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Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for London, United Kingdom

December 02, 2019

The President. Hello, everybody.

Q. Mr. President, Afghanistan——

The President. So I'm going to London, to NATO. We're fighting for the American people. It has not been a fair situation for us, because we pay far too much. As you know, Secretary Stoltenberg said that we were responsible, I was responsible, for getting over $130 billion extra from other countries that we protect, that weren't paying. They were delinquent. So we'll be talking about that. We'll be talking about a lot of things.

We are leading the world now on the economy, and we have been almost since I became President. But we're substantially ahead of anybody else; nobody is even close. You know that very well. And I look forward to having a number of very, very productive days for our country. We'll be working hard.

Do you have a question?

Q. Afghanistan——

Hong Kong/China-U.S. Trade

Q. Mr. President, does your signing the Hong Kong bill hurt the chances of a China trade deal, sir?

The President. Well, it doesn't make it better, but we'll see what happens.

Q. Mr. President——

Q. Afghanistan——


Q. Will you participate in the impeachment inquiry?

The President. So the Democrats—the radical-left Democrats, the "do-nothing Democrats"—decided, when I'm going to NATO—this was set up a year ago—that when I'm going to NATO, that was the exact time—this is one of the most important journeys that we make as President. And for them to be doing this and saying this and putting an impeachment on the table—which is a hoax, to start off with.

If you noticed, there was breaking news today. The Ukrainian President came out and said, very strongly, that "President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong." That should be case over.

But he just came out a little while ago and he said, "President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong." And that should end everything. But it will never end it, because they want to do what they want to do. They're getting killed in their own districts. I think it's going to be a tremendous boon for the Republicans. The Republicans have never, ever been so committed as they are right now and so united. So it's really a great thing in some ways, but in other ways, it's a disgrace. It's a disgrace for our country.

Q. Would you want—[inaudible]?

Afghanistan Q. President Trump, on Afghanistan. Afghanistan, please. How was your trip?

The President. I loved going to Afghanistan. It was great meeting with—as you know, we had some very good meetings with a lot of people, including Ghani. You know that, right? And he was terrific. It was great meeting with him.

But my trip to Afghanistan was very successful. Now we're going to London, and it will be NATO, and we're meeting with a lot of countries. And they're going to have to do a little more burden-sharing.

Q. Any reaction on signing the Hong Kong——

China-U.S. Trade

Q. Is a China trade deal still possible this year?

The President. Say it?

Q. Is a China trade deal still possible this year?

The President. The Chinese are always negotiating. I'm very happy where we are. And, frankly, I could be other places that I can do all by myself and be even happier. And you understand what that means.

But the Chinese want to make a deal. We'll see what happens.

Q. What sparked the——

Q. [Inaudible]—the tariffs?

Brazil-U.S. Trade/Argentina-U.S. Trade

Q. Argentina, Brazil—your tweet this morning. What was the, kind of, thought process on that?

The President. Well, Brazil has really discounted—if you take a look at what's happened with their currency, they've devalued their currency very substantially, by 10 percent. Argentina also. And I gave them a big break on tariffs, but now I'm taking that break off, because it's very unfair to our manufacturers and very unfair to our farmers. Our steel companies will be very happy, and our farmers will be very happy with what I did.

Q. Mr. President, why not defend yourself? Why not defend yourself?


Q. Why don't you send one of your lawyers to represent your point of view before the House impeachment inquiry?

The President. Because the whole thing is a hoax. Everybody knows it. All you have to do is look at the words of the Ukrainian President that he just issued, and you know it's a hoax. It's an absolute disgrace what they're doing to our country.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:04 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House prior to boarding Marine One. In his remarks, he referred to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine; and President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai of Afghanistan. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 3.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for London, United Kingdom Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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