4:32 P.M. CEST
PRESIDENT MACRON: (As interpreted.) Mr. President, Madam First Lady, ladies and gentlemen — ladies and gentlemen: Following this G7 meeting that we have just held, and we’ve been discussing for two days now and I’m going to report back to you. But, first of all, I’d like to thank President Trump and all the heads of state and government present here for the extremely productive work and the very productive discussions that we’ve had since Saturday evening together.
There was a lot of nervousness at the outset. A lot of expectations. A lot of tensions. And we heard about a lot of conflict. And I can say that what we were really keen on was to convey a positive and joint message following our discussions — discussions on several topics.
We haven’t negotiated a very long text, as promised, and you will get just a one-page declaration but there will be a lot of different annexes to it. But it’s just one page. A one page that covers some of the key items that were addressed.
Now, we have decided to hold this joint conference. I’m going to give the floor to President Trump. And, of course, President Trump and the First Lady will then proceed with their own press conference to the American press where other discussions will take place. But I just wanted to sum up the different items on which we have agreed and the topics on which we have made headway: biodiversity, digital economy, amongst others.
So we wanted to hold this joint conference together because next year it is the United States of America that will host the G7 Summit, and we are going to pass the burden on to President Trump. That is why we are here together.
And I just wanted to say that, for the last two days, we have worked a lot together on several common points. Well, we have a lot of things in common, but one thing we have in common with President Trump is they don’t like to waste our time, and we like to achieve concrete results and provide momentum to the work.
And as soon as President Trump arrived with the one-to-one lunch that we had together, and I think that was the most productive and interesting conversations that we’ve had together. And from that point onward, we set the pace and kept the ball rolling to be as efficient as possible until the very end.
There are a few things that are expected from both our countries.
As far as Iran is concerned, President Trump and myself have had discussions in the last few weeks and particularly the last couple of days. And we agree that Iran needs to comply with its nuclear obligations and have responsible behavior in the Gulf, and work with us.
And there were two very clear things that matter to us. Iran should never have a nuclear weapon, and its situation should not threaten the stability of the region.
France has taken a lot of different initiatives, and I’ve always informed President Trump on them, to be able to get the technical means to move forward, because the decisions that the U.S. has taken in the last few months have put a lot of pressure and have put us in a situation where it is indeed necessary to improve the security situation of the region.
So we coordinated our efforts and we reached the decision to bring together the foreign ministers — Foreign Minister of Iran, who had a meeting with the French Foreign Minister. And a roadmap has sort of been set, but nothing is absolutely set in stone. And we will have to move ahead together to find an outcome.
This morning, President Rouhani said that he was prepared to meet any political leader in the interest of his country. And that’s what I told Minister Zarif. And this is what I mentioned to President Rouhani on the phone as well: that if he would agree to a meeting with President Trump, that my conviction was that an agreement can be met. We know the terms, we know the objectives, but we have to just now sit around the table and make that happen. So I hope that in the next few weeks, based on our discussions, we will be able to achieve them.
The meeting that we just mentioned between President Rouhani and President Trump, myself, and the partners who have a role to play in nuclear negotiations, would also be fully involved in these negotiations. And I think that this meeting is very important. And the last few days have clarified the situation. A lot of messages have been conveyed. A lot of work has been done with our — between our ministers.
I would like to thank our ministers who have been totally involved into these discussions and have set the stage for these discussions and for an agreement.
Of course, I want to be very cautious and very modest. But I think that this is going to lead to bring an end to escalation and reaching a suitable solution to this.
The discussions that we had on Saturday afternoon and Saturday dinner have been very fruitful. And our purpose is to ensure the stability of the region. The idea is to make sure that Iran doesn’t get the nuclear weapon and have more visibility in the long term.
As far as trade is concerned, we’ve also shared a lot of analysis and a lot of observations, which I’ll go into the details of that. But I think that we can say that our discussions have clarified what is legitimate and what the United States feels is an unfair situation.
We have international rules that govern international trade. And in this one-page document, we said that it is very good to have a single organization that governs international trade, but so far, this collective body has not been very efficient in raising trade barriers. It has not been efficient enough in solving problems when they occurred. It has not been efficient enough in protecting the intellectual property of our industries.
Discussions are underway, currently, in particular between President Trump and President Xi. And we have seen even, in just the recent — very recent past, that an agreement can be reached.
So we want to reaffirm our desire to change the rules that govern international trade and revamp them so that no one is dealt with unfairly. So that our workers are protected and so that the situation of the past is put to an end. And this is something that we need to work on together.
Now, there was a lot nervousness because of misunderstanding, because some very powerful economic players could have said, “What about this digital tax that France has imposed”? Well, we have reached a very good agreement. And once again, the solid work that has been done upstream by our ministers have — has really helped us to make progress.
In our economies, we have very unfair situations where some players don’t pay taxes. So, there is unfair competition with other players. And it is these large multinational players that don’t pay taxes, which leads to significant instability on the economic front. Is this fair? It is not fair.
Of course, we’re pushing for international rules on this. And at the European level, to 10 countries — France, Italy, even the UK is getting ready to do so — it has decided to do something at the national level. But it is not against any company in particular. It’s just to solve the problem. In fact, a lot of French companies will also be impacted by this tax.
And some of you have probably heard me say a few months ago that this is only to find a solution. And the aim, ultimately, is to find an agreement internationally by 2020 to revamp international tax systems within the framework of the OECD to combat harmful trade practices, which are also harmful to the U.S. economy.
And through this digital tax, on this digital tax, we have worked a lot bilaterally as well. And we have reached an agreement to overcome the hurdles. So we’re going to work on a bilateral and multilateral basis to find a solution together.
And the day international tax exists on digital services, France will do away with its national tax. And everything that has already been paid under the French tax system will be reimbursed.
So the idea is that we need to find a joint agreement in order to address joint international problems. And the situation right is now very negative, and the international tax system definitely needs to be modernized. And I think we will work together in a spirit of cooperation on this.
As to Libya, Syria, North Korea, Hong Kong, you will see in the one-page document that we have made considerable headway in the spirit of unity. And we have also done some significant work in as far as the Amazon region is concerned. There has been — there have relations with President Bolsonaro. And we have taken a very ambitious initiative that President Piñera presented this morning, after having discussed with all the heads of state and government of the region as we had wished and as President Trump had wished as well.
I don’t want to go into the details, but I just wanted to highlight these few things that I just mentioned. I just wanted to say that we worked together, hand-in-hand, with President Trump over these two days.
