Skip to main content

  President and Australia Prime Minister News Conference  CSPAN  February 23, 2018 2:04pm-2:48pm EST

2:04 pm
>>. [inaudible conversation]
2:05 pm
ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states and the prime minister of australia. >> thank you very much, thank you. today i am honored to welcome my friend, prime minister turnbull of australia and mrs. turnbull, thank you very much. i'm very honored. we're looking forward to sending our newly nominated ambassador, admiral harry harris very shortly. he's an outstanding man. you're going to find out that he's a great man. i want to thank the prime minister for offering his
2:06 pm
condolences on the horrible tragedy in parkland florida. americans are grateful for the prayers and support of our australian friends and friends they are, as our entire nation grieves the senseless loss of 17 precious lives and all of the horribly injured. the united states of australia currently honoring 100 years of makeshift, a term that you use beautifully, mister prime minister. a century has passed since brave americans and australians first fought together in world war i over the last 100 years, our partnership as dry as the war of freedom, security and democracy. last spring the prime minister and i celebrated a remarkable 100 year milestone during an extraordinary evening on the uss intrepid. and my friend greg norman and anthony pratt and some of the
2:07 pm
others in the room today, they were, hello folks. stand up, greg. stand up, anthony. where's anthony? it was a great evening. thank you. i'm pleased to announce the united states will name the combat ship, the uss kemper in honor of an australian cruiser law fighting alongside the u.s. navy during world war ii. the secretary of the navy has chosen australian minister of defense maurice payne to the her sponsor. i know that the uss kemper will be a worthy successor to both her australian namesake and her american predecessor, the former navy baltimore class heavy cruiser, uss canberra. as she sales the open sea, the new uss canberra will symbolize to all her cross her path the enduring friendship between the united
2:08 pm
states and australia. there is no closer friendship. today strengthened by our common values we are working together to promote our mutual interests . i want to thank the prime minister for serving as a strong voice for peace and stability across the entire indo pacific region. australia is one of our closest partners in our campaign of maximum pressure to the nuclear eyes the korean peninsula. today, we put the strongest sanctions on korea that we have ever put on a country. we must continue to stand together to prevent the brutal dictatorship from threatening the world with nuclear devastation. our nations likewise share a commitment to giving our people safe from terrorism. australian troops are currently serving alongside americans and our partners in
2:09 pm
afghanistan and the coalition to defeat isis. together with the we are denying terrorist safe havens, cutting off their funding and discrediting their wicked ideology. isis land has been largely recaptured, almost 100 percent i'm very honored to say. they are on the run. our strong partnership can also be seen in our flourishing economic relationship. australia remains a key market for us defense products. we make the greatest products in the world. youhave very good taste . automobiles and aircraft in our fair and reciprocal trading relationship as a model for other countries as we seek bilateral agreements. the news that america is open for business has reached australian tourists. in may, australian entrepreneur anthony pratt announced a new $2 billion investment in box making
2:10 pm
factories across the united states. but he only did that if trump won the election i think, is not a correct statement anthony? thank you. that was a close one, i was worried. these people would have had a field day if you gave the wrong answer, thank you. but anthony did call and he said if you win the election, we're going to spend billions of dollars in the united states and iappreciate you giving me a very, very correct comments. iq. i'll never do that again . his investment will continue to build on an almost 100,000 american jobs that are taking place andalready supported by australian companies . i'm like to share that the united states is also by far the largest investor in australia and there are dozens of american and australian business leaders and great athletes, great accolades and business leader by the way greg, who are working to identify further
2:11 pm
opportunities for a bilateral investment and cooperation. mister prime minister, i want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your immigration reforms . and on australia's commitment to merit-based immigration. my friends from congress listening to that merit-based. we want to do merit-based immigration also and we will . that really protects the interests of australia and its people. it's the way to go. we've been very successful with it here. we are working hard to do the same and in that sense we are hopefully going to follow in your footprints. prime minister turnbull, it's been a pleasure to host you today. a great lunch with your representatives, a lot was discussed, a lot of deals were made for the purchase of additional military equipment and other things. for a century now, the people of the united states have
2:12 pm
inspired the world with their determination, bravery and their generosity. i know that our close friendship and enduring alliance and our personal friendship will grow even stronger in the century to come. our relationship with australia will always be a very powerful and very successful relationship. it's been incredible and is only getting better. thank you very much. [applause] >> mister president, thank you so much. lucy and i thank you and the first lady for your very warm welcome, your generous hospitality and friendship . our meeting today was a great opportunity to strengthen and deepen our engagement with the united states. you are our most important
