2:31 P.M. EST
PRIME MINISTER BORISSOV: (As interpreted.) The Bulgarians like you so much, and they expect to have the problem with the visas solved — like with Canada.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Ah, okay. Well, we’re going to work on that problem.
I want to just thank the Prime Minister of Bulgaria for being here. It’s an honor to have you at the White House, in the Oval Office. We have meetings coming up in a little while. You have your representatives. I have my representatives. And I think we’re going to have very productive meetings.
They’ve ordered some F-35s and some other things. They buy a lot of military equipment from the United States — the best equipment in the world. And I look forward to our meeting.
PRIME MINISTER BORISSOV: (As interpreted.) We have 3.1 percent of the national — 3.1 percent, instead of 2 —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good.
PRIME MINISTER BORISSOV: (As interpreted.) — the membership requirement of NATO.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s very interesting. We’ll have to think about that, right? That’s very good. You should tell that to Germany. (Laughs.) You understand.
PRIME MINISTER BORISSOV: (As interpreted.) You will say it, sir.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we have a big NATO meeting coming up very soon, as you all know. But we’ve had a very, very good relationship, and now we’re going to formalize some things. We — the relationship we have with Bulgaria has been very strong. Great people.
Okay? Thank you.
Q Mr. President, what was your thinking behind the Navy Secretary this weekend?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ve been thinking about that for a long time; that didn’t just happen. And I have to protect my warfighters. I’ve been — gotten — a lot of people have — a lot of warfighters and people in the military have thanked us very much. It’s been — it’s about time. They had one young man in jail for six years. He had many years to go. And a lot of people think he shouldn’t have been there. And I gave him a pardon.
With Eddie Gallagher — you know that story very well — they wanted to take his pin away, and I said, “No, you’re not going to take it away.” He was a great fighter. He was the — one of the ultimate fighters. Tough guy. These are not weak people. These are tough people.
And we’re going to protect our warfighters. And I’ve been given a lot thank-yous, including we just had some very great Special Forces people come to the White House, and they brought Conan. But they were here for themselves also. I wanted to see them. I wanted to meet them. They gave us a rundown on what happened with al-Baghdadi. And they were incredible.
But they were very thankful. Somebody has their back, and it’s called the “President of the U.S.” Okay? We’ve got their back.
Q Mr. President — Mr. President —
Q Bulgarian media, please.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Say it?
Q Bulgarian media. What’s the thinking about Bulgarian and USA friendship, Mr. President?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we have a great friendship. They’re great people. You have a lot of people from Bulgaria that are in this country, live in this country. They’ve become citizens of the United States. And we’re going to be talking about the visa program, as per the request of your Prime Minister. But, no, they’re great people. We have a very good relationship.
Q Mr. President, are you at all concerned that with some of your comments about the Navy Secretary and Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, that you’re disparaging members of the armed forces?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, I think what I’m doing is sticking up for our armed forces. And there’s never been a President that’s going to stick up for them and has, like I have, including the fact that we spent two and a half trillion dollars on rebuilding our armed forces.
And some very unfair things were happening. You let Sergeant Bergdahl go. You let others go, including a young gentleman, now a person who President Obama let go, who stole tremendous amounts of classified information. And you let that person go. But Sergeant Bergdahl — we just lost another man who went after — you know he died last week. He went after — from — he was paralyzed from just about the neck down, and he died last week, going after Sergeant Bergdahl, trying to find Sergeant Bergdahl.
So when you have a system that allows Sergeant Bergdahl to go, and you probably had five to six people killed — nobody even knows the number, because he left — and he gets a slap on the wrist, if that; and then you have a system where these warriors get put in jail for 25 years — I’m going to stick for our warrior. I will stick up for the warriors.
Okay, thank you very much everybody.
Q Mr. President what do you make of —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: The person I’m talking about is Chelsea Manning, by the way, if you had any doubt. So you have Chelsea Manning, who after — after Chelsea Manning was, I assume, pardoned by President Obama, Chelsea Manning went around and badmouthed President Obama, on top of everything else.
So when you have a Chelsea Manning who stole classified information and did many, many things that were not good and gets pardoned — or whatever happened — and you have a Sergeant Bergdahl who gets — virtually nothing happens; a slap on the wrist — and then they want to put these warriors in jail for 25 years. One of them, Lorance, served six years in jail; had many years left as a fighter. No, we’re not going do that to our people.
Q Mr. President, what do you make of Giuliani saying — what do you make of Rudy Giuliani saying he has insurance?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, I don’t know. Rudy is a great guy. Rudy was —
Q Is there any chance he would flip on you?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Rudy was the — and he covered that himself. You know that. Rudy is — Rudy is the best mayor in the history of New York. In my opinion, the strongest mayor, the best mayor. Rudy is a great crime fighter, corruption fighter. Probably the best in 50 years. When he was here, and also when he was at the U.S. Attorney in Southern District, he was phenomenal. Rudy is a great person.
And I think that maybe the press isn’t treating Rudy very well, and I think that’s unfair. But Rudy was a great mayor and a great crime fighter.
Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: What?
Q Do you come to Bulgaria? And do you know that the — what do you think about Bulgarian position in (inaudible)?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I might come. I might come. It’s a country where we have a lot in common. And we have a Prime Minister that we like a lot. So, that could happen.
Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Q Mr. President, what about USMCA?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: By the way, USMCA, I can tell you it’s sitting on Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
Q Mr. President, when can we travel without visa?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wait, please.
Q When can I travel without visa?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Please. Please. Please.
USMCA — that’s the deal — the trade deal, the great trade deal for the farmers, manufacturers, workers of all types, including union. It’s sitting on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. She’s incapable of moving it. It looks like she can’t. Everybody knows it’s a great deal. She knows it’s a great deal; she said it. She keeps saying she wants to get it done, but we’re talking about many, many months sitting on her desk, no votes.
And she doesn’t have to help with the Democrats because they’re going to vote for it — most of them. And, I guess, all of the Republicans are going to vote for it.
But the system is — the way the system works, she has to put it up for a vote. And she hasn’t wanted to do it because I understand a couple of the unions — AF of L-CIO — they are asking her to hold it for a while because maybe you’ll look — make Trump look bad, although I get a lot of votes out of the AF of L-CIO, except for maybe the top, who I actually like. Richard Trumka — nice guy.
But Nancy Pelosi should put it up for a vote because, at some point pretty soon, you’re going to have Canada and you’re going have Mexico say, “What’s going on? Send the agreement back. Let’s not make the deal.” And I wouldn’t blame them at all. And that’s okay. We’ll just blame Nancy.
She’s got to put U.S. — that’s United States-Canada-Mexico trade deal — a phenomenal deal for our farmers, for everybody. It’s a great deal for our country. It replaces one of the worst trade deals ever made — that’s NAFTA. So, we have a great deal. She has to put it up for a vote. She doesn’t have to talk to anybody. All she has to do is say, “We’re putting it up for a vote,” like immediately. And a lot of time is being wasted.
But you’re going to have Mexico and Canada pull it pretty soon. And if they do, it’s her fault, not mine. We gave you a great deal. It’s her fault. And got to get going. Got to get going. She’s really traumatized.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much, everybody.
Q How was the dog?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Huh?
Q How was the dog?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good. Cute, huh? Unbelievable. More friendly — more friendly than I thought.
Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.