In a wide-ranging Fox News interview with reporter Chris Wallace, President Trump spoke solemnly of his initial meeting with Barack Obama in 2016, at which time the former president warned him of the greatest threat facing U.S. national security.
“I think North Korea’s been very tough because, you know, we were very close,” Trump said. “When I took that over – President Obama right in those two chairs, we sat and talked and he said that’s by far the biggest problem that this country has. And I think we had a real decision as to which way to go on North Korea and certainly at least so far, I’m very happy with the way we went.”
Trump said, however, that North Korea was far from the only national security matter on his plate. Turning to the Jamal Khashoggi incident in Turkey, the president said that his administration had come down hard on the individuals responsible for the crime.
“You saw we put on very heavy sanctions – massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia,” he said. “But at the same time, we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.”
Trump said that as far as great allies are concerned, Pakistan was not among them. He told Wallace that he did not struggle with the decision to strip the Middle Eastern nation of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid.
“They don’t do a damn thing for us,” he said.
Referring to Pakistan’s lack of effort in helping the U.S. bring Bin Laden to justice, Trump was visibly irritated.
“You know, living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan in what I guess they considered a nice mansion. I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer,” he said. “But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there. And we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year. He lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year — which we don’t give them anymore, by the way. I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
In the interview, Trump also addressed his failure to visit Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, which he acknowledged was a mistake.
“I should have done that,” he said. “I was extremely busy on calls for the country. I probably – in retrospect I should have and I did last year and I will virtually every year. But we had come in very late at night and I had just left, literally, the American cemetery in Paris and I really probably assumed that was fine and I was extremely busy because of affairs of state doing other things.”