Remarks in a Meeting With World War II Veterans and an Exchange With Reporters
The President. Well, thank you very much. This is a special moment. I spoke with Allen Jones about a year ago. And Allen now is 95 years old. Great World War II hero. And when I spoke to him, I said, "Come on up to the White House sometime, and I'll see you." And guess what? He called, and he said, "Hey, you promised." And I deliver, right?
Connellsville, PA, resident Allen Q. Jones. You did.
The President. We don't play games.
And it's an honor to see you, Allen. And Allen is with some of his friends—Sidney Walton, World War II veteran. Great gentleman, a great hero. And he's 100 years old. And I want to be like you someday. [Laughter] I want to be like all of you guys someday. [Laughter] That's great—100. And thank you very much. Thanks, Sidney. That's fantastic. Thank you.
And Floyd Wright—and Floyd Wigfield. And Paul—where's Paul? Paul Kriner is fantastic. Paul is, let's see, 103. He doesn't look a day over 90. [Laughter] A hundred and three. You look fantastic. Congratulations. Congratulations. War hero.
And Floyd Wigfield, who is 101, and you are amazing. Look at you, huh? Look at you. Look at you. So fantastic. I'm glad you took me up on the offer.
And surrounded by their family—very good genes in this family. You're going to live a long time, right? You're proud of the folks.
Family members. Absolutely.
The President. Do you have anything to say about him?
Daughter Ellie Walton. Oh, our dad is the most wonderful dad in the world. He always has been.
The President. And right here, right? Very good. That's great.
Ellie Walton. This is our dad, right here. Yes.
The President. The most wonderful dad. Isn't that great?
Ellie Walton. The most wonderful dad you could ever imagine.
Son Paul Walton. What he's doing, Mr. President, is incredible. He's traveling the whole country—all 50 Governors, and now meeting the President—he's spreading the word of how few World War II veterans there are left. And——
The President. Do you know how many actually? Do you know? Is there a number?
Paul Walton. It's really—what I've been told, it's just a handful.
The President. Wow. Isn't that incredible. Paul Walton. And he's on a year-and-a-half tour meeting all—not only all the Governors, but he's meeting hundreds of thousands of people along the way.
The President. That's fantastic. Well, congratulations on having a great gentleman. That is—you know, I'm a big believer in having good genes, and you have the best genes you could have, right?
Ellie Walton. Thank you. Luck of the draw.
The President. So you travel a little bit with him, do you? Do you travel?
Paul Walton. Yes. I'm with him all the time.
The President. That's fantastic. That's fantastic. Let me see what that says. "Sidney, 100-year-old . . ." Wow.
Daughter Judy Walton. "No Regrets Tour."
The President. No regrets.
Judy Walton. Because he regretted not meeting a Civil War veteran when he had the chance. [Laughter] And he doesn't want anyone to regret not meeting a World War II veteran.
The President. That's really nice. No, I don't think anybody does. That was a great victory. That was a great victory. We knew how to win wars. That was a tremendous victory.
So tell me, how—you talk to me—the way we spoke, we had the greatest conversation. Tell them what we said.
Marcia Knight, daughter of Allen Jones. Can you hear him?
Allen Jones. Yes.
The President. Allen.
Allen Jones. I expressed to the President at the convention last year—he asked me to come on the stage, which was awesome. I was afraid that the Secret Service was going to grab me when I put my arm around you.
The President. He just wrapped his arm around me. [Laughter]
Allen Jones. And I had a picture with me, and I asked the President if he would sign it for me. He said he sure would. And I said to him that I was going to be 95 today, President, on April 11. And I said, "Well, I'd like to bring my family to the White House and meet in the Oval Office," because somebody told me that I would never get in the Oval Office. [Laughter]
And I really appreciate, Mr. President, for you allowing us to come to be with you today. And I just wish you the best in all of your endeavors.
The President. Thank you very much.
Allen Jones. I've got a young man back home, Mr. President—I told you to not let me speak. [Laughter]
The President. That's okay. No, he speaks well. He speaks very well.
Allen Jones. I've got a young man back home that comes to my church Sunday school class almost every Sunday, and your name is mentioned by him. And I've got to get a picture to take back for him. The President. We'll do that.
Allen Jones. That would just be——
The President. We'll do that.
Allen Jones. He'll be one of your—I want to ask you one other question. [Laughter]
The President. Go ahead.
Allen Jones. When you're in Pittsburgh, I'd like to be on the stage with you.
The President. Okay. We can do that—which will be soon. We'll do that.
Allen Jones. If you can arrange it, I'd appreciate that.
The President. A hundred percent. That's why he's successful, because he's very aggressive. [Laughter] He's an aggressive—he's an aggressive, great guy. Thank you very much. I really appreciate it.
Allen Jones. And I've got one more picture for you to sign.
The President. Let me have it. Let me have it. Thanks, Allen. Let me see.
Allen Jones. Well, I don't want to give—there you are. That's the one—we took it on the stage.
The President. Whoa, that's the one we took. See? I'm going to sign this one, right? Yes? I'll sign this one for you?
Allen Jones. Please, yes.
The President. Okay. I'm going to sign this one. And Paul, how about you? Tell me. You're feeling good?
Chambersburg, PA, resident Paul Kriner. I was in a combat outfit. It was rumored, we were second longest in combat. We had the 517 days of combat.
The President. Wow.
Mr. Kriner. And, well, I started out in Africa, and Italy, France, and Germany. And I was in the Alps mountain area when the war ended. And our last position was at Füssen, southern Germany, in an Alps mountain area. We were pulled out and went into Schongau. It was a German army camp where they trained Air Force identification people.
The President. Right.
Mr. Kriner. And we processed 14,000 prisoners there in 2 weeks.
The President. Wow.
Mr. Kriner. And——
The President. That's pretty amazing, right? So do you remember those days perfectly?
Mr. Kriner. Yes, sir.
The President. That's really something.
Mr. Kriner. I was also in the Korean war too.
The President. Pretty good warrior, isn't he? Huh? Mr. Kriner. Twenty-six months in—[inaudible].
The President. A hundred and three. Well, you're going to be around a long time. You look fantastic. You look fantastic. And I really appreciate you being in the White House and the Oval Office.
Tell us something about the man.
Ms. Knight. We're his——
The President. Tell us. Tell us. Go ahead.
Ms. Knight. He's not shy. You nailed it perfectly.
The President. No, he's not shy. [Laughter]
Ms. Knight. Not at all.
The President. He's not shy at all.
Ms. Knight. I'm just like him. And this is my brother. Go ahead.
The President. Good, good. Congratulations.
Son Charles Jones. We're very proud of dad. Dad was one of five brothers that went off to World War II. And his mom was a Gold Star mother. One of them didn't return.
The President. Oh, wow.
Charles Jones. So dad is very proud to be a World War II veteran. And his family and God and——
The President. Well, we're proud of him. Proud of all of you.
Floyd? How about yourself?
Cumberland, MD, resident Floyd Wigfield. I was with the 4th Division. And we went in on Utah Beach on June 20—in June of '44. And we made the—I was on the—we made a third—was on the third wave and——
The President. And that was pretty brutal, Utah. And it was pretty—that was a pretty brutal area at the time, wasn't it?
Mr. Wigfield. Yes. I was there about a half a month before I got wounded. Night and day on the battlefield. And——
The President. How badly wounded out there? Were you badly wounded?
Mr. Wigfield. Yes, well, I was all summer there, getting me back out of the hospital. They sent me back up, and I went back up into West Germany somewhere. Then, another shell came. [Laughter]
The President. You got wounded again. [Laughter]
Mr. Wigfield. Back in France, back in England again. And that time, they sent me home.
The President. Wow. Fantastic job.
Are you together? Huh?
Greatest Generations Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy Davis. Paul and Floyd are both with the Greatest Generations Foundation. As you know, we return combat veterans back to where they fought and served. And we look forward to hosting you in Normandy this coming June for the 75th.
The President. Yes. I'll be there. I'll be there.
Mr. Davis. Probably a good opportunity. This gentleman wants to fly back with you on Air Force One. [Laughter]
The President. Where are you flying back to? Are you flying back to Washington? To Washington?
Mr. Davis. Once we're done in Europe?
The President. We'll do that. We'll work that out. Is that okay? We'll work that out. You'll like Air Force One.
Well, I want to thank all of you. Great heroes. Great warriors. Highly respected. And you folks do a fantastic job.
Mr. Davis. Thank you.
The President. I want to thank you. And congratulations to everybody.
Paul Walton. President Trump, my father just wanted to say a couple things, if he may.
Dad, please tell the President the reason why you joined the Army.
San Diego, CA, resident Sidney Walton. I joined the Army to fight Hitler.
Paul Walton. That's the reason he joined.
The President. That was good reason.
Paul Walton. And it's called now the "No Regrets Tour." You regret not meeting the Civil War veterans, right?
Sidney Walton. Yes. I regret not meeting any Civil War veterans.
Paul Walton. And that's why he's allowing people that want to meet a World War II veteran before it's too late to meet him.
The President. That's great.
Paul Walton. And he brought a gift for you.
The President. Good.
Paul Walton. And we have the gift back there. I think you'll like it. It's a very special gift that my dad has carried from San Diego——
The President. Do you want to bring it up?
Paul Walton. ——from San Diego, just for you.
The President. Great.
Paul Walton. Here, Dad. The President is going to open the gift that you got him.
The President. From San Diego, where we just built a wall. [Laughter] And they were very happy that I built it. [At this point, the President opened the gift and displayed a hat with the insignia GoSidney.com on it.]
The President. Oh, that's beautiful. That's beautiful. That's fantastic. Thank you very much.
Paul Walton. And all my dad asks is, if you happen to know how to tweet, if you want to tweet that out, you're welcome to.
The President. I don't tweet too much. [Laughter]
Paul Walton. It would be an honor if you will do that.
The President. I'll do something. I will. We'll have a little fun with it.
Paul Walton. Right, Dad?
Sidney Walton. Yes.
Paul Walton. Yes?
Sidney Walton. Yes.
Paul Walton. Is this one of the best days of your life?
Sidney Walton. Yes.
The President. That's great. That's really nice.
Sidney Walton. Yes. Yes, indeed. It is.
The President. You have a great family. You have a great family.
Well, I want to thank everybody. These are just terrific people. We weren't going to do this with the media. But frankly, when I saw you, I said, "We have to." And thank you. Great job.
Go ahead, please.
Allen Jones. Mr. President, I want you to meet my wife. We've been married 69 years.
The President. Whoa.
Allen Jones. And she probably can tell you more about me than I can tell myself.
The President. Come on. Give us just the good stuff, not the bad stuff. [Laughter]
Wife Nancy Jones. Well, is there much to say, then? [Laughter] It's all been good.
The President. That's great.
Mrs. Jones. Couldn't be any better.
The President. That's really nice. I can see that in your face. I can see that. Thank you.
Thank you all very much. It's a great honor.
Thank you all very much.
Q. Mr. President, do you consider WikiLeaks a hostile intelligence service, like Mike Pompeo said? The President. I really don't know much about them.
Q. Do you regret praising WikiLeaks?
The President. I don't know much about them.
Thank you very much.
NOTE: The President spoke at 2:42 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on April 12.
Donald J. Trump, Remarks in a Meeting With World War II Veterans and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/332879