tv President Trump Holds News Conference with Colombian President CSPAN May 19, 2017 12:55am-1:30am EDT
president trump: thank you very much. it's a great pleasure to welcome president santos to the white house, colombia is one of our closest allies in the hemisphere and today we reaffirm partnership between our two great nations. president santos and i had a very productive meeting and we will continue to work very closely together to bring peace, safety, and prosperity to the hemisphere. perhaps no area is really more important in terms of cooperation than our joint effort to end the terrible drug crimes that plague both of our threat to our societies
together. today, i affirm the united states' willingness to assist colombia's strategy, to target and eliminate drug trafficking networks, illicit financings, cocoa cultivation and cocaine production, of which there is far too much. the drug epidemic is poisoning too many american lives and we're going to stop it, many different ways. one of them will be the wall. my administration is committed to keeping drugs and gangs from pouring into our country. d ready, border crossings areise
with all of the people in our great hemisphere yearning to be free. we will be working with colombia and other countries on the venezuela problem. it is a very, very horrible problem and from a humanitarian standpoint, it is like nothing we've seen in quite a long time. the united states and colombia are also strong economic partners and we will continue to pursue trade policies that benefit both of our peoples. the nation's common goals of protecting our citizens, expanding opportunity, and confronting the drug crisis will improve the lives of our people and many throughout the region. so many people are being so horribly affected by what's going on in terms of violence and in terms of drugs, and we're going to take care of the
situation and we both agreed to take care of it strongly and quickly. president santos, it was an honor to meet with you and your entire group of representatives, very talented people indeed, who have been working with us and my representatives, and i look forward to many more productive meetings such as the one we just had. i'd like to thank you very much for being at the white house, being our guest, and i'd like to congratulate you on winning the nobel peace prize. that's a very great achievement. thank you very much. president santos: mr. president, i want to thank you personally for this warm and productive visit, and for the strong support colombia has received from your administration, from congress, and from the american people.
>> [speaking spanish] translator: our nations have had for a long time a strategic alliance, an extraordinary friendship. we believe in the same principles of democracy, freedom, and the rule of law. and we work so that the western hemisphere can be more prosperous and safe. the united states and colombia, both democracies of longer standing in the hemisphere, we have supported each other, our soldiers fight shoulder to shoulder in the korean war at the request of the united states, we sent anti-drug experts to afghanistan and today
colombia and the united states we are working to support the fight against drug cartels and the violence of organized crime. i can say, mr. president, based on our conversation this afternoon that i have no doubt that the united states and colombia continue to be today , more than ever, a support, one for the other. our alliance was strengthened. our most valuable cooperation has been plan colombia, which i can sum up in very simple terms. when colombians were fighting to survive, for our democracy to survive, actually, faced with the threat of terrorism and drug trafficking, the united states stretched out a hand and helped us win that battle. we will never forget it.
today, we live in a different country. today, colombia is a more peaceful society, a more modern and a fairer society. in november last year, we ended the longest and last armed conflict existing in our hemisphere. the guerrilla is putting down weapons at this precise time to the united nations. insecurity has gone down significantly. today we have the lowest levels of violence of the last 40 years. at the same time, we have had significant progress for our citizens on issues such as education, housing, health, and social services. millions of colombians have been lifted out of poverty.
today, we continue next to you as partners in peace colombia, to consolidate peace in the most affected areas. with the robust support of your government, we are removing thousands of anti-personnel mines that murdered and mutilated children, women, and soldiers. we are healing the wounds of our veterans and we are embarking on a big social development program. such as we said today, we are working with your administration to take advantage of the unique opportunity peace offers so as to reduce permanently the production of coca leaf in colombia and fight more effectively the other links in drug trafficking, including consumption.
we must continue and deepen the fight against organized crime, transnational crime, responsible not just for drug trafficking but also for human trafficking and illegal mining. our shared agenda framed within a high level dialogue that we colombians value so much includes cooperation which has allowed us to have unprecedented progress towards quality education for everyone, and this is a priority in the policies of my government, and we wish to do more with regards to innovation and technology. with the active participation of the private sector, we have reached trade agreements, investment agreements that are mutually beneficial. this morning, we established the entrepreneurial council between
the united states and colombia. we are, and wish to continue to be, the best destination in latin america for american businesses. colombia will continue to be very proudly a close friend and a strategic ally of the united states. dear president trump, i hope you can visit us soon so that you can personally witness the transformation underway in our country. i hope to be able to welcome you to a colombia in peace, a better educated colombia, that you have so much contributed to. thank you so much. president trump: thank you very much. does anybody have any questions?
