Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Conte of the Italian Republic Before Bilateral Meeting
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
December 4, 2019
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. We just met with the Prime Minister of Denmark. Had a great meeting and discussed a lot of things, including trade.
And now we’re meeting with a friend of mine — a good friend of mine, the Prime Minister of Italy. And we have many things to discuss, including trade and military and all sorts of different things that we’re working on together. And he’s done a terrific job, become very popular in Italy. A very popular man, as — I’m not surprised to say that.
But — so this will be actually my last meeting. And I guess, there’s not a reason to have press conferences because we’ve had about eight of them, so I can’t imagine you’d have any more questions. But it’s been a very successful day and a very successful two days. We made tremendous progress.
We’ve raised $130 billion from outside of the United States — other countries putting up that money. And that’s on a yearly basis. That’s $130 billion a year. In three years, that will be $400 billion a year extra. Not just dollars — extra dollars. And that’s unthinkable.
And I will tell you, Secretary General Stoltenberg was extremely generous in his remarks, but it was not good what was going on with NATO, which is very important. NATO is very important. It was not good, and now it’s gone to a very, very strong positon — the strongest, I think, it’s ever been.
And speaking to the President of France — yesterday, we had a good meeting, and he’s taken back his comments very much so on NATO. And I think he feels strongly. He sees what’s happened and what’s going on and how other countries are stepping up.
So we had a really good day today and a good day yesterday, and a lot of positive things have happened. And again, Mr. Prime Minister, it’s an honor to be with you. Thank you very much.
PRIME MINISTER CONTE: Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. Please.
PRIME MINISTER CONTE: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much.
PRIME MINISTER CONTE: — for (inaudible). We already met yesterday.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, right.
PRIME MINISTER CONTE: And now we have a good location to — an exchange of views —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.
PRIME MINISTER CONTE: — about trade (inaudible), about defense, and other issues. It will be a pleasure.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s good. Thank you very much. Thank you.
PRIME MINISTER CONTE: Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay, thank you very much. I’ll see you guys — some of you on the plane and some of you elsewhere. We appreciate you. We had a great — this was a great two days.
Q Since it’s —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Steve, go ahead.
Q Since it’s our last opportunity to ask you questions, do you want to comment on the House Democrats impeachment report that came out last night and the hearing today?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I did. I saw it, and it’s a joke. Everybody is saying it. And I watched reviews. I watched Hannity — Sean Hannity. I watched Laura Ingraham. I watched Tucker Carlson. I watched a lot of other legal scholars, frankly. I watched some people of great legal talent and highly respected — Alan Dershowitz, and many more. Many more.
I watched a very terrific former special prosecutor; you know Ken. And Ken is a talented man and a smart man. And I will tell you, it is a uniform statement — I think pretty much — pretty much right down the road. But what they’re doing is a very bad thing for our country. It’s of no merit.
And the Republican Party has never been more unified ever. They’ve never been as unified as they are right now. I’ve never seen anything like it, where you have 197 to oh — to zero, where the Senate is very angry about it. I think the Senate, I can say, is angry and the Republican Party is angry.
A recent poll came out: Ninety-five percent approval rating for me in the Republican Party, which is a record. Ronald Reagan was at 87. He was the second.
So, I mean, it’s going good. I’ve never seen anything like it where the Party has come together. And it’s going to stay that way for a long time. I think we’re going to have a tremendous 2020. I’m sure you’ve all seen the polls that have come out, especially in the swing states. We’ve gone way up in the polls.
And I think it’s — you know, it’s a disgrace. You have a loser like — the guy is a stone-cold loser and has been all his life — Adam Schiff. And then you have Nancy Pelosi who agreed with what he said, which puts her into real jeopardy. Agreed on a certain show, “Stephanopoulos.” And, frankly, it’s a bad thing for the country.
I’m over here with NATO. We’re meeting with, in this case, Italy, but we’re meeting with great countries, very important countries. We’re doing a good job. And they scheduled it — same thing happened a number of months ago when they put the United Nations, the UNGA, they put — the United Nations situation; they had a hearing with somebody on the same day. And now they do it with NATO. These people, you almost question whether or not they love our country. And that’s a very, very serious thing — do they, in fact, love our country.
So they scheduled that during the United Nations. I’ll never forget — I’m walking into the United Nations, and I start hearing all of the things that they were talking about exactly at that time. Literally, I’m walking through the front door, and you folks start screaming out to me about whatever. You know what you were screaming.
And now I do NATO — this was scheduled for a year — and the same things happens: They schedule a hearing. It’s a hoax. It’s a total hoax.
We had a great call with the President of Ukraine. It was a great call. Not just a good call; it was a perfect call. In fact, it was two perfect calls. And everybody knows it. And, by the way, the President of Ukraine was a hundred percent honest. All you have to do is listen to the call or read the call. We had it transcribed perfectly. But he was — he said, no pressure, no nothing. There was no nothing. In fact, they don’t even understand what you people are talking about. And I think they probably consider it disgraceful. I think it’s a disgrace that we can be wasting time.
In the meantime, USMCA, the greatest trade deal of them all, is sitting on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. It’s drawing dust. It’s been there for many, many months. And farmers, manufacturers, union, non-union, everybody — everybody wants it. And nothing happens. It’s a very sad thing for our country.
