2:31 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Please, sit down. Today, I’m very honored to host the President of Poland, a friend of mine, President Duda, and Mrs. Duda. Thank you very much for being here. Great honor.
It’s lovely to have you at the White House. We spent some time in the Oval Office, and we accomplished a lot. Melania and I are deeply grateful for the incredible welcome the President and Mrs. Duda gave us in Warsaw, Poland last year. It was a very exceptional day. Extraordinary. It’s wonderful to have them both with us in Washington today. Thank you very much, Mr. President.
During my visit last summer, I had the privilege to stand before the monument to the Warsaw Uprising and address the people of Poland about our shared commitment to defending our heritage and our civilization. It was an experience I will always treasure and I will never, ever forget.
Not far from where we stand today, another monument in another square — the statue of General Kosciuszko in Lafayette Park — reminds us that the bonds between our people go all the way back to America’s Revolutionary War.
This year, the United States and Poland are celebrating 100 years of Poland regaining its independence and nearly 100 years of U.S.-Polish diplomatic ties. It’s a long time. I’m thrilled to say that the alliance between our nations has never been stronger with you and I at the helm. Do you agree with that?
PRESIDENT DUDA: Yeah.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you, Mr. President. I’m glad he said yes. (Laughter.)
In our discussions this afternoon, President Duda and I agreed to bolster our robust defense ties. We will enhance cooperation in military relations, intelligence, missile defense, technology and training.
I’m proud to report that Poland has recently purchased a state-of-the-art Patriot missile system — which is a great system. We make the greatest military equipment by far, anywhere in the world. And it’s made right here in the USA.
We are grateful for Poland’s leadership on defense spending and burden sharing in NATO. I want to commend Poland for meeting its NATO defense-spending obligations, and I am glad that it plans to increase spending beyond the 2 percent minimum obligation. Thank you very much for that.
I’d like to share my gratitude to the people of Poland for their contributions to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and the coalition to defeat ISIS. We’ve made tremendous progress with respect to the defeat of ISIS, as you’ve seen.
We also understand that you can’t have national security without border security. Both Poland and the United States understand that strong nations must have very strong borders.
The President and I likewise are exploring opportunities to advance energy security. The United States and Poland are deeply committed to energy diversity all across Europe. No nation should be dependent upon a single foreign supplier of energy.
Poland has worked tirelessly to increase energy independence nationally and across Central Europe. It is constructing a new pipeline — the highest technology — from Norway to Poland, and it recently built a liquefied natural gas import facility. Last year, the United States was proud to send its first export of LNG to Poland, and soon, our nations will launch a high-level diplomatic exchange on energy security.
And, Mr. President, we are now, as of a few months ago, the largest producer of energy in the world. So that was — that’s a big statement.
President Duda, I also just want to talk to you about the Three Seas Summit, where Central European leaders were working hard to increase energy market access, reduce energy trade barriers — which is something we have to get done with respect to the European Union; the trade barriers, they make it very difficult for the United States — and to strengthen energy independence. The United States firmly supports these goals, and we are eager to expand commercial ties all across the region of Europe.
In our meeting today, the President and I discussed our bilateral economic relationship at length. Poland has experienced more than a quarter century of uninterrupted economic growth — which is a very big statement; very few can say that. And we look forward to further enhancing trade, investment, and commerce between our two great nations.
My administration is committed to realizing a future of prosperity and opportunity for all Americans. This month, we celebrated the highest employment level in U.S. history. We are right now employing more people. We have more workers in the United States than at any time ever in U.S. history. I look forward to partnering with President Duda as we grow our economies together.
Mr. President, thank you for joining me today. Poland has chosen its place among the free and independent nations of the world and as a loyal ally and strategic partner of the United States. And we greatly appreciate that.
We welcome the next 100 years of friendship between our two nations. Mr. President, thank you very much. Thank you.
PRESIDENT DUDA: (As interpreted.) Your Excellency, distinguished Mr. President, and distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted that in this year so important to Poland — the year of Poland regaining its independence, we celebrate our 100th anniversary of it — I’m able to be hosted here, that I’m at the seat of the President of the United States at the White House, at Washington.
