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Live Coverage of President Donald Trump Holding A Joint Press Conference With President Andrzej Duda of Poland. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired June 12, 2019 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES : -- perhaps my favorite word -- across many critical areas, from defense and diplomacy to energy and economics.
The alliance between the United States and Poland is reaching extraordinary new heights in 2019. Our longstanding partnership demonstrates the enormous possibilities for the world, when two strong and independent nations unite in common purpose and in common cause.
President Duda, it an honor to have you with us.
And Mrs. Duda, thank you very much for being here.
We usher in a very exciting new era in U.S.-Polish alliance. It's a very special alliance with very special people. We build a future of promise and prosperity for the American and the Polish people.
And, again, our relationship is an extraordinary one and it's going to remain that for a long, long time.
Thank you very much, Mr. President. Thank you.
DUDA: Thank (ph) you (ph) so (ph) much (ph). Thank (ph) you (ph).
DUDA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): ... distinguished (ph) Mr. (ph) President (ph) and (inaudible) first (ph) lady (ph) of the United States of America, distinguished ministers, all distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
First and foremost, together with my wife, would like to thank you very much, Mr. President, Donald Trump.
Thank you also to the first lady, Melania Trump, for this invitation to Washington.
Thank you for this possibility of holding another, within the last 10 months, official visit to the United States, here at the White House. This clearly demonstrates how close and how good contacts are today between Poland and the United States. Mr. President, all of us hope that you will visit us in Poland in
September, and that we will be able, together, to commemorate the memory of all those who fell and who perished during the Second World War, which started on the first of September in 1939, in Poland, through the attack of Nazi Germans on our country.
And soon, unfortunately, our country vanished from the map of Europe, after the attack of the Soviet Union against Poland, together with Nazi Germany. That is our history. It's a very difficult one.
And today, we firmly believe that the true ally of Poland, but also a true ally of a free Europe, is precisely the United States of America, who helped that very Europe in such a huge way, to win the Second World War and later, to establish an independent, separate and free world, which later turned into the European Union.
It exists until this day. And thanks God. Also thanks to the support of the United States, through the support of subsequent presidents since 1989, thanks to the great movement of solidarity. Thanks to the great determination of the Polish nation.
Also, we are a part of the free world. Also Poland, which liberated itself from behind the Iron Curtain, which later led to the collapse of the Iron Curtain through the votes of the people, cast in elections in 1989. In those elections, people said no to the Communists.
Also, Poland can develop today as an independent and truly separate country, a country which wants to build the European community and a country which also wants to build the Eur-Atlantic (ph) community. In our understanding, this is an absolutely key element of peace and good cooperation across the globe.
Thank you very much, Mr. President. Thank you. That -- we're sure you are among those presidents of the United States who understand how it works perfectly. You understand that when the U.S. looks at Europe, when it looks at the security of the European states, it plays a key role for the peace around the globe. It is of key importance for the peaceful development of democratic states and democratic communities.
Thank you, Mr. President, for this extreme kindness towards Poland and perfect understanding of Polish matters, which was showed to us in 2017 during your visit to Poland during your memorable speech that you gave at the Monument of the Warsaw Uprising, where so immensely important words for Polish people fell, which are of historic importance to our nation and to Europe. They showed what Poland means and who Poles are. Mr. President, thank you for uttering those words back then.
DUDA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): And thank you also for this policy which is being implemented right now, which demonstrates that you are this kind of man and this kind of a politician, who not only speaks but to whom, first and most important, are the deeds, and whenever we say, "Mr. President, make America great again," he means make, not save. And this precisely is of crucial importance; hence, the agreement that we're signing.
Hence, two agreements between our two states concluded today, two memorandums of understanding which we signed just a moment ago. One of them I signed personally concerning the security and military cooperation. As you mentioned, sir, there will be more American troops in Poland. This is going to be an enhanced cooperation. It's going to be an enduring presence which hopefully will increase gradually, in terms of the number of troops, but also in terms of infrastructure, which is very important.
Thank you also for the decision to establish the division headquarters in Poland. This is of huge importance not only to Poland, but also to our part of Europe, to Central Europe, to the Baltic states, and to all those to whom the enhanced forward presence was established of the United States and other NATO states along NATO's eastern flank. I'm deeply grateful for that.
But thank you, Mr. President, also for the remaining agreements. Thank you for this agreement which -- agreement which talks about preventing and combating serious crimes. It moves us closer to a visa waiver program between Poland and the United States, which to you, Mr. President, and to me, and first and foremost, to Poles is so important. It's of such a crucial importance.
