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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Trump Holds Joint News Conference with President of Poland. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired June 24, 2020 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDRZEJ DUDA, PRESIDENT OF POLAND (through translator): It is also of primary importance.
I have no doubt whatsoever that this cooperation will lead to the strengthening of security of the European Union, strengthening of the security of the eastern flank of NATO but also and perhaps first and foremost from my perspective, it will strengthen the security of Poland and it will also lend additional financial credibility to Poland, investment credibility on the part of American investors.
One month ago, global company Microsoft announced that they're going to invest $1 billion in Poland to establish a state of the art data center and today officially Google company published the information that is also going to invest in the Center of Modern Technologies in Poland, including IT technologies.
This is going to be an even greater investment than the investment of Microsoft. So Mr. President, I have no doubts whatsoever that these American investments and this additional investment impulse that the American companies are making right now results from a very efficient policy that we are conducting together and which increases the sense of safety of our citizens in Poland and it also increases the sense of safe investments in our country.
Thank you so much for that because that means the creation of new jobs in the state of the art branch of industry IT technologies and I'm really pleased because in Poland, we have got a large number of excellent, young IT experts, also young -- young IT engineers and for sure we're able to come to terms with the -- these very serious challenges.
Also as far as the intellectual capital is concerned, I'm sure that these investments are going to be ban official (ph) for the United States, for the U.S. companies and also for Poland through creating jobs, through acquiring new experiences by young people in the first place, by young engineers.
I'm also glad, Mr. President, because as we said before, the agreements that we entered into concerning increased U.S. military -- military presence in Poland, the agreements we signed last year, according to first -- when the U.S. (inaudible) to be increased by 1,000 troops in our country. And another contract, another agreement stipulated concrete locations in which U.S. soldiers will be stationed in Poland on the rotational basis but also it's going to be a heel to toe rotation. Today, we are entering another stage. Namely, there is a possibility of further increase in American troops in our country.
In recent days, I also talked to Secretary General of NATO -- I talked to Mr. Jens Stoltenberg and we agreed on one point, especially as Europeans, we have no doubt whatsoever that if any part of the U.S. Armed Forces, which is the biggest Armed Forces in the world, was withdrawing from Europe, that would be very detrimental to European security.
So in our belief, it is deeply justified to ensure that the U.S. troops are left in Europe. So Mr. President, thank you so much for this meeting today. Thank you so much for accepting Poland during this meeting at the White House.
So we are the first country which has been received after this long break in international diplomacy. Thank you for your words about our pride and heroes (inaudible). Over history today, Polish soldiers stand arm in arm with U.S. soldiers. We are tested allies. Together, we spilled blood in Iraq and Afghanistan and we stand ready -- always ready to implement our allied obligations and commitments and thank you that the United States -- thanks to your policy, Mr. President, is demonstrating itself as an absolute loyal ally to us and that -- thank you that we can count on the United States.
Also, I'd like to say that I'm grateful, Mr. President, that you have been stressing historical truths in such a decisive way. This is extremely important to us Poles. Fighting disinformation, defending historical truth also about the Second World War, about who started the war, about the course of the war is incredibly important to us.
And thank you, Mr. President, that you are adopting this stance and contributing so much to putting the record straight. It's important also to us from the point of view of our dignity, the Second World War was a period of great drama and trauma in the -- in the history of our nation. We lost five million citizens and that was a tragedy to us.
So because of that, it is important to spread this truth, to present it as it really was but it's also important to speak about the heroism of Poles, wherever they were fighting, wherever they were spilling their blood, (inaudible) with their allies at Monte Cassino, at Tobruk and at other places all over the world, both on the Eastern Front and on the Western Front.
All of that, saying that is extremely important so I'm happy that today we can (inaudible) our security in the United States. I'm glad that we have got this excellent economic cooperation.
So Mr. President, I have no doubt whatsoever that the coronavirus pandemic will past and we will be going together towards the development of our countries, towards the development of our societies, towards the building of a better, more prosperous future, both for the United States, for Poland and for Europe. Thank you so much.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: ... ask one to me and one to the President and that would be great. Steve Holland, go ahead.
QUESTION: ... Poland, would you send them from Germany and what sort of signal would that send to Russia? And for President Duda, how do you feel about this, taking some troops out of Germany to go to Poland and what signal does that send to Russia? Thank you.