And during this G7 — and I would like to thank all my colleagues, in fact, for this — we have managed to reach convergence at unprecedented levels on several issues. And now we’re going to continue this work in the weeks and months to follow with a lot of energy.
And North Korea knows how strongly President Trump is committed to this issue. There is also the agreement with China. And we’re going to work hand-in-hand on all the different issues.
I would like to thank you, President Trump, for your involvement in the last couple of days. I would like to thank your First Lady, who was by your side, and who has been very active, side-by-side with my own spouse. And she has honored us in our country. She knows how popular she is in our country.
And President Trump will be hosting the G7 summit next year, so I’m going to give him the floor so that he can tell us how you intend to organize the G7. And I will be there, by your side, with the same will and the same determination and the same desire for unity. Thank you. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I want to thank you very much. And I think more importantly than anything, I wanted to come up here to say that, because the job that President Macron and your wife, by the way, who is a great lady, Brigitte. I would like to thank Brigitte. She has been spectacular. Spent a tremendous amount of time with Melania and some of the folks who came in, some of the wives that came in. And they had a great tour of the area. And it’s a beautiful area.
But I want to thank you very much, Mr. President, for the incredible job you did. This is a truly successful G7. There was tremendous unity. It was great unity. Sometimes I’d read a little bit of false reporting. And I will tell you, there was — in fact, we were — we would have stayed for another hour. Nobody wanted to leave. We were accomplishing a lot. But I think, more importantly, we were getting along very well — seven countries. And it really was the G7.
And you have been a spectacular leader on this. And I want to thank you and I want to thank the great country of France. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT MACRON: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And with that, I think —
PRESIDENT MACRON: Thank you, my friend.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, excuse me. I was — (laughs.) Go ahead. Let’s go.
PRESIDENT MACRON: No, no. I just wanted to say we will take two questions —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay.
PRESIDENT MACRON: — from each side. Afterwards, I will say goodbye to my friend, President Trump. I will leave the room in order for you to follow up with your press conference.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: If you’d like, we could two each, and then we both leave the room. Would you prefer that? Or would you prefer — I just don’t want to have the President of France standing here while I’m answering these absolutely wonderful questions. Okay? (Laughter.)
So why don’t we start with a question for France?
PRESIDENT MACRON: These four questions are about G7 and the U.S.-Franco relations.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And Emmanuel is going to have his own press conference after this.
PRESIDENT MACRON: Exactly.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, that will be fine. Go ahead.
To France, John. To France.
Q Thank you, Margo. Of course, they are the host country. They should go first.
Monsieur, President Macron, China was not on the official agenda, but it was certainly a big part of the discussions here at the G7. Are you concerned that the trade war that exists now between the United States and China could harm the global economy? If you are, did you talk to President Trump about that? And are you also, at the same time, concerned that if China’s current trade practices go unchecked, that a decade from now we could be in a very terrible situation?
PRESIDENT MACRON: (As interpreted.) On this subject, we obviously had lengthy discussions during the session on the world economy yesterday morning — on both subjects.
The discussions underway between China and the United States of America, obviously, as we clearly see, create uncertainty, which disturb markets and investors and, during the negotiations, will create tensions, which is the case of any discussion.
We saw this on different stock markets with which we’re familiar. Now the question is to know what the result of these discussions will be. And that’s why we considered that it was so important an agreement be found between the two greatest economic powers in the world.
President Trump clearly showed us his willingness to arrive at an agreement. We saw, just a few hours ago, the very positive and encouraging message that could be distilled from this if we see that things are moving. Our deep wish is for an agreement to be found between the United States and China concerning trade because I think that would be something positive for everyone.
Neither the United States nor China is economically or industrially naïve. It has to be a balanced agreement that will be good for everyone. And we will be vigilant to see that it’s good for the whole world. In that context, our different parameters will be taken on board, and that was one of the subjects of our discussion.
What’s bad for the world economy is uncertainty. And the quicker an agreement is arrived at, the quicker that uncertainty will dissipate. That’s what we discussed yesterday, and that’s the American President’s wish.
In terms of trade practices, I said this earlier: For me, the most effective way forward, and the most strategic way forward, in settling our trade relations with China is to develop trade but also to ensure that that trade is part of international trade rules.
The problems we sometimes had — we’re very familiar with this with the Chinese economy — is a major economy where there’s been lots of investment from the United States, European countries, Canada, and Japan. The problem is respecting intellectual property; dealing with excess capacity, which sometimes unbalances some world markets; and the ability to deal rapidly with conflicts we may have and with unfair situations.
Now, we are obliged to see that when this type of trade happens outside of WTO rules, things don’t work very well and we’re not properly protected. And when you follow WTO rules, the WTO rules as they presently exist, haven’t allowed us to be protected on this subject.
So what we decided together yesterday morning, was to accelerate with a very realistic agenda and to say we’re going to change the rules of world trade so that everyone can have free and fair trade, balanced trade. And the subjects, which I’ve just mentioned, which have sometimes been bad for our economies, can be settled in an international framework, which we wish profoundly to change.
And we, and our different ministers in the different contexts that we’re putting forward, are going to share these political goals. And to my way of thinking, the way to deal with the practices you have mentioned, certainly the positive agreements that will be arrived at and also the renewal of our international trade rules, as we said yesterday morning.
Q President Trump, are you satisfied with how far the proposed WTO reforms will go?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, I’m not. But —
Q Because you have spoken — you have spoken about the need for that.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.
Q And second to that —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re getting there, John. We’ve just answered that. We’re getting there.
Q Second to that, do you believe that China is sincere about what it said this morning?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes.
Q Or do you think that they are just trying to calm the markets and play for time? Because our sister network, the Fox Business Network, has been told by Chinese sources that they have no plans on going back to where they were in terms of the negotiations this spring on intellectual property, forced technology transfer, ownership. So —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ll see, John.
Q Do you trust that they are sincere about this?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I do. I think they want to make a deal very badly. I think that was elevated last night, very late in the night. I see an alert — or, as you would call it, “breaking news.” And it was that the Vice Chairman — we’re not talking about somebody from China at a low level — the Vice Chairman of China came out that he wants to see a deal made, he wants it to be made under calm conditions — using the word “calm.” I agree with him on that.
And China has taken a very hard hit over the last number of months. You know, they’ve lost 3 million jobs. It’ll soon be much more than 3 million jobs. Their chain is breaking. A chain is breaking up like nobody has seen before. And once that happens, it’s very hard to put it back together. You understand.
I think they very much want to make a deal. And the longer they wait, the harder it is to put it back, if it can be put back at all. So I believe they want to do a deal.
