Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Prime Minister Justin P.J. Trudeau of Canada and an Exchange With Reporters

June 20, 2019

President Trump. Well, thank you very much. We had some good news. The market hit a alltime high today. The S&P just broke its record, so we're very happy about that. Stock market continues to do well. Jobs have been literally through the roof. And, speaking of jobs, we have the USMCA with Canada, with Mexico. And we've come a long way. It's a great agreement.

As you know, Mexico, yesterday, approved it——

Prime Minister Trudeau. Yes.

President Trump. ——through the very positive vote. And you're doing very well, I understand, also.

Prime Minister Trudeau. We are.

President Trump. But it's an honor to have the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. He's been a friend of mine. We've worked hard together. We worked, in particular, on the USMCA. And we hope to have bipartisan support. I think, Justin, you're going to be making the rounds of Congress later on?

Prime Minister Trudeau. Yes. Meeting a few people.

President Trump. That's a terrific thing. But it's great to have you.

So we're going to be talking about that. And generally, we'll be talking trade and other things. And we're then going to have lunch and some meetings. And it's an interesting day, but it will be, like, a positive day, I think, like usual. That's the way we want to have it. We want to have very positive days. We only have positive days.

So I want to thank you very much, Justin, for coming to the White House.

Prime Minister Trudeau. Thank you, Donald.

President Trump. Thank you. Please.

Prime Minister Trudeau. Thank you, Donald, for this meeting. It's an opportunity for us, as you say, to keep talking about how we've worked hard to great—build a great trade deal that's good for Canadian workers, good for American workers, good for Mexican workers as well.

We're moving forward on the ratification process aligned with you. Obviously, today, as well, on top of the great news on the Canadian and American economies, we're continuing to work on a broad range of global issues. Obviously, there's news today we're going to be talking about as well.

But this is just a really great opportunity for us to continue to work and to develop and to build on the closest alliance in the world, between Canada and the United States.

President Trump. Well, this will be the largest trade deal ever made, and it won't even be close. If you take a look at the numbers, second is so far away, you don't even call it second. So it's very exciting. And very exciting for Mexico, very exciting for Canada.

And I have to also thank the President of Mexico because he's really been doing a job on the border and a job in Mexico. A lot of very positive things have happened. And the flow has very substantially slowed down. They have 6,000 Mexican troops on their southern border. And it's been—it's really been a tremendous difference.

So I want to thank Mexico and the people of Mexico. Now, this has only been for a short period of time. Our country has been asking for this for 45 years, approximately. And they're doing it now. And we very much appreciate that Mexico is doing that. It's going to have a big impact. It's already had a big impact.

So, with that, I thank you very much. And we're going to get on with our discussions. Thank you.

This is the new——

[At this point, several reporters began asking questions at once. The President motioned to a model of the redesigned Air Force One placed on the table before him.]

Q. Mr. President, how will you respond——

Q. On Iran, sir——

Air Force One

President Trump. I was going to say this is the new Air Force One. It's—which we ordered, which they've been trying to order for a lot of years. We were able to shave $1.5 billion off the price. When I got here, they were going to spend a lot more money than we spent. And I would say the plane basically is an upgrade over that model. We actually are getting things that they didn't get. We're saving about $1.5 billion. So it's going to be terrific. It's under construction, right now, by Boeing.

Go ahead. Question?

Q. There are two Canadians in jail in China right now.

Iran's Downing of a U.S. Naval Drone Over the Strait of Hormuz

Q. Mr. President, how will you respond to Iran in downing this drone?

President Trump. No, Iran made a big mistake. This drone was in international waters, clearly. We have it all documented. It's documented scientifically, not just words. And they made a very bad mistake. Okay?

Q. How will you respond, Mr. President? How will you respond?

President Trump. You'll find out.

Q. Are you willing to go to war with Iran over this?

Q. Does that mean you're planning to do something?

President Trump. You'll find out. You'll find out. I mean, obviously—obviously——

Q. [Inaudible]—meeting with Xi Jinping?

President Trump. Obviously, you know, we're not going to be talking too much about it. You're going to find out. They made a very big mistake.

Canadian Citizens Detained in China

Q. There are—two Canadians are in jail in China right now.

Q. Mr. President, what are your concerns about China and the Canadians who are detained, sir? President Trump. No concerns. We'll be discussing that. It will be one of the issues, I think, we'll be discussing right now with Justin.

Interest Rates

Q. Mr. President, the Fed made no change to the interest rate.

President Trump. Say it?

