Administration of Donald J. Trump, 2017
The President's News Conference With President Andrzej Duda of Poland in Warsaw, Poland
July 6, 2017
President Duda. Excellency, most distinguished Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen. It is my great pleasure to welcome to Warsaw, to welcome to Poland, the President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump, I am delighted with this visit—this visit in Warsaw—which is one of the first international visits paid by Mr. President Trump.
This visit stresses our bond and the high quality of the alliance between Poland and the United States. It also demonstrates that we are and that we mutually assess each other as loyal partners as those who cooperate on many different areas, including the area of security within NATO alliance.
And today this was one of the topics of our discussion that we had during that we had during our tête-à-tête meeting with Mr. President, followed by a plenary session of our two delegations. We talked about the presence of American soldiers in Poland. We talked about strengthening security of our part of Europe, including the Eastern flank of NATO. We discussed, generally, the security situation in this part of Europe.
Apart from that, we mentioned the situation in Ukraine. We talked about the upcoming Zapad '17 military exercise, which will take place in Belarus. We also talked about contracts connected with the modernization of the Polish Armed Forces. Now, we discussed the already-entered-into agreement between Poland and the United States on purchasing Patriot missiles. So we discussed the implementation of the Wisła program. We also discussed the implementation of another program code-named Homar.
We discussed about all the things that will be implemented in the next few years as regards strengthening the security of Poland.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted. After these conversations, I have a feeling that the United States is thinking very seriously, and Mr. President, Donald Trump, is thinking seriously about Poland's security. He's also thinking very seriously about the United States of America as our loyal ally.
The President stressed very strongly the strength of the Polish community in the United States, of our Polonia, the Polish Americans whom he met even before elections. And, Mr. President, once again thank you very much for that. Thank you for noticing, also, the contribution of Polish Americans and Polish people in the development—in the building of the prosperity of the United States of America.
But apart from that, ladies and gentlemen, we discussed economic contracts, not only military ones, but also those connected with security. We spoke at length about LNG gas deliveries to Poland. I am really pleased that the first shipment of LNG gas arrived to Poland on the 8th of July from the United States. This has turned out hugely successful. There were no problems whatsoever. There were no barriers to ship that gas to our LNG terminal—through the LNG terminal in Świnoujście. This opens up the path to more contracts. I hope that in the near future there will be a long-term contract entered into for LNG gas deliveries from the United States and that through this we will diversify sources of supply of this hugely important raw material to Poland.
In a few moments, together with Mr. President, we will attend the Three Seas summit, where we are also going to discuss pertaining to energy security and pertaining to the development of the transatlantic bond between Europe and the United States. We will also talk about the development of infrastructure in our part of Europe, in Central Europe. But we are also going to discuss the development of the European Union, because all the Three Seas Initiative countries are EU member states. And whenever we talk about the implementation of the cohesion policy, then we are looking at it from the European Union perspective. We want to implement it through the development of infrastructure along the North-South axis to increase competitiveness of our countries and, at the same token, to increase the competitiveness of the entire European Union.
I hope that we'll be able to do that. Also, in cooperation with the United States, according to the win-win principle, that this is going to be beneficial both from the United States and for our countries.
Mr. President, once again, welcome. I'm hugely delighted with your visit in Poland. And in my capacity as President of the Republic of Poland, thank you very much, and on behalf of the entire Polish society—of the Polish people—for coming to Poland.
Moderator. Thank you, Mr. President. The President of the United States, Mr. Donald Trump. The floor is yours.
President Trump. Well, thank you very much, President Duda, and for your really gracious hospitality. We've had a wonderful stay. It's been quick, but the people of Poland have been so fantastic. And as you know, Polish Americans came out in droves. They voted in the last election, and I was very happy with that result. So I just want to thank you, and I want to thank them.
It's a true honor to be here in Poland. It's a majestic nation, it really is. It's a spectacular place, some of the most beautiful sights that we just saw coming over. Really, very inspirational. You're rich in history, and you have absolutely an unbreakable spirit. That's something we've learned for—over the course of many years.