Thank you, Mr. President, also for excellent energy cooperation that we have. In terms of L&G supplies, we talked about this in 2017 in Warsaw during our meeting, that gas from the United States should be delivered to Poland, and it is delivered, and we are signing more contracts. And gas tankers from the United States are coming to the port of Swinoujscie today, and the gas from the United States has become a fact in Poland and our part of Europe.
Thanks to you, Mr. President, that there are going to be more supplies. I am very happy about that, because to us, it means diversification of sources, of supplies. It also means the development of gas security to (inaudible). It means good business, just as I (inaudible) the belief is good business for the United States of America.
But thank you also for the agreement cooperation in terms of nuclear energy used for civil purposes. I hope that together, we will be able to implement this program with the benefit for environment protection, with the benefit for climate protection across the globe also, for the development of the security of my homeland.
Mr. President, I'm deeply grateful for this visit. I'm pleased that thanks to this presence, we're able to show the very good cooperation that we have between the Poland as part of the European Union and the United States, and I firmly believe that thanks to your incredible view of the European mannerism, thanks to your understanding to our Polish matters and to the meanders of our history, this cooperation is going to develop better and better, first and foremost also with the benefit for the United States, whose interests you are representing, Mr. President, also understanding the rest of the world.
Thank you very much so that -- for that. (APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you very much.
We'll take a few questions. Emerald, OAN (ph)?
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
TRUMP: Thank you.
QUESTION: Earlier in the Oval Office before you did your meeting with President Duda, you were quite critical of Germany as you talked about possibly moving troops from Germany to Poland. Do you think that doing a move like that will put pressure on Germany to meet their defense spending requirements?
TRUMP: No, I don't think so. I just will tell you very strongly that I think Germany is making a tremendous mistake by relying so heavily on the pipeline, and I -- I think it's a tremendous mistake for Germany. But again, Germany is running their affairs, and they'll do just fine. But I was critical. I have been critical of it. It's a tremendous amount of their energy will be supplied by that pipeline.
At the same time, having nothing to do with Germany, Poland said that we would like to build a facility, a great facility, and we'd like to have you come to that facility. So we're going to be there with a -- a limited force, but we'll be there, and we appreciate Poland doing what they're doing. It's a great location. It's a tremendous -- it's a tremendous plant, a tremendous facility, and we -- it's our honor to be there.
Poland's been a tremendous friend of ours for a long time, and when Melania and I were there not so long ago, it was a very special day. I think it was a special day for Poland also, but it was a very special day for our countries. So I appreciate that, and our relationship is just a very strong one.
[14:40:00] QUESTION: And if I may, would you indulge me with one more question before I get to ask President Duda a question?
TRUMP: Yeah, go ahead. Go ahead.
QUESTION: In more recent news yesterday you revealed you got another letter from Kim Jong-un. And today we hear of a potential thawing of relations between South Korea and North Korea, Kim Jong-un sending his sister to South Korea. Now, could you give us an update on more of what was in that letter? And is there a third summit in the works?
TRUMP: He just wrote me a very nice letter, unexpected. And some day you'll see what was in that letter. Some day you will be reading about it, maybe in a 100 years from now, maybe in two weeks. Who knows? But it was a very nice letter. It was a very warm, very nice letter, I appreciated it. OK?
QUESTION: Thank you.
TRUMP: Good. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: And then, if I may, for President Duda.
QUESTION: You've said you were thankful for the commitment that the president made for more more troops today. But you hinted that you would like to see more. Ultimately what is the number of troops that you would like to see in Poland, U.S. troops?
DUDA (through translator): Madam, this, of course, is always going to be the decision of the United States of America.
TRUMP: He would like to see 250,000 troops.
DUDA (through translator): It is always going to be up to the United States to decide how many troops there will be sent to Poland -- to which allied nation. Of course, I know that this depends on the needs and on the real situation on the ground. Of course, we are very pleased that U.S. troops are present by giving an evidence to the sustained ability and strength of the alliance, and to the U.S. soldiers are kindly treated in Poland, they are received as friends.
And we are happy that they are serving in our country. We would like those bonds between Poland and the United States to become even tighter. And we are trying also to create the best possible conditions for American soldiers.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE), Polish Public Television. Thank you very much, President Trump. Thank you very much, President Duda.
I have questions to both of you, actually. President Trump, you plan to enhance U.S. military presence in Poland. Last year you promised you would enhance military cooperation, training, intelligence, missile defense, and it's happening right now. People of Poland still remember your incredible speech in Warsaw.
Why Poland is such an important ally for you?