And also, from this perspective, from the perspective of the centennial of Poland regaining its independence, this fact is of huge important for Poles — both those living in Poland and those living abroad, especially the 10 million Poles living in the United States. This is of huge, symbolic importance.
One reason for that is that the matter of Polish independence was one of the important points of the policy of the U.S. President Wilson. It was precisely President Wilson, before 1918, he was the one who put Polish independence on his agenda — on the agenda of his policy. That happened among others, thanks to a great Polish politician, a composer and musician, Ignacy Jan Paderewski.
But it is a fact that Poles experienced back then a lot of good from the United States and from the President of the United States. Because there are no other words to describe the fact that that great state indicated to Poland and defined Poland as the country who should be reinstated back on the map of Europe and on the map of the world. And it was reinstated on that map, 100 years ago, in 1918.
And I’m absolutely delighted that today, as Polish President, I can be here at Washington, sit at the same table with the President of the United States, and sign an agreement which is deepening our strategic partnership and which is renewing that strategic partnership.
I’m talking here about the agreement on the strategic partnership. Such an agreement was signed in 2008 between our two countries. Back then, it was signed by the ministers of foreign affairs. And today, this renewed version — the version which has been updated because a lot has changed over the 10 years — this renewed version of the strategic partnership was signed personally by myself and President Donald Trump. And I would like to express my deep gratitude to you, Mr. President, for that fact.
This agreement indicates the most important aspects of our cooperation and our friendship. It also sets new paths for the future: the paths of tightening our defense cooperation and military cooperation; tightening our cooperation in the area of security and energy business; tightening our cooperation in the broadly understood sphere of business. Also, in the aspect of the already mentioned cooperation as part of the Three Seas Initiative to which Mr. President has just alluded.
I came here to Washington right from the summit of the Three Seas Initiative, the first business forum organized as part of the Three Seas Initiative. The United States was present there as the partner of the Three Seas. And thank you, Mr. President, for that. Thank you for posting your representatives to that meeting.
And all the leaders who held their speeches there said in a very clear way about the need and hope for cooperation with the United States of America regarding the renewal and building of a new infrastructure, road infrastructure, railway infrastructure, energy infrastructure, both concerning electricity and the transmission of gas in Central Europe along the north-south axis. I’m referring here to the area between the Baltic States, though Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, all the way down to the Black Sea, and then through Croatia and Slovenia to the Adriatic Sea.
This is the space in which we want to cooperate. This is the space in which we want to develop. Our cooperation with the United States is of keen importance in this respect.
Also, as far as providing energy security is concerned, today we’ve talked at length about this with Mr. President. We also discussed threats to energy security in Europe, to the possible diversification of supplies. Without any doubt, such a huge — the biggest threat right now is posed by the construction of Nord Stream II gas pipeline. We discussed at length about this with Mr. President. I presented him the situation as it is.
Unfortunately, we have to be clear and say that, both from the German side and from the Russian side, this construction has already been started. There is still some formalities going on connected with the laying of the pipes at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. However, this investment, without any doubt, threatens energy stability of Europe. And without any doubt, it also threatens Polish energy security, because it is a threat. There is a threat of Russian energy domination, especially when Russia mentions that it’s going to build more pipelines — Nord Stream III, Nord Stream IV.
This threat of absolute Russian domination in Europe, in terms of gas deliveries, is obvious. What are the results of such a domination, ladies and gentlemen? We were able to see that ourselves a couple of years ago in Ukraine. A sudden interruption of supplies. Of course, it had nothing to do with economic factors. It was connected only and exclusively with political blackmail. It was a fact.
And it is obvious that today we are making efforts and we are going to go to any lengths to protect ourselves from that. That is why we decided to construct an LNG terminal. That is why we also decided to receive the LNG gas from the United States.
