Joe Biden

Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Wilmington, Delaware

May 29, 2023

Q. Mr. President——

Q. Mr. President, what's——

Q. Do you think you can get progressives on board?

Federal Budget Negotiations

Q. Mr. President, give us an update on the debt ceiling deal. Are you confident it will pass Congress?

The President. Look, you know I never say I'm confident what the Congress is going to do. But I feel very good about it. I've spoken with a number of the Members. I spoke to McConnell. I spoke to a whole bunch of people. And it feels good. We'll see when the vote starts.

And look, one of the things that I hear some of you guys saying is, "Why doesn't Biden say what a good deal it is?" Why would Biden say what a good deal it is before the vote? You think that's going to help me get it passed? No. That's why you guys don't bargain very well.



Q. Mr. President, what's your message to—-

Q. Mr. President——

The President. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. So that's number one.

Number two, I spoke to Erdogan and congratulated Erdogan. And he—he still wants to work on something on the F-15's. I told him we wanted a deal with Sweden, until I get that done. And so we'll be back in touch with one another. But I—it was basically a congratulatory call.


Q. Sir——

The President. Yes.

Federal Budget Negotiations

Q. Sir, what's your message to House Democrats who have reservations about this compromise bill?

The President. "Talk to me."

Q. Mr. President——

Q. And what would you tell them?

The President. I'm not going to tell you.

Q. Why not?

The President. Look, you guys all get on and say, "Tell them what a good deal it is." How about—how about if this was a hundred-percent deal for the Democrats? Do you think it would help me get it passed?

Q. Well, who got the better deal?

The President. Wait—do you think it's going to help me get it passed? Come on.

Q. Mr. President, who got the better deal?

2024 Presidential Election

Q. What do you think of the way that the 2024 Republican field is shaking out?

The President. I haven't been able to keep up with it. [Laughter] It's moving so quickly. And you know, I'm not being facetious; I'm being very serious. I haven't focused on it that much. It seems that a lot of competent candidates who are trying to get the nomination. So we'll see.

Q. Ron DeSantis?

Federal Budget Legislation

Q. Will you whip votes yourself among Democrats and progressives? Will you make personal contact or leave that to the Hill?

The President. Oh, I've made some calls already.

Q. To who, Mr. President? Have you talked to Congresswoman Jayapal? And do you think you can get progressives on board?

The President. The answer is, I don't know. I have a good relationship with Jayapal. I haven't had a chance to speak to her yet.

Federal Budget Negotiations

Q. Who got the better deal? Who got the better deal, Democrats or Republicans?

The President. It's a bipartisan deal.

Federal Budget Legislation

Q. Will this be done by June 5?

The President. Oh, yes.

Q. No question?

The President. Well—you guys are—you guys—you realize you're not in the real world. "No question." There is no reason why it shouldn't get done by the 5th. I'm confident that we'll get a vote in both houses. And we'll see.


Q. Mr. President, Russia doubles down its attacks on Kyiv. Do you have any reaction? Russia doubles down its attacks on Kyiv.

The President. I'm sorry, I'm not——

Q. Do you have any reaction as to why Russia attacks on Kyiv today? They attacked three times today.

The President. I'm sorry, I don't understand the question. I can't—I apologize.

Q. Russia is doubling down——

The President. Russia is doubling down——

Q. ——its attacks on Kyiv.

The President. Yes.

Q. Do you have any reaction to that?

The President. It's not unexpected. And that's—it's just pure—it's not unexpected. That's why we've got to continue to give Ukraine all that it needs.

Q. Mr. President——

Q. Is it time, Mr. President——

Sweden's North Atlantic Treaty Organization Accession Bid/Turkey

Q. ——are you expecting any movement on Sweden's membership in NATO on Erdogan's part?

The President. I raised that issue with him. We're going to talk more about it next week.


Q. Is it time for aid package for Ukraine? Aid package for Ukraine.

The President. That's still in play.

Anybody else?

Defense Spending

Q. Mr. President, on defense, on defense spending, some of the—some Republicans are saying that this deal does not raise—does not give the Pentagon enough money. Can you guarantee that America's fighting force is going to have what it needs for the next couple years?

The President. Look, whatever the fighting force needs, if there's another—first of all, they passed my budget, what I asked for in defense. They passed that. Obviously, if there's any existential need for additional funding, I have no doubt we'd be able to get it because we'd jointly do it.

All right, thanks, everyone.


Q. On Uganda——

Q. Does the U.S. have any—[inaudible]—aid to Uganda?

The President. I'm sorry, I'm having trouble hearing you.

Q. On Uganda, sir, any message to the people of Uganda?

The President. Not right now, no. I think I heard the question.

Don't get your feet dirty, man.

All right?

Q. I've got one. Did you see that Ron DeSantis said that if he became President, he would pardon Trump? Where are you on the idea of Presidents pardoning Trump? [Laughter]

[At this point, the President waved his hand.]

The President. I'll see you guys. It's a great question. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:40 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House prior to boarding Marine One. In his remarks, he referred to Senate Minority Leader A. Mitchell McConnell; and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. Reporters referred to Gov. Ronald D. DeSantis of Florida; and former President Donald J. Trump.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Wilmington, Delaware Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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