2:13 pm
strategic and economic partner. and to lay the groundwork for a new phase in intensified cooperation, the next hundred years. and i'm here as you noted with the most substantial australian delegation ever to travel to washington dc. we have in addition to the ceos, several of whom you have identified here today, who are busy creating jobs. we spend much of our time today talking about jobs. they are creating jobs in australia and in the united states. it demonstrates that our two great nations committed to competition, to freedom, to economic innovation, science and technology working together complement each other and that's why we're
2:14 pm
seeing strong job growth in both countries. we had 203,000 jobs created lastyear and australia , the largest number in our countries history. 15 months of continued jobs growth and we have been inspired, i have to say by your success in securing the passage of the tax reforms through thecongress . we have secured some tax reforms in terms of reducing company tax but not as much as we need to do. we've got more work to do and the stimulus, the economic annulus your reforms have delivered here in the united states is one of the most powerful arguments that we are deploying to persuade our legislature to support reducing business tax, because as you are demonstrating and as we all know, when you cut company tax, most of the benefit goes to workers. it produces more investments and you get more investments,
2:15 pm
you get more jobs and of course, i'm also joined on this visit with six of the leaders of our territories, the only two that are not here are those that are fighting elections you can imagine that's always a top priority and we're meeting at the national government association again, broadening and deepening the relationship. we have a huge amount to work with. our relationship as you said has been forged over a century through times of war and peace. during both our nations freedom and security in the world. and our relationship is based not only on history. we have the same values. we share a deep well of trust and spirit based on those enduring values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law, enterprise, ingenuity. the spirit of having a go and
2:16 pm
work out, dust yourself off and have another go. that is a core american and australian value, that spirit of enterprise is what leads us on. and of course, our relationship is underpinned by millions of people and family links and of course, the extensive economic cooperation we spoken about. our security alliance is as close as it possibly could be, yet keeps getting closer. cooperation is more intense than it has ever been, whether we are standing up for freedom's pause in the middle east in our region, around the world combating terrorism. the cooperation in a connected world that we need to have is greater than ever and that trust between australia and the united states, between the thousands of brave servicemen and women working together right now, that trust underpins our security. you mentioned mister
2:17 pm
president our economic relationship and trade. since the australian us trade agreement came into force in 2005, two-way trade has grown by 50 percent. the united states does have a trade surplus with australia of $25 million. it's your fertilizer trade surplus with us. but you know, we know it works ways. two-way investment has more than doubled in the past decade. it's worth around $1.1 trillion in 2016. again, losing jobs and growth in both our nations, both our economies and today we've agreed on new initiatives that will deepen this relationship further. we are seeking to expand transparent and competitive global energy markets, cooperating on high quality infrastructure investments in the united states and in the region. we spent a lot of time talking about infrastructure, including urban
2:18 pm
infrastructure. mister president, you will force have a lifetime experience in the leadership on infrastructure in the united states and is being admired around the world and australian companies and australian experience is there to help as you know and as is already operating here. our infrastructure is active in the us. we are obviously working to intensify our cooperation on digital trade, wilbur ross from your side speak further on my trade minister here with him today have made terrific progress in that regard. we turn to security. yesterday, lucy and i and we met general dunford at the arlington national cemetery and we honored america's war dead. we honored australian airmen who had died in combat in the
2:19 pm
second world war, buried here at all arlington also and we are reminded that all of the freedoms that we enjoy, whether it is in canberra or here in washington at the white house or in congress, all of those freedoms have to be secured generation after generation by courageous men and women defending freedom's pause. our freedoms have depended on them. and americans know that australians know that each of us have no betterally . we are mates. 100 years of mateship. we're working to address the greatest threat to our region right now, north korea's illegal nuclear weapons program. i want to welcome and support
2:20 pm
the new sections that have been announced today and we continue to do precisely the same with our own autonomous sanctions in force with the us you and to court sanctions. where working to combat terrorism around the world, helping the iraqis and afghans build up the resilience to hold their countries secure in the face of terrorists and of course, we both recognize that the prosperity of our region and indeed, the world has been underpinned and in fact built on a foundation of a rules-based order which has been secured and the leadership of the united states ever since the second world war. that leadership has been critical and the commitment you showed mister president, when you came out to the region to the east asia summit last year, that commitment was so important. it spoke volumes or america's continued commitment to our region, you are part of the world, to the indo pacific .