TRUMP: Well just to start, as you know, Poland is -- as I've said many times, Poland is one of the few countries that are fulfilling their obligations under NATO, that they -- in particular, their monetary obligations and they asked us if we would send some additional troops. They're going to pay for that -- they'll be paying for the sending of additional troops and we'll probably be moving them from Germany to Poland.
We're going to be reducing Germany very substantially, down to about 25,000 troops. We actually had 52,000 but we'll be moving it down to about 25,000. Germany's paying a very small fraction of what they're supposed to be paying. They should be paying two percent and they're paying a little bit more than one percent, depending on how you calculate. You could also calculate they paying -- they're paying less than one percent but if you assume they're paying one percent, that's a tremendous delinquency -- let's use that word, "delinquency."
So we're going to be reducing our forces in Germany. Some will be coming home and some will be going to other places but Poland would be one of those other places -- other places in Europe.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) it would send to Russia by doing this?
TRUMP: I think it sends a very strong signal to Russia but I think a stronger signal sent to Russia is the fact that Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars to purchase energy from Russia and -- through the pipeline and I'm saying "what's that all about? You're spending billions of dollars to Russia then we're supposed to defend you from Russia."
So I think it's a very bad -- I think the people of Germany are very unhappy about it. I have many friends from Germany and the people in Germany are very unhappy about it. They don't like it but that's what they chose to do.
So they're spending billions of dollars to buy Russian energy and then we're supposed to defend them from Russia. So that doesn't work too well. But Poland has been very, very terrific. In fact, I don't believe Poland is actually accepting any of the energy from the pipeline from Russia. So that sends a signal right there.
With all of that being said, we expect to get along with Russia, we expect to get along with everybody but Germany has -- they really owe a lot of money in NATO and this has been going on for many years. When you add it all up, you're probably getting close to $1 trillion and that's not treating NATO fairly but it really isn't treating the United States fairly.
You know, the United States is a very -- is the major participant in NATO. We pay more than anybody else by far, have for many, many years. So we defend Europe but Europe also takes tremendous advantage of the United States on trade -- advantage like you wouldn't believe.
So we're trying to work that out and I would imagine they'd like to wait until after the election so that maybe they could deal with somebody other than President Trump. But after the election, they'll just have to pay more but that's the way it is, OK? Thank you very much. Please.
DUDA (SPEAKING THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Sir, first of all -- first of all, I do respect very much both Mr. President Donald Trump and the United States of America -- a wonderful, great state (ph), which today is the largest military and economic superpower in the world.
And I wouldn't dare say to the President of the United States of America where he should send his soldiers because this is the decision which is always taken by the United States, this is a very responsible decision.
However, I do not deny that I requested Mr. President that he would not withdraw U.S. forces from Europe because the security of Europe is very important to me. From Europe as such (ph) -- I'm talking about the united Europe -- for which the American presence, since the end of the Second World War, is a huge security guarantee.
However, if I'm asked by anybody if I am ready that Poland receives more U.S. troops in our country, of course I am ready. In 2014 Russia attacked Ukraine. It annexed Crimea. It occupies Luhansk and Donetsk. Before that, it had attacked Georgia.
2014 was a year of huge fears -- of huge fears in the Baltic states and very big ones, very considerable (ph) ones among the Polish society.
Today, the presence of NATO troops and, first and foremost, of U.S. troops in Poland demonstrates that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty is treated seriously. And it shows that if anyone wanted to attack Poland, it won't be a soft landing for that entity. That it won't pay off for such an aggressor because the strongest army of the world is present and they would help Polish soldiers to defend our borders if such a cases arises.
One hundred years ago, we repelled Russians from Warsaw in a great battle in 1920. We defeated the Soviet army Bolsheviks and we drove them back to the East. That was a great victory. But we managed to stop them only very near to Warsaw at the outskirts of our capital city.
We would never want to see that situation repeated again. That is why the allied presence is crucially important to us today. And it is a very important security guarantee to us. I am very pleased that, both within NATO as well as in the United States today, the president of the United States understands the history of Europe, and he understands the realities in Europe and that he also understands the situation as it is developing in Europe.
So today, this generates peace to my country, it brings security. And thanks to that, Russian -- and fortunately (ph), their very strong imperial ambitions which haven't (ph) revived over the last tens of years, I can say, because Georgia was attacked in 2008 -- thanks to this, those ambitions have been stopped for the time being, at least in this part of the world. And I have no doubt whatsoever that this is also a huge merit of the policy of the United States. I'm grateful for that, just like all my compatriots are.
