Los Angeles, California
(June 10, 2022)
5:05 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Those who know me and know my family - the story of my granddaughter - hearing that was worth the trip. (Laughter.)
Look, you know, one of the things that I've found is that you never quite know exactly what's going to happen, but - in public life. But, folks, we really are - I'm tired - you're probably tired of hearing me say it because I've said it all during the campaign - and, Jeffrey, you've heard me say it - we're at a real inflection point in our history, and we're at an inflection point in world history.
So much is changing regardless of what we do and regardless of what anybody says. The change is going to be amazing. You're going to see more change - good and bad - in the next 10 years than you saw in the last 35 years. It's a different world. It really is a different world.
And one of the things that I have tried to do from the outset is what the - the world is looking for reassurance. I mean, the world was looking for reassurance that America is back, and America is not what it was the previous four years. And that's not a joke. That's not a joke.
I've been all over the world now. And I've probably spent more time abroad than I've wanted to, but I've had no choice. I spent an incredible amount of time in the - in the Indian-Pacific region - the Indian Ocean and the - and the - I've spent a lot of time in the western - in the - out west, in the Pacific. I spent a lot of time in - I spent probably - I spent well over 150 hours just dealing with nothing but - just nothing but NATO and Ukraine. Just because one of the things that people around the world are worried about is can every- - can we hold us all together with things changing so rapidly that they're going to - that we can't hold it together.
And so one of the things that Putin was counting on, and I was - I had just been in Geneva with him. We were setting up a conference on security that we were going to allegedly get underway, dealing with nuclear weapons and space and another - when he went into - when he went into Ukraine.
And, folks, nothing like this has happened since World War Two. I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating, but I knew - and we had data to sustain - he was going to go in, off the border. There was no doubt. And Zelenskyy didn't want to hear it, nor did a lot of people. Understanding why they didn't want to hear it. But he went in.
And what he's trying to do - he's trying to obliterate the culture, not just the - not just take the nation, but of the culture - the Ukrainian culture - because he doesn't there's such an independent thing as "Ukrainian culture." He thinks that Kyiv is the mother - is a seed of Mother Russia and all is going to change.
But, you know, what we're doing is - the hardest thing to do has been - initially, is to keep the West together. Keep everybody on the same page.
I went to the first G7 - the largest economies in the world - meeting in England right after we were elected. And I sat down, and I said, "America is back." And -
Is the press here?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, well, I'm not going to say what I'm going to say in front of the press here - (laughter) - because I never quite know what they're going to say.
But I said, "America is back." And two of the leaders said - looked at me and said, "For how long?" "For how long?"
I just spent - and not by - the press will probably not say it, but I wish they'd go back and interview all the heads of state in the Latin American conference we - the American conference we just had. And there was overwhelming - overwhelming support for what we were trying to do by holding all the hemisphere together.
There's no reason why this hemisphere can't be the most democratic, the most middle class, and the most secure hemisphere in the world. Not a joke. No reason for it.
And so, the point I'm making is: The first part of all this is to make sure we're in a position that we were able to sustain, in the minds of the rest of the world, that America is back with the basic values we've always shared.
But the point of the matter is that that's not what the world is - the world is not so sure about that.
And we have a lot to - a lot to discuss. So, are we going to get into questions and answers and - why don't I just do that?
Is the press staying for that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, good. Nice seeing you all. (Laughter.) Great being with you. Been great being with you. (Laughter.)
5:10 P.M. PDT