2:21 pm
so by the engine room if you like of the fastest economic growth, most rapid economic growth that we've seen in our times.mister president, i want to thank you as i have earlier in our meetings. i want to thank you for the rare honor you have shown to australia by naming one of your future littoral combat ships, the uss canberra. what a great symbol of our alliance and our shared security and evers. what an extraordinary statement of commitment and it's worth observing that ship will be built in mobile alabama, and australian company with american workers operating in the united states, building ships for the u.s. navy.
2:22 pm
what a great example of 100 years of mateship. and when you agree as you said and noted at the outset, so do we. we send our love, prayers and condolences to all of the victims and their families of the shocking shooting in the school in florida. weare mates , we stand by each other and when we are hurt, we are hurt as well. so mister president, thank you for your warm welcome. 100 years of mateship, celebrated 100 years ago on july 4. general john mann ã lead australian troops into battle in the first world war the first time. we've been side-by-side ever since. 100 years of mateship celebrated and 100 more years to look forward to. thank you very much.
2:23 pm
[applause] >> thank you very much malcolm. that's very beautiful words and we appreciate it on behalf of the first lady who is right here in our great vice president mike, thank you very much. it's an honor to have you and we will ask and answer a couple questions, that okay? how about trade. go ahead. >> thank you mister president. i have a couple questions for you. >> how about one? >> following the mass shooting, there's been a lot of talk and a little action. i ask you today, what specific pieces of legislation or legislative framework will you propose to lawmakers following the parkland shooting?
2:24 pm
>> were going to be strong on background checks. i've spoken with many of our people in congress, our senators, our congressmen and women and there is a movement on to get something done. we want to be powerful on background checks. when we're dealing with the mentally ill as we were in this last case, he was a very sick person and somebody that should have been grabbed because they had 39 different occasions where they were able to see him or potentially see him. we want to be strong on background checks and especially as itpertains to the mentally ill.we're going to get rid of the bump stocks and we are going to do certain other things . but one of the feelings that i have, and you probablyheard me in a speech this morning , a very very important that we have offense it capability as well as the pensive capability within the schools
2:25 pm
, because when you have a gun free zone, you are inviting people to come in and do whatever you have to do and often times get out. i was the one that brought up the fact that these shootings on average last three minutes and it takes anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes for the police to get to the site . and i want to have people in the building and in many cases, you have to ask marines and ex-army and navy and air force and coast guard. you have them in the building and they can have concealed weapons and still be teachers or they can be in the building in a different capacity but we have to have offense it capability. take these people out rapidly before they can do this kind of damage but we will be putting in strong language having to do with the background checks so that will take place veryquick quickly. i spoke with paul ryan, mitch mcconnell and people are looking really energized. i know that you have, this is
2:26 pm
been going on for a long time . many years and you have people in my position and they would mention things, but not a lot of things are done, obviously. we take it very seriously and want to put an end to it and, by the way, bad guy thinks somebody's in this room with a weapon that's going to be pointed athim , with live bullets, he's not even going to the school. that's the one way you're going to solve it. you're not going to say it with don re-spaces. they're going to get in there and be the only one with a gun. we need offense it capability and we are going to be doing something about it. we are dealing with congress right now amid talk from teachers, specific commitments to american students, can you make that these policies will make them safer. >> i think it's going to make it safer and the problem that's been happening over the last 20 years is people
2:27 pm
