4:19 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hi, everybody. (Applause.) Congratulations. (Applause.)
Thank you very much. It’s a great honor to introduce the winner of the Indianapolis 500, Simon Pagenaud. And he is an incredible racer. I happened to be watching that one because my friend is somewhat involved with racing. As you know, Roger Penske is — there’s never been anybody like him, I can really say.
We meet a lot of great athletes. And if they win a major three or four times, that’s a big deal. He won 18 Indianapolis 500s. And he was here a few months ago for the Daytona. You won the whole thing with NASCAR, right? And I love NASCAR because they endorsed me. (Laughter.) I think it’s the first time (inaudible) ever endorsed a candidate. The whole league endorsed me. So they — we like NASCAR, too.
But this is an incredible machine. And the job that Simon did, if you saw that, that was talent and it was a lot of courage, because I wouldn’t do it, I will tell you. I’m not going to do it. Even for that trophy. (Laughter.) Maybe for that trophy, I would do it. That’s a great trophy.
But, Simon, I just want to congratulate you.
MR. PAGENAUD: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: That was an incredible job. (Applause.)
Roger, come on over. The great Roger Penske. Nobody like him. (Applause.)
(A helmet is presented.)
THE PRESIDENT: I could use it. I could use it for them. (Laughter.) Makes my life easier.
MR. PAGENAUD: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: Would you like to say something?
MR. PAGENAUD: I would just like to say that it is — as a Frenchman, it’s such an honor to represent my country here today in the biggest race in the world. And especially being invited to come to the White House with President Trump is a phenomenal achievement. But it’s also an honor for my whole team, Team Penske, the entire organization. We’re very proud to be here today. So, a big thank you. We want to offer you this helmet —
THE PRESIDENT: That’s beautiful, thank you.
MR. PAGENAUD: — to thank you very much for your gesture to have us here.
THE PRESIDENT: And we’re going to find a great spot. (Applause.) And I want to thank all of you guys. And I know when you took those tires off and refueled, and all of the other things you had to do, with — without that, it’s not going to work, right?
MR. PAGENAUD: Exactly.
THE PRESIDENT: And you were setting records. And I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s really brilliant. They actually had you a couple of times in slow motion doing the tires and the fueling and everything else. It was a brilliant thing to watch. So I just want to congratulate everybody. And — special. Really special job.
And Roger has been my friend for many years; we know each other well. And just every year, it’s another one, another one. And I know how hard it is to win the Indianapolis 500. When I see — when I see countries — Japan and Germany and so many countries — spending tremendous amounts of money trying to win that race, and you won it 18 times. That’s incredible. That’s incredible. So I just want to congratulate you, Roger.
MR. PENSKE: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Would you like to say something?
MR. PENSKE: Yes. I think, Mr. President, it’s obviously an honor to have our people in the capital today. And, to me, it’s all about team. It certainly couldn’t be done without the people behind us. And I want to thank you for your team and what you’re doing for our country, and the people who are in our military, and certainly first responders. Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, our country is doing really well, Roger. And I think probably, in many ways, never better. It’s never been better. Our military is being rebuilt. We have equipment that even you’d like, I’ll tell you. We have some great equipment. We make the best in the world, and we’re stocking up.
And unfortunately — hopefully, we’ll never have to use it, but it’s a good thing to have. In fact, the more of it you have, and the better we are. Our military is at now a new level — very soon to be a new level like we’ve never been before. And we make the best equipment in the world, and now we’ll be getting it in and getting it into the military. And they appreciate it. And economically, we’re doing fantastically well. So it’s been great.
I spoke with Governor Cuomo about the helicopter accident in New York. We have a lot of our great folks over there, working very closely with New York City, New York State. And it’s a big tragedy. There will be a report in a little while as to what happened and why it happened. But a very, very sad event. The pilot was killed, as you know. But we’ll have a full report on that soon. But the federal people are working with the city and state people, and they’ll have a full report very soon. Thank you very much.
