President Donald Trump admitted that many foreign leaders were nervous about meeting him at first, but that he has since built strong relationships with many of them.
The president made his comments during a joint press conference at the White House with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who once said that Trump had an “evil” ideology.
“A number of countries were a little bit nervous at the beginning, and I have very good relationships with the leaders of virtually every country I’ve dealt with,” Trump said, after the Greek Prime Minister was asked about his past statement.
Trump said he understood why his emphasis on his “America First” agenda might make foreign leaders nervous, but he was concerned about trade deficits with other nations and companies leaving for foreign countries.
“I’m not going to be allowing that,” Trump said. “So I can understand how certain countries and the leaders of certain countries may feel but we are not just going to allow the United States to be taken advantage of [by] other countries any more.”
In 2016, Tsipras responded to a question about Donald Trump during the American presidential campaign by replying, “I hope we will not face this evil.”
In response to a question about his past “evil” remark, Tsipras said he “did not feel threatened at any time” during his meeting with the president and was comforted that they both had “common values.”
“I think our collaboration will be very substantial and I’m very optimistic after the meeting we had today,” he said via a translator.
Trump joked that he might have changed his speech if he knew about the previous comment.