talk, you say. it's all talk and no action and we're going to take action. it's going to make us safer. the fact that you have some capability within the school, they're not going to go into that school. look at what's happened with airplanes where we put marshals on planes with guns or where pilots in many cases have guns. nothings happened for a long period of time. it was almost getting to a point of being routine. when you have somebody with a gun staring you down, it's going to be a lot different for them to walk into those schools. right now they look at the sign, this is a gun free environment. that means they're the only one with agun . the damage this lunatic did in that school, such a long period of time . rightly, he had a gun, he was outside asgard and he decided not to go in. that was not his finest moment, that i can tell you. he waited and he didn't want
2:28 pm
to go into that school. i just heard, it's a terrible situation. you need people that can take care of our children. we are not going to let this happen again and the way it's not going to happen again, because they are basically cowards. innately, they are cowards because they know bad things happen to them once they get into that school. people that love the children, a security guard doesn't know the children, doesn't love the children. this man standing outside of the school the other day doesn't love the children. i believe doesn't know the children. the teachers love their children, they love their students. they're doing it also for love. they have to be very adept. i'm not talking about every teacher, i'm talking about a small percentage but people that have great ability with weaponry, with guns, those are the only people i'm talking about but they will protect the students. prime minister? >> thank you prime minister, australia is known or helping syrian people and syrian refugees will ask you today, as the world watches, what
2:29 pm
steps can australia take with the help of president trump in the united states to ensure that civilians are protected ? >> the australian armed forces have been working as part of a coalition to defeat daesh in iraq and syria for some time. snr principle concentration of focus as opposed to syria where we are training both their special forces units, their counterterrorism service and their regular army and armed police. they trained over 30,000 personnel at our task force which is based at the airfield near baghdad. but in terms of refugees, australia has a very substantial manchurian program.
2:30 pm
we are currently taking about 18,000 refugees a year. we've taken 12,000 from in addition to that from the syrian conflict zone but we determine which, we are very careful about security of course. in terms of humanitarian programs. but i think it would be fair to say that the president has of course the most insight into this area here but it would be fair to say that ultimately, the resolution in syria has to be a political settlement and i'm not sure that's what secretary tellers and is working towards. >> specifically in syria as two of the most powerful man in the entire world, is there anything you can do to stop the bloodshed? >> ultimately, there has to be a political settlement. to say you know, the campaign to destroy daesh for isis has
2:31 pm
been largely complete. the so-called caliphate has been reduced to a few pockets . it's been smashed. and that has been americans and australians have worked bravely, effectively with our allies and partners in the region to do that. it's very important by the way to keep australians and americans say, because the image of their invincible caliphate, sweeping across syria and iraq, and as they're going to sweep across europe, all that was a big recruiting tool this is an important part of our global effort . ultimately, the settlements in those regions has to come from a political settlement among the people who live there. >> what russia and what you ran and what syria have done
2:32 pm
recently is a humanitarian disgrace. we will tell you that. rather for one reason, to get isis and get rid of isis and go home. were not there for any other reason and we largely accomplished our goal. but those three countries, what they've done to people over the last short period time is a disgrace. would you like to ask a question? >> i think yes, phil flory from the australian financial review. >> thanks gentleman and mister trump. phil paris from the financial review. just on the region, in china and associated issues, the united states navy has conducted frequently freedom of navigation reviews. would you like to see the australian navy participate directly in those operations alongside us allies?