The tariffs have hit them very hard in a fairly short period of time. The United States will have collected over $100 billion in tariffs. And I say it again: The reporters failed to — the media failed to acknowledge it. But if you look at the goods coming in from China — we’re talking about China, not other countries. If you look at the goods, they have a power that others don’t have. But that power is only good for so long.
They’ve manipulated their currency, they’ve devalued their currency, and they put a lot of cash into the system. And because of that, the prices have not gone up. Or if they’ve gone up, it’s been very little, because they want to keep people working. If the prices go up, they’re not going to be able to keep people working; they’re not going to be able to compete. It’s a brilliant market. It’s a brilliant, brilliant market, the world market. A lot of markets are brilliant.
And, frankly, I think that China cannot — I don’t know, maybe they can, maybe they can’t. I don’t think they can do that. And I think they’re very smart. And I think President Xi is a great leader, who happens to be a brilliant man. And he can’t lose 3 million jobs in a very short period of time. And that’s going to be magnified many times over. And it’s going to break down the Chinese system of trade, and he can’t do that.
So when you say, “Do you think they want to?” Maybe they want to and maybe they don’t. But I think they want to make a deal. I’m not sure they have a choice. And I don’t say that as a threat. I don’t think they have a choice. In the meantime, the United States, which has never collected 10 cents from China, will, in a fairly short period of time, be over $100 billion in tariffs. So I think they want to make a deal very badly.
PRESIDENT MACRON: (As interpreted.) Second question.
Q (As interpreted.) Mr. President, you’ve just declared that you created the conditions for a meeting between President Trump and President Rouhani. Does that mean that France, for instance, might be a mediator in that meeting? And more concretely, what did you discuss in terms of that possible agreement with Iran?
Then a question for Mr. Trump. Are you ready to lift or to soften American sanctions on Iranian oil exports? And would you be ready to meet President Rouhani? Thank you.
PRESIDENT MACRON: (As interpreted.) On the first question, the terms of the discussion are quite simple. An agreement was signed in 2015, on July 14th. We call it the JCPOA. And that agreement set forth guarantees for the international community, including the signatories of that agreement, saying that Iran would no longer enrich uranium over a certain period of time — I’m simplifying this, but up to 2025 — in exchange for reopening many economic sectors and massive investment largely made by the United States.
That agreement had a twofold advantage: stability and security, and also reopening, economically speaking, which was good for Iran. This agreement also had drawbacks and shortcomings. French negotiators, in 2015, were the most determined. And France was the country that hesitated most to sign this agreement because we considered we needed as many guarantees as possible.
President Trump, during his campaign, made a commitment to those who voted for him to be more demanding and tougher because he considered that this agreement was insufficient, which caused him to leave it.
Today, because of the sanctions made by President Trump, the Iranian economy is having serious consequences and a serious slowdown. And that situation very clearly is the aspect — we might say, “the positive side of things” — from one standpoint is creating pressure and therefore the necessary conditions to improve the terms of an agreement. On the other hand, it’s leading to reactions in Iran, who are saying, “Well, we’ve signed this agreement but those who have signed it are not respecting its terms, and so we’re starting to symbolically to enrich uranium.” And they risk that they’re going to go further still and leave the JCPOA.
So given the two goals that we have, where are we doing with this? We need to be sure that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon and that there will be no flare-ups in the region. And so, what we discussed very concretely was to see how we could improve very considerably, or really, in fact, build a new nuclear agreement with Iran.
President Trump was very clear, saying that we would need a much longer timeframe for it; that there needed to be surveillance of many more sites. And this is how we can build a much further-reaching agreement in terms of our security demands.
And on the other hand, we need to convince the Iranians to go in that direction. And we can do that if we give them economic compensation of some form, if we make some movement in terms of lines of credit or reopening certain economic sectors.
I can’t tell you, publicly, more about this because anything I will tell you in detail will jeopardize the conversations we’re going to have. But this is basically what we’re discussing on the basis on our initiative. There is also a Japanese initiative. I’m talking in total transparency with the President, but we agreed on the strategic goal and I want us to go further in this framework and to make proposals.
At a given point in time, there will have to be a meeting between the American and the Iranian presidents. And I would wish that in coming weeks such a meeting take place. France will play a role together with the other signatories who are our partners in the G7. But after that, we’ll need to create the necessary conditions because we’ll have the necessary visibility for this agreement to be signed and sealed and for this meeting between two presidents to take place.
So I would rather talk about concerted initiatives and exchanges rather than mediation, because at the end of the day, we have constant exchanges with President Trump. I share his goals. Sometimes we say we don’t agree on methods, but I want to get there. I want to have an agreement. And I think there has been a true change.
So, this morning, President Rouhani showed himself to be open this meeting happening, and President Trump has been saying for weeks that he’s being demanding, he’s been tough, he’s put forward sanctions, but I’m ready to meeting to make a deal. And I think that we’re making progress.
I want this meeting to happen and I want there to be an agreement between the United States and Iran. And France will play the role that it’s meant to play, together with the United Kingdom, with Germany, and all of the other signatory powers and the permanent members of the Security Council.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Iran is a country that is not the same country that it was two and a half years ago when I came into office. Iran was the number one state of terror throughout the world. There were 18 sites of confliction in my first week. When I spoke with the folks at the Pentagon, including lots of generals and lots of other military experts — 18 sites of confliction, meaning, 18 sites of big problems. Every one of them was backed by Iran, or, in some cases, actually using Iranian soldiers. But at a minimum, Iranian wealth — much of it given in the ridiculous deal where they were given $150 billion, plus $1.8 billion in cash. And they used that money for some bad purposes.
With that being said, I think that Iran is a country of tremendous potential. We’re not looking for leadership change. We’re not looking for that kind of change. This country has been through that many times before. That doesn’t work.
We’re looking for no nuclear weapons, no ballistic missiles, and a longer period of time. Very simple. We can have it done in a very short period of time.
And I really believe that Iran can be a very great nation. I’d like to see that happen. But they can’t nuclear weapons. Okay? Thank you.
Q Will you meet with Rouhani?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Excuse me?
Q Would you agree to meet with Rouhani?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: If the circumstances were correct or right, I would certainly agree to that. But in the meantime, they have to be good players. You understand what that means. And they can’t do what they were saying they’re going to do because if they do that, they’re going to be met with really very violent force. We’d have no choice. So I think they’re going to be good. I really think they’d like to.
