2:40 P.M. EDT
Q Mr. President, give us an update on the debt ceiling deal. Are you confident it’ll pass Congress?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, you know I never say I’m confident what the Congress is going to do. But I feel very good about it. I’ve spoken with a number of the members. I spoke to McConnell. I spoke to a whole bunch of people. And it feels good. We’ll see when the vote starts.
And, look, one of the things that I hear some of you guys saying is, “Why doesn’t Biden say what a good deal it is?” Why would Biden say what a good deal it is before the vote? You think that’s going to help me get it passed? No. That’s why you guys don’t bargain very well.
Q Mr. President, what’s your message to –
Q Mr. President –
THE PRESIDENT: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. So that’s number one.
Number two, I spoke to Erdoğan and congratulated Erdoğan. And he — he still wants to work on something on the F-16s. I told him we wanted a deal with Sweden, so let’s get that done. And so we’ll be back in touch with one another. But I — it was basically a congratulatory call.
Q S- —
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Sir, what’s your message to House Democrats who have reservations about this compromise bill?
THE PRESIDENT: “Talk to me.”
Q And what would you tell them?
THE PRESIDENT: I’m not going to tell you.
Q Why not?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, you guys all get on and say, “Tell them what a good deal it is.” How about — how about if this was 100 percent deal for the Democrats? Do you think it would help me get it passed?
Q Well, who got the better deal?
THE PRESIDENT: Wai- — do you think it’s going to help me get it passed? Come on.
Q Mr. President, who got the better deal?
Q What do you think of the way that the 2024 Republican field is shaking out?
THE PRESIDENT: I haven’t been able to keep up with it. (Laughs.) It’s moving so quickly. And, you know, I’m not being facetious; I’m being very serious. I haven’t focused on it that much. It seems to have a lot of competent candidates who are trying to get the nomination. So we’ll see.
Q Will you whip votes yourself among Democrats and progressives? Will you make personal contact or leave that to the Hill?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I’ve made some calls already.
Q To who, Mr. President? Have you talked to Congresswoman Jayapal? And do you think you can get progressives on board?
THE PRESIDENT: The answer is: I don’t know. I have a good relationship with Jayapal. I haven’t had a chance to speak to her yet.
Q Who got the better deal? Who got the better deal — Democrats or Republicans?
THE PRESDEINT: It’s a bipartisan deal.
Q Will this be done by June 5th?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, yes.
Q No question?
THE PRESIDENT: Well — you guys are — you guys — you realize you’re not in the real world. “No question.” There is no reason why it shouldn’t get done by the 5th. I’m confident that we’ll get a vote in both houses. And we’ll see.
Q (Inaudible.) Russia is doubling down its attacks on Kyiv.
THE PRESIDENT: I’m sorry, I’m not —
Q Do you have any reaction as to (inaudible) attacks on Kyiv today? They attacked three times today.
THE PRESIDENT: I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question. I can’t — I apologize.
Q Russia is doubling down —
THE PRESIDENT: Russia is doubling down —
Q — on attacks on Kyiv.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Do you have any reaction?
THE PRESIDENT: It’s not unexpected. And that’s — it’s just pure — it’s not unexpected. That’s why we got to continue to give Ukraine all that it needs.
Q Are you expecting any movement on Sweden’s membership in NATO on Erdoğan’s part?
THE PRESIDENT: I raised that issue with him. We’re going to talk more about it next week.
Q Is it time for ATACMS for Ukraine? ATACMS for Ukraine.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s still in play.
Q Mr. President, on defense spending, some of the — some Republicans are saying that this deal does not raise — does not give the Pentagon enough money. Can you guarantee that America’s fighting force is going to have what it needs for the next couple years?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, whatever the fighting force needs, if there’s another — first of all, they passed my budget, what I asked for in defense. They passed that. Obviously, if there’s any existential need for additional funding, I have no doubt we’d be able to get it because we’d jointly do it.
All right, thanks, everyone.
Q Does the U.S. have any (inaudible) to Uganda?
THE PRESIDENT: I’m sorry, I’m having trouble hearing you.
Q On Uganda, sir — any message to the people of Uganda?
THE PRESIDENT: Not right now, no. I think I heard the question.
Don’t get your feet dirty, man.
Q I got one. Did you see that Ron DeSantis said that if he became President, he would pardon Trump? Where are you on the idea of presidents pardoning Trump?
THE PRESIDENT: (Laughs and waves.) (Inaudible.) It’s a great question. Thank you.