Joint Base Andrews
Prince George’s County, Maryland

9:37 A.M. EDT

Q    Good morning, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  The only reason we’re going to Philadelphia: It’s my wedding anniversary.  (Laughter.)  And we figured I — with my Philly girl, we’d go to Philly.  You can smile; it’s okay.  It’s a lousy joke.

Anyway, I — the reason I’m excited about today is just like what we did last week in the — with the environmental groups.

I think — I’m told this is the first time ever this early that every single union has endorsed me.  I’ve been told that’s never happened before.  And the good news about that is: I also met yesterday with some businesspeople.  Businesspeople and unions are beginning to work together like not before.

And so, I’m — I’m excited about — this is the beginning of something big, in terms of changing the economic balance.

Q    What kind of campaign do you think you’re going to have?  Do you think it’s going to be a nasty campaign this whole year, the way your opponent is going after you?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, it depends on who the nominee is.

Q    On China, Mr. President: Can Secretary Blinken ease tensions with China on this trip, do you think?

THE PRESIDENT:  Sure.  Well, look, China has some legitimate difficulties unrelating to the — unrelated to the United States.  And I think one of the things that that balloon caused was not so much that it got shot down, but I don’t think the leadership knew where it was and knew what was in it and knew what was going on.  It was — I think it was more  embarrassing than it was intentional. 

And so, I’m hoping that, over the next several months, I’ll be meeting with Xi again and talking about legitimate differences we have but also how there’s areas we can get along.

Q    Mr. President, are you going to make it easier for Ukraine to join NATO?


(Cross-talk by reporters.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Because they got to meet the same standards.  So I’m not going to make it easier.  I think they’ve done everything relating to demonstrating the ability to coordinate militarily, but there’s a whole issue of: Is their system secure?  Is it non-corrupt?  Does it meet all the standards every- — every other nation in NATO does.

I think they will.  I think they can.  But it’s not automatic.

Thank you.

Q    Do you have a comment on Russia’s deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’ve commented on that many times.  It’s totally irresponsible.

9:40 A.M. EDT

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