President Trump Remarks to the Press in Iraq CSPAN December 27, 2018 2:30am-2:54am EST
will tell you that. here we are discussing strategy and lots of things. there is no military like we have, we can do whatever we want. we have to decide what is right and what is not right. we have done a fantastic job over the last two years i have been here. it is a great time to meet all of you. we will meet other people later and we will speak, and i look forward to that. i want to thank the press, you made a journey and we appreciate you coming with us. thank you very much. do you have any questions? this is a place i have been talking about for many years. i was talking about it as a civilian. many of you know what my feelings were. i wanted to come and see iraq, and pay my respects to the great soldiers and troops we have here.
nobody better. we brought along john bolton and the first lady and some other great people, talented people. i wanted to see what we were doing over here. i am impressed with these folks. we have got a lot of communication through the white house but i wanted to see it firsthand. we flew all night. it is well worth it. >> [indiscernible] president trump: we can do things from iraq, we can take over some of the slack. we have knocked out 99% of the caliphate and it is time to bring them back. i told the generals, let's get out of syria. they said, can we have more
time? i said another six months. and other places i was talking about. i said, let's get out of syria, let's bring our young people home. they said, can we have six more months? i said, six more months, and i gave them six months. i said, let's get out. they said, can we have six months? i said, you have six months. they said recently, can we have more time? i said, no, you have had enough time. we have knocked them silly. i had good talks with president erdogan who wants to knock them out also. others will do it too, we are in their region, we should be sharing the burden of costs, and they are not. now they will do it. they will go into turkey and russia and iran, lots of other places. they have to start doing their
own work and paying for it. the united states cannot continue to be the policemen of the world. we want to protect our country. these people want to protect our country. >> [indiscernible] president trump: no plans at all. we can use this as a base if we want to do something in syria. if you take isis and we see something happening, we can hit them so fast and hard, they will not know what the hell happened. it is time to get our soldiers out, our young people out. i have been signing plenty of letters and i do not like sending those letters home to
parents saying your young man or woman has been killed. i do not like doing it. we have been doing it long enough. if you look at afghanistan, 19 years. we have been doing it a long time. the people at this table have been incredible, these are incredible men and women. we have been doing it a long time. i gave notice in syria, the way it was reported was like i pulled out. i did not pull out. i have been talking about it for a year and a half. i have been saying take more time, constantly giving more time. i said, ok, it is time for others to take over. if you look at syria, we went there eight years ago and it was supposed to be for a three-month period of time, we never left. time to bring our people back home. reporter: what do you make of people like lindsay graham that say you're making a mistake? president trump: i had a good debate with lindsay graham in front of a lot of people the other day and i think lindsay
would even say that had a big impact on him. lindsay graham is somebody that i like, that we've worked together, we agree on many things. we agreed on justice kavanaugh, justice gorsuch and we agreed on many things. i think that a lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking. it's not fair when we -- when the burden is all on us, the united states. we're building now as you folks know, you're seeing new equipment coming in for the first time in many years, $716 billion and $700 billion the last two years, far more and we're buying all beautiful new fighter jets -- we're building new ships and doing a lot of new things and even the equipment for your men and women. but it's time for us to start using our head. we don't want to be taken advantage any more by countries that use us and use our incredible military to protect
them. they don't pay for it. and they're going to have to. now, if you look at what happened in syria, president erdogan stepped in and says he wants to knock out isis. whatever is left. the remnants of isis. and so saudi arabia just came out and said they're going to pay for some economic development which is great. that means we don't have to pay. but we may help at some point. we may go back and help. we can do a lot of things with our companies and others where they go out and do a great job. but the bottom line is we're going to use our heads and wealthy countries cannot continue to use the united states to defend them. these are wealthy countries. these are seriously wealthy countries and i'm not only talking about in the middle east. i'm talking all over the world. wealthy countries cannot expect the united states to pay for a vast majority of their military.
they can pay us. they can reimburse us. because nobody has a military like us. but we're all over the world. we're spread out all over the world. we're in countries that most people have never even heard about. and frankly it's ridiculous. so that's the story. it's very simple. i wanted to come to iraq. i wanted to meet these great heroes. and that's what we're doing. and that's why we're here. and that's why we took that flight. yeah. reporter: the criticism that by leaving syria you are increasing jeopardy for israel. how do you respond? president trump: i don't see it. i talked to bibi. i told bibi and we give israel $4.5 billion a year. and they're doing very well with defending themselves if you take a look. but we'll be there for israel. we'll always be there for israel. i'm the one that moved the embassy to jerusalem. nobody was willing to do that. all these presidents came and went and all said they will do it. they never did it.
