President Donald Trump holds an impromptu presser aboard Air-Force-One en route back from Asia to Hawaii.
[Transcript] THE PRESIDENT: It’s been a really great 12 days. And I made a lot of great friends. You’ve probably heard the closing remarks, but we made a lot of great friends. So we look forward to going back, but we really enjoyed it. We really enjoyed it.
♦ Q And we left a little early or something. What happened here?
THE PRESIDENT: No, we had a lunch, and I was able to make my final remarks at the lunch.
♦Q Oh, you were. Okay.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.
♦Q We didn’t hear that. Can you kind, maybe, summarize —
THE PRESIDENT: The opening remarks? I could give them to you if you want. (Laughter.)
♦Q The lunch. Yeah, that would —
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, the lunch was great. Everybody was there. They were delayed three hours, as you probably heard. There was a delay for some reason. But we had a lunch, and they let me make my opening — my ending remarks at the lunch. So that was really great.
But we’re leaving pretty much on time I think. Right? How’s that? Pretty much on time?
♦Q Yeah, a little early.
THE PRESIDENT: Kept us pretty much on time.
♦Q Are you proud of the trip?
THE PRESIDENT: Very proud of it from a standpoint of security and safety, military — very proud — and trade. You will see numbers that you won’t believe over the years. Because over a period of years, they will be treating us much differently than they have in the past.
People were taking advantage — countries were taking advantage of the United States, more than just this region, but the world. And those days are over. We’re going to be fair, we’re going to be reciprocal. As I said in my remarks before: We will be reciprocal, meaning if they’re doing it, we’re doing it. And that’s the way it’s going to be.
♦ Q If you had to point to one thing that you feel like you accomplished, that you got done that you could tell the American about, what is it?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think we made a lot of progress, just in terms of relationship. We actually sold $300 billion worth of equipment and other things. And I think that number is going to be quadrupled very quickly. So that’s over a trillion dollars’ worth of stuff.
I think we have done a really fantastic job. It’s been a great trip. It’s also been really good, in terms of North Korea and getting everybody together. I think their acts are all together. China has been excellent. Japan and South Korea have been excellent. I think that’s a very important part of the trip.
And the other important part to me was trade and relationships. The Philippines is an unbelievably important military location because if you speak to the admirals and you speak to the generals, that’s a perfect spot. And, as you know, we had no relationship for a long period of time in the Philippines, and now we have a very good relationship there. We’re back with the Philippines. So, strategically, we have a very important location — maybe the most important strategic location in that area. So it’s good.
We had a great time. I hope you guys are all okay. You all look well. Go to sleep for a little while, and we’ll be around. We’ll talk to you later.
The basketball players, by the way — I know a lot of people are asking — I will tell you, when I heard about it two days ago, I had a great conversation with President Xi. What they did was unfortunate. You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. They do not play games.
He was terrific, and they’re working on it right now. And hopefully everything is going to work out. And I know they’re very grateful because they were told exactly what happened.
♦ Q Is he helping out? Is he helping out?
THE PRESIDENT: But it’s a very, very rough situation with what happened to them. And I was with him — yes, he is. And he’s been terrific. President Xi has been terrific on that subject. But that was not a good subject. That was not something that should have happened.
Okay, folks. Go rest.
♦ Q Do you expect to see them coming home soon?
THE PRESIDENT: I hope so. I hope so.
♦ Q Can you say what you might announce on Thursday, or Wednesday, at the White House?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think we’re going to go into details of what I said. Were you there before, when I — I think we’ll be going into some more details as to what we’re doing, as to what we accomplished. But, specifically, deals, concepts. And we’ll be pinpointing things.
But, you know, it’s minimum $300 billion, and that’s going to be very quickly over a trillion dollars, that in itself. And I would say that’s the least significant thing that we accomplished. I think one of the things we really accomplished big is relationship, and also letting people know that from now on, things are going to be reciprocal. We can’t have trade deficits of $30, $40, $50 billion; $300 billion in the case of China. We can’t do that. We have to have reciprocal trade. What’s good for them is good for us.
♦Q Why are those relationships so important? And is there a risk of getting too close to President Xi?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, relationship is always important. It doesn’t mean it’s necessarily close. It’s really a relationship based on respect. To me, a relationship based on respect is much more important than anything else, including friendship. Because this is really something — they have to respect our country. And they have not respected our country for a long period of time.
Thank you all very much. Have a good time. Thank you.