U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that a lot of progress had been made in the Middle East, but he declined to say when the White House would release its plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Trump, during a meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan, said things had improved since he pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. European allies opposed that move. Abdullah made headlines for praising Trump for his "humility and grace" as a leader - remarks which immediately led to scorn on Twitter as Trump is not known for his humble nature.
Trump responded saying, "It's probably the nicest compliment I’ve been given in a while.”
Full transcript of remarks by Trump and King Abdullah:
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2:09 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It’s a great honor to have the King and Queen of Jordan with us. They’re friends. We’ve known each other now for quite a while. Long before this.
But you have done an incredible job on the refugees and the camps and taking care of people. And I just want to say while our nations have a very good relationship, we now have a great relationship. But the job you do on a humanitarian basis is fantastic. And I would like to thank you very much.
KING ABDULLAH II: Thank you. And if, sir, I could thank you and the United States and the people of America for all the support you’ve given our country. If the rest of the world just took a little bit of your humility and your grace to help us, we’d be in a lot better position.
But if it wasn’t for the United States — just on behalf of myself and my people, thank you so much for all that you’ve done.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Remember, he used the word “humility” with respect to me, so I am very happy with that word. That’s probably the nicest compliment I’ve been given in a long time.
No, the job you do is fantastic. And yes, we do — we spend a lot of money, but we spend a lot of money in a lot of places. And people don’t do the job that you do, so I want to thank you very much.
KING ABDULLAH II: Thank you, sir. Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay. Thank you very much, everybody.
Q Mr. President, do you regret signing the executive order?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no. The executive order was great. It was something that I felt we had to do. We want children staying together. The law has been this law for a long period of time. You would understand this better than most because of the great job you do in your country.
No, it was — there was a false story, fake news in the New York Times. Just the opposite: I wanted to sign that. In fact, I was saying yesterday, before I read this phony story in the New York Times, that I was very, very happy that I signed that.
And it also — it shows. You know, we’re all talking about humanity, whether it’s what you’re doing in Jordan or whether it’s what we’re doing here. The laws are obsolete. The laws are horrible having to do with the border, both in terms of security and in terms of taking care of people.
President Obama had a big problem. In fact, a lot of the pictures used they thought would be — I guess, I don’t know what you folks did. You used pictures from 2014. They were all taken during the Obama administration. But the Bush administration had the same. It’s the same laws. They’re a disaster. The laws have to be changed. And whether it’s North Korea or whether it’s so many different things like trade, we’re taking care of a lot of problems that should have been taken care of over the years.
Well, one of the highest on the list is immigration. And we have to change our laws. We have to make them sensible. They came in to see me last week; they said, “We’d like to hire 5,000 more judges.” Five thousand. You ever hear of thing like that? Judges. Well, we’re appointing 145 judges here, and everyone goes through this extreme vetting process. You’re talking about 5,000. Where do you find 5,000 people to be judges? And you know what it leads? It leads to graft. It leads to a lot of other things.
We want a system where, when people come in illegally, they have to go out. And a nice simple system that works. You know, Mexico holds people for four hours, for five hours, for two hours, and they’re gone. We have people for four, five, six years and they never leave. So we want to have a great immigration.
What we have is very simple. We want strong borders and we want no crime. Strong borders. We want no crime. The Democrats want open borders and they don’t care about crime, and they don’t care about our military. I care about our military. That’s what we want and that’s what we’re going to get. And we’re going to get it sooner than people think.
Thank you very much. Thank you everybody. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you all very much.
Q What about the Middle East? Chances of peace better in the Middle East?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re doing very well in the Middle East. We’re doing very well in the Middle East, yes.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Q When do you want to release the Middle East peace plan?
THE PRESIDENT: I can only say this — and His Majesty knows we’re doing very well in the Middle East. A lot of progress has been made in the Middle East. A lot. And it really started with the end of the horrible Iran deal. That deal was a disaster, and things are a lot different since we ended that. A lot different.
Thank you all very much.
2:14 P.M. EDT