i did it. big difference. we're going to take good care of israel. israel is going to be g but we give israel $4.5 billion a year and we give them frankly a lot more money than that if you look at the books. a lot more money than that. and they've been doing a very good job for themselves. reporter: sir, the timing of this trip and the government shutdown back in washington? president trump: i did this about three or four weeks ago. we set this up. we actually had a couple of them set up and we canceled for security reasons because people were finding out pretty sad when you spend $7 trillion in the middle east and going in has to be under this massive cover with planes all over and all of the greatest equipment in the world and you do everything you can to get in safely. pretty sad. you spend $7 trillion. and you have to come in through a military escort and all of the other incredible things that they did. incredible. reporter: how long do you think the shutdown will last, mr.
president? president trump: whatever it takes. we're going to have a wall. we're going to have safety. we
need safety for our country even from this standpoint. we have terrorists coming in through the southern border. we have the terrorists also coming in through the southern border. because you know what? it was always the easiest. now we made it very tough. but i won't put them on the spot but i guarantee you they would say you don't have a wall. you're not going to have -- folks are saying can we have some drones and can we have technology? technology is bells and whistles. you have to have a wall. you have to have protection. but we have in addition to drugs and in addition to human trafficking, in addition to mass numbers of illegals who are coming in, many of whom are criminals. 618 so far that we found in some cases very serious criminals. in some cases murderers. it was on your cameras for everybody to see. we need a wall. so when you say how long is it going to take?
when are they going to say we need border security? when are the democrats going to say? don't forget the democrats all agreed that you need a wall until i wanted it. once i wanted it, they didn't agree, see? reporter: what's your time line on a new defense secretary? president trump: well, we have a wonderful man in it there now, as you know. our friend shanahan is a good man. and he's done a great job. and he's a good buyer. i want somebody that can buy. because i'm given a lot of money and i don't want it to be wasted. when i came here, they were spending for a $4 billionaire aircraft carrier, they were up to $16 billion. that's not me. that's them. i inherited that. and many other things. cost overruns all over the place. so far shanahan was at boeing. and did a great job for boeing and he was there for a long time. boeing's a hell of a company. he did a great job. very responsible for the success of a certain plane.
and he's -- he's a respected man. he can be there for a long time. i mean, i'm in no rush. i will say that i've got everybody -- everybody and his uncle wants that position. and also by the way, everybody and her aunt. reporter: mr. president -- president trump: everybody wants that position. everybody. everybody. so many people want to be -- who wouldn't want to be secretary of defense? even these folks would like to be secretary of defense. who wouldn't want to be -- he's looking over there and saying wow, i would like -- [laughter] reporter: mr. president -- president trump: we have a lot of people and a lot of great people that want to be secretary of defense. we'll take our time and we'll make the right decision. reporter: mr. president, will you come down from $5 billion to $2 billion for border security in the conversation with democrats? president trump: as you know we have already built a lot of wall through the normal budget and fixed a tremendous amount of wall, many miles.
sarah can give you the numbers, sanders, can give you the numbers. but we fixed a lot of wall. and we've renovated it. it's very, very good. it's as good as new. and, you know, many, many miles of that. and we've also built new wall a lot. but we just gave our contract that when it's all completed out, it will be 115 miles. that's a lot. we're talking 500 to 550 miles and this will be just this one contract is 115. i'm going there. i assume you're with me at the end of january and a little bit before the state of the union and we will do it before the state of the union address. i will be going to texas and instead of having a long -- we'll have a long groundbreaking because it covers a lot of territory and it we'll have a ground breaking for the wall. reporter: as a matter of negotiation have you come down from the $5 billion to $2 billion? president trump: here's the problem -- yeah, here's the problem we have. we have a problem with the democrats because nancy pelosi
is calling the shots, not chuck. and chuck wants to have this done. i really believe that. he wants to have this done. but she's calling the shots. and she's calling them because she wants the votes. and probably if they do something, she's not going to get the votes and she's not going to be speaker of the house. and that would be not so good for her because -- in a very tight contest. i know her contest very well. i know it may be better than she does. i know exactly where she is. and she's in a very, very tight contest. there are those that say she doesn't have the votes yet. let's see what happens. i say she does. if chuck does this, it could very well have negative implications on her becoming speaker of the house. so they all know you need it and you need this border security. they all know you need the wall or whatever you want to call it in order to secure our border -- ask anybody they can tell you you need a wall.