And, by the way, President Macron told me every step that he was making yesterday. A lot of you said, “Oh, he came in and…” He told me long before he came in what was happening, what was — I didn’t think it was appropriate to meet yesterday. Too soon, and things have to be worked out first.
But President Macron told me exactly what was happening, who was coming, what time they were coming, where they were going to meet. And after the meeting, he told me exactly what happened. And I think he had a very positive meeting.
Prime Minister Abe of Japan also a large purchaser of oil from Iran. He was also very much involved. And, you know, look, he knows everybody there, so he was a very, very positive force. But I have to tell you the President has done an excellent job and we’re going to see how it all turns out. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. I say it all the time about everything: Maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t.
But I’ll tell you what, we made a ridiculous deal. We gave them $150 billion. We gave them $1.8 billion, and we got nothing. We got nothing.
And, by the way, that agreement was so short term that it expires in a very short period of time. With a country, you don’t make a deal that short. Countries last for long times, and you don’t do short-term deals, especially when you’re paying that kind of money.
So I have — I have good feelings about Iran. I have good feelings that it will work. I know many Iranians living in New York City. I have many friends from Iran. They’re incredible people. Incredible people. So the last thing I’d like to see is a big problem. But we have to do what we have to do. Okay?
Go ahead, please. No. No, no. You first. Go ahead. Oh, no. Go ahead. Yes. Yes.
Q Thank you. President Macron, did you seek President Trump’s permission before you invited Foreign Minister Zarif? Or did you simply inform him that he was coming?
PRESIDENT MACRON: Thanks for this very precise question. (Laughter.) But to be very clear, we are part of the JCPOA. We decided to remain in this deal. So we are very much interested by the situation as a sovereign country. That’s why we want the different parties to move.
On the other side, as President Trump made it very clear over the summer, we never spoke on behalf of other countries. We just tried, tested some solutions and to see if we can find an agreement with different countries.
So we took an initiative this summer to make a proposal, a technical one. I got the reaction from Iran, through President — Zarif’s visit, on Friday — on Friday morning, in person. After the discussion we had at the G7 dinner on Saturday evening, I thought that it was very clear about where we can go to together.
So the day after, I decided to invite, as friends, Minister Zarif. So I informed, before making it — I informed President Trump that it was my idea. Not to involve the United States, not to say this is on behalf of you, of everybody, but to say, as friends, I think it would be a good idea to ask him to go back and try to negotiate something separately.
So I did it on my own. I informed, before making it, President Trump. He was informed at each minute about the solution — the situation, sorry. And the idea for me was, in case of structural move and — important move and appropriate solutions — perhaps to have meetings between ministers, not at President Trump’s level, because President Trump’s level is President Rouhani.
So this is my (inaudible). This is a French initiative but made by a clear information of the U.S. President before. Information as well of the three Europeans. And each time I informed President Trump in order to monitor the situation and to appreciate together if something more was adapted.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I have to say, the JCPOA was a bad deal. Should not have been entered into. A lot of things could have happened that would have been much different. They’re allowed to test ballistic missiles. You’re not allowed to go various sites to check, and some of those sites are the most obvious sites for the creation or the making of nuclear weapons. And those things have to be changed, and other things have to be changed.
And I will tell you, I have very good feelings about it. I think that we’re going to do something. It may not be immediately, but I think, ultimately, we’re going to do something. As I said, Iran is a much different country than it was two and a half years ago. And we can get that back, and I’d encourage it.
I actually had friends years ago — many years ago — they were in the real estate business and they were in Iran, and they were building houses and building housing and building office buildings and apartment houses. And they did very well. They made a lot of money. And to this day, they’re not exactly the youngest developers anymore, I tell you; they were young when they went over there. They made a lot of money and they loved the people and they loved what was going on. And it’s a country with tremendous potential.
I also say that, by the way, with respect to North Korea. Kim Jong Un — who I’ve gotten to know extremely well; the First Lady has gotten to know Kim Jong Un, and I think she’d agree with me — he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential. You’re in between China, Russia, and South Korea. People want to get to South Korea. They got to get there somehow. And if they’re going to do anything other than essentially fly, they want to go through. So, railroads and everything else. So many things want to happen there.
I think that North Korea has tremendous economic potential. And I think that Kim Jong Un sees that he would be the leader, and I think he sees the tremendous potential that it’s got.
With respect to Iran, same thing. Iran has incredible people and incredible country, potentially. Location, that’s a little rough neighborhood, but eventually it’s going to be a beautiful neighborhood. I think that it’s going to be — I think it’s going to work out.
And I really believe that those countries that went into the original deal — that more and more are agreeing with what I did — but I think those countries are going to be saying “thank you” someday. I hope they’re going to be saying it, including France, including the President, because I think we did the right thing. I know we did the right thing. If for no other reason, it’s just too short. It’s almost expiring, if you think about it.
And somebody said, “Well you’ll go and make an extension.” No. No. They’re great negotiators. Look at what they did to get the deal. Look at what they did to John Kerry and to President Obama. Look what happened where they’re bringing plane loads of cash. Plane loads. Big planes — 757s. Boeing 757s coming in, loaded up with cash. What kind of a deal is that?
So I think a lot of good things are going to happen. And I just want to say this, because I’ve spoken a lot with the President this last two and a half days: We’ve never had a better relationship.
We had a lunch that lasted for quite a while that many of you got to see. It was the two of us. No staff. No anything. He wasn’t trying to impress his people. I wasn’t trying to impress his people. We were just trying to impress each other. And I’ll tell you what: It was the best period of time we’ve ever had, and we accomplished a lot. I don’t mean just, “Gee whiz, wasn’t that nice?” He’s a very capable man. He’s doing a great job for France. He did an incredible job for the G7. And I just want to thank you.
And you go ahead to your news conference. And very special. This was a very special, very unified two and a half days, and I want to thank you for it. Thank you.
PRESIDENT MACRON: Thank you. (Applause.)
Thank you. I will leave the floor and the press conference to President Trump. And I will end and wait for the end of your own press conference.
Q (As interpreted.) I don’t want to give anything away but we saw your wife, the First Lady, drink a glass of French wine yesterday. So can you perhaps give up on your threat to put sanctions on French wine? Because if we’ve understood correctly, you have arrived at an agreement on taxing digital firms. Could you confirm that there has been an agreement between you and France on taxing digital firms?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I can confirm that the First Lady loved your French wine, okay? (Laughter.) All right? She loved your French wine. So, thank you very much. That’s fine.
PRESIDENT MACRON: Thank you. Merci a vous.
I will wait for the end of this press conference to have the press conference (inaudible). I will leave that to the floor. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good job.