I’m really glad that we have concluded such contracts. I’m glad that American companies are right now delivering LNG to Poland. And this precisely is a very important element of diversification of gas supplies to our country. And I firmly believe that, thanks to the LNG gas terminal, thanks to expanding its capacities as far as the annual quantities of gas are concerned, we are not only going to realize and safeguard our own energy needs, but I also hope that we’ll be able to transmit gas further to our neighbors through the development of the Three Seas Initiative area through the construction of interconnectors.
These issues were all raised by us today during our talks with Mr. President.
And last but not least, opening up to business, we would like to invite American business to Poland. There are better and better investment possibilities. Poland is experiencing a very dynamic growth. Of course, there are companies from the United states which have been present in the Polish market for many, many years, like General Electric, which right now is implementing a huge investment concerning energy sector in Poland — conventional energy — such as construction of the Ostrołęka to Poland that is a huge contract amounting to almost $2 billion.
These are the huge projects which are all being realized in Poland. But I want to invite to Poland all business people — those who have got huge economic projects here and who have got huge possibilities of investment. But we would also like to invite the smaller ones. Poland is a big European country. I believe it is an interesting partner where the United States and the U.S. business is very much welcome. And I want to assure you, ladies and gentlemen, about that.
There is also a perspective of developing your activity through Poland to include the Three Seas countries. And this is something that we have been working on as a part of the Three Seas Initiative. We want to ensure, also, the communication possibilities, and we also want to increase the opportunities for economic cooperation.
We want, also, business partners from the U.S. to join our projects. There are going to be a lot of communication, traffic-related investments in our part of Europe. We would like invite American businesses to come, because I believe that this opens up an opportunity for making joint business.
And, ladies and gentlemen, all of that is connected, of course, with the issue of military security. I’m hugely delighted with the presence of U.S. Armed Forces in the Polish territory. I’m deeply satisfied with the decisions that were taken by Warsaw NATO Summit in 2016, where the presence of the military forces of NATO in Poland was guaranteed. I’m also happy that we have, in Poland, American soldiers as part of our bilateral agreements. But I would like to invite you, Mr. President, to post more American troops to Poland. We believe that the presence of the United States is a guarantor of security in our part of Europe.
We, ourselves, want to invest further. We want to modernize Polish Armed Forces. Mr. President Trump mentioned the so-called Wisła air defense system. That includes the purchase of Patriot missiles. We are implementing the largest military investment so far, as far as the Polish Armed Forces are concerned, over the last 30 years.
We want to implement more projects. We want to buy more equipment. We also want to cooperate in the area of research and development as regards to military technology. And I’m convinced that this cooperation between Poland and the United States will go on smoothly. I hope that Mr. President will make a decision to deploy to Poland more U.S. units, together with equipment.
Ladies and gentlemen, I was smiling when talking to Mr. President. I said that I would very much like for us to set up permanent American bases in Poland, which we would call “Fort Trump.” And I firmly believe that this is possible. I am convinced that such a decision lies both in the Polish interest as well as in the interest of the United States.
Poland is an attractive country an attractive country. And first and foremost, it’s got a very important strategic location in Europe. And I’m convinced that, for the interest of the United States, also pertaining to the security of the United States itself, the presence of the U.S. Armed Forces in our country is important also to protect American interests.
Mr. President, once again, thank you very much for this meeting. Thank you, once again, for this joint declaration that we’re able to sign today. Thank you for also adding this new splendor to the centennial of Poland regaining its independence, and also to the 10th anniversary of our strategic partnership.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. A tremendous amount of LNG will be exported to Poland. We’re giving them a pretty good price, but they’re buying a lot of it, and that’s going to be great.
I do want to say that, while we’re together, tremendous effort and bravery is being shown in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and the area that was so horribly hit by Hurricane Florence. I just got some clips of some of the things that the Coast Guard is doing and getting people to safety in horrible, horrible conditions.
And I want to just salute all of the people that are working so hard: the first responders, law enforcement, the military, FEMA. The job they’re doing is incredible. It’s incredible. So I just want to thank them very much.
