2:13 P.M. EDT
Q Are you coming to Romania, Mr. President?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’d like to.
Q When? When, Mr. President?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t know. It’s something we’ll discuss.
Q What do you think about the visa (inaudible)?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much, everybody. It’s an honor to be with the President of Romania, who’s highly respected and done a great job. And I hear there’s a little political season going on in Romania, but I would imagine you’re going to do very well because you’re very talented, you love the people.
And we’ve had a great relationship with Romania. The United States and Romania have gotten along better than ever before. So, I want to thank you for that.
And we have a big trade business going on, to be honest with you. We have — we do a lot of trade with Romania, and they’re very talented people. We buy, they buy. And you have a lot of Romanian people in the United States, very importantly. And they’re tremendous people. They work very hard. Very, very successful.
How many do you have in the United States? Do you know? Has anyone figured that out?
PRESIDENT IOHANNIS: We have quite a lot of Romanians in the States, yeah.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think I know most of them, actually.
PRESIDENT IOHANNIS: (Laughs.) Very good people.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, they are. They’re a great people.
PRESIDENT IOHANNIS: Maybe quarter of a million or so.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah. It’s a lot. It’s a very large population. But they — and they love Romania, too, I will tell you that. They never forgot Romania. They’re very much inclined that way, and that’s a good thing.
Well, I want to thank you, Mr. President, for being here. It’s a great honor. Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT IOHANNIS: Thank you so much, Mr. President. Great pleasure to be here.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Would you like to say something?
PRESIDENT IOHANNIS: Yeah, I would, just on the line that it’s great to be back here with you, Mr. President. And now we have the opportunity to talk about our very good strategic partnership. And under your strong leadership, we progressed and we will continue doing so. This is very important for us, and I think we are on the right path, and I thank you for that.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think we are on the right path. A lot of interesting things happening also in your country, but we appreciate the trade. And we’re going to have a big meeting in a little while after this. We’re going to have a private meeting, and we’re going to have a meeting in the Cabinet Room with a lot of your officials.
PRESIDENT IOHANNIS: Yeah.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And we look forward to that.
Yes, any questions? John?
Q Mr. President, what sort of contingency steps or plans is the White House thinking about to stave off any kind of economic slowdown? We’ve heard that there’s been some talk of a payroll tax cut kicked around, some other tax cuts. You’ve been talking about a cut in the Fed rate, quantitative easing. What are you looking at?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I’d like to see a cut in the Fed rate because that should’ve happened a long time ago. I think they’re being very tardy in not doing in and not having done it sooner. They raised too quickly. And, you know, I’ve been quite vocal on that.
They also did quantitative tightening, which was ridiculous. And so — and despite that, you know, if you look — I guess you could call it “normalized” — but if you look, our economy is doing fantastically. And if you take a look at the previous administration, they weren’t paying interest. They had no interest rates. They had loosening, not tightening. And, frankly, it’s a big difference.
And our economy is incredible. Our jobs — you look at the jobs market. But you have to be proactive, and so we really need a Fed cut rate, because if you look at what’s going on with the Europe — European Union, as an example, they’re cutting. You take a look at Germany and what they’re doing, and what they’re paying — I mean, they’re actually doing something inverse. They’ve never seen — nobody has ever seen it before. And we have to at least keep up to an extent.
So, right now, we’re paying a very much higher rate of interest, and we didn’t follow the world. And generally speaking, that’s okay. But you can’t have that much of a disparity. So we’re looking for a rate cut.
We could be really greatly helped if the Fed would do its job and do a substantial rate cut also. They were doing quantitative tightening; very bad to do. They should do easing — actual easing. No tightening. Or at a minimum, they should be doing nothing about that. But they have to do a rate cut.
The other thing is, you know, we’re looking at various tax reductions. But I’m looking at that all the time anyway — tax reductions. That’s one of the reasons we’re in such a strong economic position.
We’re, right now, the number one country anywhere in the world, by far, as an economy. Europe has got a lot of problems, and Asia has got a lot of problems.
If you look at China, China has had the worst year they’ve had in 27 years. And they want to make a deal with us, but I can tell you I’m not ready to make a deal. Unless they’re going to make the right kind of a deal, I’m not ready to make a deal. So I don’t know, but I will say this: Something will happen. It may be soon; it may be a little bit later. But China very much wants to make a deal.
