Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks Prior to a Meeting With President Abdelfattah Said Elsisi of Egypt and an Exchange With Reporters

April 09, 2019

President Trump. Thank you very much. It's a great honor to be with President Elsisi of Egypt. We have many things to discuss, as you can imagine: military, trade. And I have to say that a lot of progress has been made in a lot of different ways, in terms of terrorism and others things, with Egypt and within Egypt. It's really incredible what's happened, especially in certain respects that we've already talked about. But we will be meeting with representatives of the President and of Egypt in a little while.

Again, we have very, very important things, militarily, to talk about. And also about trade. A big trading partner. We do a lot of work together. We work together. And I think we've never had a better relationship—Egypt and the United States—than we do right now.

So I want to thank everybody for being here. And, Mr. President, thank you very much.

President Elsisi. Thank you.

President Trump. My friend.

[At this point, President Elsisi spoke in Arabic, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows.]

President Elsisi. Thank you, Mr. President. Allow me to express my thanks for your kind invitation and for providing me this opportunity to meet and talk about making a quantum leap in the strategic relationship between Egypt and the United States.

Let me emphasize, Mr. President, that the relations have not been better over the years of our bilateral relationship, and that is why I'm extending, Mr. President, to you our thanks, appreciation, and greetings for all the effort.

All the credit goes to you, Mr. President. Thank you very much for your support on all fronts. This is what we're seeking to promote our bilateral relations in various fields: political, economic, military, cultural, and others.

[President Elsisi spoke in English as follows.]

Thank you very much.

President Trump. Well, thank you. And I just have to say, before we perhaps take a couple of questions, the First Lady was recently in Egypt. She was treated beautifully. But maybe even more importantly, what she saw with the pyramids was—you could call it the seventh wonder or the eighth wonder of the world.

President Elsisi. Yes.

President Trump. She thought it was incredible. She thought it was one of the most incredible things she's seen. And we have lots of pictures, and that was great day and a great moment to see the pyramids, the Great Pyramids.

So hopefully a lot of people will be going and looking at them. But she's not easily impressed; she was very impressed. So thank you very much.

Q. Mr. President——

Q. Mr. President, you seem to be——

President Trump. Go ahead, Jeff [Jeff Mason, Reuters].

Department of Homeland Security Leadership Changes/Border Security

Q. You seem to be cleaning house at DHS. What would you like to achieve with the new leadership there?

President Trump. Well, I never said I'm "cleaning house." I don't know who came up with that expression. We have a lot of great people over there. We have bad laws. We have a judge that just ruled, incredibly, that he doesn't want people staying in Mexico. Figure that one out. Nobody can believe these decisions we're getting from the Ninth Circuit. It's a disgrace.

And so we're fighting the bad laws, the bad things that are coming out of Congress. You have a Democrat Congress that's obstructing. You talk about obstruction: the greatest obstruction anyone has ever seen. All they have to do is spend 20 minutes, and they can fix this whole problem.

We have the worst laws of any country anywhere in the world, whether it's catch-and-release or any one of them. I mean, I could name—I could sit here and name them, but if you got rid of catch-and-release, chain migration, visa lottery—you have to fix the asylum situation; it's ridiculous. You have people coming in, claiming asylum. They're all reading exactly what the lawyer gives them. They have a piece of paper. "Read what that is." And all of the sudden, you're entitled to asylum. And some of these people are not people you want in our country.

So we are building a lot of wall. It's getting built. Some of you saw that last week, when we went—we had a great presentation of a new stretch. But we're building a lot of wall, and we're being very strong on the border.

But we're bucking a court system that never, ever rules for us. And we're bucking really bad things with Congress, with the Democrats in Congress not willing to act. They want to have open borders, which means they want to have crime; they want to have drugs pouring into our country. They don't want to act. We have to close up the borders. We're doing it, but we're doing it—I could do it much faster if they would act.

Q. Mr. President——

President Trump. So it's a terrible thing. The Democrats in Congress—what they're doing and the obstruction—they don't want to fix it. And we have to fix it. They want open borders. They want to have millions of people pouring into our country. We—they don't even want to know who they are.

These are people coming into our country with criminal records. We have murderers coming in. We have drug lords coming in. We have gangs coming in. And we're stopping them. And if we don't stop them, ICE is throwing them the hell out. We're getting them out.

But our job could be so much easier. I think Kevin is going to do a fantastic job. He's Acting, but I think he's going to do a fantastic job. And we're not doing anything very big, as far as—what we need: homeland security. That's exactly what we want. There's no better term; there's no better name. We want homeland security, and that's what we're going to get. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

Q. Mr. President, can you clarify something? The issue of child separation, are you considering starting the child separations gain, Mr. President?

Q. Egypt is ordering more fighter jets from Russia. How do you feel about that?

President Trump. Thank you very much, everybody.

Separation of Parents and Children at Mexico-U.S. Border/Border Security

Q. Are you considering child separations again, sir? Can you rule that out, Mr. President? You wouldn't start separating the children again, would you, Mr. President?

President Trump. Obama separated the children, by the way.

Q. Would you consider doing it again?

President Trump. Just so you understand, President Obama separated the children. Those cages that were shown—I think they were very inappropriate—they were built by President Obama's administration, not by Trump. President Obama had child separation. Take a look. The press knows it. You know it. We all know it. I didn't have—I'm the one that stopped it. President Obama had child separation.

Now, I'll tell you something: Once you don't have it, that's why you see many more people coming. They're coming like it's a picnic because, "Let's go to Disneyland." President Obama separated children. They had child separation. I was the one that changed it.

Okay. Thank you very much.

Q. But what's President Trump going to do? Are you going to bring it back is the question. Would you bring it back?

Separation of Parents and Children at Mexico-U.S. Border

Q. Will you bring it back though?

President Trump. We're not looking to do that. No.

Q. You're not going to bring it back?

President Trump. Thank you. We're not looking to do that. No.

Thank you very much.

Q. So you're not looking to bring it back?

President Trump. But it brings a lot more people to the border. When you don't do it, it brings a lot more people to the border. We are not looking to do it.

Q. Mr. President, would you support the partition of Palestine?

President Trump. But President Obama had the law. We changed the law. And I think the press should accurately report it. But of course, they won't.

Thank you all very much. Thank you.

Q. Do you support the partition——

Egypt-U.S. Relations

Q. Should the Muslim Brotherhood be a terrorist organization? Muslim Brotherhood? President Trump. Thank you very much.

Q. [Inaudible]

President Trump. It's a great honor to be with the President. It's a great honor to be with your President.

Q. Do you support his efforts to stay in power longer?

President Trump. What?

Q. [Inaudible]—through 2034?

President Trump. I don't hear you.

Q. Do you support his efforts to stay in power through 2034?

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Guys, we've got to keep moving.

President Trump. I think he's doing a great job.

Press Secretary Sanders. Half the room is out.

President Trump. I don't know about the effort; I can just tell you he's doing a great job.

Press Secretary Sanders. Thanks, guys. Let's go.

President Trump. Great President.

Q. What about Russian fighter jets being purchase by Egypt?

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

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:17 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Richard Seeborg, judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With President Abdelfattah Said Elsisi of Egypt and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives