South Lawn

9:28 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  So I met, number one, as you know, with Pastor Brunson.  Some of you were there.  And he had a fantastic weekend.  He’s back home, and we love the fact that he’s back home.  He’s with his family.  And he’s a very happy man.  He left Turkey.  He is extremely thrilled.  And, as I said, really yesterday more than ever, that we want to thank Turkey.  We want to thank President Erdogan.

I just spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia, who denies any knowledge of what took place with regard to, as he said, his Saudi Arabian citizen.  I’ve asked — and he firmly denied that.  I’ve asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to immediately get on a  plane, to Saudi Arabia, go to other places if necessary, which he probably will.  But with regards to this, go to Turkey if necessary.  The King told me that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are working hand-in-hand, very closely, on getting to the bottom of what happened.  So we’ll see what happens.  But Mike Pompeo —

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me — Mike Pompeo is leaving literally within an hour or so.  He’s heading to Saudi Arabia.

We are going to leave nothing uncovered.  With that being said, the King firmly denied any knowledge of it.  He didn’t really know.  Maybe — I don’t want to get into his mind — but it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers.  Who knows?  We’re going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon. But his was a flat denial.

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  What?

Q    When he told you that, did you trust him and did you believe him?

THE PRESIDENT:  All I can do is report what he told me.  And he told me in a very firm way that they had no knowledge of it.  He said it very strongly.

Q    Will you relax sanctions against Turkey?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, that was not part of the deal.  We had no deal with Turkey.  We don’t make deal — any deals for hostages or prisoners.  But I will tell you that I feel much differently about Turkey today than I felt about them two days ago.  I have a very good feeling toward Turkey.  Two days ago, I did not.  So that helped.

Q    Mr. President, who else could it be besides Saudi Arabia?

THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t know.  We’re going to try to getting to the bottom of it.  I can only tell you that his denial to me is — just one very, you know, relatively fast phone call.  Probably lasted 20 minutes.  His denial to me could not have been stronger that he had no knowledge.  And it sounded like he, and also the Crown Prince, had no knowledge.

Q    What did you tell him about what the cost would be if it’s Saudi Arabia?

THE PRESIDENT:  We didn’t talk about that.  We didn’t talk about that.  I did say this is very important.  The world is watching.  The world is talking.  And this is very important to get to the bottom of it.  And I think he understands that very well.

He did say, very strongly, that he’s dealing with Turkey; that they’ve come to an agreement, that they’re investigating it together.  And I think that’s a good thing.

Q    Mr. President, what is your reaction to Senator Elizabeth Warren releasing the results of her DNA test?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I have no — who cares?

Q    Mr. President, you said you —

THE PRESIDENT:  Who cares?

Q    Mr. President, you said you said you would donate $1 million to charity (inaudible).

THE PRESIDENT:  I didn’t say that.  You better read it again.

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Say it?  Sorry, you have a helicopter roaring in the background.  Go ahead.

Q    (Inaudible) any theory of who may have done it if it wasn’t them?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, not a theory, but the denial was very, very strong.  It wasn’t like there was a question and it’s (inaudible).  The denial was very, very strong.

Q    Do you think Elizabeth Warren will run for President?  Do you see her (inaudible)?

THE PRESIDENT:  I hope she’s running for President, because I think she’d be very easy.  I hope that she is running.  I do not think she’d be difficult at all.  She’ll destroy the country.  She’ll make our country into Venezuela.

With that being said, I don’t want to say bad things about her, because I hope she would be one of the people that would get through the process.  It’s going to be a long process for the Democrats.

Q    What is your reaction to Sears going bankrupt?

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s a shame.  So Sears, Roebuck, when I was growing up, was the big deal.  And it’s very sad what happened.  Very, very sad.  When you look at that whole filing that they did last night, to me it’s very sad.  Somebody that is of my generation — Sears, Roebuck was a big deal, so it’s very sad to see.

And I will say, with that being said, I would imagine some of those great sites that Sears has — they really have some great sites — will be put to good use.  It will be a lot of jobs.  Sears has been dying for many years.  It’s been obviously improperly run for many years, and it’s a shame.

Q    Why take the arms deal off the table with Saudi Arabia?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not taking anything off the table.  No, we’re going to try and find out.  I’m just explaining — —

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no look — I’m just explaining, very easily, I think, what was told to me a half an hour ago.  And the denial was not only a denial, it was a very firm denial.  So we will check it all out.  We’ll get to the bottom of it, okay?

Q    (Inaudible) North Korea?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, North Korea is coming along very well.  Relationships are very good.  I think a lot of good things will happen.  It’s complicated.  You know, we’ve done things in three or four months that nobody has done in 70 years.  But I think North Korea is coming along very well.

Thank you.  I’ll see you in Florida.  Thank you.

END

9:35 A.M. EDT