[laughter] i'm shocked. john, go ahead. >> mr. president, thank you very much. mr. president, i'd like to get your reaction to deputy attorney general rod rosenstein's decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate the russia -- russian interference in the campaign. was this the right move, or is this part of a witch hunt? president trump: i respect the move but the entire thing has been a witch hunt. and there's no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but i can only speak for myself, and the russians, zero. i think it divides the country. i think we have a very divided country because of that and many other things. so i can tell you that we want to bring this great country of ours together, john. and i will also say very strongly, we have had tremendous success.
you look at our job numbers, you look at what's going on at the border, as we discussed before. you look at what will be happening, you'll see some incredible numbers with respect to the success of general mattis and others with the isis situation, the numbers are staggering, how successful they've been, the military has been. tomorrow, as you know, i'm going to saudi arabia. going to israel. going to rome. and we have the g-7. we have a lot of great things going on. so, i hate to see anything that divides. i'm fine with whatever people want to do. but we have to get back to running this country really, really well. we've made tremendous progress in the last 100 and something odd days, tremendous progress. you see job numbers. you see all of the production that is starting. plants starting to open again, haven't been open in years. i'm very proud of it. that's what i want to be focused on.
because believe me, there's no collusion. russia is fine. but whether it's russia or anybody else , my total priority, believe me, is the united states of america. so, thank you very much. translator: president santos, can we say that today we are setting a new road map in the relationship between colombia and the united states, which are the concrete commitments? you were talking about the conflict time, many funds are needed for that. they show up, many deaths, human rights violations. there's plenty to be done.
president trump: it's a very, very serious problem, we haven't really seen a problem like that, i would say, mr. president, in decades, in terms of they have kind of violence that we're witnessing. the president was telling me, and i knew that venezuela was a very, very wealthy country, just about the wealthiest in your neck of the woods. and had tremendous strength in so many different ways. now it's -- it's poverty-stricken. people don't have enough to eat. people have no food. there's great violence. and we will do whatever is necessary and we'll work together to do whatever is necessary to help with fixing that. and i'm really talking on a humanitarian level. when you look at the oil reserves that they have, when you look at the potential wealth venezuela has, you have to wonder, why is that happening? how is that possible? but it's been unbelievably poorly run for a long period of time. and hopefully that will change, and they can use those assets for the good and to take care of
their people. because right now, what's happening is really a disgrace to humanity. and john, i think you also had a question for the president, if you'd like to -- >> this is a question about the commitment -- translator: the commitment on president trump's side and his administration was shown through the approval of the budget that for colombia means an increase in the support to fund the post-conflict era. last night, we received from a very important organization, the atlantic council, a report which includes both parties, presided by a republican senator and a democrat senator with a road map
recommending the governments of the united states and colombia to follow. this morning, we established the entrepreneurial council, the united states-colombia, so the private sector can also have a voice in that road map. this means we are working together on every front that can be convenient for both countries. we will continue to work together. we have ratified that commitment today during our conversation , and as i said before, we have the best of relations with the united states, we are strategic allies in the region, and we will continue to be so. >> thank you, mr. president. president santos, to you. we heard president trump say it's critical to stoping the flow of drugs into the united states will be the wall that he wants to build on the mexican border. do you agree with him?
would that wall be a positive step, a step toward reducing the flow of drugs across the border? president santos: i believe that the best way to fight drug trafficking is by collaborating. this is not a problem of colombia only, or a problem of the united states only. it's a world problem. and we have to all work together. we declared the war on drugs 40 years ago. the world declared the war on drugs. and it's a war that has not been won. so, we must be more effective and more efficient. now, we are doing a very big effort because of the peace process to have a new strategy, carrot and stick. stick, by force, we have already eradicated this year only 15,000 hectares, which is the whole
volume that we eradicated last year, and we are starting to eradicate, to substitute voluntarily through a program where the peasants, and we have 80,000 families already in the program, that they are going to substitute for legal crops. and this is the first time this could be done because of the peace. before, the conflict did not allow us to build roads and to give these peasants an alternative. now we have. so we have to take advantage of this opportunity and continue reducing the production of coca. in the meantime, we will work together, with the u.s. and other countries in central america, to fight the links of the chain. we have destroyed 22,000 laboratories in the colombian jungles, seizing the cocaine in transit.
we have seized record amounts of tons, last year and this year we're doing even better than last year. so by working together, we can be much more effective and that is the commitment we just made, or ratified this afternoon. president trump: and that was a long and very diplomatic answer to your question. i will say it a little bit shorter. walls work, just ask israel. they work. believe me. they work. and we have no choice. peter baker. >> thank you, mr. president. in the light of a very busy news week, a lot of people would like to get to the bottom of a couple of things, give you a chance to go on record here. did you at any time urge f.b.i. director james comey in any way shape or form to close or back down the investigation into michael flynn. and also -- ty ksrl cf ump: no.y hi h
performance. so poor, in fact, that i believe, and you'd have to ask him, because i don't like to speak for other people, but i believe that's why the deputy attorney general went out and wrote his very, very strong letter, and then on top of that, after the wednesday performance by director comey, you had a person come and have to readjust the record, which many people have never seen before because there were misstatements made. and i thought that was something that was terrible. we need a great director of the f.b.i. i cherish the f.b.i. it's special. all over the world no matter where you go, the f.b.i. is special. the f.b.i. has not had that special reputation with what happened in the campaign, what happened with respect to the
clinton campaign, and even, you could say, directly or indirectly, with respect to the much more successful trump campaign. we're going to have a director who is going to be outstanding. i'll be announcing that director very soon and i look forward to doing it. i think the people in the f.b.i. will be very, very, very, very thrilled. and just in concluding, we look forward to getting this whole situation behind us. so that when we go for the jobs, we go for the strong military, when we go for all the things that we've been pushing so hard and so successfully, including health care, because obamacare is collapsing, it's dead. it's gone. there's nothing to compare anything to because we don't have health care in this country. you just look at what's happening. etna just pulled out, other insurance companies are pulling out. we don't have health care. obamacare is a fallacy. it's gone. we need health care, we need to cut taxes. we're going to cut taxes.