(President Macron departs.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. Please sit down.
Q You’ve recently —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much.
Q You’ve recently been saying that China wants a deal but you’re not necessarily ready for a deal, and you like the tariff revenue that is coming in. Are you now ready to make a deal?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Only if it’s a fair deal and a good deal for the United States. Otherwise, I will not make a deal.
We have billions and billions coming in. And I think we’re going to get there. I do. I believe it more strongly now than I would have believed it a while ago. We’re going to get there. And we’re going to have a really — we’re going to have a fair deal.
But remember this: When you say “fair,” China has been taking, out of this country, five hundred-plus billion dollars a year for many, many years. Many, many years. It was time to stop.
As a private person, I used to talk about it. It’s one of the reasons I’m President. And we’re in a great position. Our country is doing well. Our unemployment numbers are the lowest they’ve been in over 50 years. Our unemployment numbers for African American — African American, Asian, for Hispanic are the best they’ve ever been. Historic numbers.
We’re in a very strong position. Our consumers are strong. Walmart just announced numbers that were, I mean, mindboggling numbers. It’s a great poll right there, and it’s the ultimate poll, how the retailer is doing and how are certain — certain companies doing.
So we’re doing very well. And I think that — I think we’re going to make a deal with China. And I think we’ll probably, eventually, we’re going to make a deal with Iran too.
Q But why are you optimistic they’ll change their behavior?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s not a question of behavior. I think they want to make a deal, and I think they should make a deal. And I think if they don’t make a deal, it’s going to be very bad for China. And I very much appreciate the fact that they came out last night — very late last night — and they said, you know, they want to make a deal. They want it to be under calm circumstances. It was a little different kind of a statement. I thought it was a beautiful statement. I thought it indicated a lot.
Q Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Here we go.
Q I actually have a question for you on next year’s G7 Summit. But can I just clarify something you said? You mentioned earlier today —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: One question. Go ahead.
Q Well, let me do the clarification and then I’ll get to the question.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no, no.
Q You talked about —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: One question.
Q You talked about calls with China and a breaking news alert.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.
Q I’m trying to understand what specifically you heard from China. And on next year’s G7, you alluded today, dropped several hints about Miami, about Doral —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.
Q — and hosting next year’s G7 at your property. What reassurances, if any, can you give the American people that you are not looking to profit off the presidency?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you what: I’ve spent — and I think I will, in a combination of loss and opportunity, probably it’ll cost me anywhere from $3- to $5 billion to be President. And the only thing I care about is this country. Couldn’t care less. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have done it.
People have asked me, “What do you think it costs?” And between opportunity, not doing — I used to get a lot of money to make speeches. Now I give speeches all the time. You know what I get? Zippo. And that’s good. And I did a lot of great jobs and great deals that I don’t do anymore. And I don’t want to do them because the deals I’m making are great deals for the country. And that’s, to me, much more important.
Doral happens to be within Miami. It’s a city. It’s a wonderful place. It’s a very, very successful area of Florida. It’s, very importantly, only five minutes from the airport; the airport is right next door. It’s a big international airport, one of the biggest in the world. Everybody that’s coming — all of these people with all of their big entourages come.
It’s set up so — and, by the way, my people looked at 12 sites. All good, but some were two hours from an airport. Some were four hours from — I mean, they were so far away. Some didn’t allow this, or they didn’t allow that.
With Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings; we call them bungalows. They each hold from 50 to 70 very luxurious rooms with magnificent views. We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants. It’s like — it’s like such a natural — we wouldn’t even have to do the work that they did here. And they’ve done a beautiful job. They’ve really done a beautiful job.
And what we have also is Miami. And we have many hundreds of acres, so that in terms of parking, in terms of all of the things that you need, the ballrooms are among the biggest in Florida and the best. It’s brand new. And they want — my people wanted it. From my standpoint, I’m not going to make any money. In my opinion, I’m not going to make any money. I don’t want to make money. I don’t care about making money. If I wanted to make money, I wouldn’t worry about $3 billion to $5 billion. Because that’s what — I mean, at some point, I’m going to detail that and will show.
But I think it’s just a great place to be. I think having it in Miami is fantastic. Really fantastic. Having it at that particular place, because of the way it’s set up, each country can have their own villa, or their own bungalow. And the bungalows, when I say, they have a lot of units in them. So I think it just works out well.
And when my people came back, they took tours, they went to different places. I won’t mention places, but you’ll have a list because they’re going to give a presentation on it fairly soon. They went to places all over the country. And they came back and they said, “This is where we’d like it to be.” Now, we had military people doing it. We had Secret Service people doing it. We had people that really understand what it’s about. It’s not about me, it’s about getting the right location. I think it’s very important.
Q But you’re not concerned about the ethics, that trying to boost your own brand?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No. Not at all. Go ahead, Jonathan.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. President Macron said he’d like to see talks between you and President Rouhani within weeks. Does that sound realistic to you? Could you see yourself —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It does.
Q — in talks with Iranians within weeks?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, it does. I don’t know the gentleman. I think that — I think I know him a little bit just by watching over the last number of years what’s happened. I’ll tell you one thing: He’s a great negotiator.
But he — I think he’s going to want to meet. I think Iran wants to get this situation straightened out. Now, is that based on fact or based on gut? That’s based on gut. But they want to get their situation straightened out, Jonathan. And they’re really hurting badly.
Their inflation, as you know, because I saw you reporting on it, their inflation is through the roof. Their economy has tanked entirely. The sanctions are absolutely hurting them horribly. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to see that. They’re great people. I don’t want to see that. But we can’t let them have a nuclear weapon. Can’t let it happen. So I think that there’s a really good chance that we would meet.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Another follow-up from what the President of France said. He said that there might be a need for compensation to Iran. Would you, given all the criticism you’ve made of the JCPOA and the money that they got, be open to giving Iran compensation —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No.
Q — if it met some of the criteria that you laid out?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No. What he’s talking, in terms of compensation, is they are out of money. And they meet — may need a short-term letter of credit or loan.
No, we’re not paying. We don’t pay. But they may need some money to get them over a very rough patch. And if they do need money, certainly — and would be secured by oil, which means — it means great security. And they have a lot of oil. But it’s secured bail. So we’re really talking about a letter of credit-type facility.
Q From the U.S. or from all the countries involved?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It would be from numerous countries. Numerous countries. And it comes back. It would be — it would expire. It would be paid back immediately and very quickly.
Yes. Go ahead. Please. Go ahead. Yes.
Q Thank you very much, Mr. President. (Inaudible), with the Asahi Shimbun —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good.