The President and I concluded a productive meeting in which we reaffirmed our enduring bonds of friendship that have united our citizens for a long time. But we've never been closer to Poland, I think, than we are right now.
Poland is not only a great friend, but a truly important ally and a partner with respect to our military. We've had great cooperations with Poland. We fought shoulder-to-shoulder in many different encounters. Particularly grateful for the active role Poland has taken in helping to defeat ISIS—where we've made tremendous strides, tremendous gains, which you'll be hearing about over the next period of time—and other terrorist organizations. Poland has been right there with us, by training Iraqi special forces and flying reconnaissance missions. And just about anytime we requested, they were there.
Brave Polish soldiers have fought and worked side by side with Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. And on behalf of all Americans, I want to salute you; I want to thank you. Very, very special people. I also want to thank the Polish people for their kindness to more than 5,000 American troops that are stationed in your country. Our strong alliance with Poland and NATO remains critical to deterring conflict and ensuring that war between great powers never again ravages Europe, and that the world will be a safer and better place.
America is committed to maintaining peace and security in Central and Eastern Europe. We're working with Poland in response to Russia's actions and destabilizing behavior. And we're grateful for the example Poland has set for every member of the NATO alliance by being one of the few nations that actually meets its financial obligations. As you know, I've been pretty hard on some of the members of NATO for not, and the money is pouring in, I can tell you. I was criticized, Mr. President, but I can also say that the people of NATO aren't criticizing me; they're very happy. The money has been pouring in in the last year, far greater than it ever would have been.
It is past time for all countries and all countries in the NATO alliance to get going and to get up to their obligations. But I can say that Poland has been right there, and you will even exceed that number. And I appreciate that very much, and so do a lot of other countries.
During our meeting, I congratulated President Duda on Poland's recent election to the United Nations Security Council. We also discussed our mutual commitment to safeguarding the values at the heart of our alliance: freedom, sovereignty, and the rule of law.
Poland joins the Security Council at a very critical time. It's a critical time, frankly, for the world, because you see what's going on. Not only must we secure our nations from the threat of terrorism, but we must also confront the threat from North Korea. And that's what it is: It's a threat. And we will confront it very strongly. President Duda and I call on all nations to confront this global threat and publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences for their very, very bad behavior.
We also discussed the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Syria and the need to defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups where they control territory and populations. We have fought very hard and very powerfully against ISIS since I've been President, and we've made tremendous gains, far greater than has ever been made with respect to that group.
While the cities of Raqqa and Mosul will soon be liberated from these murderers, criminals, and butchers, we recognize that Syria requires a political solution that does not advance Iran's destructive agenda and does not allow terrorist organizations to return. We also reaffirm that any nation that values human life can never tolerate the use of chemical weapons. And we won't tolerate it either.
Finally, we agreed to work to expand commerce between our countries. We strongly support the Three Seas Initiative, and America stands ready to help Poland and other European nations diversify their energy supplies so that you can never be held hostage to a single supplier or, as we sometimes call it, a monopoly. I am pleased to report that the first shipment of American liquefied natural gas arrived in Poland last month, and there will be many more coming. Maybe we can get your price up a little bit, but that's okay. [Laughter] He's a tough negotiator.
We look forward to making the economic ties between the United States and Poland even stronger through trading relationships, and that is a balanced and reciprocal one. We want reciprocal trade relationships. We don't have too many of them. I said before that the United States has made some of the worst trade deals ever in history. That's going to change. That's going to change. The friendship between our peoples dates all the way back to the American Revolution. It's a long time. I look forward to speaking more about these enduring bonds of faith and freedom when I address the entire Polish nation in just a little while. I hear we have a big crowd, Mr. President. It's going to be a big. I think they're showing up for you and not for me, right? We're going to have a big crowd. That's what the word is.
So, President Duda, thank you again for welcoming Melania and myself to your beloved homeland. Together, we can make the partnership between our two nations stronger than ever before. Special people, special place. And it's an honor to be here.
Thank you very much.
[At this point, President Duda spoke briefly in English as follows.]
President Duda. Thank you very much.