TRUMP: I want to add, 2014, which the president was talking of, that was a year where Russia had a good time with the United States. To the best of my knowledge -- President Obama and sleepy Joe Biden, they were in power, they were the ones that were doing it. This was before us. It hasn't happened with us and it won't happen with us either.
Please, go ahead.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Mr. President, you had to cancel your last trip -- your last visit to Poland because of the hurricane. Are you planning a new visit to Poland in the near future?
And the second question is on COVID. Is there a chance for Poland to participate in the development and early access both to the vaccine and to the therapeutics? Mr. President, is there a chance that during this cooperation with the United States we'll get a fast access both to the vaccine as well as to created (ph) drugs (ph) against coronavirus?
TRUMP: (inaudible) and we'd like to do it as we can. We have an election happening in this country, as you probably have heard. And so, I probably won't be able to do it until after the election. But assuming things go well, the answer is a very definite yes, actually.
As far as the joining us with us on the vaccines and therapeutics, by the way -- because the therapeutics, to me -- if they gave me a choice right now, therapeutically maybe I'd like that even better. But we're working very well on both. I think we're coming up with some great answers. I think you're going to have a big surprise, a beautiful surprise sooner than anybody would think.
But the answer is yes, we will be getting Poland involved both in terms of helping but also in terms of taking care of the Polish people once we have the vaccine. But I think we're going to have it very soon. OK? Thank you.
DUDA: Sir, we got involved as a state in the cooperation and also in supporting allies, leading (ph) a symbolic (ph) dimension (ph) of the United States in the fight against the coronavirus. That is why we have here with us today a captain (ph) medical doctor from Poland. I want to say, yes, of course, I'm working on this obvious assumption that by taking part in the research and also by being, in a certain sense, co-creators of the vaccines and therapeutics, Poles will be able to count on these vaccines and therapeutics to be available for the Poles as soon as possible.
So speaking openly, this is also the intention I have in my cooperation with the United States of America, to make sure that these vaccines are available to Poles and to other nations wherever they will be applied as soon as possible.
TRUMP: OK, thank you very much.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Thank you, Mr. President. This afternoon, the bill on reform in the Senate failed to move forward. It may still see the light of day at some point, but at the moment it's stalled in the Senate. As well, you have an executive order that's coming out later on this week regarding monuments and what to do about people who deface or damage these monuments.
Could you tell us what you're planning to do in the executive order and your reaction to what happened in the Senate?
TRUMP: Well, the Senate Republicans want very much to pass a bill on police reform. We have total cooperation with many different communities, including the police community. They want it very much to happen themselves because there are things that they agree to that they would like to agree to and they would love to have it agreed to formally.
The Democrats don't want to do it because they want to weaken our police, they want to take away immunity, they want to do other things that you know about, as well as anybody in this -- in this beautiful, in this beautiful field that we set. They want to take away a lot of the strength from our police and from law enforcement generally. And we can't live with that. We can't live with that.
This is a great bill, strongly endorsed by, as you know, Tim Scott, who's terrific, who is a terrific man, great senator, South Carolina. And Mitch wants it to happen. I would like to see it happen.
But we won't sacrifice, we won't do that, we won't do anything that's going to hurt our police. The police, we have a record this year on crime, a record positive rating on crime this year, the best. And you hear about certain places like Chicago and you hear about what's going on in Detroit and other -- other cities. All Democrat-run, every one of them is Democrat run, 20 out of 20. Twenty worst and 20 most dangerous are Democrat-run.
We have one city or two cities in particular worse than Honduras, worse than Afghanistan, worse than Afghanistan. And these are cities within the United States, Democrat-run, radical left run. You see what's going on in Seattle. You see what's going on in other
places. Seattle of all places, who would even think that's possible? Twenty out of 20.
The Democrats want to weaken very substantially our law enforcement and our police. And, frankly, they want to defund largely, at least largely. There are some that want to defund and abolish our police, if you can believe that. And we're not letting that happen.
So, if nothing happens with it, it's one of those things, we have different philosophies. They want open borders, they want sanctuary cities. We don't.
As far as your number -- your second question, I think that we're going to have a very strong executive order, but we already have very strong -- we have the Monuments Act already, which means ten years in jail. But I think we're going to consolidate various things. We're going to come out with a very strong executive order.
