Following the D-Day anniversary memorial, President Trump and First Lady Melania traveled to Caen, France for a bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. Prior to the meeting the leaders held a press availability [Video and Transcript].
[Transcript] PRESIDENT MACRON: I will say a few words in English, and I will repeat them exactly what I say. And I wanted first to thank you, President Donald Trump, for your presence here in this place. And thanks to your country, your nation, and your veterans.
This morning, we paid this tribute to their courage. And I think it was a great moment to celebrate, and celebrate these people.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It was.
PRESIDENT MACRON: And I think your presence here to celebrate them, and their presence, is, for me, the best evidence of this unbreakable links between our two nations.
From the very beginning of the American nation and all over the different centenaries, I think this message they conveyed to us, and our main tribute, is precisely to protect freedom and democracy everywhere. And this is why I’m always extremely happy to discuss with you in Washington, in Paris, or everywhere, in Caen today, because we work very closely together. Our soldiers work very closely together in Sahel, in Iraq, in Syria. Each time freedom and democracy is at stake, we work closely together and we will follow up.
So, thanks for this friendship. Thanks for what your country did for my country. And thanks for what we will do together for both of us and the rest of the world.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Well, thank you very much. And I will say we’ve had great success working together, too — whether it’s the caliphate, or whether it was a couple of other things we did militarily. And you know what I’m talking about. And your military is excellent. My people report back; they say it’s absolutely excellent. But they work very well together.
This was a very special day, and I want to thank you for inviting me. This was something that was — we read about it all our lives: Normandy. And there was — there are those that say it was the most important ever, not just at that time, but ever. And to be a part of it and to have number 75 — 75 years — was very, very special.
So we very much appreciate it. We met some great people today, some tremendous people. Some very brave people. And I look forward to coming back. We’ll be coming back. Hopefully, over the years, we’ll be coming back. But it’s a very special place. It’s an amazing place. And it’s somewhere — when you think of those places of great importance, this is certainly one of the top. In the eyes of some, it’s the top because of what it meant in terms of the turnaround of a very, very bad situation. That was the big turn.
So I really enjoyed it. Seeing it firsthand was something. And we’re going to be now discussing, first of all, this beautiful place where we ended up. I hope everybody can appreciate. I’d love you to maybe tell some of the folks in the media just quick, like you did me, how it started with Napoleon. It’s a very interesting place that we’re in.
And, as you know, France has many interesting places. But we’ll be discussing, to me, just as interesting as trade and military, and all sorts of things. So we’re going to spend a little time together.
And then I’ll be going back probably tomorrow morning or tomorrow afternoon. We’ve pretty much finished up. We’ve had a very hectic schedule. Most of you had been with us from the beginning, but it’s been a beautiful schedule.
Got to know the Queen. The Queen is a great woman, as you know. And we had a very, very good talk with the United Kingdom and a lot of good talks on trade. And you know what’s going on over there. It’s a complex subject because of Brexit. Nobody knows where it ends up, but I know it’s going to end up very well.
And then we came here, and a lot of people are anxious to see what we’re going to be doing together. Because, as you know, we know what a lot of other people don’t know. We’re doing a lot together. And the relationship between you and I, and also France and the United States, has been outstanding. I don’t think it’s ever been maybe as good. It’s been good sometimes, and sometimes it hasn’t been. But, right now, it’s outstanding.
So the relationship that we’ve had together has been really terrific, and I appreciate it very much. Thank you, Mr. President.
Q Mr. President, what were the two of you talking about in the cemetery? You looked animated at one point. Then you turned away from us. We were trying to read your lips.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I just — you know, we were talking about the depth and the number of people killed. You know, we had a — they call them the “guides.” And they were guiding us. They were telling us what happened and when. And they talked about the first wave came in, and 92 percent of the people in the first wave were killed. And then the second wave came in, and it was 80 percent were killed. And then third wave and fourth wave. And then, I guess, they said the sixth wave they broke through. It’s like a dam. They broke through.
And it was so incredible and so fascinating. And then you talk about bravery, but when you think 92 percent of the people were killed in the first wave.
So it kept going down, down, down, and then they break through. And it’s a lot of courage and a lot of heartbreak, but an incredible victory. Just one of the most important victories, wouldn’t you say? So you might want to respond.
PRESIDENT MACRON: No, I — you’re perfectly right. We had a lot of discussions indeed, and all these events were described. And I think what is a very important thing, especially for our young generation, having shared this world with these actual heroes — these veterans — is that a lot of things probably we take for granted were precisely (inaudible), or protected by these guys. And lot of these veterans — and, I mean, I think you told it during the speech — came back for the very first time after the war. And they came here. They took a lot of risks. They put their life at risk for our country and for liberty.