TRUMP: I just have a very warm feeling for Poland. I always have. And it's now -- even beyond that, because of the relationship which we've developed with your president and first lady. And it's just a very -- they're incredible people, hard-working, smart, very industrious people. And what they've done with the country over the last five years has been something that the world has watched and the world has marveled at.
I've just liked Poland. So when the president came and he asked me whether or not we'd consider this, I said, I will consider it. And now because of his leadership, we're able to do that. And that's fine with me. That's great. Great people. And say hello.
QUESTION: So I understand we can -- will see you in September in Warsaw, correct?
TRUMP: We are looking very seriously at going back to Poland. And I don't know what the president has in store for us, but we are thinking about going back some time in September, yes. Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
(through translator): Question to President Duda. Mr. President, so far we have been talking about a rotational presence of U.S. troops in our country. Right now we are talking about permanent or enduring presence. What does that mean in concrete terms? And when can we expect those additional U.S. troops to arrive?
DUDA (through translator): I understand it in the following way, President Donald Trump and myself are implementing very calm but consistent policy in terms of security. The presence of the United States in Poland, the military presence, the presence of U.S. troops, which today is about 4,500 troops present on a permanent basis.
In other words, it is a rotational presence, but it is back-to-back presence. So there is no moment where there are no American troops in the territory of Poland. And today we signed a document in further cooperation, a joint declaration on defense cooperation regarding the United States's force posture in the Republic of Poland.
This is of a breakthrough character, because it moves us to another era. So far we can say the Americans were testing the situation in Poland, how it looks, how it feels, what about logistics, whether it is possible to stay in Poland and to successfully attain the goals and implement the tasks of defensive nature.
I think that the commanders of US Army are convinced that this is simply possible (ph) and today the document speaks about this enduring presence, the presence which is a fact (ph) and which will stay there. It is a rotational presence, is (inaudible) because this is most beneficial from today's perspective to train soldiers through rotational presence.
By having rotational presence, more soldiers can come to a country, be present there, look at a culture (ph) at the condition in place in a given country. So this is beneficial for this barely understood development of the Armed Forces.
Therefore, this is an enduring presence, however it is implementing this particular way. And we hope it is going to develop 1,000 troops, mentioned by President Trump today, which is also the number stipulated in the agreement signed today -- is very differentiated.
It is not one single unit worked on (ph) (inaudible) special operation forces, (inaudible) logistics component, we are also talking about the already mentioned division headquarters. So there is a multitude of forms in which the United States is going to be gradually ever more present in our territory from the military standpoint. This will encompass different fields of cooperation, so we're not talking about just one single bit but we're talking about a more comprehensive cooperation, we're talking about logistics, health protection for soldiers and a number of other elements happening.
Please remember that right now there is this missile defense facility being built in (inaudible), so talking about the elements of Polish- American cooperation, there are more and more of these elements and the number is growing and I'm very happy with that. Thank you very much.
TRUMP: Let's see, who do I like?
Nobody, that's the end. Go ahead, yeah.
QUESTION: Mr. President, thank you for ...
TRUMP: I wasn't pointing to you but you can go. Here we go.
QUESTION: Pointing to ...
TRUMP: I was actually pointing to my friend with that beautiful hat on, but that's OK.
QUESTION: All right.
TRUMP: You'll give up your question?
QUESTION: ... a follow up question ...
TRUMP: You'll give up your ...
QUESTION: We can share it.
QUESTION: We'll share the question.
TRUMP: OK, we'll share it. Good.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you seemed to suggest yesterday that you were essentially committing to not spying on North Korea. Is that what you meant, were those comments interpreted accurately ...
TRUMP: No, it's not what I meant. It's what I said and that's -- I think it's different than maybe your interpretation. I think we're going to do very well with North Korea over a period of time. I'm in no rush, the sanctions are on, we got our hostages back, our remains are coming back.
You saw the beautiful ceremony in Hawaii with Mike Pence. We're getting the remains back, there's been no nuclear testing whatsoever. They'd like to do something. I did get, you know, very -- as I said yesterday, a very nice letter from Chairman Kim and I think we're doing very well. When I took over as President, I will tell you, it looked like it was going to be war with North Korea. You know that, everybody knows that, and it was going to be quite brutal. A strong force -- we're the strongest force in the world but that's a strong force.
And we started off a very rough relationship but I think we have a very good relationship right now. So we'll see what happens. I'm in no rush, I'm in no rush, but there's been no nuclear testing whatsoever. And when I took over, it was nuclear testing all the time.
And if you look back to the last four, five, six years, but really go back further than that -- in all fairness to President Obama, go back 20 years, 15 years, it was really a very dangerous situation. I consider it to be a -- different now.