Q Any reaction to John Dean’s testimony, Mr. President? Mr. President, is there any reaction to John Dean’s testimony today?
Q Have you been watching it?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, John Dean has been a loser for many years. So I’ve been watching him on one of the networks that is not exactly Trump-oriented, and I guess they paid him a lot of money over the years. No, John has been a loser for a long time. We know that. I think he was disbarred and he went to prison. Other than that, he’s doing a great job.
Q Mr. President, Mexico’s foreign minister says there was no secret agreement beyond what was announced on Friday. What do you mean in your tweets?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we have an agreement on something that they will announce very soon. It’s all done. And they have to get approval, and they will get approval. If they don’t get approval, we’ll have to think in terms of tariffs or whatever. But it’s just another aspect of what we’ve done. It was all done because of the tariffs and because of the relationship that we have with Mexico. I spoke with the President yesterday. And, by the way, I was with the President of France the other day, too.
MR. PAGENAUD: I saw that. Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: And he’s a great guy. Emmanuel. He’s a great guy.
So we had a great conversation the other day. And I think you’re going to see some real action. It’s sad that, when you think of it, Mexico is doing is more for the United States, as of now, than Congress. And, specifically, the Democrats, they have to get their act together. They have to work and get something done because you got a tremendous problem at the border. You have people pouring in. And it means crime. It means drugs. It means so many other things.
We’re building the wall. We’re going to have close to 500 miles of wall built by the end of next year. That’s a lot. And we’re moving along very rapidly. We won the big court case, as you know, the other day. And that was a big victory for us.
So a lot of good things are happening. But I want to thank Mexico. And we do have one other thing that will be announced at the appropriate time. But they have to get approval from their legislative body.
Q What is it?
Q Why are the Mexicans denying it then?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think they’ll be denying it very long. It’s all done.
Q Mr. President, you hinted earlier in that CNBC interview that you may not — you’d actually go ahead and impose tariffs if Xi doesn’t show up for the G20.
THE PRESIDENT: We’ll see what happens. I think President Xi —
Q Would you be personally insulted if Xi doesn’t show up? Would you be insulted?
THE PRESIDENT: No. I’m never insulted. I’ve learned not to be insulted. I think President Xi of China — great relationship with him — I think he’ll be there. We are scheduled to talk and to meet. I think interesting things will happen. Let’s see what happens.
Right now, we’re getting 25 percent on $250 billion worth of goods. That’s a lot of money that’s pouring into our Treasury. We’ve never gotten 10 cents from China. Now we’re getting a lot of money from China. And I think that’s one of the reasons that GDP was so high in the first quarter, because of the tariffs that we’ve taken in from China.
We always have the option to raise it another $300 billion at 25 percent. And the 25 percent could be much higher than 25 percent.
But Roger Penske said, “That’s enough.” Twenty-five percent is enough. (Laughs.) Bernard — Bernard said, “That’s enough,” too. Right? (Laughter.) It’s not bad. You like those numbers, right?
Q Mr. President, do you have a message —
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Mr. President, some of your allies have said that if Democrats open up an impeachment inquiry, that it could actually help your reelection chances. Do you agree with that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I hear that too. But you can’t impeach somebody when there’s never been anything done wrong. We have a no collusion. We have no anything. There’s no obstruction. There’s no collusion. There’s no anything.
When you look at past impeachments, whether it was President Clinton or — I guess, President Nixon never got there; he left. I don’t leave. There’s a big difference. I don’t leave.
We did nothing wrong except create the greatest economy in the history of our country. We did nothing wrong except rebuild our military like nobody has ever seen before. We’re doing a great job. Our country has never been stronger.
And I think that having Simon here and Roger here is a tremendous honor for me. And these are champions. These are the people I like. These are great, great champions. Thank you. (Applause.)
4:28 P.M. EDT