Q What kind of tax cuts would you look at? We’ve heard again a potential cut in the payroll tax, indexing capital gains. What would you accept?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, you know, we’ve been talking about indexing for a long time. And many people like indexing, and it can be done very simply. It can be done directly by me. And so we’ve been looking at that. As you probably have heard, I can do it directly.
So we’re talking about indexing. And we’re always looking at the capital gains tax, payroll tax. We’re looking at — I would love to do something on capital gains. We’re talking about that. That’s a big deal; it goes through Congress.
Payroll tax is something that we think about and a lot of people would like to see that, and that very much affects the working — the workers of our country. And we have a lot of workers. Right now, by the way, we have more people working today than we’ve ever had before in the history of our country. We have almost 160 million people working today.
I think the word “recession” is a word that’s inappropriate because it’s just a word that the — certain people — I’m going to be kind — certain people, and the media, are trying to build up because they’d love to see a recession. We’re very far from a recession.
In fact, if the Fed would do its job, I think it would have a tremendous spurt of growth. A tremendous spurt. The Fed is psychologically very important. Less so, actually, but very psychologically important.
And if the Fed would do its job, which it’s really done very poorly over the last year and a half, you would see a burst of growth like you’ve never seen before. And that would be lowering interest rates and maybe putting some — if you look at what China is doing, if you look at what Germany is doing, if you look at what so many countries are doing — putting some money in, because we want to compete with these other countries. So I think that we actually are set for a tremendous surge of growth, if the Fed would do its job. That’s a big “if,” frankly.
But they should — the Fed should — the Fed should be cutting. And I would say they should say, at a minimum, 100 basis points over a period of time, not at one time. But over a period of time.
Q Mr. President, can the country afford tax cuts when we’re already running trillion-dollar deficits?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I’m not talking about — I’m not talking about doing anything at this moment. But indexing is something that a lot of people have liked for a long time. And it’s something that would be very easy to do. And a lot of people have been talking about indexing for many years, and it’s something that I am certainly thinking about.
I can say that a majority of the people in the White House, at the level that does this kind of thing, they like indexing. So it is something I’m thinking about.
Payroll taxes — I’ve been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time. Whether or not we do it now or not is — it’s not being done because of recession, because we are — legitimately, if we had a cut in interest rates by the Fed — if they would do their job properly, and if they would do a meaningful cut, because they raise too fast, you would see growth like you’ve not seen ever in this country.
Now, if you go from the election — that great November 8th day — if you go from November 9th to present, you’re talking about almost a 60 percent increase in the stock market. You’re talking about unemployment numbers that are the lowest in history, in many categories, and, overall, almost the lowest ever, in the history of our country. I think it was 1969. And we are set to surpass that number. I mean, our country is doing very well.
When I spoke to the President, we were just walking in and he said, “Congratulations on the great success of your economy and your country.” And I appreciated that. But our country is doing very well.
Q Mr. President, would you agree strengthening American military forces in Romania?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, it’s one of the things we’ll be talking about today, I assume. You might be bringing that up. But it’s something we’ll talk about.
Q Mr. President, next year, you host the G7. Would you like to have Vladimir Putin back in the G7 and make it the G8 again?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: So it was the G8 for a long time, and now it’s the G7. And a lot of the time, we talk about — we talk about Russia. We’re talking about Russia because I’ve gone to numerous G7 meetings. And I guess President Obama, because Putin outsmarted him — President Obama thought it wasn’t a good thing to have Russia in, so he wanted Russia out.
But I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in. It should be the G8, because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia. So I could certainly see it being the G8 again. And if somebody would make that motion, I would certainly be disposed to think about it very favorably.
But, as you know, for most of the time, it was the G8. It included Russia. And President Obama didn’t want Russia in because he got outsmarted. Well, that’s not the way it really should work.
Q Mr. President, two years ago, you said that including Romania in the Visa Waiver Program is a subject that should be discussed.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.
Q In this meeting, will you discuss this issue?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ve spent a lot of time on it. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing it already. Our countries have been discussing it, and we’re going to — we’re taking it up today in a very important meeting right after this one.
Do you like the idea? It sounds like you like the idea, right? The waiver — do you like the idea? Okay. No, it’s something we’re thinking about.
Q Mr. President, on Venezuela, is the White House in contact with the Maduro regime —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes.
