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Remarks at Working Lunch With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and an Exchange With Reporters in Palm Beach, Florida

April 18, 2018

President Trump. Thank you very much, everybody. Prime Minister Abe and I have spent a lot of time today, and we really spent a lot of time since I got elected. And right from the beginning, we hit it off. The relationship is a very good one.

We talked North Korea; covered that yesterday, a little bit today. We're talking military and, of course, we're talking trade. What we're going to be doing now mostly is trade. As the Prime Minister knows, they've done very well with the United States. We have a very big deficit, and we're going to weed that down and hopefully get a balance at some point in the not-too-distant future. But we have a massive deficit with Japan.

We will, I believe, at the end of a fairly short period of time, be able to do certain things. I know they're ordering large numbers of airplanes—both jet fighters and passenger planes—and it's in the tens of billions of dollars. And they'll not only get the best plane, but will help with the process of equalization.

So I think we're going to have a very—this is a very exciting meeting for me, because I like this maybe the best. I love the world of finance and the world of economics, and probably, it's where I do the best. But we will be able to work things out.

I'm very happy to have Larry Kudlow with us. He's a special man. He's been a friend. I've been on his show many, many times over the years. And we've had a lot of fun together. We haven't always agreed, but I noticed lately Larry is agreeing more and more with me, which makes me quite happy. [Laughter]

And John Bolton—John was really very much involved yesterday with our meetings on North Korea and our meetings on the military. And, John, it's great to have you and Larry with us. A real honor.

National Security Adviser John R. Bolton. Thank you, sir.

National Economic Council Director Lawrence A. Kudlow. Thank you, sir.

President Trump. Thank you very much.

Mr. Prime Minister, thank you so much for being here, and your representatives. The relationship has been so good with all of us, and let's see how we do with, right now, the trade deficit.

Thank you very much for being here. Please.

[At this point, Prime Minister Abe spoke in Japanese, and no translation was provided.]

President Trump. Thank you very much, Shinzo.

I'd like to just maybe conclude by saying that it's an honor that you wanted to be at Mar-a-Lago. We have a lot of people that want to be here. It's just a special place. And somehow it makes people feel good, and that's good for our relationship. "Reciprocal" is the word that I think we have to start using with a lot of nations, not only Japan. So when we say, "free," that's good. "Fair," that's good. But I like to say, "free, fair, and reciprocal." And the word "reciprocal" is that when you have a car come in, we charge you a tax. When we have a car go to Japan, which aren't allowed to go there, we have to take down the barriers and we have to pay the same tax. And—but that goes for other countries, too. I mean, China, as an example, when they send a car to us, it's 2½ percent tax. When we send a car to them, number one, they don't take it, and number two, it's 25 percent tax. And then you wonder why we have $500 billion of imbalance. And it's not right.

So hopefully, the word "reciprocal" will be the primary word that we're going to be using. And we use that with every nation now, because the United States has not been properly led on trade. Our people have let us down. Whether it's our Presidents or our representatives, they've let us down.

So free, fair, and reciprocal. And I think we've all agreed to that. And that's just very important. Okay?

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Senate Confirmation Hearing Regarding the Nomination of Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Michael R. Pompeo To Be Secretary of State

Q. Mr. President, are you concerned about Mike Pompeo's confirmation?

President Trump. No, I think he's going to come through. I think Mike Pompeo is extraordinary. He was number one at West Point. He was top at Harvard. He's a great gentleman. I think he'll go down as truly a great Secretary of State.

I will say this about Rand Paul: He's never let me down. Rand Paul is a very special guy, as far as I'm concerned. He's never let me down. And I don't think he'll let us down again. So let's see what happens. If you remember, he voted for health care, and he did us a big favor. It was somebody else that voted against it that hurt us. So I have a lot of confidence in Rand, but I also have a great deal of confidence in Mike Pompeo.

I think Mike Pompeo will go down as one of the great Secretary of States. And, by the way, he just left North Korea. Had a great meeting with Kim Jong Un and got along with him really well, really great. And he's that kind of a guy. He's very smart, but he gets along with people. So I think that Mike will be in good shape. We'll see what happens. You know, a lot of people are predicting other things. But I have a feeling it's going to work out very well, and I think our country really needs him. He's going to be a great leader. Thank you very much. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:54 p.m. at the Mar-a-Lago Club. In his remarks, he referred to Sens. Randal H. Paul and John S. McCain III; and Chairman of the Korean Worker's Party Kim Jong Un of North Korea.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at Working Lunch With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and an Exchange With Reporters in Palm Beach, Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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