[The moderator made brief remarks in Polish, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows.]
Moderator. Thank you, Mr. President. Now we have time to take four questions, two from each side. Let us start with a guest from the United States. Is there any question from the U.S. side?
President Trump. David? David. [David Martosko, Daily Mail].
News Media/North Korea/Syria
Q. Thank you, Mr. President. In light of North Korea's latest ICBM testing, do you think they're beyond redemption or is there a chance they might actually make a U-turn? And are you willing and ready to launch military action against them?
And if I may, if I may—I have to ask about this—since you started the whole wrestling video thing, what are your thoughts about what has happened since then? I mean, CNN went after you and has threatened to expose the identity of a person they said was responsible for it. And I'd like your thoughts on that too.
President Trump. Yes, I think what CNN did was unfortunate for them. As you know, now they have some pretty serious problems. They have been fake news for a long time. They've been covering me in a very dishonest way. Do you have that also, by the way, Mr. President? [Laughter] But CNN and others—I mean, NBC is equally as bad despite the fact that I made them a fortune with "The Apprentice," but they forgot that.
But I will say that CNN has really taken it too seriously, and I think they've hurt themselves very badly, very, very badly. And what we want to see in the United States is honest, beautiful, free, but honest press. We want to see fair press. I think it's a very important thing. We don't want fake news. And by the way, not everybody is fake news, but we don't want fake news. Bad thing. Very bad for our country.
As far as North Korea is concerned, I don't know, we'll see what happens. I don't like to talk about what I have planned, but I have some pretty severe things that we're thinking about. That doesn't mean we're going to do them. I don't draw red lines. President Obama drew a red line, and I was the one that made it look a little bit better than it was. But that could have been done a lot sooner, and you wouldn't have had the same situation that you have right now in Syria. That was a big mistake. But I think we'll just take a look at what happens over the coming weeks and months with respect to North Korea. It's a shame that they're behaving this way, but they are behaving in a very, very dangerous manner, and something will have to be done about it.
Thank you. Thank you, David.
Q. And, Mr. President, since we're speaking about press freedoms, your party has significantly clamped down on press freedoms in the last year and now appears to be weakening the power of the national courts as well. Do you think that people who live in other modern democracies, including some Americans, are wrong to criticize you for limiting which reporters can cover the Parliament?
President Duda. So, to respond to your question, sir, media order is a very significant thing indeed. And when we look at the situation in the United States, when we look at the situation in Poland, in every case, you can see a lot of pathologies. I can give you an example of one of Polish magazines which compared two TV channels of two different broadcasters. And as an example, one of those broadcasters did not report about my visit to Croatia—the visit of the President of the Republic of Poland to Croatia—a very important one, which was preparing the Three Seas summit. Because this broadcaster does not really like me as the President of Poland, so I'm permanently criticized by that broadcaster.
But I believe this is just the reality. This is the right of the media. In Poland we've got absolute liberty and freedom of the media. Problems were there during previous governments. Also, when the former President was in office, one of the magazines—the Wprost magazine—was visited by Special Services in order to take away recordings which were compromising for the politicians of the previous ruling party. So that was when the freedom was under threat, but now we have got absolute freedom of the media. We do respect the freedom of the media. We do take care of the interests of the Republic of Poland and of Polish people.
Moderator. Thank you, Mr. President. Now, the question from the Polish side. The first question, Polish Television. One question, please.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)/U.S. Energy Exports
Q. [Inaudible]—I represent the Polish Television. One question concerning energy, because both of you mentioned energy sector and the deliveries of LNGs. So my first question goes to President Trump: In what time perspective do you think a permanent contract could be entered into to ensure LNG gas deliveries—American deliveries to Poland?
And the question to President Duda: Could Poland become a certain hub for the transportation of American gas, hub to Three Seas countries?
President Trump. Very fair question. I think we can enter a contract for LNG within the next 15 minutes. Do you have anybody available to negotiate? [Laughter] It will take about 15 minutes.
