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Joint Base Andrews

Prince George’s County, Maryland

10:23 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  I want to just tell you something.  General Kelly is doing a fantastic job.  There has been such false reporting about our relationship.  We have a great relationship.  He’s doing a great job as Chief of Staff.  I could not be more happy.  So I just want to tell you that.

The New York Times has falsely reported.  They’ve said things that are absolutely false.  So I just want to tell you that.  And, General, you may have something —

GENERAL KELLY:  Well, I would just say it’s an absolute privilege to work for a President that has gotten the economy going.  We’re about to have a breakthrough, I believe, on North Korea.  The jobs report today.  I mean, everything is going phenomenally well.  Attacking the opioid crisis.  It’s nothing less than brilliant what’s been accomplished in 15 months, I believe.

Q    Mr. President, why did you change your story on Stormy Daniels?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not changing any stories.  All I’m telling you is that this country is right now running so smooth.  And to be bringing up that kind of crap, and to be bringing up witch hunts all the time — that’s all you want to talk about.  You’re going to see —

Q    But you said —

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me —

Q    — on Air Force One that you did not know (inaudible).

THE PRESIDENT:  No, but you have to — excuse me.  You take a look at what I said.  You go back and take a look.  You’ll see what I said.

Q    You said, “No,” when I asked you, “Did you know about the payment?”

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, you go take a look at what we said.  But this is a witch hunt like nobody has ever seen before.  And what they should do is look at the other side, where terribly bad things have happened, where terribly bad things have been done.

But what I do want you to do is look at our economy.  Today, we broke 4 percent; 3.9 percent we hit today for the first time in many, many years.  We’re really proud of it, and we’ll talk to you folks later.  But I will tell you — I will tell you this, I will tell you this:  When Rudy made the statement — Rudy is great — but Rudy had just started, and he wasn’t totally familiar with every — you know, with everything.  And Rudy — we love Rudy, he’s a special guy.  What he really understands is that this is a witch hunt.  He understands that probably better than anybody.

Q    When did you know —

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, excuse me.  But Rudy — Rudy understands this better than anybody.  But when he made a certain statement — he just started yesterday.  So that’s it.

So bottom line is — bottom line is:  I want to talk to the people in charge, if they can prove that it’s a fair situation.  The problem we have is that you have 13 people — they’re are all Democrats, and they’re real Democrats; they’re angry Democrats.  And that’s not a fair situation.

Thank you very much.

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  We have a chance of bringing — we have a chance — we’re doing very well with the hostages.  We’re in constant contact with the leadership.  We are in constant contact with North Korea.  We’ve actually worked out a time and a place which will be announced shortly and very soon.

Q    Where?

THE PRESIDENT:  I figured you would ask that question.

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  But — wait a minute —

Q    (Inaudible) or South Korea, are they on the table?

THE PRESIDENT:  Not really.  Not at this moment, certainly not.

Q    You’re not planning to withdraw (inaudible)?

THE PRESIDENT:  No.  No.  And we haven’t been asked to.  Now, I have to tell you, at some point into the future, I would like to save the money.  You know, we have 32,000 troops there.  But I think a lot of great things will happen.  But troops are not on the table.  Absolutely.

Thank you very much.


10:26 A.M. EDT