The word “impeachment” is a dirty word, and it’s a word that was only supposed to be used in special occasions: high crimes and misdemeanors. In this case, there was no crime whatsoever. Not even a little tiny crime. There was no crime whatsoever, and they know it. And they go into those rooms and they close those doors down in the basement, and they say — I’ll tell you what they say; they just laugh, because it’s a — to them, it’s a joke. They think they’re doing well, but now they’re not doing well. Now they’re saying, “How do we get out of this?” Because their poll numbers are way down, and they’re going to have a tremendous loss in 2020. And that’s what’s going to happen.
No matter how you cut it, it’s been very interesting. But to do it on a day like this, where we’re in London with some of the most powerful countries in the world, having a very important NATO meeting, and it just happened to be scheduled — this was set up a year ago — just happened to be scheduled on this date, it’s really, honestly, it’s a disgrace.
So, that’s it. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Q Do you still have confidence in Rudy Giuliani?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t know anything about it. Rudy is a very good lawyer. He’s a great crime fighter. He was the best mayor in the history of New York City, I think, by far. He stopped crime in New York City. As a U.S. attorney, he was incredible. He’s highly respected.
So somebody said he made a phone call into the White House. What difference does that make? I don’t know. You know, is that supposed to be a big deal? I don’t think so. Rudy is a great gentleman, and they’re after him only because he’s done such a good job. He was very effective against Mueller and the Mueller hoax. That whole thing was a hoax.
First we had Mueller and we had — before we had — before I even got elected, this was going on. Now, the IG report, which is coming out, will be very, very interesting. We’ll see what that’s all about. And then, of course, as you know, the big one that’s going to come out is the Durham report. And I don’t know Mr. Durham. I’ve never spoken to him. But he’s one of the most respected law enforcement or U.S. attorneys anywhere in the country. He’s a tough guy. He’s had an incredible track record. He’s actually sort of non-partisan, I guess, from what I hear.
But the big one that everyone is waiting for is that, and the IG report. So the IG report, they say, is coming out on Monday, Tuesday, maybe — whatever. But they say Monday. I think it’s going to be a very big thing. And we’ll see what happens.
But this should never happen to a President again. For me, it’s okay. But this should never happen to a President again, what’s happened here. It’s a disgrace to our country. It’s an absolute disgrace to our country. It’s sad, actually. And it’s done by, you know, frankly, losers. You look at the people; look at the cast of characters between Nadler and Schiff and Pelosi — Nervous Nancy. It’s an absolute disgrace to our country.
And I think a lot of Democrats, by the way, are going to vote against it. I think that, you know — because, if they don’t know, they’re going to lose their race, because people are putting — and they went back to their districts and they are getting hammered by their districts. And if they don’t, they’re going to lose their race. So, in many ways, I hope they don’t. Okay? And we’ll get a fair shake in the Senate. Assuming that whatever happens happens, we’ll get a very fair shake in the Senate.
And — but we’ve already been given — if you just take a look, today, I understand — I haven’t — obviously, I’ve been with all of these world leaders and done conferences with the world leaders, so I haven’t been able to watch. But think of it: They get three constitutional lawyers, and we get one. What’s that all about? Just that little statement — they get three, we get one. We had no representation. We couldn’t call witnesses. We couldn’t do anything. It is the most unfair thing that anybody has ever seen. They would have done much better if they gave us equal representation, because the public gets it.
But just look at today. Now, I don’t think too many people are going to watch because it’s going to be boring, all right? In fact, you’re here. I guess you’re here and we’ll supersede it, right? But not a lot of people are going to be watching today.
But just think of this: Constitutional lawyers, they get three and we get one. What kind of a deal is that? Now, you don’t need a constitutional lawyer because there was nothing done wrong. Zero done wrong. And I say it, and I’ll say it again: Read the transcript and then listen to what the President of Ukraine said. He said there was no pressure whatsoever. Listen to what the Foreign Minister of Ukraine — a highly respected man. Both of them, very respected. Listen to what the Foreign Minister said. And he said there was no pressure whatsoever. That’s the only one that counts.
But then listen to all of their witnesses, and not one of them said anything that was meaningful, other than positive for me. Like, the one said there was no quid pro quo. That’s what he said. And he said that I actually told him that there will be no quid pro quo. I said that. And I said other things that were even stronger than that.
And, you know, it’s a disgrace that they are doing this. And they’re doing it because they think they can’t win in 2020. They’re doing it because you take a look at their candidates, and their candidates are not doing too well. And they figure this is their only shot. And it’s a disgrace because this process was not supposed to be used that way.
Okay. Any other questions?
Q Yes, Mr. President, why do you feel like there is a need for a separate “2 percenters” event?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Because the 2 percenters, they’re good friends of mine. They’re countries that paid their full amount. The 2 percent is 2 percent of their GDP. They’ve paid their full amount, and I’m proud of them. And we had a total of nine. And when I first came here, we had virtually none.
If you look at NATO today compared to NATO three years ago, when I started, we built up NATO. And Stoltenberg will tell you, it was because of Trump. Because I said, “You got to pay.” Other Presidents came and they’d sit for two hours and they’d leave, and that would be it. I said, “No, you got to pay.” And because of that, NATO has become strong again. Much stronger. I think your President of Italy would tell you that. Much stronger than it has ever been.
And with that money, they’re buying new equipment. I mean, these countries are going out and buying great airplanes and great everything. It’s a good thing to have. Hopefully, we never have to use it. And I don’t think we will have to use it. But the stronger we get, the less likely it will be that we have to use it.
Thank you all very much. I’ll see you back in Washington. Thank you.
Q Did you convince Erdoğan to get rid of the S-400?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Say it?
Q Did you convince Erdoğan to get rid of the S-400?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We talked about it a little bit. You’ll be hearing about it. Thank you.