Now that -- I may -- I may change. If I change, you will know it very quickly. I will be very quick to tell you exactly what's going on. I may change, but right now we have a good relationship and I think probably better than we've had for maybe 25 years, maybe forever.
You know, they've been there a long time -- the grandfather, the father, the son, and they've been there for a long time and nobody's done anything except me. And so we'll see how it all turns out. I hope it turns out well for you and for everybody.
QUESTION: And I'll give my follow up to Jeff (ph) very quickly. President Duda, thank you. Do you see Russia as an ally or an adversary?
TRUMP: Are you talking to me?
QUESTION: To President Duda.
TRUMP: Boy, was that a set up question.
DUDA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I would very much like Russia to be a friend of Poland because it is our great neighbor. It is a country much bigger than Poland with a bigger potential than Poland in every single respect, except for one, perhaps, I believe that we have got more courage in us, that we are more brave, more courageous and are able to fight until the end, irrespective of everything.
This is actually what we demonstrated in World War II at the Battle of Monte Cassino. We demonstrated that in the Warsaw Uprising. We demonstrated that in many other places around the globe, where Polish soldiers died to make sure that Poland is free after the Second World War.
This, unfortunately, did not happen. We found ourselves under the Russian occupation. But even then, for almost 20 years after World War II, there was this anti-Communist, anti-Soviet underground, which fought against the Soviets. And those people were murdered. Today, we call them "unbreakable soldiers." We commemorate their
memory although they were dug underground to make it impossible for anyone to find their remains. And so that -- they couldn't have graves built.
So we were always finding, we always knew how to defend ourselves. Nevertheless, history was brutal towards us. We never had a great friendship with Russia. Russia was always looking out to take our territory. It was a partition (ph) in Poland for 123 years. Poland did not exist because part of the territory was taken by Russia.
Poles were deported to the east, then came an aggression on the right -- on the recently reborn Poland, which rose in 1918 from the ashes of the First World War. And in 1919, the Soviet Russia attacked Poland, wanted to grab Poland's territory and bring communism to the west of Europe.
It was us who stopped Soviets at Warsaw in 1920 by the bravery of Polish soldiers. We defeated them during a great battle, and then we chased them back to the east. And then they took their revenge on us in 1939, by attacking us together with Nazi Germany, and murdering our officers in Katyn. So, Madam, as you can see, this friendship is a very difficult one.
Today, we are in the following situation. Russia attacked Georgia. Then in 2014, it attacked Ukraine. And these are facts. These are facts which are -- belong to the recent history. We would like Russia to be our friend. But unfortunately, Russia, again, is showing its very unkind, unpleasant imperial face and we would not want to be part of Russia's sphere of influence.
And I am happy that today, we can speak boldly. Also, in connection with the military presence of the U.S. and NATO in Poland, that we truly are, first and foremost in terms of politics, part of the West.
Because we have always been part of the West in terms of culture. We've always been part of the West because it is from the West from which we adopted Christianity in 966, more than one thousand years ago. And since that time, we have been part of the West of (ph) Europe. We have been part of the great Christian culture of Western Europe.
But we have to stick to this West, also in terms of politics. And this is what we want. And I firmly believe that this is the biggest desire of Polish people, to be part of the West. Also in terms of politics. Thank you that the United States is supporting us in this respect.
TRUMP: I -- just to finish, I hope that Poland is going to have a great relationship with Russia. I think it's possible, I really do. I think because of what you've done and the strength and maybe we help also because of what we're doing and doing for Poland. But I hope that Poland's going to have a great relationship with Russia. I hope we're going to have a great relationship with Russia.
And by the way, China and many other countries. And we look forward to doing things on North Korea, just to go back to the original part of your question. And we'll see how that works out.
I do want to say, though, we're in no hurry. The sanctions are on. China has actually been helping us quite a bit. And despite our trade differences right now, we thought we had a deal and unfortunately, they decided that they were going to change the deal. And they can't do that with me. But something's going to happen and I think it's going to be something very positive.
But we think we're going to get along with a lot of countries that, frankly, did not respect us very much because they were ripping us off for many, many years. And they're not ripping us off any more -- Jeff (ph).
QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Regarding China, what is your deadline, if you have one, for China to make progress on trade before you impose the tariffs on the other $325 billion in goods?
TRUMP: Well, we're going to be meeting, President Xi and myself. And you know we have a very good relationship. But again, he's for China and I'm for the U.S. It's a big difference. And we thought we had a deal. We didn't have a deal. And I would never make something that would be less than what we already had.