Q — a Japanese newspaper.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good. Just left your Prime Minister, Abe. Good man. Great man.
Q Okay. And you now — the U.S. and Japan have an agreement in principle, which you said is a tremendous trade deal for the United States.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And for Japan, I would say.
Q Yes. And so — so are you still considering imposing Section 232 tariffs on Japan’s auto exports to the United States on national security grounds?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Not at this moment, no. Not at this moment. Well, it’s one of the reasons we made the deal. But no, not at this moment. It’s something I could do at a later date if I wanted to, but we’re not looking at that. We just want to be treated fairly.
You know, Japan has had a tremendous trade surplus with the United States for many, many years — long before I came here. And I’ll tell you something: We’re transforming our country. We’re taking these horrible, one-sided, foolish, very dumb, stupid — if you’d like to use that word, because it’s so descriptive. We’re taking these trade deals that are so bad, and we we’re making good, solid deals out of them. And that’s transforming our country. That’s — that will be transformative and very exciting, I think, for our country. Very, very exciting.
Please, go ahead. Go ahead.
Q Thank you, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I didn’t actually say you, I said the woman behind you. So, why don’t we do her first? You’ve been asking a lot of questions all day long.
Q Thanks, Mr. President. Yamiche Alcindor.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Don’t say I don’t give you access, right? (Laughter.) Go ahead.
Q Thanks, Mr. President. Yamiche Alcindor with PBS NewsHour.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes.
Q Why do you think it’s appropriate to invite Russia to the G7, given that they’ve meddled in the 2016 election? And are you worried that if Russia does come to the G7, that it might hurt you politically, because it’s only going to be a couple months before the 2020 election?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t care politically. I really don’t. A lot of people don’t understand this. I ran one election, and I won. It happened to be for President. I don’t care politically. I’m going to run another election. I think I’m winning based on polls that we see. Whether I win or not, I have to do the right thing.
So I don’t do things for political reasons. Is it good? Probably not. Maybe it is. I mean, a lot of people are smart. A lot of people say having Russia — which is a power — having them inside the room is better than having them outside the room. By the way, there were numerous people during the G7 that felt that way. And we didn’t take a vote or anything, but we did discuss it.
My inclination is to say, “Yes, they should be in.” They were — really, it was a President Obama — I’m not blaming him, but a lot of bad things happened with President Putin and President Obama.
One of the things that happened was, as you know, what happened in — with a very big area — a very, very big and important area in the Middle East, where the red line was drawn and then President Obama decided that he was not going to do anything about it. You can’t draw red lines in the sand. You just can’t do it.
And the other was in Ukraine having to do with a certain section of Ukraine that you know very well, where it was sort of taken away from President Obama. Not taken away from President Trump; taken away from President Obama.
President Obama was not happy that this happened because it was embarrassing to him. Right? It was very embarrassing to him. And he wanted Russia to be out of the — what was called the “G8.” And that was his determination. He was outsmarted by Putin. He was outsmarted. President Putin outsmarted President Obama.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wait a minute. And I can understand how President Obama would feel. He wasn’t happy. And they’re not in for that reason.
Now, I’m only thinking about the world and I’m thinking about this country in terms of the G7 — whether it’s G7, G8. I think it would be better to have Russia inside the tent than outside the tent.
Do we live either way? Yes, we live either way. Is it politically popular for me to say that? Possibly not. I think a lot of people would agree with me, frankly, but possibly not.
I do nothing for politics. I know a lot of you aren’t going to — you’re going to smile at that. I do nothing for politics. I do what’s right, and people like what I do. And — but I just do what’s right.
If I wanted to go strictly by politics, I’d probably poll that and possibly I’d say, “Oh, gee, I don’t want — I don’t want Russia in.” But I really think it’s good for the security of the world. It’s good for the economics of the world.
Remember, they’re building a big pipeline in Europe, going right up to Germany. And I said to Angela — who I have a great relationship — but I said, “You know, you pay Russia billions of dollars and then we defend you from Russia.” And I say, “How does that work?”
Q Why do you keep using the misleading statement that Russia outsmarted President Obama, when other —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, he did.
Q — countries have said that the reason why Russia was kicked out was very clearly because they annexed Crimea? Why keep repeating what some people would see as a clear lie? Why keep —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, it was annexed during President — I know you like President Obama, but it was annexed during President Obama’s term. If it was annexed during my term, I’d say, “Sorry, folks, I made a mistake.” Or, “Sorry, folks.”
President Obama was helping Ukraine. Crimea was annexed during his term.
Now, it’s a very big area, a very important area. Russia has its submarine — that’s where they do their submarine work, and that’s where they dock large and powerful submarines. But not as powerful as ours and not as large as ours. But they have their submarines.
And President Obama was, pure and simply, outsmarted. They took Crimea during his term. That was not a good thing. It could have been stopped. It could have been stopped with the right — whatever. It could have been stopped. But President Obama was unable to stop it, and it’s too bad.
Q Mr. President, as the G7 host next year, you were allowed to invite other countries to come — guest countries — even though they’re not necessarily part of the overall group. Would you consider inviting Vladimir Putin under those circumstances?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I don’t know that he’d accept. And those are tough circumstances. He was a part of G8, and all of a sudden, he’s not out — or he’s not in.
So I think, John, actually, that’s a pretty tough thing for him. You know, he’s a proud person. Would I invite him? I would certainly invite him. Whether or not he could come — psychologically, I think that’s a tough thing for him to do.
You have a G8, now it’s a G7, and you invite the person that was thrown out, really by President Obama and really because he got outsmarted. President Obama, pure and simple. And don’t forget: It was not just Crimea; it was the red line in the sand. And Obama said, “Never violate the red line in the sand.” And then they went ahead and they killed many children with gas. It was terrible. And he did nothing about it.
I did, but I was there years later. I did something about it, but I was there late.
Q Thank you, sir. Can you help us understand the timeline on the China calls? Were you referring to the statement by the Vice Premier Liu He or —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’ve had many calls. Secretary Mnuchin is here, and you’ve had many calls over the last 24 hours but certainly over the last 48 hours. We’ve had many calls, not just one. This isn’t one. And these are high-level calls. They want to make a deal. And, by the way, I think a deal is going to be made. But they want to make a deal.
Q So the Chinese are saying that there weren’t any particularly special calls.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: The Chinese are not saying that.
