South Lawn

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.
And –
Q    S- —
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?
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.


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.
All right?
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.
2:45 P.M.

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