Q — with his number two, Cabello?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’re — we are in touch. We’re talking to various representatives of Venezuela. We’re helping Venezuela as much as we can. We’re staying out of it, but we are helping it, and it needs a lot of help.
It’s an incredible tribute to something bad happening, and the something bad is socialism. And it’s amazing because, 15 years ago, it was one of the wealthiest countries. Now it’s one of the poorest countries. It has oil reserves; it has a lot of things going, but it’s a very sad thing what’s happened. They don’t have water. They don’t have food.
And we are helping a lot. We are talking to the representatives at different levels of Venezuela. Yes.
Q To Cabello?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t want to say who, but we are talking at a very high level.
Q What’s the status of the trade deal that you want to seal with Boris Johnson at the G7?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, I spoke with Boris Johnson. I think he’s going to be a great Prime Minister. I think he’s going to do a fantastic job. I’ve known him. A lot of people know that we have a very good relationship. I think he’ll be far superior. I think he’ll do something that will be a very — I think he’s going to be very important for the UK. I think he’s going to be very important.
Dealing with the European Union — I hate to say this to you, but dealing with the European Union is very difficult. They drive a hard bargain. They’re represented by Jean-Claude, who is a friend of mine, but he’s a tough man. He’s a very, very tough man, and he’s a great negotiator. And we have all the cards in this country because all we’d have to do is tax their cars and they would give us anything they wanted because they send millions of Mercedes over. They send millions of BMWs over.
But we’re talking to the European Union and we’re going to see if we can work something out. But I will say this: Dealing with the UK, they have not treated the UK very well. That’s a very tough bargain they’re driving, the European Union. That’s a very tough bargain. And I think that UK has the right man in charge right now — the right person in charge, in the form of Boris.
Q And if I can turn to Afghanistan: What is your current thinking on pulling out the United States troops?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’re talking to the government of Afghanistan, we’re talking to the Taliban, and we’re talking to others. And we’re looking at different things.
We’ve been there for 18 years. It’s ridiculous. We have taken it down a notch. We’re at about 13,000 people right now — 13,000 Americans. NATO has some troops there too, by the way. And we’re having good discussions. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens.
Look, it’s 18 years. We’re like — we’re not really fighting; we’re a — almost more of a police force over there. It’s been so many years. But we’re like a police force. And we’re not supposed to be a police force.
And as I’ve said, and I’ll say it any number of times — and this is not using nuclear — we could win that war in a week if we wanted to fight it. But I’m not looking to kill 10 million people. I’m not looking to kill 10 million Afghans, because that’s what would have to happen, and I’m not looking to do that.
But it’s a war that has been going on for almost 19 years now, and, frankly, it’s ridiculous. But, with that being said, it’s a dangerous place, and we have to always keep an eye on it.
Q It sounds like you’d like to pull completely out, if you could.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’d like to look at various alternatives. One of the alternatives is going on right now. We’re talking about a plan — I don’t know whether or not the plan is going to be acceptable to me. And maybe it’s not going to be acceptable to them. But we are talking. We have good talks going, and we’ll see what happens. This is more than other Presidents have done.
But we have brought it down. We are bringing some of our troops back. But we have to have a presence. Yes.
Q Mr. President, could you clarify your position on enhanced background checks? After El Paso and Dayton, you seemed to be fully in support —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.
Q — of enhanced measures. When you were leaving Bedminster, you seemed to suggest that we already do have strong background laws, which a lot of people read as you dialing back (inaudible).
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we do have. I mean, I’m not doing that to be cute. We have very, very strong background checks right now. But we have, sort of, missing areas and areas that don’t complete the whole circle. And we’re looking at different things.
And I have to tell you that it is a mental problem. And I’ve said it a hundred times: It’s not the gun that pulls the trigger; it’s the person that pulls the trigger. These are sick people, and it is also that kind of a problem.
And we’re looking at mental institutions, which we used to have. Like, as an example, where I come from in New York, they closed up almost all of their mental institutions — or many of them — and those people just went onto the streets. And they did it for budgetary reasons. Well, New York is not unique; they’ve done that in many places.
Q Would you support either of the House bills that were passed earlier this year?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I’m not going to get into that. But we are in very meaningful discussions with the Democrats. And I think the Republicans are very unified. We are very strong on our Second Amendment. The Democrats are not strong at all on the Second Amendment. I would say they’re weak on the Second Amendment, and we have to be careful of that.
