Charlevoix, Canada - President Trump press conference after G7 Summit:
THE PRESIDENT: I figured. Fake News CNN. The worst. But I could tell by the question. I had no idea you were CNN. After the question, I was just curious as to who you were with. You were CNN.
I would say that the level of relationship is a 10. We have a great relationship. Angela and Emmanuel and Justin. I would say the relationship is a 10. And I don’t blame them. I blame — as I said, I blame our past leaders for allowing this to happen. There was no reason this should happen. There’s no reason that we should have big trade deficits with virtually every country in the world. I’m going long beyond the G7. There’s no reason for this. It’s the fault of the people that preceded me. And I’m not just saying President Obama. I’m going back a long way. You can go back 50 years, frankly. It just got worse and worse and worse.
You know, we used to be a nation that was unbelievably cash-flow-oriented. Had no debt of any consequence, and that built the highway system. We built the interstate system out of — virtually out of cash flow. And it was a lot different.
No, we have a very good relationship, and I don’t blame these people, but I will blame them if they don’t act smart and do what they have to do — because they have no choice. I’ll be honest with you, they have no choice.
They’re either going to make the trades fair, because our farmers have been hurt. You look at our farmers. For 15 years, the graph is going just like this — down. Our farmers have been hurt, our workers have been hurt. Our companies have moved out and moved to Mexico and other countries, including Canada.
Now, we are going to fix that situation. And if it’s not fixed, we’re not going to deal with these countries. But the relationship that I’ve had is great. So you can tell that to your fake friends at CNN.
The relationship that I’ve had with the people, the leaders of these countries, has been — I would really, rate it on a scale of 0 to 10, I would rate it a 10. That doesn’t mean I agree with what they’re doing. And they know very well that I don’t. So we’re negotiating very hard, tariffs and barriers.
As an example, the European Union is brutal to the United States. They don’t — and they understand that. They know it. When I’m telling them, they’re smiling at me. You know, it’s like the gig is up. It’s like the gig is up. They’re not trying to — there’s nothing they can say. They can’t believe they got away with it. Canada can’t believe it got away with it. Mexico — we have $100 billion trade deficit with Mexico and that doesn’t include all the drugs that are pouring in because we have no wall. But we are. We started building the wall, as you know. $1.6 billion — and we’re going to keep that going.
But a lot of these countries actually smile at me when I’m talking. And the smile is — we couldn’t believe we got away with it. That’s the smile. So it’s going to change. It’s going to change. They have no choice. If it’s not going to change, we’re not going to trade with them.
Okay, how about a couple of more? Go ahead in the back.
Q Thanks, Mr. President. Eliana Johnson with Politico.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Hi.
Q Going into these talks with Kim Jong Un, do you have a clear objective of what you want to get out of them?
THE PRESIDENT: I have a clear objective. But I have to say, Eliana, that it’s going to be something that will always be spur of the moment. You don’t know. You know, this has not been done before at this level. This is a leader who really is an unknown personality. People don’t know much about him. I think that he’s going to surprise, on the upside, very much on the upside. We’ll see. But never been done. Never been tested. Many people — world leaders — I’m talking about world leaders that have been right next to him have never met him.
So we’re going in with a very positive spirit. I think very well prepared. I think — and, by the way, we have worked very well with their people. They have many people right now in Shanghai; our people have been — in Singapore. Our people have been working very, very well with the representatives of North Korea.
So we’re going in with a very positive attitude, and I think we’re going to come out fine. But I’ve said it many times: Who knows? Who knows? May not. May not work out. It’s a good chance it won’t work out. There’s probably an even better chance that it will take a period of time. It will be a process.
Q Is there a particular outcome that you would look for from this initial talk to judge whether you think things are going well?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the minimum would be relationship. You’d start at least a dialogue. Because, you know, as a deal person, I’ve done very well with deals. What you want to do is start that. Now, I’d like to accomplish more than that. But at a minimum, I do believe, at least we’ll have met each other. We will have seen each other. Hopefully we will have liked each other and we’ll start that process.
So I would say that would be the minimal. And the maximum, I think you know the answer to that. But I think that will take a little bit of time.
Q How long do you think that it will take you to figure out whether he’s serious about (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT: That’s a good question. How long will it take? I think within the first minute I’ll know.
THE PRESIDENT: Just my touch, my feel. That’s what I do. How long will it take to figure out whether or not they’re serious? I said maybe in the first minute. You know, the way — they say that you know if you’re going to like somebody in the first five seconds. You ever hear that one? Well, I think that very quickly I’ll know whether or not something good is going to happen.
I also think I’ll know whether or not it will happen fast. It may not. But I think I’ll know pretty quickly whether or not, in my opinion, something positive will happen. And if I think it won’t happen, I’m not going to waste my time. I don’t want to waste his time.
Q Are you concerned about all that just like giving Kim the meeting, that he’s getting a win as a (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no, no. That’s only — only the fake news says that. You know, this — look, we just three hostages back. We paid nothing. They came back. They’re happily in ensconced in their homes with their families. They’re the happiest people in the world right now.
We have gotten — you know, we haven’t done anything. Everyone said — you know, the haters, they say, “Oh, you’re giving him a meeting.” Give me a break, okay? There’s nothing. I think if I didn’t do this, it would be — and it’s never been done before, you know. It’s never been done before. And obviously, what has been done before hasn’t worked.
And this is something — I can’t stress this strong enough. You know, I talked about tariffs that previous people — and I’m not looking to criticize people that were preceding me — but on tariffs, it should have never happened.
Well, the same thing on North Korea. We shouldn’t be in this position. We shouldn’t be in this position on tariffs. We were hundreds of billions of dollars down to other countries that, frankly, were never even negotiated with. They never even got spoken to.
I asked a top person in China, how did it get so bad? He looked at me, he said, “Nobody ever talked to us.” They were missing in action, our leaders.
Well, a very similar thing, if you think about it, took place with North Korea. This should not be done now. This should have been done 5 years ago, and 10 years ago, and 25 years ago. It shouldn’t be done now.
Q Have you spoken to Kim at all in the last —
THE PRESIDENT: I can’t comment on that.
Okay, one more question.
Q A follow-up on North Korea. Will you raise of the gulags with Kim Jong Un and —
THE PRESIDENT: We’re going to raise every issue.
Q — and the (inaudible) and kidnappings?
THE PRESIDENT: Every issue is going to be raised.
Q Mr. President, we’re sitting here, and kind of you’ve attacked the U.S. press back home, but you’ve also done it on foreign soil. I guess I want — I’d like to ask you why you do that. Do you think —
THE PRESIDENT: Because the U.S. press is very dishonest, much of it. Not all of it. Oh, I have some folks in your profession that are with the U.S., in the U.S. — citizens, proud citizens; they’re reporters. These are some of the most outstanding people I know. But there are many people in the press that are unbelievably dishonest. They don’t cover stories the way they’re supposed to be. They don’t even report them, in many cases, if they’re positive.
So there’s tremendous — you know, I came up with the term, “fake news.” It’s a lot of fake news. But at the same time, I have great respect for many people in the press.
Thank you all very much. I appreciate it. Thank you.