I should have that by the end of the week, which is fast approaching. We're going to have it very, very -- very powerful statement. We've arrested numerous people, as you know, for what took place outside of Washington. In addition, the FBI is investigating hundreds of people throughout the country for what they've done to monuments, statues, and even buildings.
So we have very strong laws already on the books. And we have a law that's ten years, it's ten years, that's a long time, to have fun one night. I think many of the people that are knocking down these statues don't even have any idea what the statue is, what it means, who it is, when they knock down Grant, when they want to knock down Grant.
But when they look at -- now they are looking at Jesus Christ. They are looking at George Washington. They are looking at Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson. Not going to happen, not going to happen. Not as long as I'm here.
As far as Democrats are concerned, I think they could care less whether or not it happens. And I think the American people get it.
So, we're going to have a very strong executive order. And it'll happen very quickly before the end of the week.
REPORTER: President Duda, we have an election coming up in November. You have an election coming up on Sunday. Some of your critics who are politicians here in the United States have criticized this visit to the White House, saying it is tantamount to election interference because it shows a very close relationship between the United States and Poland at a time when you really need it.
What do you say to those critics?
And, Mr. President, feel free to weigh in if you want to.
DUDA (through translator): Sir, first of all, let me -- let me also follow up on the question that you asked to President Donald Trump. I would like to thank you, Mr. President, because among others, not a
long time ago, the monument to General Tadeusz Kosciuszko (ph) was devastated. That was the national hero of Poland but also the national hero of the United States.
He was fighting for the independence of the United States. He had great merits. And he was also the commander of the Polish uprising where he was fighting for the independence of Poland. He suffered heavy wounds in Poland fighting for the independence of our country.
And for completely incomprehensible reasons to us, that monument was devastated recently. And thank you so much that it has been renewed so fast. And that's -- that was what made it possible for me to lay flowers at that monument and pay tribute to the great soldier and the great commander. Thank you for that. That was outrageous for a big number of Polish people.
Back in Poland all of them probably and for many, many Polish people living here in the United States, Polish organizations here in the United States, asked me and told me that they would renew that monument. I know that it has already been renewed by the United States. No assistance was needed. So I'm very grateful for that.
That here -- that monument of Kosciuszko (ph) stands near the White House, and he looks as he should look, which he has deserved for the merits laid for the United States and for Poland. So thank you very much for that, Mr. President.
And as to answer your question, two months ago, at the very beginning of the pandemic of coronavirus, we had a lengthy conversation with President Donald Trump. The pandemic disrupted the plans of our corporation, which we had.
And back then, we made an arrangement with Mr. President that we would meet as soon as it would be possible. This has been implemented. And the fact that this arrangement has been put into force is demonstrated by the visit today. I'm very grateful for Mr. President to inviting me here today.
Together with Mr. President, we are implementing our presidential duties. The president is always in charge of his national interests. And this is the task of the president. When the president is acting in the international sphere, this is my sense and I also know that also, it is a very strong believe of President Donald Trump. The president is supposed to realize the interest of their country.
So, Mr. President Trump is realizing the interest of his own country and I'm realizing the interest of Poland. So we are looking for a win/win situation where both parties are the winners, where both parties are able to implement their interest as part of the cooperation which we are implementing. This is the way we act.
And in this very moment we are acting on a national level, on the state level. We are just fulfilling our obligations and duties as presidents of our countries as those who are representing our nations and want our societies to have as good lives as possible. Thank you very much.
TRUMP: -- very well in Poland. He's doing a terrific job. The people of Poland think the world of him.
And, by the way, Mrs. Duda, who is a terrific woman, a terrific woman who we've gotten to know also through our various travels and meetings. But they think the world of him. And I don't think he needs my help.
I'm honored that this is a day that's, I guess, just before your election I'm honored. But he will do very well with or without us. He's going to have a great success. And Poland is going to continue on. They are doing incredibly well as a country.
DUDA: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Best regards to Madam Melania (ph) --
TRUMP: Thank you.
DUDA (through translator): Polish television.
REPORTER (through translator): Good morning. (INAUDIBLE) Polish television.
I want to ask about timing of the visit. President Andrzej Duda is the first president, the first international guest in the White House since the lockdown. And today, there was a big military parade in Moscow.
Can we combine those two facts? Does it kind of prove that America, that Poland is an important partner for America? Can we (INAUDIBLE) that we can rely on America and Poland? Thank you.
TRUMP: Well, I think you can. And we also are working with Russia right now on an arms treaty, which is a very big thing, nuclear arms specifically. But we're working very much.