And I think what we’ll do is we’ll take our first question from Emerald Robinson of One America News. Emerald?
Q Thank you, Mr. President. So, news today of a plane — a Russian plane shot down over Syria. Russia is assigning the blame to Israel, even though it was accidentally shot down by Syrian forces.
Clearly, things are heating up. There’s concerns by many Americans — most Americans — that we might be involved in a war in Syria soon. You had hoped to bring troops home, but clearly, things are changing. What do you tell American people today about a possibility of war in Syria?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I just heard about the incident you have mentioned, Emerald, and it sounds to me and it seems to me, just like based on a review of the facts, that Syria shot down a Russian plane. And I understand about 14 people were killed, at least. And that’s a very sad thing. But that’s what happens. But Syria — according to early reports; that’s subject to change — but that Syria shot down a Russian plane. So that’s not a good situation.
We have done a tremendous job in Syria and in that region eradicating ISIS, which is why we’re there. And we’re very close to being finished with that job, and then we’re going to make a determination as to what we’re going to do. But we have eradicated ISIS in a very large area of the Middle East. These are people that will not be coming here because they’re not around any longer. So we’ve done in a very short period of time.
Our Vice President is here, Mike Pence. Our great Secretary of State — really, thank you very much for the great job you’re doing — Mike Pompeo. And we’ve been working very hard on this. And they’ve done an incredible job over there, but we’ll make a decision fairly quickly.
Thank you very much. Would you have a question for the President?
Q Certainly. Thank you, President Duda. Clearly, you said you asked President Trump if he would consider a permanent base in Poland, and of course, that also relates to Russia. What would you say — how did the President respond to your position to have a permanent base from America in Poland?
And then also, do you currently have concerns over the U.S.-Russia relationship?
PRESIDENT DUDA: (As interpreted.) Well, of course. Of course, I told Mr. President about all the aspects connected with the permanent presence of the U.S. Armed Forces in Poland.
But, first and foremost, I assured Mr. President of one thing. First and foremost, ladies and gentlemen, we cannot say that, if there are permanent bases of the U.S. Armed Forces in Poland, we will see a deterioration of security because that will lead to an increase in Russian activity and increased militarization of this part of Europe by Russia.
I want to say it clearly, ladies and gentlemen: A very strong militarization of, for instance, Kaliningrad Oblast has taken place for more than 10 years now. It is the reality that we’re living today. As far aggressive Russian behavior is concerned, as far as increased military activities concerned, including increasing of the militarization, Russia has been conducting such activities in a systematic way. And for the first time, we were able to see that in a materialized way in Georgia. In 2008, when the then-President of Poland, Professor Lech Kaczyński, took other European leaders and they went to Tbilisi to stop Russian tanks, which were about to attack the capital of Georgia. And from that moment, that military expansion has been developing.
Another (inaudible) was the attack on Ukraine. And today we can see an illegal annexation of Crimea. Today, we are witnessing constant violation of international law in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. So these are today political and military facts of Europe, and the presence of the United States is only providing a guarantee of security and a possibility to defend.
Because let me reiterate again: It is only about the guarantee of security and defense of our part of Europe that is the free world. This is the most crucial issue right now from our perspective, from the perspective of Central and Eastern European countries. And we are speaking in one voice on this one, generally.
That is why we wanted to ensure the presence of the United States Armed Forces, and also, we wanted to have the presence of NATO forces in our part of Europe as well. And of course, Mr. President and his staff, his advisors, and also the Pentagon staff, have to consider all these issues, but there is a whole range of argument which are in favor of the fact that the presence of the U.S. Armed Forces in this area is absolutely justified today. That is due to the protection of the interests of the United States as well.
So I’m absolutely convinced of this one, because today, unfortunately, we are seeing international law being violated. Today we are seeing aggressive behaviors, and I am convinced that there is no more effective method of preventing a war than a decisive stance demonstrating that we are ready any moment to repel a possible attack. And presence also means deterrence. At the same time, I am convinced that when we are — when we have a strong military presence in this part of Europe where there is a potential threat, then there will be no war happening ever.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I think it should be pointed out that the President also said, and he also said it publicly, that he would pay the United States — meaning Poland would be paying billions of dollars for a base. And we’re looking at that more and more from the standpoint of defending really wealthy countries and not being reimbursed, paid.
