President Donald Trump doubled down Monday on his proposal to hold his potential summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un inside the Demilitarized Zone along that country’s border with South Korea.
During a joint news conference with his Nigerian counterpart, Trump said the DMZ’s “Peace House” on South Korean soil and Singapore are candidates to host the potential summit. Trump revealed his interest in the former, saying it would allow for a “great celebration” should the two leaders strike a deal.
“There’s something that I like about it because you’re actually there,” he said of the opportunity to fete any deal in such a historic location.
Lawmakers and foreign policy experts are concerned the president might not prepare hard enough for the potential meeting and agree to a pact with Kim that is less than favorable to the United States and its allies. A former reality television host and producer, the president made clear he still brings that perspective to the Oval Office.
He first floated the DMZ in a Monday morning tweet, later telling reporters he and Kim will have their choice of sites because “everybody wants us. … It has the chance to be a big event.”
Numerous countries are being considered for the MEETING, but would Peace House/Freedom House, on the Border of North & South Korea, be a more Representative, Important and Lasting site than a third party country? Just asking!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2018
There are many skeptics about whether the meeting will even happen, but not the president.
“I think the summit is going to happen,” Trump said.
Trump reiterated his pledge to simply leave if the two parties don’t reach an agreement. Failure is “the way it goes” sometimes, he said.
The president also addressed Iran, Nigeria and immigration.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Trump appeared in the Rose Garden shortly after a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he declared Iran has “brazenly lied” about its alleged compliance with the current nuclear pact.
Netanyahu’s declaration “sends the right message” because Iran’s alleged actions against the accord are “not acceptable,” Trump said.
“They’re not sitting back idly,” he said, saying he intends to make a decision about whether to keep the United States in the pact “on or before the 12th.” But even if he withdraws from that, the president gave his biggest endorsement yet of an idea floated last week at the White House by French President Emmanuel Macron of adding to the existing plan with new provisions that cover Tehran’s long-range missile program and other actions in the Middle East.
“That doesn’t mean we won’t negotiate a new agreement,” Trump said. “What’s happened over the last little while has really shown I’ve been 100 percent right.”
Additionally, Trump refused to apologize for some of his comments related to his executive order blocking entry for individuals hailing from some majority Muslim countries trying to enter the U.S. Lawyers arguing against the “travel ban” at the U.S. Supreme Court said last week that suit might go away if he did so.
“I don’t think it would [change the case],” he said. “And there’s no reason to apologize” because U.S. immigration laws reflected “stupidity,” he added.
An apology “wouldn’t make 10 cents worth of difference.”
He again slammed U.S. immigration laws as ineffective, pushing lawmakers to write new ones.
“We are a nation of laws. If we don’t have borders, we don’t have a country,” the president said. “We have to have changes in Congress and we have to have it quickly.”
Buhari was asked about Trump’s reported dubbing of Haiti and African countries last year as “shithole countries.” After remarks that stressed the importance to his country of U.S. goods, military help with violent extremist groups, other aid and military hardware, the Nigerian leader sidestepped, saying he is not sure those reporters are accurate.
“The best thing for me is to keep quiet,” he said.