Q So are they not being truthful?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Excuse me, let me explain something. The Vice Chairman of China — do you get higher than that, other than President Xi? The Vice President — the Vice Chairman — it’s like the Vice President. The Vice Chairman made the statement that he wants to make a deal, that he wants to see a calm atmosphere. He wants it all to happen. That says it there. I don’t have to talk about — you know, you folks were reporting before, “Well, we can’t find any phone call.” He released a statement. I didn’t release it. He released a statement.
Q But there were phone calls, sir? Mr. President, there were phone calls?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Numerous calls.
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: And as (inaudible), there were communications that went back and forth over the last two days, as recent as last night.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And not only with Steve; there were calls with other people too.
Just so you understand: China wants to make a deal. Now, whether or not we make a deal — it’s got to be a great deal for us.
You know — and I told this to President Xi, who I really respect. I really do. I have great respect and I like him too. And he’s a tough guy, but I have a lot of feeling for President Xi. He’s very outstanding in so many ways.
But I told him very strongly — I said, “Look, you’re starting up here and you’re making $500 billion a year and stealing our intellectual property. We’re down on the floor — lower than the floor. You can’t make a 50/50 deal. This has to be a deal that’s better for us. And if it’s not better, let’s not do business together.” I don’t want to do business. Forget about tariffs for a second. We’re taking in tremendous amounts of money. Forget that. I don’t want to do business.
Now, when I raise and he raises, I raise and he raises, we can never catch up. We have to balance our trading relationship at least to an extent. And they were unwilling to do that, and we’ll never have a deal if that happens. But it’s going to happen because they have to have a deal.
And as far as phone calls are concerned, Secretary of the Treasury and other people have been receiving many calls — not receiving — back and forth, many calls. China wants to make a deal. And if we can, if we will make a deal. We’ll see.
Q Mr. President, if I could ask you a little bit about your China strategy.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.
Q President Macron talked a little bit about instability and the worry in the markets and around the globe about instability. One of the things that that comes from, as you talked to —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You’re talking about global economic instability?
Q Right. But one of the things that —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t consider it instability. But that’s —
Q — it comes from is the back and forth and the changing of statements from yourself, so that on one —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sorry. It’s the way I negotiate.
Q So my question is: Is that a strategy? Is it a strategy to call President Xi an enemy one day and then say that —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.
Q — relations are very good the next day?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no, no.
Q And then — you know, I mean, it’s gone back and forth several times.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s the way I negotiate. It’s done very well for me over the years, and it’s doing even better for the country. I think —
Q Could you talk a little about why it works, you think?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I do think — and I do think that — look, here’s the story: I have people say, “Oh, just make a deal. Make a deal.” They don’t have the guts and they don’t have the wisdom to know that you can’t continue to go on where a country is taking 500 billion — not million — 500 billion, with a “B” — out every single year. Five hundred billion dollars. You just can’t do that. Somebody had to do this.
This should have been done by President Obama. It should have been done — and Biden, Sleepy Joe. It should have been done by other people. It should have been done by Bush. It should have been done by Clinton. Double Bush. It should have been done. I’m doing it.
Let me tell you something else: North Korea should’ve been done a long time ago. I’m doing it. I’m doing a lot of things that I shouldn’t have to be doing.
Please. Go ahead, please.
Q Beth Rigby, Sky News. President Trump, you’ve met our new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, yesterday.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes.
Q You said he was the right man for the job on Brexit.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I believe that.
Q Do you think Theresa May was the wrong woman? And do you think that Boris Johnson can actually get a deal with the EU before October the 31st?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, Theresa wasn’t able to do the deal. I gave her my ideas as to doing the deal very early on, and you possibly know what they are, but I would’ve done that.
She chose to do it her way, and that didn’t work out so well. I think she’s a very, very good person and a good woman. And I really believe that Boris Johnson will be a great Prime Minister. You know, we like each other, and we had a great two and a half days. I’ve been waiting for him to be Prime Minister for about six years. I told him, “What took you so long?”
I think he’s going to be a great Prime Minister, especially after spending a lot of intense time with him over the last couple of days. He’s really a — he’s very smart and he’s very strong. And he’s very enthusiastic. And you know what else? He loves your country. He really loves your country. That came out, maybe, more than anything else.
Q Vicki Young, BBC News. President Trump, Boris Johnson is very keen on a trade deal with the USA. You sound keen on it too. Some of his critics, though, are worried that you’re going to do over the UK in that deal to protect America’s interests.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No. No. No. I love the UK. I own great property in the UK. I love the UK. I have no idea how my property is doing because I don’t care. But I own Turnberry, and I own in Aberdeen, and I own in Ireland, as you know –Doonbeg — and great stuff.
And I’ll be honest with you: I think — I think he’s going to just do a great job as Prime Minister. You know, it takes a lot. It’s so many different elements to being a great Prime Minister. And you needed him. I just think his time is right. This is the right time for Boris. This is the right time for Boris.
Yeah, please. Go ahead. Go ahead. Right here.
Say who you’re with, please, sir.
Q (Inaudible) from ITV in the UK, as well. You’ve obviously had good few days with President Macron, who you appear to be doing business with —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.
Q — to use your favorite expression.
After Brexit, who do you think will be your more important relationship: President Macron, France and the EU, or Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think we’re going to have just — look, France is a great nation. It’s being run. A lot of things are happening. You know, it’s not easy what he’s doing. He’s changing certain ways. It’s a very hard thing to do. I won’t get into it. I’m going to let him sell his ideas. But a lot of people don’t disagree with his ideas.
But it’s a very hard thing to do if you’re a great citizen of France. You love your country, but you want to do the way you’ve been doing it for a long time. But maybe that’s not working. And maybe they have to do what he has to do.
I think he’s going to do a fantastic job. But it’s very tough for him. I know how tough it is for him. He’s been having a hard time. And nobody would have any easy time.
But I do believe he is doing the right thing.
Boris is different. It’s a different kind of a deal. Boris has to try and do something with Brexit. It’s very tough. I deal with the EU. The EU is — it’s a very, very strong group of people. They have their ideas, and they’re not easy to deal with, I will tell you.
We’ve very close to making a deal, by the way, with the EU. I have to say this. We made a great deal with Japan. And we’re very close to maybe making a deal with the EU. Because they don’t want tariffs; it’s very simple. They don’t want to tax cars. Mercedes Benz, BMW — they don’t need a 20 percent or a 25 percent tax. But we’re very close. I think we’re going to make a deal with the EU without having to go that route. I may have to go that route, but maybe not.
We’re going to have a deal — a really fair deal. But the EU is another one. We’ve been losing $180 billion a year for many years. That’s a lot of money. How much can you take out of the piggy bank, right?
