President Trump, Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sec. Rex Tillerson News conference on North Korea, China, Russia. August 11, 2017. NJ. Golf Club Bedminster. NJ.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody.
We had a very good meeting.
We talked about North Korea, as you can imagine.
We're very much in agreement, I think we are
very unified, and we have been right from
the beginning -- this is something that has
We all feel that very strongly.
I will be speaking to President Xi tonight,
And we've been working very closely with China
and with other countries.
That phone call will take place tonight.
So if you have any questions, go ahead.
Q Mr. President, what have you been able to
do to reassure South Korea given the recent
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think as far as reassurance,
they probably feel as reassured as they can
Certainly, they feel more reassured with me
than they do with other Presidents from the
past because nobody has really done the job
that they're supposed to be doing.
And that's why we're at this horrible situation
And it is a very bad situation.
It's a very dangerous situation.
And it will not continue, that I can tell
So I think South Korea is very happy.
And you don't mention Japan, but I think Japan
is very happy with the job we're doing.
I think they're very impressed with the job
we're doing, and let's see how it turns out.
Q Mr. President, were you being sarcastic
when you thanked Vladimir Putin for expelling
755 diplomats from Russia?
THE PRESIDENT: In order to reduce our payroll,
I think you know that.
I think you know that.
THE PRESIDENT: We'll see.
In fact, I was just speaking to the Secretary,
and we're talking about coming up with an
SECRETARY TILLERSON: By September 1st.
THE PRESIDENT: By September 1st we'll have
But we have reduced payroll very substantially.
Q Mr. President, a lot of Americans are on
edge with this rhetoric going back and forth
between the United States and North Korea.
What can you tell them?
What do you tell them --
THE PRESIDENT: You know what I can say?
Hopefully it will all work out.
Nobody loves a peaceful solution better than
That I can tell you.
Hopefully it will all work out.
But this has been going on for many years.
It would have been a lot easier to solve this
years ago before they were in the position
that they're in.
But we will see what happens.
We think that lots of good things could happen,
and we could also have a bad solution.
But we think lots of good things can happen.
Q What would be a bad solution, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: I think you know the answer
Q Mr. President, when you say bad solution,
are you talking about war?
Is the U.S. going to go to war?
THE PRESIDENT: I think you know the answer
Q Is Iran abiding by the nuclear agreement,
in your view?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we have some pretty strong
opinions, but I would say that they are certainly
not abiding by the spirit of the agreement.
And I'd go, really, a further step, but I
would say that the spirit of the agreement,
Iran is not abiding by.
Q Staying in that region, do you have the
right generals in place right now for the
fight in Afghanistan?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we're going to make a
determination, Peter, in a very short period
of time as to Afghanistan.
I've been looking at it.
It's our longest war in history -- 17 years.
We will be making decisions, as you know,
And we're looking at that very closely.
We talked about it a little bit today.
We talked about Venezuela today also, by the
Venezuela is a mess; it's a very dangerous
mess and a very sad situation.
But we talked about Venezuela also.
Q We're a couple weeks into General John Kelly's
time as your Chief of Staff.
What have you done differently?
What has he done to change the way you act
or perhaps in the way that your White House
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think General Kelly
has done a fantastic job.
He's a respected person, respected by everybody.
Things have come together very nicely.
And I have to say, I think probably -- and
I've gone through this lot -- but I think
very few Presidents have done what we've done
in a six-month period.
Whether its optimism in business, whether
it’s the stock market, whether it's picking
up $4 trillion in value with companies and
equity, whether it's all of the many things
-- including a Supreme Court Justice, regulations
being cut massively.
We have, I think, it's 48 bills being passed
in the legislature -- I'm talking about legislature,
not just executive orders.
I think few have done anywhere near what we've
done, and we'll work now on tax reform cuts.
We'll never stop working on, as you know,
That's also working.
And we're working on other things, including
We're going to have a very big infrastructure
So I think nobody has done -- very rarely
could I that anybody has done.
I'm not sure that anybody has done what we've
done in a six-month period.
But I think that General Kelly has brought
a tremendous -- he's brought something very
special to the office of chief -- I call him
He's a respected man.
He's a four-star from the Marines, and he
carries himself like a four-star from the
And he's my friend, which is very important.
Q Mr. President, a number of Republican senators
have rushed to the defense of Senate Majority
Leader McConnell in the last day or so.
What do you make of that?
And have you reached out --
THE PRESIDENT: I don't make anything of it.
We should have had healthcare approved.
He should have known that he had a couple
of votes that turned on him, and that should
have been very easy to handle, whether it's
through the fact that you take away a committee
chairmanship or do whatever you have to do.
But what happened, in my opinion, last week
People have been talking about repeal and
replace for seven years -- long before I ever
decided to be doing what I'm doing.
Seven years they've been talking repeal and
replace, and it didn't happen.
And not only it didn’t happen, it was a
surprise, and it was a horrible surprise.
