’s Eve night until — you know, late at night to finish it.
I’ve — we’ve always been able to work together.
All right, thank you very much.
2:48 P.M. EST