It’s one thing when we defend countries that can’t defend themselves and their great people. And we should help them; we don’t expect anything for that. But when we’re defending immensely wealthy countries and they’re not paying for the defense to the United States, they’re only taking advantage of us. And we are in discussions with numerous countries, all of whom you know, about payment. Payment. And we get along with them very well, but it’s not fair. That includes NATO.
As you know, I got $44 billion additional last year, where they paid an additional — you can speak to Secretary General Stoltenberg, who is the head of NATO, and he said he’s never seen anything like it. And this year we did even better.
But when a country is very wealthy, and when the United States has been protecting them for many years at tremendous cost — cost like nobody in this room would believe — it’s time that they help with, we call it, “burden sharing.” And they will do that.
But the President offered us much more than $2 billion to do this, and so we’re looking at it. We’re looking at it from the standpoint of, number one, military protection for both countries, and also cost — a term you don’t hear too often and you haven’t heard too often over the last 25 years. But that’s the way it has to be.
Thank you very much. Would you like to have a question, please?
Q (As interpreted.) Polish Press Agency. I’ve got a question to President Trump. Do you share the conviction, which we have just heard a minute ago expressed by President Duda, concerning the threat which is posed to the region, but not only to the region, by Russia? And do you also share the view that permanent American bases in Poland are justified not only due to the security of the countries in our region but also due to the security of the United States?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I do. I actually do. I think it’s a very aggressive situation. I think Russia has acted aggressively. They respect force. They respect strength, as anyone does. And we have the greatest strength in the world — especially now. We were being depleted under the last administration. We had planes that were old and tired, and didn’t fly, in some cases. They were getting used parts. This is the United States; it doesn’t happen. We make the greatest planes in the world, and missiles in the world.
And we have enhanced, to put it mildly, our military. It’s literally being rebuilt, as we speak, with literally hundreds and hundreds of planes and missiles, and everything that you can imagine. They never had it so good because I got, in Congress, $700 billion this year; $716 billion last year. That’s far more than they ever anticipated.
I viewed it two ways. Number one, military — because it’s always more important than anything else, including jobs. But number two is jobs. We make everything here. So it’s hundreds of thousands of jobs to make for us the best military in the world. And Russia respects that. They respect that.
So I am with the President. I feel that he’s right. And I feel that, look, you look at the history of Poland and Russia — that’s a long and very complicated history. So certainly has a right to feel that way. Okay?
Q (As interpreted.) I had a question to President Duda. After the meeting that you have had today at the White House, do you have the feeling that the probability that Polish expectations concerning permanent American presence in our country are closer to being implemented? Are they going to be a fact?
PRESIDENT DUDA: (As interpreted.) Ladies and gentlemen, today, myself and Mr. President had a tête-à-tête meeting, a private meeting, and then we met also with our staff. We had long conversations, very honest discussions, and very strong at certain points, as well, in terms of diagnosis of the situation in the area of military security and energy security alike.
And I am convinced that all of us are going to draw appropriate conclusions from these discussions. Because as I said, both sides presented their positions in many — absolutely many elements. They are concurrent — as far as the assessment of the situation currently is — what kind of steps need to be taken in order to protect both the issue of security and the issue of interests. These are business-related issues.
I am convinced that, ladies and gentlemen, you are going to see the results of both our meetings today and of the declaration that we have signed together with Mr. President. Of course, we are talking about long-term processes, so I’m sure that you are going to see how this is going to be filled with content. You will see concrete facts that will appear on the maps and also in agreements and in purchases that are going to be realized.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Jon Decker of Fox, please.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Two questions for you. One on Judge Kavanaugh and also one on trade. On Judge Kavanaugh, yesterday you said, “We want to go through a full process.” You said, “We want to make sure everything is perfect, everything is just right.” To that end, what would be the problem with the FBI reopening their background investigation into Judge Kavanaugh? Would you support such a thing?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It wouldn’t bother me, other than the FBI, Jon, said that they really don’t do that; that’s not what they do. Now, they have done, supposedly, six background checks over the years, as Judge Kavanaugh has gone beautifully up a ladder. He’s an incredible individual. Great intellect, great judge. Impeccable history in every way — in every way.