2:33 pm
while some in the region, i don't know what your latest thinking is on the transpacific partnership . you remain as opposed? >> i think the transpacific partnership is not a good deal for us and we made a good deal for us i don't in but honestly, it was. i like bilateral deals much more than multilateral. i like to be to negotiate with one country and if it doesn't work out, you terminate, give them a termination notice after you consent. they call and say let's make a deal and you fix the deal. when you get into multi-you can't do that but transpacific partnership, epp was a bad deal for the united states. it cost us tremendous amounts of jobs, it would have been bad but there's a possibility we would go in but they would be offering us a much better deal and we do that. as faras your lanes are concerned, we loved alice really involveand i think australia wants us to stay
2:34 pm
involved . i have to say we've developed a great relationship with china . other than the fact they've been killing us ontrade , absolutely killingthe united states on trade . but we have developed a great relationship with china, probably closer than we've ever had and my personal relationship as malcolm can tell you resident xi is quite extraordinary. he's somebody i like and i think he likes me. with that being said, he likes china and i like the united states but a lot of things are happening. it's going to be an interesting period of time but we do have to straighten out and as much as i like and respect, really respect president xi, we have to straighten out the trade imbalance. it's no good. >> karen gilbert from sky news. >> general mattis has told chinaa revisionist power and there are growing threats .
2:35 pm
>> we are very positive about the relationship with xi. he hasn't a friend or so and on north korea, they don't work, are all options still on the table? >> the second, we will have to see. i don't think i would exactly play that card but we will have to see. if the sanctions don't work, we will have to go phase 2. phase 2 maybe a very rough thing. it may be very unfortunate for the world. hopefully the sanctions will work. we have tremendous support around the world for what we do. it really is a rogue nation. if we can make a deal it will be a great thing and if not, something will have to happen. as far as general mattis is concerned, a lot ofpeople have that view. china is top . getting stronger. adding stronger to a large extent with a lot of the
2:36 pm
money they've made having poor leadership in the united states because the united states leadership has allowed them to get awaywith murder . with that being said, i think we can have a truly great even trading relationship with china, hopefully that's going to work out and hopefully the relationship i have with president xi will make that happen, only time will tell. >> i can confirm that president trump and the president xi ci tie in every respect and they have, it's very clear that the meetings which we've attended in the region, the summit and so forth, the respect they have with each other and i think it's the most important relationship between china and the united states. it clearly is very respectful, very frank, very clear i. for our own power,
2:37 pm
we see china's rise as being overwhelmingly a positive for the region and for the world. the criticalthing of course is the rule of law is maintained . the, there are people that want to try to paint the united states and its allies like australia as being against china in some sort of rerun of the cold war. but that is not appropriate, it's not accurate. what do me needs to ensure is that the rules of the road, rule of law, where big countries can't push around little countries. all those years ago, you don't have a world where the big fish eat the little fish and a little fishing shrinks.
2:38 pm
where you have that rule of law that protects everybody. that is what has enabled the great growth in our region. that's what enabled hundreds of billions of people. in our region and including in china to be lifted out of poverty. by maintaining that rules-based order is what we arecommitted to . we all have a vested interest in doing so and i just want to say again, to the president, that his presence, his own personal presence in our region at the end of last year sent such a powerful message. the regular visits by secretary to listen, secretary mattis and of course the president of the united states navy and so many other manifestations of american commitment to the region is so important to maintaining that rules-based order. believe me, that has been the foundation of the success and prosperity and security of these last 40 or more years. >>. >> i don't think we've ever had a better relationship
2:39 pm
with china then we do right now. the only thing that can get in his way is trade. cause it's so one-sided, it's so lopsided and the people that stood here for many years in this position, right where i am right now should never have allowed that to happen. >> is very unfair to the united states and it's very unfair to the workers of the united states. very, very unfair. even today, it's extremely hard on companies that want to do business in china. i think the barriers are incredible. the barriers coming into our country. our foolishly not, foolishly. i believe in reciprocal trade . if they do something to us, we do something to them. well, that never happened. and it's gotten worse and
2:40 pm
worse over the years but we will correct it, that can be the only thing that can get inthe way of a truly long-term great relationship because we have all the ingredients . for friendship. from thewashington examiner, . >> thank you mister president. your chief of staff general kelly has recommended ending the practice of security clearances to members of the trump administration. if that proceeds, would you be willing to grant a waiver to jared kushner, one of your senior advisers? >> jared done an outstanding job, he's been treated very unfairly. he's a high-quality person. he works for nothing, nobody ever reports that but he gets zero. doesn't get a salary, nor does it talk who's now in self., long trip representing her country and we cannot get a better representative. in fact, the first lady, melanie was telling me a
2:41 pm
great thing she made this morning. jared is truly outstanding. he was very successful when he was in the private sector. he's working on peace in the middle east and some other small and very easy gales. peace in the middle east, peace between the palestinians and israel is the toughest deal of any deal there is. i've done deals all my life. as a former dealmaker although maybe you can say i'm more of a dealmaker than ever before. but the hardest deal to make of any kind is between israelis and palestinians. we are actually making great headway. jerusalem was the right thing to do. we took that off the table. but jared kushner is right in the middle of that. and it's an extraordinary dealmaker. he does that, that will be an incredible accomplishment and a very important thing for our country.