You know, we're becoming a great exporter of energy. Very soon, we'll be a great exporter of energy, and we've taken a lot of unnecessary regulations out of our process. And we are doing things that we haven't been able to do for a long time. So we're a—we're blessed with great land—we didn't even know it 15 years ago—in terms of what was underneath our feet. And certainly, we have found out through technology that we are truly blessed to have this incredible wealth under our feet. And we are going to be an exporter of energy. It's already happening. And anytime you're ready, we can do additional contracts. We've already done the one, but we can do many additional contracts. Thank you.
President Duda. Ladies and gentlemen, I can give you the following answer. It is not the President of the United States and the President of Poland who are going to sign the long-term contract for LNG gas deliveries to Poland. But the contract will be signed by companies, by a Polish company and an American company, and this is how it will be proceeded.
What is most important, however—the most important thing—is that there is green light given by the U.S. Government, by the U.S. administration, that there is an incentive given by Americans for us to buy gas from the United States. And on our side, on the Polish side, on the side of the Polish authorities, there is also this green light. And there is interest in this particular thing. So I count that after relevant negotiations—I know that those negotiations are already ongoing—I believe that after the conclusion of those negotiations, there will be a long-term contract for U.S. LNG deliveries to our LNG terminal in Świnoujście.
And answering the second part of your question, can we become a hub through which gas—LNG gas, American gas—will flow to Central Europe, I am convinced that the answer is yes. I am convinced that the answer is yes, and today we are going to talk about this, also, under the framework of the Three Seas Initiative. This is also connected with the establishment of an energy corridor, of a gas corridor, along the North-South axis. But also, in the future, this could ensure, perhaps, alternative supplies vis-à-vis Russian supplies, alternative supplies for Ukraine. This is of primary importance, and this is what we discussed today with Mr. President Trump.
I am convinced that the future is very rosy on this one, very bright, that the contracts will be entered into. And of course, we, on our part, according to the needs, are going to develop our capacities as regards the reception of the LNG gas from the U.S. and from other directions.
Moderator. Media is free in Poland, so now the question from a private broadcaster, TVN. Mr.—[inaudible].
U.S. Troop Deployment in Poland
Q. Thank you very much. A question to both Presidents. You mentioned military cooperation. I would like to find out from both of you Presidents whether, during your exchange, were there any concrete guarantees extended concerning the presence of American troops in Poland as long as there is threat from the Russian side? And how do you see the future Presidents—the future of the presence of American troops in Poland?
President Trump. Well, we didn't discuss guarantees, and weren't really in that position to discuss guarantees. But certainly, we've been here for a long time. We have quite a few troops here, up to 5,000. And we will continue to do that, and we will continue to work with Poland. But we did not discuss guarantees, no.
President Duda. Well, sir, with Mr. President, the topic that we discussed first and foremost was the security situation that we have here. We discussed it in the context of what is happening in our part of Europe, in the context of the Zapad '17 maneuvers, which we have already mentioned. And from that point of view, there is no doubt that the presence of American troops and NATO troops in Poland today is absolutely justified from this perspective. If we add to this the situation that we are seeing in Ukraine all the time, then it is absolutely clear. But we are going to discuss it further with Mr. President. We made an initial agreement to meet next year in the White House. We agreed that I will pay a visit in—to the United States next year. Of course, the details will be worked out later on. But that year is important both for us Poles and for the Polish Americans, because next year we are going to celebrate the centennial of Poland's regaining of independence. And I would like, me, myself and Mr. President, to stress together the importance of that year, because this shows the contribution of the Polish people to the welfare of the United States over the last 100 years.
Moderator. And the last question, the American media, very briefly, please, because the Presidents have got to attend the Three Seas summit in a minute. So perhaps Mr. President Trump is going to select the next journalist asking the question.
Russian Interference in 2016 Presidential Election/Former President Barack Obama/ U.S. Intelligence Agencies
Q. Thank you, Mr. President. A two-part question, if I may. Will you once and for all, yes or no, definitively say that Russia interfered in the 2016 election?
President Trump. Well, I think it was Russia, and I think it could have been other people and other countries. It could have been a lot of people interfered.