I feel so badly for him that he’s going through this, to be honest with you. I feel so badly for him. This is not a man that deserves this. This should have been brought to the fore. It should have been brought up long ago. And that’s what you have hearings for. You don’t wait until the hearing is over and then, all of a sudden, bring it up.
When Senator Feinstein sat with Judge Kavanaugh for a long period of time — a long, long meeting — she had this letter. Why didn’t she bring it up? Why didn’t she bring it up then? Why didn’t the Democrats bring it up then? Because they obstruct and because they resist. That’s the name of their campaign against me. They just resist and they just obstruct. And, frankly, I think they’re lousy on policy, and in many ways, they’re lousy politicians. But they’re very good on obstruction. And it’s shame, because this is a great gentleman.
With all of that, I feel that the Republicans — and I can speak for myself — we should go through a process, because there shouldn’t even be a little doubt. There shouldn’t be a doubt. Again, they knew what they were doing. They should have done this a long time ago — three months ago — not now. But they did it now. So I don’t want to play into their hands.
Hopefully, the woman will come forward, state her case. He will state his case before representatives of the United States Senate. And then they will vote. They will look at his career. They will look at what she had to say from 36 years ago. And we will see what happens.
But I just think he is at a level that we rarely see not only in government, anywhere in life. And honestly, I feel terribly for him, for his wife, who is an incredible, lovely woman, and for his beautiful young daughters. I feel terribly for them.
Q On trade, Mr. President, you announced new trade tariffs against China. Trade tariffs are a very important part of your economic and trade policy. In you first year in office, the U.S. trade deficit increased by 12 percent. And last month, we saw the trade deficit increase to, I believe it was, $72 billion. So my question to you is, is your trade tariffs policy working?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we just started. We didn’t do anything with respect to China because we wanted to have the benefit of China having to do with North Korea. And they have been helpful. I hope they’re still helpful; there’s a question about that. But it got to a point where the numbers were too big. This should have been done for the last 20 years.
If you look at the WTO, the World Trade Organization, that’s when China really happened, economically. That’s — it was like a rocket ship, because they took advantage of the rules of the WTO.
And whoever was standing at this podium in this incredible White House, in the Oval Office, they should have done something about this long ago.
Over the last number of years, China has taken out of this country $500 billion and more — a year. $500 billion. That would go a long way for Poland, wouldn’t it? You could rebuild your whole country. And that’s what China did. They rebuilt their country with tremendous amounts of money pouring out of the United States. And I’ve changed that around. And if you look at what’s going on, our market is going up like a rocket ship. I don’t want their market to go down, but their market is down 32 percent in three months. Because we can’t let them do anymore what they’ve done.
And I watch trade deficits, because to me, deficits are very important. They’re not everything, and they’re not exact. Sometimes you can have, you know, a deficit, and that’s not such a bad thing. But when you have $375 billion in trade deficits, and then many billions of dollars in other liabilities of all different types, you have to do something about it.
We are the piggybank to the world. We have been ripped off by China. We’ve been ripped off by — excuse me, Mr. President — the European Union, of which you’re a part of. (Laughter.) We’ve been ripped off by everybody. And I want to protect the American worker, the American farmer, the ranchers, the companies. And we’re not being ripped off, you will see, in a little while.
Speaking of that, we’ve come to a conclusion with Mexico. We have a wonderful deal for both parties. It was a very one-sided deal. Now it’s a good deal for both parties. Very happy with it.
The new President had conversation and it was terrific. I think we’re going to have a very good relationship. We’ll see. We’ll see. We want help on the border because we have the worst immigration laws in the history of mankind or womankind. We have horrible, horrible immigration laws, so we want help.