The Democrats would, I believe — I think they’d give up the Second Amendment. And the people that — a lot of the people that put me where I am are strong believers in the Second Amendment — and I am, also. And we have to be very careful about that. You know, they call it the “slippery slope,” and all of the sudden, everything gets taken away. We’re not going to let that happen.
Q President Iohannis —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, go ahead, please.
Q For Mr. President Iohannis, will you discuss the issue of the fight against corruption in Romania with President Trump? Will you discuss this issue?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Please, go ahead.
PRESIDENT IOHANNIS: Well, I hope so, because we have good results. And I want to share those with President Trump.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And what is your question?
Q I was asking about the fight against corruption in Romania.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: So nice to have a question about Romania.
Q So I ask — I ask you, will you discuss this issue, the fight against corruption, with your Romanian counterpart?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sure, I will. Sure.
Q Last time you praised President —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sure, I will. Of course, I will.
Q Last time you praised —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: But I think that this is a man that can solve the corruption problem in Romania. And he’s made big strides, from what I hear. I haven’t been there recently. But he’s made very big strides. And I think he’s the man that can solve the corruption problem.
There are a number of really terrific countries like Romania, but they have a tremendous corruption problem. And I’ve heard you’ve made tremendous progress.
PRESIDENT IOHANNIS: We did, sir.
Q Mr. President, what’s the status of your foreign aid cut package? Do you still support cutting (inaudible)?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’re looking at it. And we’re looking at it in different ways. And we’re talking to Republicans and Democrats about it. And certain things we can save and certain things — it probably could be, you know, a pennywise. Maybe it’s a pennywise. We’ll see. But we are looking at it.
And we have some things that are on the table very much. And we’ll let you know over the next, probably, sooner than a week.
Q Mr. President, your administration has been taking steps to make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people in the workforce. Are you okay with those actions?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, you know, I just got an award and an endorsement yesterday from a — the exact group, a group. They gave — you saw that. They gave me the endorsement yesterday. And I was very honored to — is it Log Cabin? The Log Cabin group. And I was very honored to receive it.
No, I’ve done very well with that community. Some of my biggest supporters are of that community. And I think they — and I talk to them a lot about it. I think I’ve done really very well with that community.
As you know, Peter Thiel and so many others, they’re — they’re with me all the way. And they like the job I’m doing. And I just got a big endorsement from the Log Cabin group.
Q Mr. President, you keep insisting that your trade war with China — the trade war with China is not affecting the U.S. economy. But a lot of economists disagree with that. And they worry that if China goes into a recession, they’ll pull us down with it.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well — well, okay. Let me — let me tell you something. Number one, we’re doing very well as an economy. But somebody had to take China on. You know, I read and I see so much and I read so much, and I’ll see these economists saying, “Oh, give up. Give up on China. Give up.”
China has been ripping this country off for 25 years — for longer than that. And it’s about time, whether it’s good for our country or bad for our country short term. Long term, it’s imperative that somebody does this because our country cannot continue to pay China $500 billion a year because stupid people are running it.
So I don’t mind this question. Whether it’s good or bad, short term, is irrelevant. We have to solve the problem with China because they’re taking out $500 billion a year-plus. And that doesn’t include intellectual property theft and other things. And also, national security.
So, I am doing this whether it’s good or bad for your — your statement about, “Oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?” Okay? The fact is, somebody had to take China on. My life would be a lot easier if I didn’t take China on. But I like doing it because I have to do it. And we’re getting great results.
China has had the worst year they’ve had in 27 years. And a lot of people are saying the worst year they’ve had in 54 years. Okay? And frankly, I don’t want that to happen, but it does put us in a good negotiating position, doesn’t it? And China wants to make a deal, and that’s good. But they have to make a deal that’s fair to us. It can’t be a deal that’s not fair to us.
And you should be happy that I’m fighting this and I’m fighting this battle, because somebody had to do it. We couldn’t let this go — I don’t even think it’s sustainable to let go on what was happening. They were stealing all of our intellectual property ideas. The theft was incredible. They call it “intellectual property theft.” And they value it at $300 billion a year. Who knows how they value it? I know how to value dollars; I don’t know how to value intellectual property theft. But they have experts that say it’s at least $300 billion a year, where they steal it.