And it was very unfair to the Republican Party
and very unfair to the people of this country.
So I was not impressed.
Now, can he do good?
I think so.
I think we can do very well on taxes, cuts,
I think we're going to do well on infrastructure.
And things will happen with respect to healthcare,
and I think things will happen maybe outside
of necessarily needing Congress -- because
there are things that I can do as President
that will have a huge impact on healthcare.
So, you watch.
Q Have you spoken to the governor of Guam?
And what did you tell him?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I have not.
But I feel that they will be very safe.
Believe me, they will be very safe.
And if anything happens to Guam, there's going
to big, big trouble in North Korea.
Q Have you ordered any change in our military
THE PRESIDENT: I don't want to say.
That I just don't -- I don't talk about it.
You know that.
I'm not one that says we're attacking Mosul
in four months.
We do it or we don't do it.
Q You're interrupting your trip here to return
to Washington on Monday.
Can you tell us why you're doing that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, this isn't really for
me, a trip.
You know, I stay out of Manhattan because
it's so disruptive to go to Manhattan.
Now, I will be going on Sunday night.
I have meetings on Monday and Tuesday -- going
But I stay out because it's so disruptive.
You know, all of my life -- I mean, my adult
life, because I grew up in Queens, not in
But during the time that I lived in Manhattan,
whenever a President came in, it was very
disruptive, and I think I'm probably more
disruptive than any of them.
So when they have to close Fifth Avenue, when
they have to close 56th Street and many other
So I'm here for that reason.
We're doing a tremendous amount of work.
We're having, you know, large numbers of meetings
and I'm on the phone a lot.
But I'm here for that reason.
I just don't -- I would love to go to my home
in Trump Tower, but it's very, very disruptive
Q So you have the trip to Washington Monday
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we have a conference scheduled,
we have a very important meeting scheduled,
and we're going to have a pretty big press
conference on Monday.
Q Secretary Tillerson has spoken emphasizing
You've spoken increasingly emphasizing the
potential for military options.
Are you two on the same page?
THE PRESIDENT: Totally.
I can tell you, totally on the same page.
And, Secretary, maybe you'd like to make a
SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, I think it takes
a combined message there if we're going to
get effective movement out of the regime in
I think the President has made it clear he
prefers a diplomatic solution.
I think he responded to that, in effect, just
a moment ago.
And so I think what the President is doing
is trying to support our efforts by ensuring
North Korea understands what the stakes are.
Q Speaking of the State Department right now,
these recent acoustic attacks we've learned
about regarding diplomats -- American diplomats
-- in Cuba.
Who is responsible for the acoustic attacks?
Is it Cuba?
Is it Russia?
Who is to blame for that?
SECRETARY TILLERSON: We have not been able
to determine who is to blame.
We do hold the Cuban authorities responsible
for the safety and security of all of our
people, just as every host country has a responsibility
for the safety and security of diplomats in
So we hold the Cuban authorities responsible
for finding out who is it carrying out these
health attacks on not just our diplomats,
but, as you've seen now, there are other cases
with other diplomats as well.
Q What do you make of this awful situation
that they're losing their hearing, these American
SECRETARY TILLERSON: It's awful.
You just described it exactly correctly, which
is why we're bringing people out.
Q Can you tell us what you're considering
What options are on the table right now to
deal with this mess?
THE PRESIDENT: We have many options for Venezuela.
And, by the way, I'm not going to rule out
a military option.
We have many options for Venezuela.
This is our neighbor.
This is -- you know, we're all over the world
and we have troops all over the world in places
that are very, very far away.
Venezuela is not very far away and the people
are suffering and they're dying.
We have many options for Venezuela, including
a possible military option if necessary.
Q That would be a U.S.-led military operation?
THE PRESIDENT: We don't talk about it.
But a military operation, a military option
is certainly something that we could pursue.
Q We heard the North Korean state TV saying
we consider the U.S. no more than a lump which
we can beat to a jelly anytime.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me hear others say
Because when you say that, I don't know what
you're referring to and who is making the
But let me hear Kim Jong-un say it, okay?
He's not saying it.
He hasn't been saying much for the last three
You let me hear him say it.
Q Mr. President, do you support regime change
in North Korea or in Venezuela?
Do you think a regime --
THE PRESIDENT: I don't want to comment because
I think they're very different places, so
I don't want to comment.
But I support peace, I support safety, and
I support having to get very tough if we have
to, to protect the American people and also
to protect our allies.
Q Do you think your Vice President will be
a candidate for President in 2020?
THE PRESIDENT: I don't think so.
No, I don't think so at all.
He's a good guy.
He's just -- as you know, he's left for Colombia
and various other places.
He's been terrific.
He's been a great ally of mine and a great
friend of mine.
Q Are you considering further economic sanctions
against North Korea?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we are.
Yes, we are.
Very strong ones.
They're already very strong.
We are considering additional sanctions at
a very, very high level.
And probably, you could say, as strong as
Okay, thank you very much, everybody.