Talk about an awkward moment that could have gone south.
Right in the middle of Tuesday’s joint press conference between President Donald Trump and Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, a reporter decided to throw a little conflict into the peaceful back and forth that was going on in the Rose Garden.
“I’m honored to welcome Prime Minister Tsipras of Greece, and he’s a special man who’s done a very special job. We’re grateful to the Prime Minister and to his entire delegation for visiting us today at the White House,” said Trump as he went on to speak of Greece as the cradle of western civilization that went on to inspire the creation of America.
“The friendship between our two countries is very strong, and it’s based on our common democratic principles, on the values that we jointly share as peoples,” returned Tsipras, who reciprocated by telling a story of Greece’s independence being inspired by the U.S.
But then along came a reporter who wished to see what fireworks he could start by quoting Tsipras during the 2016 elections.
“And, Mr. Prime Minister, with respect to the President, in March of 2016 you said, at the potential for a Donald Trump presidency, ‘I hope we will not face this evil.’ And I’m wondering if, after spending time with the President, you have changed your mind or if you’re of the same mind,” asked the reporter.
Trump broke the tension first, quipping “I wish I knew that before my speech.”
Tsipras laughed but added that he has been impressed with the meeting between him and Trump, and believed their mutual respect could yield substantial results.
Trump responded in a more serious light after Tsipras was done, explaining that the reason leaders like Tsipras were “concerned” was because of Trump’s stances on trade relations and jobs leaving overseas.
“The reason they were concerned was because I will not allow our country, the United States of America, to be taken advantage of by so many other countries all over the world,” said Trump.