Somebody had to do something with China. Obama should have done it. Bush should have done it. Clinton should have done it. They all should have done it. Nobody did it; I’m doing it.
So what do you say? “Oh, my trade deals are causing them.” My trade deals aren’t causing a problem. This is something that had to be done. The only difference is I’m doing it. I could be sitting here right now with a stock market that would be up 10,000 points higher if I didn’t want to do it. But I think we have no choice but to do it. And a lot of people that really know, people that love our country, they’re saying, “Thank you very much for taking it on.” And we’re winning because they’re having the worst year they’ve had in decades. And it’s only going to get worse.
China has lost 2 million jobs in the last month and a half because they’re moving — the people, the companies are moving to non-tariffed countries. They’ve lost over 2 million jobs in a very short period of time. They’re going to lose a lot more jobs. And if I didn’t help certain companies — there are American companies like Apple — for a very short period of time, I may help them, only until they do what they have to do, which is probably move from China. Because this would be a very short term. If I didn’t help them, they would — I mean, they would be — they would have a big problem.
Here’s the thing: Somebody had to take on what China was doing to the United States economically. We’re winning big. I took it on. And it should have been done by previous Presidents, but I took it on. And I’m happy to do it because it had to be done. And the smart people say, “Thank you very much.” And the dumb people have no idea. And then you have the political people, and they go with the wind.
But they all know — even Senator Schumer said, “Wow, Trump is doing a great job with China.” I couldn’t believe that. But Schumer thinks I’m doing the right thing. And he’s doing the right thing by saying it because he knows that China was a big economic threat. And they were taking all of that money that they were making from us, and they were building planes and ships and lots of other things. And we can’t let that happen.
Q Mr. President, on China, there is a new study out of Australia that suggests with the current Chinese military posture in the South China Sea, Indo-Pacific region, it could wipe out most U.S. bases within a number of hours. Is that something that keeps you up at night?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, nothing keeps me up at night. I’ll tell you, we could wipe out anything we — we have the most powerful in the world. And when I came in two and a half years ago, we were in a very bad position. Now we’re in a very strong position. We got $700 billion and $716 billion and then $738 billion. We have the strongest military in the world right now. And we’re getting very close to finishing that whole rebuilding. We’ve rebuilt the military.
Right now, there’s nobody that’s even close to us, militarily. Not even close.
Q So it doesn’t concern you at all that the Chinese military —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, because they’d pay a price that they wouldn’t want to pay.
Q Is John Sullivan your choice for U.S. ambassador (inaudible)?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: He’s somebody that’s being put up and respected very much. To Russia?
Q Yes, sir.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah. Very respected.
Q So, he’s your pick? Or you’re still —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I know that Mike Pompeo likes him very much. And he’s very respected. He could very well be. Yeah.
Q Okay. Thanks.
Q What about Huawei, Mr. President? Do you think partners, like Romania here, should look into the business of Huawei in order to make a good decision whether —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: They’re doing that. Romania is doing that.
Q Mr. President, Afghanistan again. The Taliban are talking to the U.S. but they’re not talking to the Afghan government. If the U.S. were to draw down and the Taliban went on the offensive, would the U.S. come and rescue, say, the Afghan government?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, the Taliban does not respect the government, the Afghan government. They have no respect for the Afghan government. And I understand that and I know that. And they haven’t been exactly getting along for a long period of time.
But we’ve been a peacekeeper there, in a way, for 19 years. And at a certain point, you have to say, “That’s long enough.” I go to Walter Reed and I see young men that step on a bomb and they lose their legs, they lose their arms, and in some case, they lose both and their face on top of it. And they’re living. And again, we could win that, but I don’t want to do what we would have to do to win it. And I think most people agree with me on that.
Q Would you commit to protecting the Afghan government, should they?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right now, what we’re doing is we’re negotiating with the government and we’re negotiating with the Taliban, and we’ll see what happens from it, what’s coming from it.
I will say this: The Taliban would like to stop fighting us. They would like to stop fighting us. They’ve lost a lot. But we’ll see what happens.
And, remember, it’s a tough place. The Soviet Union became Russia because of Afghanistan. That’s what happened. Very simple. They became Russia because of Afghanistan. Somebody would say, “Oh, well, would Russia go in?” I said, “If they want, let them. I think they tried that before, however. Didn’t work out too well.”
