Trump, Kuwaiti emir news conference – live updates

Last Updated Sep 7, 2017 1:34 PM EDT

President Trump will hold a joint news conference with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ET from the White House.

The two leaders will convene in the Rose Garden to deliver joint statements and take a few questions from reporters, after the two meet and have a working lunch.

Mr. Trump’s remarks come just before Irma, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded, is expected to slam into Florida this weekend. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has already declared a state of emergency in the state. 

“Florida is as well prepared as you can be for something like this,” the president said earlier Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday the president also held a bipartisan meeting with congressional leaders in which he struck an unexpected deal with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to pass aid for the Hurricane Harvey relief– an across-the-aisle move that reportedly shocked GOP leadership.

Mr. Trump and Al-Sabah may also face questions about Kuwait’s relationship with North Korea. As tensions rise between the United States and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime, threats of increased U.S. sanctions on nations who interact with North Korea are prevalent. Roughly 6,000 North Koreans work in Kuwait, according to the Associated Press. 

Kuwait also plays a relevant role in Middle East peace negotiations. In June, Kuwait attempted to mediate diplomatic and commercial ties between Qatar and several neighboring Arab nations. Mr. Trump seemed to support the Middle Eastern countries who chose to isolate Qatar on grounds that it funds extremist groups and maintains close ties with Iran. 

Trump, Kuwaiti emir updates:


Before conference, Trump says eliminating the debt ceiling “could be discussed”

Joined by Vice President Mike Pence and several members of his cabinet, when asked if he would be open to eliminating the debt ceiling, Mr. Trump responded that “It could be discussed. There are a lot of good reasons to do that.”

“We have a great respect for the sanctity of the debt ceiling. Chuck does, and Nancy does, we all do,” the president said of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. 

Mr. Trump also commented on Hurricane Irma’s trajectory, saying “to the people of Florida: we just want you to protect yourselves.”


 

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