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Remarks at a Working Luncheon With Amir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah of Kuwait and an Exchange With Reporters

September 07, 2017

The President. Well, thank you very much. First of all, it's a tremendous honor to have the Amir with us. The Amir of Kuwait is a very special person who I've gotten to know over the—actually, over the years. I want to thank you very much for being our guest at the White House and for all of your representatives. We very much appreciate it.

And we have many things to discuss, including trade and military and—but many things. We had a short, but very good, meeting individually, and we look forward to having this luncheon. And I know we have meetings all throughout the day and tomorrow, and we look forward to that.

Thank you all for being here. We appreciate it.

And for the media, the so-far results of the hurricane are not looking particularly good for Florida. It's heading very much in that direction. We are very well covered from the standpoint of bravery and talent. We have tremendous people there representing us from the Coast Guard to FEMA to everybody else.

I've spoken to Governor Scott on numerous occasions, and they likewise are very well prepared. But the amount of wind that's coming in, we don't think we've seen anything quite like this one: 185 miles an hour, 150 miles an hour. We don't think we've seen anything quite like this. Some of the winds have gotten up to close to 200 miles an hour.

So to the people of Florida: We just want you to protect yourselves. Be very, very vigilant and careful. Again, the Governor is working very hard. FEMA, the Coast Guard, all of our people are very well prepared. We're going to be knowing pretty soon—you know where it is. We have a pretty good accuracy as to path, but we'll be—unfortunately, we'll be knowing pretty soon. Hopefully, we'll have some good news. That's what we're waiting for, is good news.

Thank you very much. Thank you, everybody. Thank you.

Debt Ceiling/Military Spending/Bipartisanship

Q. Mr. President, a long-term deal with Senator Schumer on the debt ceiling, a permanent deal—do you want that, Mr. President?

The President. Yes, there will never be a problem on that. Nobody would ever do anything with that. I had a—we had a great meeting yesterday with Nancy Pelosi and Senator Schumer, and it was a very bipartisan meeting. We could have done a longer deal, but that would have affected the military, as you know. So we really kept it for 3 months because of the military. We have a great respect for the sanctity of the debt ceiling, and Chuck does, and Nancy does, and we all do. So that will never be a problem. The debt ceiling will never be a problem.

We would have done a 1-year deal, we could have done a 1-year deal, but we couldn't do it for one reason: It's called the military. We need the flexibility, especially in these times. And we're looking at major military—I was just telling the Amir that we're increasing the military purchases in this country by many, many billions of dollars—new fighter jets, new ships—things that we need, things that should have been bought over the last 10 years we're making up for .

We have the finest military equipment in the world, and we're now the biggest of all buyers. So we're strengthening, very substantially, our military. But we couldn't have done a longer deal than the 90 days, because of the military and because of the fact we all wanted to have it all in one package—I did. But we all wanted to have it in one package.

So I thought it was a really good—Mike was with me, our Vice President, and we had a—Mike, you may want to say something about it. But I thought it was a very, very friendly—it was a meeting that we all wanted to get together and do something. And I think the primary reason was because you look at North Korea, you look at the hurricanes, you look at what's going on in the Middle East, and I said, frankly, it's time that we walk out and shake hands and have a deal. And they agreed. And I will tell you, it was—there was a lot of spirit in that room, a lot of good spirit.

But the reason we have the 90 days, which will, I believe, quite easily extend, but certainly, we will extend on the debt ceiling, because they understand the importance of debt ceiling. So that's really a sacred trust.

Debt Ceiling

Q. Do you want to get rid of that vote process entirely, Mr. President?

President Trump. Well, I think that, you know, it could be discussed. For many years, people have been talking about getting rid of debt ceiling altogether, and there are a lot of good reasons to do that. So certainly, that's something that will be discussed. We even discussed it at the meeting that we had yesterday. It complicates things. It's really not necessary, because you're talking about budget. So it's really not necessary, but it's certainly something we could discuss. But as long as it's there, it will never be violated.

Okay? Thank you all very much. Thank you.

Bipartisanship/Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Policy/Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Q. Mr. President, does this deal signal more bipartisanship?

The President. I think it does, yes. I think it does. I think we're going to have—I think we will have a different relationship than you've been watching over the last number of years.

Q Are Schumer and Pelosi——

The President. I hope so. I think that's a great thing for our country, and I think that's what the people of the United States want to see. They want to see some dialogue. They want to see coming together, to an extent, at least. And I think you see that with DACA. You see that with so many different things.

I think you'll—I think you really saw it yesterday loud and clear. The people of the United States want to see a coming together, at least to an extent. We're different parties. We have different thoughts, different feelings, different ideas. But I think you're going to see a much stronger coming together.

One thing we agree on: We agree very much on a strong military. We agreed very readily on Harvey, the hurricane. Little did we all know, sitting in that room—we had just gotten the early signs of the magnitude of Irma, which is potentially more devastating than Harvey. But, Mike, maybe you'll say a few words. I think there has been a great—certainly, that was a great starting meeting that we had yesterday.

[At this point, Vice President Michael R. Pence made remarks, concluding as follows.]

Vice President Pence. I think the American people, Mr. President, welcome a break from the harsh partisanship that has defined this city for too long. The ability to come together, I think, gives us all great confidence that we'll find progress on a broad range of issues to get the economy moving and make America more secure.

The President. One of the things we're very happy about was the quick funding, and you saw that very quickly we funded Harvey. And the initial fundings are all there; they're all in place. And who would have thought a thing like this could have happened? But we needed it very quickly. We all came together. We got it done. That was very important.

Thank you all very much. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:58 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Vice President Pence.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a Working Luncheon With Amir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah of Kuwait and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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