2:42 pm
generalkelly , you've done a terrific job by the way. he's right in the middle of that. we inherited a system is broken. a system where many people have just taken months and months to get many people that, do not have a complex financial complicated financials. they don't have that. it's a broken system. and it shouldn't take this long. you how many people are on that list? people with not a problem in the world so that will be up to general kelly. general kelly respects her and a lot. kelly will make that call, i will make that call, i let the general was right here make that call. but jared's doing some very important things for our country. if on the highway gets zero, she gave up a very good and very wrong, solid big business in order to, to washington because she wanted out families and she wanted to help women.
2:43 pm
he said that, i want to go to washington. i want to help women. and i said you know, washington is a mean place. she said i don't care, i want to help women, i want to help families and she was very much involved on-the-job tax credit. now she's working very much on family leave, things i don't think you have been in the agreement if it weren't for the vodka and some of our great senators but she was very much in the forefront of that so i will let general kelly make that decision and he's going to do what's right for the country. and i have no doubt he will make the right decision. >>. >> your country conducted a buyback program of semi automatic weapons back in the mid-90s and hasn't had a mass shooting ever since.
2:44 pm
is this something that you discussed with presidential and did you will encourage him to reconsider his current recommendations to combat mass shootings in the united states? >> our history with gun-control and regulations has been very different for the united states and you're right, there was a mass shooting in tasmania in 1996. and my predecessor, john howard was very well known in the united states, prime minister for nearly10 years , john undertook some very deep reforms and basically semi automatic and automatic weapons are essentially not available. there are many crosses but the range of firearms available to people that don't have a specific professional need like some people who are involved in pest-control, they're very limited. it's completely different. historically, legally and so
2:45 pm
forth. we are very satisfied with our laws. we maintain them. they're well known, we certainly don't presume to provide a policy or political advice on that matter here. you have an amendment to your constitution which deals with a gun initiative. you have a very different history and i will focus on our own political arguments and debates and wish you wise deliberation. >> i have to add, they are very different countries. very different sets of problems, but i think we are well on the way to solving that horrible problem, that happens far too often in the united states. thank you very much everybody, we appreciate it. thank you mister prime minister.
2:46 pm
[applause] [inaudible conversation] >> tonight on c-span2's book tv in prime time. christopher scalia, son of antoni scalia sears speeches in his book scalia speaks. linda discusses her book together we rise. after that republican national committee spokeswoman kaylee mackin any offer of the book the new american revolution.
2:47 pm
and we close book tv in prime time with astronaut scott kelly on his voyages into space. and his book endurance. >> sunday night on "after words", author carol westover talks about growing up with survivalist parents in the idaho mountains in her book educated: a memoir. she's interviewed by author and journalist susanna michaela and. >> a lot of people think they take apart this idea that to learn something you have to have a degree and have a whole institution in place that teaches you. i'm grateful to my parents that i was not raised to think that so when i decidedi wanted to go to college when i was 16 , it felt like something i could do, not because i had any formal education but okay, i need to learn algebra. i will buy a book and i'll learn. i had an amazing job. i got into a university but i kept going with that. my parents took it too far, i arrived at university under prepared. i onceed