But we’ve come to a conclusion with Mexico. Canada has taken advantage of our country for a long time. We love Canada. We love it. Love the people of Canada. But they are in a position that’s not a good position for Canada. They cannot continue to charge us 300 percent tariff on dairy products, and that’s what they’re doing.
So this is a process. It takes a little time. The European Union wouldn’t talk to us. They wouldn’t talk to President Obama. Wouldn’t even talk to him. And then I said, “That’s okay, you don’t have to talk to me.” Jean-Claude is a tough man. He’s a very good man. I like him, but he’s tough. He’s nasty. (Laughter.) The kind of guy I want negotiating for me. But he’s a tough, tough cookie. And I said to him, “We have to renegotiate the deal.” He said, “But, Mr. President, we are very happy with the deal. We don’t want to negotiate.” I said, “You may be happy with the deal, but I’m not happy with the deal.
And he didn’t want to renegotiate. And after three times, he still didn’t want to renegotiate. I said, “That’s okay, we don’t have to renegotiate any longer. We’re going to put a tariff on all of the millions of cars you send into the United States.” And honestly, he was in my office so quickly, from Europe, that I didn’t know they had airplanes that flew that fast. I said, “Where did you find this plane?”
And we have the semblance of a deal. Because it’s, to a large extent, economically all about cars. Cars are a very big factor. And they send millions of BMWs and Mercedes into our country.
So we are working on trade very hard. It’s very important to me. It has been for 30 years. I’ve been saying for 30 years. It started with Japan. I talked about Japan; I was right. I talked about China; I was right. It’s what I do. And I like doing it. But I like doing it for the people because our country has been abused and taken advantage of by virtually every country that it does business with. And we’re just not letting that happen anymore. And that includes what I said previously about the military.
Q President Duda, welcome back to the U.S. As it relates to U.S.-EU relations, as the President mentioned, you are a proud — Poland is a proud member of the European Union. How would you describe U.S.-EU relations right now? Did you talk about improving that relationship? Did you carry a special message to the President from Mr. Juncker?
PRESIDENT DUDA: (As interpreted.) Sir, I would be very happy if it was Poland which would disrupt the trade balance of the United States. I really would be happy if that was the case. Because my understanding, as far as politics is concerned, and carrying for the matters of your country is similar to the view of Mr. President Trump. Mr. Trump is saying “America first,” and I’m saying, “Poland first.” So we understand each other very well.
And it is hard for me to be surprised with the fact that Mr. President being a very experienced man — a man of success, as far as business is concerned — knows how to calculate. He knows how to calculate, and I think nobody puts that into question either in the U.S. or in another place. And he takes care of the United States. It lies in the interest of the country to have a balanced trade exchange, and this is something that you have to take care of. And of course, there is a clash of interest. However, objectively looking, it is hard not to understand it.
So there is always competition of interest. There is — every kind of business is a competition of interests. And I represent Polish interests, whereas President Trump represents American interests.
The whole thing is as follows: On important matters, you have to strike an agreement to make sure that both countries win and lose as little as possible. And then we have an understanding, an agreement. And then we can say that we are cooperating with each other on equal level. And I believe this is the kind of cooperation that Mr. President would like to have with the European Union. And it will be hard to be surprised with that.
I’m listening kindly to that, and I would like Poland to be such a country, such an economic superpower, that it would be a very important partner to the United States. I said jokingly, in the beginning, that I wish it was Poland which disturbed the trade balance of the United States and our exports to the United States, but I do believe that our cooperation is going to develop well on partners, like (inaudible).
PRESIDENT TRUMP: The trade deal with South Korea has been fully renegotiated and is ready for signature. We may sign it at the United Nations or shortly thereafter. That was a terrible deal for the United States. Now it’s a fair deal. But that’s been fully renegotiated, in addition to Mexico and some of the others that are very close.
Thank you very much, everybody. We appreciate it. Thank you.
3:12 P.M. EDT