Q Can the Taliban be trusted? Or could we be right back to where to we were pre-9/11?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Nobody can be trusted. Nobody can be trusted.
Q Are you worried that we couldn’t be back to where we were pre-9/11?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: In my world — in this world, I think nobody can be trusted.
Q But could we be back to where we were pre-9/11 with the Taliban in complete and total control of Afghanistan?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, that’s what we have to watch. And we’ll always have intelligence, and we’ll always have somebody there.
But you can say that about a lot of places, Jon. You know, doesn’t have to be that sector. But that does seem to be the Harvard University of terrorism. Okay? It seems to be. And we’ll always have somebody there.
And if the Taliban were — were really right in what they’re saying, they would stop that from happening. Because they could stop that from happening very easily.
Okay? So, we’ll see.
Q The crisis between India and Pakistan —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s a big deal.
Q — and I know you’ve had some number of discussions — is that solvable?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, they’ve been having this — these talks for hundreds of years, even under different names. But this is — but it’s Kashmir. And Kashmir is a very complicated place. You have the Hindus and you have the Muslims, and I wouldn’t say they get along so great. And that’s what you have right now.
And you have millions of people that want to be ruled by others, and maybe on both sides. And you have two countries that haven’t gotten along well for a long time. And, frankly, it’s a very explosive situation.
I spoke to Prime Minister Khan. I spoke with, yesterday, also, Prime Minster Modi. They’re both friends of mine. They’re great people. They’re great people. And they love their countries. And they’re in a very tough situation.
Kashmir is a very tough situation. And, you know, we’re talking about — this has been going on for decades and decades. Shooting. I don’t mean shooting like shooting a rifle, I mean like major shooting of howitzers, of — you know, of heavy arms. And it’s been going on for a long period of time.
But I get along really well with both of them. As you know, Prime Minister Khan was here just recently. And I was with — I’m going to be with Prime Minister Modi. I’ll be with him over the weekend in France.
So, you know, I think we’re helping the situation. But there’s tremendous problems between those two countries, as you know. And I will do the best I can to mediate or do something. Great relationship with both of them, but they are not exactly friends at this moment. Complicated situation. A lot has to do with religion. Religion is a complicated subject.
Q On Israel, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, yesterday, said that the United States should rethink its policy of aid toward Israel after she and Congresswomen Tlaib were denied entry. Congresswomen Tlaib was later allowed to come in, but she decided not to. Should there be any change in U.S. aid to Israel?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No. And you should see the horrible things that Tlaib has said about Israel, and “AOC plus three.” That’s what I call it. “AOC” — just take “AOC plus three.” And you should see the things that the four of them have said about Israel over the last couple of years.
I mean, Omar is a disaster for Jewish people. I can’t imagine, if she has any Jewish people in her district, that they could possibly vote for her. But what Omar has said, what Tlaib has said.
And then, yesterday, I noticed for the first time, Tlaib with the tears. All of a sudden, she starts with tears. Tears. And I don’t buy it. I don’t buy it. I don’t buy it for a second because I’ve seen her in a very vicious mood at campaign rallies — my campaign rallies — before she was a congresswoman. I said, “Who is that?” And I saw a woman that was violent and vicious and out of control.
And all of a sudden, I see this person who’s crying because she can’t see her grandmother. She can see her grandmother. They have her permission to see her grandmother, but she grandstanded and she didn’t want to do it.
So, that’s a decision of Israel. That’s not — a lot of people are saying that was my decision. That’s a decision of — of Israel. They can let them in if they want, but I don’t think they want to. When you read the things that they’ve said about Israel — how bad. And if you look at their itinerary before they found out — you take a look at their itinerary, that was all going to be a propaganda tour against Israel.
So, I don’t blame Israel for doing what they did. I have nothing to do with it. But I don’t blame them for doing what they did. I think it would’ve been very bad to let them in, including the four — I’m talking about all four — but these two that wanted to get in: Omar and Tlaib.
And I think it would be a very bad thing for Israel, but Israel has to do what they want to do. But I would not cut off aid to Israel. And I can’t even believe that we’re having this conversation.
Five years ago, the concept of even talking about this — even three years ago — of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people — I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation. Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they’re defending these two people over the State of Israel?
And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.
All right? Thank you very much everybody.
2:46 P.M. EDT