President Trump, in a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, was taking questions related to weighty foreign policy matters when ABC News reporter asked the president if he intended to pardon his attorney Michael Cohen. Here’s a full transcript of the exchange:
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Mr. President, they’re all saying what a great relationship we have, and they’re actually correct. It’s not fake news. Finally, it’s not fake news. So it’s a great honor, great honor that you’re here. But we do have a very special relationship. In fact, I’ll get that little piece of dandruff off; you have a little piece. We have to make him perfect. He is perfect. So it is really — it is really great to be with you, and you are a special friend. Thank you.
PRESIDENT MACRON: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. President. I want to thank President Trump and your country, your people, for this very warm welcome, this wonderful ceremony.
Indeed we, both of us, just reminded how great our common history is, and that each time we work together in order to protect liberty and freedom and our peace. And we have a lot of challenges ahead of us regarding our two countries — terrorism, security, and a lot of other issues we will discuss. So we have a lot of work to be done together.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.
PRESIDENT MACRON: But I’m very honored and very pleased, because whatever the context could be, this relationship is stronger than the events. And on top of it, we have an excellent personal relationship.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s true. That’s true.
PRESIDENT MACRON: So I want to thank you for that.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you.
PRESIDENT MACRON: Thank you, Donald.
Q Mr. President, what would you like to say about Iran during the talk with the President?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’ll be talking about Iran, and we’ll be talking about many things — terrorism, generally. But we will be discussing the Iran deal. I know the President wants to speak to me about that. We’ll be discussing, probably, the Paris Accord and various other things.
So we’re going to have — we have not much time to do a lot of discussing, but a lot of things will work out. We have got a very special relationship. I don’t imagine it’s ever been closer in the history of our two countries, and that’s a long and beautiful history.
So we will be talking about a lot of different subjects, but the Iran deal will be one of them, yes.
Q But would you consider staying in the Iran deal?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re going to be talking about it, and we’ll see. I mean, people know my views on the Iran deal. It was a terrible deal. It should have never, ever been made. We could have made a good deal or a reasonable deal. The Iran deal is a terrible deal. We paid $150 billion. We gave $1.8 billion in cash. That’s actual cash, barrels of cash. It’s insane. It’s ridiculous. It should have never been made. But we will be talking about it.
Q Mr. President, what about Michael Cohen? Are you considering a pardon for Michael Cohen?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: All right, thank you very much.
Stupid. Stupid question.
Go ahead. Any other — anybody else? Please.
Q Mr. President, what will you tell the President about the Iran nuclear deal?
PRESIDENT MACRON: (Speaks in French.) What I just said is that the Iran deal is an important issue. We’ll discuss about that. But we have to take it as a part of the broader picture —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sure.
PRESIDENT MACRON: — which is security in the overall region. And we have the Syrian situation, we have upcoming election in Iraq, and we have the stability to preserve for our allies in region. And what we want to do is to contain the Iranian presence in the region, and JCPOA is part of this broader picture. Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It just seems that, no matter where you go, especially in the Middle East, Iran is behind it, wherever there’s trouble — Yemen, Syria. No matter where you have it, Iran is behind it. And now, unfortunately Russia is getting more and more involved. But Iran seems to be behind everything where there’s a problem, and you just have to take a look. You look at what’s happening, you look at the fighters — Iran is always there. And we’re not going to allow certain things to happen that are happening.
And the Iran deal is a disaster. They’re testing missiles. And what is that all about? You look at the ballistic missiles that they’re going and testing, what kind of a deal is it where you’re allowed to test missiles all over the place? What kind of a deal is it when you don’t talk about Yemen and you don’t talk about all of the other problems that we have with respect to Iran, especially look at what they’re doing in Iraq. You just take a look at what’s happening in any — virtually any place in the Middle East, Iran is behind it.
So what kind of a deal is this where it wasn’t even discussed? And I know John Kerry made the statement that he didn’t want to discuss other things while he was making the deal. Despite all of the money that we gave them, he didn’t want to discuss it because it was too complicated. That’s not the way to do it, because it was too complicated.
So we made this terrible deal, but we’ll be discussing it.
Q The Iranians said they’ll restart their nuclear program if the deal is —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ll find out. You’ll find out about that. It won’t be so easy for them to restart. They’re not going to be restarting anything. If they restart it, they’re going to have big problems — bigger than they’ve ever had before. And you can mark it down. If they restart their nuclear program, they will have bigger problems than they have ever had before.
Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Excuse me?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You’ll find out.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’ll answer his question. Number one, they have a great President. He will go down as one of your great Presidents. And number two, we love France and we love the French people. But Emmanuel will go down as one of your great Presidents. That’s what I say to the French people. And they’re lucky. And he’s lucky to have them also.
10:28 A.M. EDT