Trump defends his invitation to the Taliban to come to Camp David but criticizes them for killing American and allied troops.

President departed Oval Office at 2:41 accompanied by the head of FIFA, the international soccer federation, president Gianni Infantino. He started talking at 2:42 and went until 3:06.

Fuller quotes to follow. He said they discussed the 2026 World Cup and, specifically, the need to fix the handling of equitable payments to the women’s soccer teams. The president joked that he would be out of office at the time of the games, suggesting that he should extend his second term so he is still in office.

He then took questions. He defended his invitation to the Taliban to come to Camp David but criticized them for killing an American and allied troops. Because of that, he said of the Taliban “they’re dead as far as I’m concerned, they’re dead.” He said he has hit the Taliban harder in the last four days than in the last ten.  He said it was his idea to have the Camp David meeting, saying there have been a lot of good people and a lot of bad people at the installation. If not meeting, he said, war goes on forever. “It was my idea to hold it and my idea to cancel it.”  He said the White House had been the alternative site for a summit but said that would have been too much. He repeated his earlier statements that he wants an end to the war ‘at the right time.”

He reiterated that he is willing to help India and Pakistan resolve Kashmir “if they want.” On politics, he was scornful of the Republicans who have announced against him. “I don’t know who they are.” He said they are polling less than 1 percent. He called their candidacies “a publicity stunt.” Again, he mocked their records, particularly former Gov. Sanford.

He praised Mexico on the border and criticized Democrats. On the Bahamas, he said he is “talking to a lot of different people.” He stressed that U.S. cities are also trying to recover from the storm. On letting people from the Bahamas into the U.S., he said, we “have to be very careful… Everybody needs totally proper documentation.” He said the Bahamas have “some very bad people.”

On North Korea, he said, “we’ll see what happens” about another meeting with Kim. He called the prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine “a very positive development.” He said he is building the border wall “very rapidly.” He praised Republican Dan Bishop, the GOP candidate in the NC special election. And he took some credit for Republicans holding the Senate in 2018. On guns, he said that a lot of different things are being discussed. Returning to the Camp David proposal, he said having the meeting at the White House would have been “a step too far.’ He said the Taliban are “upset they blew it.” He repeated his earlier criticism of President Obama for leaving so many judicial vacancies unfilled. On Afghanistan, he refused to give any troop levels. And he struggled with explaining how he defines victory in that war.

He said he knew nothing about Vice President Pence’s stay at his resort in Ireland. He also dismissed questions about refueling in Scotland and the military staying at his resort there. He promised a full financial report before the election, saying everybody will be shocked to see how much he owns. He said his holdings are so extensive, I don’t need somebody to stay in a room.

Back to the Republicans running against him, he said they are “a joke, a total joke. They’re a laughingstock.” On the canceled primaries, he said, those three states don’t want to waste their money. He also, as he had tweeted, urged Republicans in the House to copy the Democrats and not impose term limits on committee chairs.
 

The White House Press Pool

Produced by members of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA), these brief Pool Reports track American president. The White House Press Pool is composed of the members of the White House...