Trump continues to barrage questions about Comey controversy amidst talks with Colombian President Santos regarding drug wars and the amelioration of stability in South America.
Earlier in the day, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the United States Chamber of Commerce. ‘Invest in America’ Summit. His speech revered the great work President Trump and his administration had done thus far, bringing attention to, in particular, the lifting of regulations and mandates that supposedly were restricting the economic potential of the United States. He also spoke highly of Trump’s decision to approve the Dakota and Keystone pipelines, saying they “will create thousands of American jobs and strengthen America’s energy future”.
In the afternoon, President Trump welcomed President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia. They then had a meeting, followed by an expanded bilateral meeting, concluded by a joint press conference with the POTUS and President Santos.
President Santos is here on a three-day visit and is accompanied by some of his senior officials, as well as his Foreign Minister, Maria Angela Holguin. Santos’s last visit to the White House was to meet with President Obama to discuss America’s plans in assisting Colombia, and was characterized by coining the program “Peace Colombia”. The program had requested $450 millions of funding from Obama and was mostly approved by Congress a few weeks prior.
Trump began his comments in the press conference by praising “the partnership between our two great nations”, and said Colombia was one of America’s “closest allies in the hemisphere”.
Trump then extensively addressed the growingly concerning drug problem plaguing Colombia, and also drew parallels to the implications of the drug trade and trafficking to the United States. Trump appeared to emphasize a multilateral and cooperative approach among the two nations in addressing the drug problem, then reminded the audience of his plans to build a wall that would also work to fight the drug war.
“I look forward to working with President Santos as we target drug trafficking. Both the United States and Colombia have strong law enforcement and security relationship.”
Trump then spent a few moments thanking the other agencies involved in bringing “border crossings […] down more than 73 percent”, particularly Secretary Kelly, the ICE Patrol, Border Patrol, and local law enforcement forces.
Earlier, Trump had said of the situation in Venezuela: “We’re gonna talk about Venezuela. What’s happening in Venezuela is very very sad”. During the press conference, he reiterated such sentiments, emphasizing how important a politically, socially, and economically stable Venezuela can be a great asset to the region.
President Santos was in accordance with Trump’s comments, making reference to the US and Colombia’s long relationship, their joined efforts in fighting drug cartels in South America, as well as their continued cooperation in diplomatic relations in the region. He also expressed great gratitude for “Peace Colombia”, and outlined the many positive impacts this support from the U.S. had on the development and progression of Colombia and its citizens.
Amidst, the talks, Trump addressed some questions regarding the controversial FBI Director hiring process. He said “we’re very close to an FBI director” who will be announced “soon”. When asked if Joe Lieberman was among the finalists he said ‘yes’ emphatically. Trump also backed his decision to Fire Comey, saying it was a “bipartisan decision”, claiming that both Democrats and Republicans had said “terrible things about Director Comey”. The American public is still avidly awaiting both a settlement of the media hysteria that the firing of FBI Director Comey sparked, as well as the appointment of a new director.