And I think I can say, Mike, we're doing very well on that. We're two countries that want to see it happen. And we're working on other things with Russia. We have a very good relationship.
We have our ambassador over there right now who will be attending certain festivities. And that's a good thing. And I think that's frankly a good thing for Poland also.
Likewise, we're going to be having very important dignitaries at your parade. You're going to be having a very big event soon. And we're going to be -- I guess in August. And we're going to have people representing the United States at a very high level. And that's very important to us also. OK?
Please? DUDA (through translator): Sir? I have this feeling and sense that I'm conducting negotiations in Polish matters here in very experienced and very tough politician, tough player I can say, that is President Donald Trump who is standing strongly and looking to the interest of his country and his citizens.
What I'm doing here is I'm representing Polish interest here, and I'm not parading in Moscow. That is all.
Thank you very much.
TRUMP: Thank you all very much. We will see you soon. Thank you very much.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. You have been listening to President Trump taking questions along with Polish President Duda.
As the nation faces the coronavirus pandemic and reckoning on race, President Trump saying that Poland will get access to any potential treatment or vaccines for the novel coronavirus. He weighed in on policing reform efforts. The president also suggesting that he will have an executive order soon having to do with monuments.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins is in the Rose Garden for us.
And, Kaitlan, the president -- actually I'm going to go to Abby Phillip first.
And, Abby, an interesting moment when the president was asked about his position on both this executive order having to do with monuments and also the Democrats blocking the Republican effort at policing reform. He really started railing at Democrats in general saying that they wanted to de-fund or abolish police. I mean, a very, not unusual for President Trump, I suppose, but unusual for a president holding a joint-press conference with a world leader, continuing to try to draw very strong partisan contrasts.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And it really showed the degree to which he is very much focused on making clear what he is against, which is saying Democrats want to defund the police, he is against that. But the question was actually about what he thought about the proposal being put forward by Republicans, which would have put forward some police reforms that the Democrats called modest. But police reforms nonetheless.
And it's just been interesting that President Trump has rarely talked about the specifics of that proposal, whether or not he really supports what is in that proposal, and whether he would be willing to put political capital behind pushing for that to actually make its way through the Senate. Instead, this has become just a kind of another political fight with the Democrats as the president leans into his re- election message, which boils down to he is the law and order president. He said today, he's not going to do anything to weaken the police.
Well, that is an argument that seems to sort of undercut the conversation that is happening nationally, which is not whether reform should happen but what that reform should look like. President Trump is rarely kind of forward looking about that. He's more clear about what he is against than what he is for. And I think we saw that again today.
TAPPER: Kaitlan Collins, we saw a bit of tension substantively when it came to the Polish president saying that he hopes and he told President Trump that there is no withdrawal of U.S. forces from Europe. The Polish President Duda talking about how Putin has imperial aims for the region.
President Trump talking about how he wants to send some troops home from Germany, maybe send some others to Poland. And, again, as has been a theme throughout the last four or five years, praising Putin and talking about outreach to Putin.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And he talked about an arms deal that they're working on with the Russian president right now. But, Jake, you know, the concern about what's happening with the troops in Germany has been one for several weeks now. And we still haven't gotten a lot of clarity from the White House on this.
The president did confirm that, yes, they are going to be taking troops out of Germany. He said some of those will be going to Poland. But what he didn't say, Jake, was how many of those troops or exact numbers or really when that's going to happen.
And it comes as White House officials have been stressing those drawdown plans have not been formalized. They are very much in the early stages. So, the question is when is that going to happen because the logistics of that is a lot. It's military members, their families. There's a massive base in Germany. And, of course., it is not the same situation in Poland.
So those have been the big questions that he's been facing. But you did hear the Polish President Duda say he thought it would be detrimental to have a U.S. president withdrawn from Europe, as he was talking about, of course, the message it sends to Russia.
But the president thinks by sending troops to Poland, he thinks it sends a strong message to Russia. There, of course, are still so many questions about the details of what that would look like or when that would even happen.
TAPPER: Sanjay Gupta, let me bring you in. No specific question for President Trump about how the novel coronavirus is spiking in several parts of the country, and the numbers of new cases of coronavirus going in the wrong direction. The United States yesterday had the third highest number, and the last time the first two numbers that were so high were in April.
Things are --
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
TAPPER: -- really heading in the wrong direction. Nobody asked the president about that though.
GUPTA: Yes. I was surprised.