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Remarks in a Meeting With Danny Burch Following His Release From Captivity in Yemen and an Exchange With Reporters

March 06, 2019

The President. Thank you very much for being here. We have a very big moment because we have Danny Burch back home, where he should be.

He was in Yemen, in a very horrible situation: a captive, a prisoner. You can call him whatever you want, but it wasn't good. He was there for 18 months—even a little more than 18 months—and we got him out. And we had some great help from U.A.E. and all of our friends. But we got Danny out. And he's just come home, said hello to his family, his beautiful son. Thank you for being here. And it's nice to see your father back where he belongs.

I want to thank our Vice President for being here. I want to thank Mitt Romney—Senator Romney, Senator Graham for being here. They were in the office, unrelated to this, and they heard about this and they know the story of Danny. This is a very big story in our country, what they did with you. But we got him out, and we're very happy about it.

And, Danny, welcome home.

Mr. Burch. Thank you so much. It's great to be here.

The President. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

Mr. Burch. Appreciate it, sir.

The President. Thank you, Danny. Would you like to say something?

Mr. Burch. Gosh, it's great to be an American. [Laughter]

The President. Thank you, Danny. Come here. Appreciate it.

Thank you all very much. Mike—Mike, do you have anything to say while we're here?

Vice President Michael R. Pence. Just, I'm so proud of this team, the State Department team. Mr. President, you've made it clear to the wider world that when Americans are detained anywhere in the world, we want them home. And we work urgently to do that. And we've seen great successes over the last 2 years.

And Danny's homecoming is just one more statement about the priority that you and our administration, our entire team, place on bringing Americans back from captivity. So it's an honor to be here with you. And, Danny, it's an honor to say, "Welcome home."

Mr. Burch. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.

The President. Well, I will say, Danny, we're 20-and-oh. We've gotten a lot of them out. And they shouldn't have been there: Aya from Egypt and many others. North Korea. We have a few negotiations going on right now. I won't tell you where, because we don't want to blow the negotiation out the window, but we have a few negotiations going. I love doing it because I love the end result. This is the end result: a happy man with a happy family.

Lindsey, would you have anything to say? Senator Lindsey O. Graham. Congratulations. You've got a very good hostage negotiator. And to the Yemen people, I'm sorry you're having to go through what you're going through. And thank you for taking Iran on. I appreciate them, Mr. President. The root of most evil in the Mideast is Iran. Thank you.

The President. Well, would you say maybe a few words? You worked very hard.

Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert C. O'Brien. Sure, Mr. President. Thank you. And this wouldn't happen with all of these hostages and detainees without the support of the President. The President has had unparalleled success in bringing Americans home without paying concessions, without prisoner exchanges, but through force of will and the good will that he's generated around the world.

So thank you to the U.A.E., which assisted President Trump in this important rescue. And, again, I'm honored to be here with you today, sir.

The President. Thank you. That's so nice.

Special Envoy O'Brien. And welcome home, Danny.

Mr. Burch. Thank you, sir.

Special Envoy O'Brien. Thank you, sir.

The President. The Ambassador said that he's the greatest hostage negotiator in our history. And I say: "Don't say it because they'll never write it. They'll never write it."

Mitt, would you say something? Please.

Senator W. Mitt Romney. I'd be happy to. I congratulate the administration, the President, the Vice President, for making this such a high priority. Welcome home. It's wonderful to have you back in our wonderful land.

Thank you also to Robert O'Brien and the entire team at State and the administration that's working to find ways to bring our hostages home. It's a great and important work, and we very much appreciate it. It's wonderful to have one of our own come back to our shores.

The President. Thank you very much, Mitt. And, Robert, again, congratulations to everybody. Keep it going. We have some other ones going right now that nobody knows about, but we're going to pull it off.

And I really—you're doing a fantastic job. Thank you very much.

Special Envoy O'Brien. Thank you, sir.

The President. Thank all very much. Thank you. Thank you.

China-U.S. Trade

Q. How are the trade talks going?

The President. What?

Q. How are the trade talks going with China?

The President. Going okay. We're moving along. We're discussing that with Lindsey and Mitt. They're moving along well, and we'll see what happens. They're either going to be a good deal, or it's not going to be a deal. But I think they're moving on very nicely. Q. Mr. President, what is the message to Republicans who are going to vote against the national emergency?

North Korea

Q. Mr. President, is North Korea breaking a promise by rebuilding a key missile launch site?

The President. Well, we're going to see. It's too early to see. But we have to solve a problem. We have a very nasty problem there. We have to solve a problem. The relationship is good.

I would be very disappointed if that were happening. It's a very early report, and we're the ones that put it out. But I would be very, very disappointed in Chairman Kim. And I don't think I will be, but we'll see what happens. We'll take a look. It will ultimately get solved.

Thank you all very much. I appreciate it.

Border Security

Q. What's your message to Republicans who choose to vote against your national emergency declaration? What's your message to Republicans who have already chosen to vote against it?

The President. We'll have to see how the vote goes. We'll see how the vote goes.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:12 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Falls Church, VA, resident Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian American aid worker who was released from captivity by the Egyptian Government on April 20, 2017, after being held in prison since May 2014 on charges of child abuse and human trafficking. A portion of these remarks could not be verified because the audio was incomplete.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks in a Meeting With Danny Burch Following His Release From Captivity in Yemen and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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