teleSUR | April 27, 2017
Argentine President Mauricio Macri met with U.S. President Donal Trump at the White House Thursday to discuss business ties, after decades of knowing each other through business deals as real estate moguls in their respective countries.
Thursday’s talks marked the first meeting between the two presidents and the second time a Latin American head of state met Trump, after Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski did so two months ago.
“My good friend, for many, many years,” said Trump of Macri. “Long time, 25 years.” Macri jumped in and corrected Trump: “More, unfortunately, more, I was only 24,” said the Argentine president, who is now 58 years old.
When asked by a reporter of the recent export restriction from the U.S. to lemons from Argentina, Trump said, “I know about all the lemons. And believe it or not, the lemon business is a big, big business.”
“But we are going to give that very serious consideration,” the U.S. president continued. “One of the reasons he’s here is about lemons — and I’ll tell him about North Korea, and he’ll tell me about lemons. I think that we’re going to be very favorably disposed. We’re going to be talking.”
Trump said he knew Macri from before both entered politics in their respective countries due to real estate deals and reiterated the many years of friendship with the Argentine president.
“Who would have thought this was going to happen,” said Trump. “We’re going to be great friends, better than ever before.”
“He is a great, wonderful person, and he will be a great president of Argentina, I have absolutely no doubt. Absolutely no doubt,” said Trump. “And I feel very comfortable backing him, because they need certain things from the United States.”
Macri, on the other hand, offered brief comments about his desire to strengthen relations with the United States, a position he has championed since coming to office in a stark turn from the foreign policy of his predecessors, leftists Cristina Fernandez and Nestor Kirchner.
The meeting comes after the Argentine Ambassador to the U.S., Martin Lousteau, resigned from his post amid a scandal over the country’s mass acquisition of weapons from the U.S. government. Macri planned to spend US$2 billion in what would be the largest weapons acquisition since the country’s Malvinas War in the 1980s.
When asked about the current situation in Venezuela by a reporter, Trump said “Venezuela is a mess. Venezuela is a mess.”
At the insistence of the reporter for Trump to expand on his position on the situation, the president said, “I’m very sad for Venezuela. I’m very sad to see what’s happened in Venezuela. Venezuela is a very sad situation.”
Both presidents were accompanied by their wives, Juliana Awada and Melania Trump, during the meeting.