And I think, for our young generation in the U.S. and in France, it’s extremely important to see these veterans are — as actual heroes — are those precisely thanks to all these maneuvers and these actions allowed our country to be free.
Q In 2004, George W. Bush said here in Normandy, “We would do it again for our friends.” Would you say that, too?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, sure. I would.
Q (Speaks French.) (No translation provided.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would certainly recommend that, definitely. Look, this was a great, unifying situation. There’s probably been — seldom in history has there been anything like it. But especially when you heard about the waves of people coming in — knowing they were going to be killed, most of them — it’s just an incredible thing.
And then the result was — as many people died, the result was so important because it — we have what we have today because of things like that. And it’s very sad, but I would absolutely be right there. I would be right there.
We have a very good partnership. We really have a — “partnership,” I guess, maybe is the best word. They talk about “allies” and they talk about many different words you could use. But we have a great partnership — France and the U.S.
Q Mr. President, when will you decide whether to impose additional tariffs on China?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Additional tariffs on China?
Q (Inaudible) that you were looking at $300 billion.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, you mean when am I going to put the extra 325 billion dollars’ worth of tariffs? I will make that decision, I would say, over the next two weeks — probably right after the G20. One way or the other, I’ll make that decision after the G20. I’ll be meeting with President Xi, and we’ll see what happens. But probably planning it sometime after G20. Okay? Thank you.
PRESIDENT MACRON: (Speaks French.) (No translation provided.)
Q Do you support Brexit? Is it a good way — do you support Brexit? Is it a good way to ensure Europe is at peace and strong?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, that’s really going to be between the UK and the European Union. And they’re working very hard. I know they’re working very hard together. It doesn’t seem to be working out, but, at some point, something will happen. One way or the other, it’ll all work out.
But I’m interested to find out how it happens also. Very big will be who’s going to be the new prime minister over in the UK. That’s going to be a very big thing. That’s happening now. So I think, before you can think in terms of Brexit for the next few weeks, you’re going to have to find out what happens — who’s going to be the new leader. And that’s a very interesting situation taking place.
I found it to be a very — sort of an amazing period of time, especially having spent so much time with the Queen, who I think is an incredible lady. But I spent so much time, and, you know, there’s a lot of question marks as to who’s going to be leading. And so it was very interesting talking to her, being with her for so many hours, actually. For so many — I feel I know her so well. And she certainly knows me very well right now. But we have a very good relationship also with the United Kingdom. But it’ll all work out.
Q Mr. President, you two leaders have had differences over Iran in the past. Do those differences remain? And will you be talking about them today?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I don’t think we have differences over Iran. I don’t think that the President wants to see nuclear weapons, and neither do I. And that’s what it’s all about. He doesn’t want to see them having nuclear weapons, and I don’t want to see them having nuclear weapons. And they won’t have nuclear weapons. With that being said, you know, let’s see what happens with Iran.
But when I became President — it’s hard to believe two and a half years ago; now more — Iran was a true state of terror. They still are, but they were undisputed champions of terror, and that’s a bad thing. And we had 14 different locations where they were fighting (inaudible), between Yemen and Syria, but many other locations and many other battle sites.
And it was all about Iran. They were behind every one of them. They’re not doing that anymore. They’re doing very poorly as a nation. They’re failing as a nation. And I don’t want them to fail as a nation. They can — we can turn that around very quickly.
But the sanctions have been extraordinary how powerful they’ve been, and other things. I understand they want to talk. And if they want to talk, that’s fine. We’ll talk. But the one thing that they can’t have is they can’t have nuclear weapons. And I think the President of France would agree with that very strongly. I think that he would agree that they cannot have nuclear weapons.
PRESIDENT MACRON: I think we do share the same objectives on Iran. What do we want to do? First, you want to be sure they don’t get nuclear weapon. I mean, we had an instrument until 2025. We want to go further and have full certainty on the long run. Second, we want to reduce ballistic activity. And third, we want to contain the regional activity.
I mean, these three approaches — these three objectives are important. We have, as well, a fourth common objective: peace in the region. So, we have to deliver together these four objectives.
This a point. This is a point. And all the other debates are about technicalities. In order to build that, you need to start a negotiation, and I think the words pronounced by President Trump is that they are very important. We need to open a new negotiation in order to build and to get these four objectives.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much.