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Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia and an Exchange With Reporters

March 20, 2018

President Trump. Thank you very much, everybody. It's a great honor to have the Crown Prince with us.

Saudi Arabia has been a very great friend and a big purchaser of equipment and lots of other things. And one of the biggest investments in the United States is their—I guess it's your big investment—is buying stock in companies and various other things in the United States and creating jobs.

We've become very good friends over a fairly short period of time. I was in Saudi Arabia in May. And we are bringing back hundreds of billions of dollars into the United States. And we understand that, and they understand that.

Some of the things that—have been approved and are currently under construction and will be delivered to Saudi Arabia very soon, and that's for their protection. But if you look, in terms of dollars, $3 billion, $533 million, $525 million—that's peanuts for you. [Laughter] You should have increased it—$880 million, $645 million, $6 billion—that's for frigates—[laughter]—$889 million, $63 million—and that's for various artillery.

Some of the things that we're now working on——

[At this point, the President was assisted in retrieving a different visual aid.]

Thanks—and that have been ordered and will shortly be started in construction and delivered: THAAD system, $13 billion; the C-130 helo—airplanes, the Hercules, great plane—$3.8 billion; the Bradley Vehicles—that's the tanks—$1.2 billion; and the P-8 Poseidons, $1.4 billion. And what it does is, it really means many, many jobs. We're talking about over 40,000 jobs in the United States.

So we make the best equipment in the world. There's nobody even close. And Saudi Arabia is buying a lot of this equipment, and a lot of people are at work making the equipment, not only for us—because we, as you know, we're getting a $700 billion military proposal. And that's even a lot for you guys. But we're getting a $700 billion military plan this year, and 716 will be next year—$716 billion.

So we really have a great friendship, a great relationship. I would really have to say the relationship was, to put it mildly, very, very strained during the Obama administration. And the relationship, now, is probably as good as it's really ever been and, I think, will probably only get better. Tremendous investments made in our country. And that means jobs for our workers, jobs for our people.

Also defense: We're talking about defense, and we're working very hard with Saudi Arabia. And they're also footing a big part of the bill for defense—the whole Middle East. And we know what's happened in the Middle East. And it has not been a pretty picture for the United States or for anybody.

And a lot of things are changing, and they're changing very rapidly. As you know, ISIS is now—we've recaptured almost a hundred-percent of the territory, as you probably have heard before anybody. But we've captured close to a hundred-percent of the territory held by ISIS. And we've moved very rapidly, very quickly. And that's, really, coming to an end in that part of the world—it's coming to an end. And we'll be able to get out of certain areas that we've wanted to get out of for a long period of time. And other countries can handle it. At this point, they'll be able to handle it.

So it's a great honor to have you and your representatives here. Crown Prince, thank you very much. Thank you for being here.

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. Thank you, Mr. President. Actually, the relations between Saudi Arabia and United States of America, it's old relation. We are the oldest ally for the United States of America in the Middle East.

President Trump. Right.

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. More than 80 years of alignments and big interest: politically, economically, and security, in different area—a lot of area. And the foundation for relation, it's really huge and really deep.

And a different issue—we know that today, the relation, it's the cause of more than 4 million jobs in the United of States of America, directly and nondirectly. Also, it's a cause for a lot of jobs in Saudi Arabia directly and nondirectly.

And as you know, Mr. President, from day one you've reached this office, we've planned to tackle 200 billion U.S. dollars for opportunities in the next 4 years, but it end up with 400 billion U.S. dollar for opportunities.

We've talked to you, Mr. President, about the military deals, the implementation, and it is more than 50 percent. And also, the implementation overall in the 400 billion U.S. dollar of opportunity, more than 55 percent.

President Trump. Right.

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. We planned this for next 10 years, but it happens in 1 year, we implement 55 percent though. So this is signal that there is a lot of things could be tackled in the close future, and more opportunities. And that why we are here today, to be sure that we've tackled all the opportunities and achieve it and also get rid of all the threats facing our both countries and the whole world.

So I am very glad to be here today.

President Trump. Well that's right. And you know, one thing that you have been really focused on is the terrorism threat and the funding of terrorism. And whether it's Saudi Arabia or other countries, as we know, there will be no funding. It is—we have a zero tolerance for the funding of terrorists, and we're working very hard. And I will say that Saudi Arabia has been working very hard on that, as are certain other countries in the Middle East.

When I was there in May, I think it was one of the most incredible 2-day meetings that I've ever seen—that anybody has ever seen. It was an amazing 2-day period. We had 56 countries. We had—everybody was there, the head of every country. Virtually—I guess, in every case, it was the head of the country. And we talked about terrorism and the funding of terrorism. And it will not be allowed. It will not be allowed. That would be the one thing that would end the relationship with any country. So I think there's a very big focus on that—the funding of terrorism—meaning, it's over. And the other thing that I really am very happy about is that we talked about 400 billion dollars' worth of investment, of which we've already invested and seen invested $200 billion to our companies, to various other things—places and people that make things. So a lot of places throughout the United States are benefiting by this massive investment made by Saudi Arabia to buy product from the United States.

And again, we make the best military product in the world, whether it's missiles or planes or anything else. There's nobody that even comes close. So I just want to thank you, and I want to congratulate you on everything. Thank you very much.

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. Thank you, Mr. President.

President Trump. Thank you very much, everybody.

Bombings in Austin, TX

Q. Mr. President—[inaudible]—act of domestic terror. And can you comment on the bombings in Austin, Mr. President?

President Trump. It's terrible. The bombings in Austin are terrible. The local, State, and Federal are working hand in hand to get to the bottom of it. This is obviously a very, very sick individual or maybe individuals. These are sick people, and we will get to the bottom of it. We will be very strong. We have all sorts of Federal agencies over there right now. We're searching.

What's going on in Austin—a great place, a tremendous place—is absolutely disgraceful. So we have a lot of power over there. We're looking; it's not easy to find. But these are sick people, and we have to find them as soon as possible. We have to find them, really, immediately.

I will say, working with Texas, working with the local governments has been great. But we have to produce, we have to find this very sick person or people.

Thank you all very much.

Q. Is it a hate crime or act of domestic terrorism, Mr. President?

President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia

Q. How was your call with President Putin?

President Trump. I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory—his electoral victory.

The call had to do, also, with the fact that we will probably get together in the not-too-distant future so that we can discuss arms, we can discuss the arms race. As you know, he made a statement that being in an arms race is not a great thing. And it was right after the election, one of the first statements he made.

And we are spending $700 billion this year on our military, and a lot of it is that we are going to remain stronger than any other nation in the world by far.

We had a very good call, and I suspect that we'll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control, but we will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have. And also to discuss Ukraine and Syria and North Korea and various other things. So I think, probably, we'll be seeing President Putin in the not-too-distant future.


Q. How are you going to counter Iran? This is a Saudi——

President Trump. Well, we're going to see what happens. The Iran deal is coming up. It's probably another month or so, and you're going to see what I do. But Iran has not been treating that part of the world, or the world itself, appropriately. A lot of bad things are happening in Iran. The deal is coming up in one month, and you will see what happens. Okay?

Q. Your Royal Highness, should the President pull out of the Iran deal?

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. Well, we'll talk about that today.

President Trump. [Laughter] Okay. Thank you very much, everybody.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:07 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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