Q. You seem to——
President Trump. I said it very simply: I think it could very well have been Russia, but I think it could well have been other countries. And I won't be specific, but I think a lot of people interfere. I think it's been happening for a long time. It's been happening for many, many years.
Now, the thing I have to mention is that Barack Obama, when he was President, found out about this in terms of if it were Russia. Found out about it in August. Now, the election was in November. That's a lot of time. He did nothing about it. Why did he do nothing about it? He was told it was Russia by the CIA, as I understand it—it was well reported—and he did nothing about. They say he choked. Well, I don't think he choked. I think what happened is, he thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and he said let's not do anything about it. Had he thought the other way, he would have done something about it.
So he was told in early August by, presumably, the CIA that Russia was trying to get involved or meddling pretty strongly with the election. He did nothing about it. The reason is, he thought Hillary was going to win. And if he thought I was going to win, he would have done plenty about it. So that's the real question, is why did he do nothing from August all the way to November 8? Why did he do nothing? His people said he choked. I don't think he choked.
Q. So the follow-up is for you on that, Mr. President. You again say you think it was Russia. Your intelligence agencies have been far more definitive. They say it was Russia. Why won't you agree with them and say it was?
President Trump. Well, I'll tell you—let me just start off by saying I heard it was 17 agencies. I said, boy, that's a lot. Do we even have that many intelligence agencies, right? Let's check it. And we did some very heavy research. It turned out to be three or four. It wasn't 17.
President Trump. And many of your compatriots had to change their reporting, and they had to apologize and they had to correct. Now, with that being said, mistakes have been made. I agree, I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries. And I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.
I remember when I was sitting back listening about Iraq—weapons of mass destruction—how everybody was 100-percent sure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Guess what? That led to one big mess. They were wrong, and it led to a mess.
So it was Russia, and I think it was probably others also. And that's been going on for a long period of time. But my big question is, why did Obama do nothing about it from August all the way to November 8? He did nothing about it, and it wasn't because he choked.
Q. And before I get to President Duda, you talked about being angry at President Obama, Mr. President. You talked about having anger——
Moderator. Dear lady, it was two questions. Dear lady, dear lady. Two questions. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. We must go.
Q. Very briefly, to follow up, Mr. President. Why haven't you shown that anger toward Moscow, sir?
Moderator. Thank you very much. Dear lady, it was two questions. Thank you very much.
Q. Can I ask one of President Duda, please?
Moderator. Thank you, Presidents. Thank you to the members of the delegation. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
President Trump. Thank you, everybody, very much.
NOTE: The President's news conference began at 10:32 a.m. at the Royal Castle. In his remarks, the President referred to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her capacity as the 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee. He also referred to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization. President Duda referred to former President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland. President Duda, the moderator, and two reporters spoke in Polish, and their remarks were translated by an interpreter. The transcript, prepared for immediate release by the Office of the Press Secretary, was received by the Office of the Federal Register on July 27.
Categories: Interviews With the News Media : Joint news conferences :: Poland, President Duda.
Locations: Warsaw, Poland.
Names: Clinton, Hillary Rodham; Duda, Andrzej; Obama, Barack; Trump, Melania.
Subjects: Central Intelligence Agency; Commerce, international : U.S. exports :: Expansion; Communications : News media :: Accuracy and fairness; Defense and national security : Intelligence; Elections : 2016 Presidential and congressional elections; Energy : Domestic production, promotion efforts; Europe : Three Seas Initiative; Iran : Syria, role; Iraq : Iraqi military and security forces; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; North Korea : Ballistic missiles, testing and development; North Korea : International diplomatic efforts; North Korea : Nuclear weapons development; Poland : Defense relationship with U.S.; Poland : Energy cooperation with U.S.; Poland : President; Poland : President Trump's visit; Poland : Relations with U.S.; Poland : Trade with U.S.; Russia : Regional involvement; Russia : U.S. elections, interference; Syria : Civil war and sectarian conflict; Terrorism : Counterterrorism efforts; Terrorism : Global threat; Terrorism : Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization; United Nations : Security Council.
DCPD Number: DCPD201700549.