Q. The Fed made no change to the interest rate yesterday.

President Trump. Well, I guess they indicated they're going to be lower. He should have done sooner, but what are you going do? Can't win them all. He should've have done it sooner, but you can't win it all. And eventually, he'll do what's right, perhaps. Let's see what he does.

Q. Do you intend to bring up the detained Canadians when you meet with President Xi?

Q. Mr. Prime Minister, is Canada—[inaudible]—with the United States on Iran?

Q. Do you intend to bring them up when you meet with President Xi?

Prime Minister Trudeau. Obviously, we're very concerned about the escalation by Iran recently. We have significant presence in the area, including leading on the NATO mission in Baghdad, in Iraq. We look forward to discussing with our closest ally—their perspectives on this—and how we can move forward as an international community.

Canadian Citizens Detained in China/President Trump's Meeting With President Xi Jinping of China at Group of Twenty Summit in Osaka, Japan

Q. Will you help Justin Trudeau get a meeting with Xi Jinping at the G-20 next week to talk about the detained Canadians?

President Trump. Well, I don't know that he's trying to meet. Are you trying to get a meeting?

Prime Minister Trudeau. Well, we're—we've got a lot of things to discuss. Yes.

Q. He wants one, but Xi won't meet with him.

President Trump. Well, otherwise, I'll represent him well, I will tell you. We have a meeting set up with President Xi, and it's obviously on the big transaction that we're talking about and negotiating. Our people are actually speaking now; we'll see what happens with that. But anything I can do to help Canada, I will be doing.

Canadian Citizens Detained in China

Q. Are you planning to bring it up with President Xi when you meet with him?

President Trump. Excuse me?

Q. Are you planning to bring it up with President Xi when you meet with him?

President Trump. I would. At Justin's request, I will absolutely bring that up.

U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Q. When USMCA is ratified, sir, will that be the end of tariffs?

President Trump. Don't say "when."

Q. When it is ratified. "If" it is ratified. President Trump. Don't say "when," because, so far, I have to get the Democrats to approve it. All right? So I like your positive thinking. But if—and the "if" is really subject to the Democrats. Let's see what happens.

But I really believe that Nancy Pelosi and the House will approve it. I think the Senate will approve it rapidly. It's going to be very bipartisan. It's great for the farmers, manufacturers. It's really great for everybody. And unions. It's great for unions. I mean, I—we have tremendous union support too. It's a tremendous—it really is; it shows a partnership between three countries.

And it's sort of three countries—in a trade sense, we're competing with the European Union. We're competing with China. It gives us a bigger dialogue. It gives us a much bigger platform. It's really good for all three. It's something that's very popular. I hope, politically, they can do what they have to do.

Now, a day after the election, it would win with a tremendous support. But we have an election coming up. But I think Nancy Pelosi is going to do the right thing.

Q. And will that be the end of tariffs on Canada and Mexico?

President Trump. Well, we'll see. I mean, you know, they have to do what they have to do. We understand that. We can't have big, tremendous shipments of certain products. So we understand that very well.

Prime Minister Trudeau. We were very pleased with the lifting of the tariffs on steel and aluminum.

President Trump. They've been lifted, as you know, and there won't be, hopefully, transshipping. If there's transshipping, I'll call Justin, and I'm sure he'll take care of it. And if he doesn't take—I'll probably call him a second time. And if he doesn't, then we'll have to talk, right?

Prime Minister Trudeau. We're going to be fine.

President Trump. But I think that that situation is very well taken care of. Very important for both countries and for all three countries: the farmers. Very, very important, more so in that case, from us and Canada. But the farmers are really happy with it. The manufacturers are very happy. Mexico is thrilled. You saw the vote. It was a very lopsided—in a positive way—vote. A great vote. And I think it's going to be something very special.

Again, it's the largest trade deal, by far, ever entered into. And we're very close to having it finalized. This means a lot of jobs for our country, a lot of wealth for all three countries. And we're really competing against the world. You know, we're not competing with each other so much. This brings us into a position where we're not competing with each other, we're competing against the world. And that's what we're doing.

We're competing against big sections of the world, including Asia and including other areas. And I think it's going to be very special. I think it's going to end up being a very important deal, but the biggest ever made. Okay?

National Basketball Association Champion Toronto Raptors/Presidential Medal of Freedom

Q. Will you invite the Toronto Raptors to the White House, sir?

Q. How are you going to let Iran get away with——

Q. Is Iran still a different country than when you came in?

President Trump. Say it? Q. Will you invite the Toronto Raptors to the White House? I'm from the Toronto Star. I have to ask.

