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Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and an Exchange With Reporters in Buenos Aires, Argentina

December 01, 2018

President Trump. Well, thank you very much everybody. It's a great honor to be with Chancellor Merkel, who is my friend. We have a great relationship and a great working relationship, I think very important. And we are talking trade. We're talking defense. We're talking about many things.

We have a tremendous trade imbalance, but we're going to get that straightened out. It'll be better and better, I think, as time goes by. Our military relationship is very good. I think we all understand each other.

And it's an honor to be with the Chancellor. She's done an incredible job. Highly respected by everybody, including me. So I just want to say it's a great honor, Angela. Thank you very much.

[At this point, Chancellor Merkel spoke briefly in English as follows.]

Chancellor Merkel. You're welcome.

[Chancellor Merkel continued her remarks in German, which were translated by an interpreter as follows.]

Well, let me say I'm very glad we have the opportunity for this bilateral meeting. We shall address issues related to trade, multilateral issues, and also fair trade and the World Trade Organization. We will also talk about bilateral relations, Ukraine, Syria, and the violations of the INF treaty by Russia. So there's quite a lot to do, quite a lot on our plate for this relatively short time.

President Trump. Good. Thank you very much. Okay. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

Death of Former President George H.W. Bush

Q. Mr. President, have you spoken to President George W. Bush?

President Trump. Yes, I have. And Jeb also. And I expressed deepest sympathies. Angela and I were just talking about it. He was a wonderful man. And you may want to just explain your little meeting with him. I found it very interesting.

[Chancellor Merkel spoke in English as follows.]

Chancellor Merkel. Yes. I was with Chancellor Kohl in the White House, visiting George Bush. And he's the father, or one of the fathers, of the German unification, and we will never forget that.

President Trump. I found that very interesting.

So we extended our best wishes. And he was: He was a very fine man. I met him on numerous occasions. He was just a high-quality man who truly loved his family. One thing that came through loud and clear, he was very proud of his family and very much loved his family. So he was a terrific guy, and he'll be missed. And he led a full life and a very exemplary life too, I will say.

Q. Mr. President——

President Trump. And we've decided—as you know, we were going to have a big press conference today, which I actually looked forward to, because we've made tremendous progress at the G-20 with many nations. And we were going to have a very big press conference, and out of respect for President Bush, we've canceled it here, and we'll have it back in Washington at some time in the near future, sometime after the funeral services. Okay?

Q. Do you regret any of your comments about Bush or his family in the past?

President Trump. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

The President's Upcoming Meeting With President Xi Jinping of China

Q. Mr. President, are you still meeting with President Xi?

Q. Mr. President, are you still planning to meet with President Xi today?

President Trump. We will be meeting with President Xi tonight. I will be, and my group—small group. And he will have a small group of representatives, and we'll be talking about a thing called trade and probably other things also. But primarily trade.

And it's a very important meeting. But again, the fact that we lost a President who truly was a wonderful person, a wonderful man, a great man, it really puts a damper on it, to be honest with you.

So we're going to have the meeting tonight, and then I'll be going back to Washington. And we can all meet sometime during the week or shortly thereafter.

Thank you all very much. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:41 p.m. at the Centro Costa Salguero convention center. In his remarks, he referred to former Gov. John E. "Jeb" Bush of Florida.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and an Exchange With Reporters in Buenos Aires, Argentina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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