We had China opened up to trade. That's a big thing. They've never done that before. We had intellectual property theft taken care of, and taken care of beautifully. And all of a sudden, those things started to disappear at the end, after they were fully negotiated.
But that's -- you know, that's their decision. I think if they had it to do again, and in light of the fact that we have 25 percent on $250 billions of goods coming into the United States. And unlike a lot of countries, they subsidize those goods. We haven't had inflation.
And, you know, they keep saying that the American taxpayer is paying for it. No, no. Very little. And what it really does mean, is that a lot of those companies that are in China are going to be moving back to the U.S.
[14:55:00] You have car companies, General Motors, as an example, that built plants in China. Well, that doesn't work out too well when you have the tariff wall up because now they're going to have to get through that, and they can't really get through that. So maybe they'll start building plants in the United States instead.
I think that we'll end up making a deal with China. We have a very good relationship, although it's a little bit testy right now, as you would expect. I think they really have to make a deal. A lot of companies are leaving China, as you know. It's in all the reports, and they're going to Vietnam and various other places, and they're also coming to the United States to make their product because they don't want to pay the tariff. And there is no tariff if you do it in the United States. People don't realize that. You know, they say the tariff, but there is no tariff if you don't do it -- you know, if you -- if you just do exactly as I say. You bring your company back to the United States. And as far as Mexico is concerned, which was a very big topic yesterday, and now people are finding out that the reports that were written were totally false. We would have never have had a deal with Mexico without imposing tariffs. Once the tariffs were imposed -- and they've been trying to make this deal with Mexico for 20 years, 25 years. The older reporters, those great reporters with the very gray hair in the back -- you know who I'm talking about -- they know exactly what I'm talking about. You would have never made the deal with Mexico.
We have a great deal with Mexico. I actually think we have a much better relationship right now with Mexico, because they respect us again. But you would never have had that deal if I didn't impose the tariffs, and those tariffs were ready to go on Monday morning, and we made the deal on, essentially, Sunday night. And that extra little page of the deal that you saw, that brilliantly, I -- I had -- gained such respect for you people. When I held it up to the sunlight and it was closed, and you were able to read it through the sunlight? That was not anticipated. But regardless, I mean, you knew enough of what it said, and I didn't do it on purpose.
But we have a lot of strength in 45 days if we decide to use that strength. Maybe we will, and maybe we won't. But there's a lot of power right now on the border.
And I will say this: Mexico is right now doing more for the United States on illegal immigration and all of the problems of crime and other problems on the border than the Democrats. We can solve our problem on the border in 15 minutes if the Democrats would sit down, straighten out asylum -- which is a total mess, but very uncomplicated -- straighten out asylum and get rid of the loopholes. It would take Jeff 15 minutes. OK? Thank you.
QUESTION: But just -- my original question, sir, was do you have a deadline for imposing the 325...
TRUMP: No, I have no deadline. I'll -- it's -- my deadline is what's up here. We'll figure out the deadline.
TRUMP: Nobody can quite figure it out.
QUESTION: And President Duda, if I could just throw one your way, as well. You said in the Oval Office earlier that democracy in Poland was strong. Not all of your European Union counterparts agree with that. How is forcing supreme court justices to retire early consistent with democratic principles? And President Trump, is -- is that something that you support?
DUDA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Ladies and gentlemen, this is a very complex issue and it's hard to answer this question because a lot of people in Western Europe, I think also in the U.S., did not fully understand this problem because they have not grown up in a country such as mine.
I was born in 1972 in a Poland which was in the Russian sphere of influence in which a career could be made only, actually, when somebody enrolled as member of the Communist party, and who followed this people's power, who was the supreme authority. And this is what was happening for many years. Although as you know, ladies and gentlemen, as solidarity movement grew, people were imprisoned. People were tortured. People were killed during the marshal (ph) law and after, as well, be it openly or in a secret way. And this -- this was the reality of Poland until 1999.
And now imagine, ladies and gentlemen, that not so long ago, a few years ago, I was surprised to discover that in the Polish supreme court, there is a whole group of justices who were issuing sentences as judges, members of the Communist party before 1990, who were even passing sentences during the marshal (ph) law, sentencing people to prisons based on the law of the Communist marshal (ph) law. And when I was asked whether the supreme court needs to be reformed, I said yes. If Poland is supposed to be a truly democratic free and sovereign country, if it is supposed to be a country we want it to be for our children, for the generation who was born after in 1989, then, for God's sake, those people have to leave. They have to retire, and this is what we did. As a matter of fact, everything that we were doing was aimed at retiring those people.
But as you can see, unfortunately, although 30 years have passed, they have got influence, the influence which they were building after 1989, where they assumed a new identity of an elite.