President Trump. Well, we thought about that. That's an interesting question. They played phenomenal basketball. I watched a little bit of it. They were really terrific. Congratulations, by the way. That was a great job by a great team. So we'll think about that. If they'd like to do it, we'll think about that.

We have a lot of other folks coming. And the Presidential Medal—I just spoke to him—we're going to be presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Roger Penske. Roger Penske is a great gentleman who has won 18 Indianapolis 500s. He's won—just won Daytona. He won Daytona. He won Indianapolis. He won probably more than anybody in the history of racing. I can't imagine anybody even being close.

But Roger Penske is going to be getting the Medal of Freedom, and he's very thrilled to be getting it. And that will be announced over the next little while, but I guess, actually, I'm announcing it pretty much now. But they'll be—[laughter]—they'll be putting something out. They'll be putting something out in a little while.

He's very deserving. He's a great gentleman—I've known him a long time—and a very brilliant guy. When you think of all the countries that want to win Indianapolis and Daytona, and they fight, and they spend—even Canada; they spend a lot of money and they—and you know, when a man wins Indianapolis, when he wins it 18 times—and he just won the Daytona. And he won many things over the course of years, and he's become a very successful man.

We talked about electric cars today. I think nobody knows more about that subject, in terms of common sense, than Roger Penske. So Roger Penske will be getting and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Iran/Iran's Downing of a U.S. Naval Drone Over the Strait of Hormuz

Q. Mr. President, you said Iran is a "different country." Do you still hold that opinion?

President Trump. Oh, absolutely. When I came here, Iran was in 14 to 18 different sites of confliction. They were extremely hostile. They were hostile when they signed the deal. They were screaming, "Death to America." And I think, probably, Iran made a mistake. I would imagine it was a general or somebody that made a mistake in shooting that drone down.

And fortunately, that drone was unarmed. It was not—there was no man in it, and there was no—it was just—it was over international waters, clearly over international waters. But we didn't have a man or woman in the drone. We had nobody in the drone.

Q. Are you still open to——

President Trump. It would have made a big difference, let me tell you. It would have made a big, big difference.

But I have a feeling—I may be wrong and I may right, but I'm right a lot. [Laughter] I have a feeling that it was a mistake made by somebody that shouldn't have been doing what they did. I think they made a mistake.

Q. Who do you think did that?

President Trump. And I'm not just talking the country made a mistake. I think that somebody under the command of that country made a big mistake.

Q. Are you still open to talking to Iran's leadership? President Trump. Let's just see what happens. You just—let's see what happens. It's all going to work out.

Q. [Inaudible]—to strike the drone?

Iran's Downing of a U.S. Naval Drone Over the Strait of Hormuz

Q. Do you feel like there are members of your administration who want to——

President Trump. Say it?

Q. Are you saying you think it wasn't intentional to strike the drone?

President Trump. I don't know. I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth. I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it. We'll be able to report back, and you'll understand exactly what happened. But it was a very foolish move, that I can tell you.

Q. What is the——

Afghanistan/Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Terrorist Organization/Iran's Downing of a U.S. Naval Drone Over the Strait of Hormuz

Q. Do you feel like there are members of your administration who are trying to push you into conflict with Iran?

President Trump. No, not at all. Not at all. In fact, in many cases, it's the opposite.

But I will say—look, I said I want to get out of these endless wars. I campaigned on that: I want to get out. We've been in Afghanistan for 19 years. As you know, we've reduced very substantially in Afghanistan.

We beat the caliphate. We took back 100 percent of the caliphate. When it was 99 percent, Justin, I said, "We're going to get out. We're going to start peeling back." And everybody went crazy because it was 99. So I said: "All right. So we'll finish it up." So we got 100 percent, and we're pulling that back, out of Syria. We're pulling a lot of people back.

But this is something—this is a new wrinkle. This is a new fly in the ointment, what happened shooting down the drone. And this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you.

Thank you very much.

Q. A year ago, you said[inaudible]. What's taking so long?

President Trump. I can't hear you.

Former White House Communications Director Hope C. Hicks's Testimony Before House Judiciary Committee

Q. [Inaudible]—Hicks testifying yesterday?

President Trump. No, she was terrific. I heard she was terrific. Really great. She's a great—she's a great person, and I heard she was terrific yesterday.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:10 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to President of Mexico Andres Manuel López Obrador; Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell; Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi; and Roger S. Penske, founder and chairman, Penske Corp. Reporters referred to Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, Canadian citizens who were arrested by Chinese authorities on December 10, 2018, and charged with stealing state secrets for a foreign organization.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Prime Minister Justin P.J. Trudeau of Canada and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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