Q But which alliance will be more important: with the EU or with Britain?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Both. I don’t want to say which. Look, I think that — I think that the — I think we have been with, I guess you would start off by saying, “England.” Right? You know, I ask Boris, “Where’s England? What’s happening with England?” They don’t use it too much anymore. We talked about it. It was very interesting. But the United Kingdom is a great, incredible place. It’s an incredible nation. And it’s, you know, been one of our tremendous allies.
And another one happens to be Australia. He was here also — Scott. He is fantastic. In fact, we’re honoring him and Australia at the White House in a very short period of time.
Q Will you go visit?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: But I think that — excuse me?
Q Will you visit Australia? There’s rumors.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: At some point, I will. Yeah.
Q In December?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: At some point, I will. Also, Germany. Angela asked me to visit Germany. We’re going to be doing that too.
So I just think they’re very different. And they’re going to be going at it for a little while. But ultimately, probably, it works out. They may have to get out. They may not make a deal.
The European Union is very tough to make deals with. Very, very tough. Just ask Theresa May.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Zeke Miller with the Associated Press. I was hoping you could clarify: Last year, you left the summit in Canada feuding with the summit host. This year, things seem to be a little different, talking about unity. You had a hug with President Macron on the stage. What is different?
And also, as President Macron said, he’s passed you the baton now of leading this multilateral institution. You ran on the platform of America First. What is your now —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: They understand that.
Q Now that you have a mandate for the international community, what are you going to do with it?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we actually had a very good meeting. I had it out with one or two people where we disagreed in terms of concept. But we actually had a pretty good meeting last year. I would say that this was a big step above, in terms of unity, in terms of agreement. And we have really great agreement on a lot of very important subjects. But last year was good also. I mean, last year was good also. I think last year might’ve been a little bit underrated, you know.
Go ahead. Please.
Q And in terms of the G7 presidency, what do you want to do with it? What’s your agenda in that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, we’re going to do something hopefully special. We’re going to build on what we have now. We’ve built on something really good. And we’re going to be going in with some great unity. We really did. If there was any word for this particular meeting of seven very important countries it was “unity.” I think, most important of all, we got along great. We got along great.
Q Thank you very much, Mr. President. I’m Ching-Yi Chan with Shanghai Media Group. You just mentioned that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said China is willing to resolve this issue through calm negotiations.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, I didn’t say it. He did.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.
Q And will the U.S. negotiate in the same manner?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes.
Q And also, the other issue —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That was an easy answer. (Laughter.)
Q So the U.S. will negotiate in the same manner with China?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Absolutely. Great respect for China. Great respect for the leadership of China. Absolutely.
Q And also, the other question is that you say that you definitely will invite Putin to join next year’s summit.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I haven’t said that, but I think that having President Putin in what was the G8 — he was a member of the G8, and I heard he was a good member of the G8. Having him in, I think, is more of an advantage. I think it’s a positive for the world. I think it’s a positive for Russia. I think it’s a big positive for Russia. And it’s something the group is discussing. They are discussing it.
Q But just a few hours ago —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: People feel very much like me. Many people.
Q But just a few hours ago, Russian Foreign Minister is saying that it’s not their foreign policy pursuit to return to G8. What’s your reaction to that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, you know, we’ll see. I know one thing: If they were invited back I think they’d be there. If they weren’t, that’s okay too. I just think they’d be better inside than outside. I mean, as I said before, I really do; I think they’d be an asset. I think it would be a good thing.
You know, some of the things — we were going in the room, and yesterday, in particular, we were discussing four or five matters. And Russia was literally involved in all of those four or five matters. And a few of the people looked up and said, you know, “Why aren’t they here talking to us about it?” And we go, “What are we going to do now? Go home? Take it easy for a day?” Although, I’m not doing that. I don’t take it easy.
But what are we going to do? We’re going to go home and start calling them at the end of the week and say, “Hey, how about this?” They could’ve been in the room.
We had numerous things that we were discussing. Right? Numerous. We had a lot of things that we were discussing, and it would’ve been very easy if Russia was in the room. If he was in the room, we could’ve solved those things. Now they’re just in limbo. But I have to say, with all of that, very little in limbo.
But somebody will speak to him about some things, and, frankly, they’re not very complicated. But it would be easier if they were in the room. Okay?
Q Thank you so much.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Josh, go ahead. Josh.
Q Mr. President, there was a significant talk at the summit about climate change. I know in the past you’ve harbored some skepticism of the science in climate change. What do you think the world should be doing about climate change? And do you still harbor that skepticism?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I feel that the United States has tremendous wealth. The wealth is under its feet. I’ve made that wealth come alive. We will soon be one of the — we will soon be exporting. In fact, we’re actually doing it now — exporting.
But we are now the number one energy producer in the world. And soon, it will be by far, with a couple of pipelines that have not been able to get approved for many, many years. It’ll have a huge impact.
I was able to get ANWR in Alaska. It could be the largest site in the world for oil and gas. I was able to get ANWR approved. Ronald Reagan wasn’t able to do it. Nobody was able to do it. They’ve been trying to do it since before Ronald Reagan. I got it approved.
We’re the number one energy producer in the world. Soon it will be, by far, the number one. It’s tremendous wealth. And LNG is being sought after all over Europe and all over the world, and we have more of it than anybody else. And I’m not going to lose that wealth. I’m not going lose it on dreams, on windmills — which, frankly, aren’t working too well. I’m not going to lose it.
So, Josh, in a nutshell, I want the cleanest water on Earth. I want the cleanest air on Earth. And that’s what we’re doing.
And I’m an environmentalist. A lot of people don’t understand that. I have done more environmental impact statements, probably, than anybody that’s — I guess I can say definitely, because I have done many, many, many of them. More than anybody that’s ever been President or Vice President or anything even close to President. And I think I know more about the environment than most people.
I want clean air. I want clean water. I want a wealthy country. I want a spectacular country with jobs, with pensions, with so many things. And that’s what we’re getting. So I want to be very careful. At the same time —
Q But, Mr. President, do you believe in climate change? Do you believe in climate change?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: At the same time — at the same time — you weren’t called.
At the same time, it’s very important to me — very important to me — we have to maintain this incredible — this incredible place that we’ve all built. We’ve become a much richer country. And that’s a good thing, not a bad thing — because that great wealth allows us to take care of people. We can take care of people that we couldn’t have taken care of in the past because of the great wealth. We can’t let that wealth be taken away. Clean air, clean water.
Thank you very much everybody. I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you very much.
5:44 P.M. CEST