but the one who's calling the shots is nancy pelosi. reporter: will you accept $2 billion from $5 billion? president trump: i won't talk about it now. but i will say this. we have been building a lot of wall. and i haven't been stressing it frankly. because maybe i felt it wasn't the right thing to do. but we've been building a lot of wall. if you go out, you'll see it or we can give you an exact list, sarah, you'll do that. but we're building now and we just gave out a contract as you know. i just released it the other day. but we are building a lot of wall. we have a lot of great wall going. and the most important places. we're starting in the most important places which i would say history says fellas that's a good thing to do. and do the most important places first. and do the least important places last. so we are probably up to what we're building now and build shortly we are up to over 200 miles of wall. nobody knows. nor did i want to tell anybody. so we are moving very rapidly.
and i have other sources, if i need them, but we have to do it the right way. look, the american public is demanding a wall. i think they're under a lot of pressure. the problem is we need 10 democrat votes in the senate. the house is 100%. you saw that. nancy said would never get the votes in the house. not only did we get them, we got them by a lot. 217 to 185. i mean, we got them by a lot. nobody believed that. nancy pelosi sat and she said you couldn't get the votes in the house. and then we got the votes in the house. and that was for $5.8 billion. so we're doing well. the problem is we need 10 votes in the senate. and they have to be democrat votes. people are -- don't understand it. they hear we have the majority. we have right now the majority by one. soon we'll have the majority by three because we won the senate and we have picked up -- nobody ever reports that. but we won the senate and we picked up two seats which is --
you know, someday one of you guys are going to get up and actually report that. is what approves supreme court judges, people, everything. but we won the senate and people were very surprised at how well we did with the senate. we almost won three additional seats that we weren't expected to be anywhere near. so nancy is calling the shots. and they all know -- look, politically speaking, i don't do it for politics. i'm doing nothing for politics. but politically speaking, people want border security. ok? one more question. one more. reporter: you did have any concerns about coming here today? president trump: absolutely. when i heard what you had to go through. and look, i -- i had concerns for the institution of the president. because -- not for myself personally. i have concerns for the first lady i will tell you. but if you would have seen what we had to go through with the
darkened plane and all windows closed and no lights on whatsoever, anywhere, pitch black. i've never seen it and been in many airplanes and all types and shapes and sizes. i've never seen anything like it. we're coming in and i know all of the things that were surrounding us for safety. so did i have a concern, yeah, i had a concern. but my bigger concern was maybe the people that were with me, certainly all of them except i think john bolton. he's a pretty tough guy and can handle it, right, john? john can handle it. and john and i agree on all of this and i think john will say that we went through numerous extension, extension, extension, john. and john -- pretty strong on the subject. he's pretty strong. he's pretty hawkish on everything having to do with the military. and by the way, i think i'm probably more hawkish than anybody, anybody. nobody is more hawkish than me. but i would also like to use it
in the right place and frankly, i like not using it at all and one of the things we're doing is we are building the greatest force that we've ever had, that we've ever had. we've never had a force like we're building in terms of the equipment, we have the best people to start off with. and by doing what i'm doing, hopefully we won't have to use it. but there's nobody that believes more strongly in having a powerful military than i do. and we're respected once again in the world. and that's nice to see because our military, i'm not going to put them on the spot. but our military was seriously when i took office. seriously depleted. it was in bad shape. and very soon it's going to be in phenomenal shape. ok? thank you all very much. thank you. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily.
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earlier this month, bona mcdaniel spoke at a women's leadership summit. na mcdaniel. this is 25 minutes. [applause] >> welcome back. i hope you enjoyed the ambassador luncheon and gained new and valuable insight and maybe made some new friends and connections. i'm carrie budoff brown, the editor of politico and i'm thrilled to be here today among so many women who are ruling in their respective fields. this morning we heard from some incredible