Trump Promises ‘100 Percent’ Support to Storm-Battered South

“One way or another, Mexico will pay for the wall,” Mr. Trump said, adding, “It may be through reimbursement.”

Mr. Trump also mounted a vigorous defense of his decision last week to pardon Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff convicted of criminal contempt for his tactics in hunting down and jailing undocumented immigrants.

“A lot of people think it was the right thing to do,” Mr. Trump said, claiming that he had timed the announcement on a Friday night while Harvey was bearing down on Texas to maximize attention to the decision.

“I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally,” Mr. Trump said.

He rattled off a prepared list of people Democratic presidents had pardoned before him, including Bill Clinton’s pardoning of Marc Rich and Barack Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence.

“I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe,” Mr. Trump said.

He spoke as rains from Harvey continued to pound the Houston area, stranding thousands of residents in waters that were expected to keep rising. Mr. Trump plans to travel on Tuesday to Corpus Christi, Tex., to survey the damage and storm response. He promised “rapid action” on securing emergency funding to address the damage, saying he planned to move quickly — and he expected Congress to do so, as well.

“You’re going to have what you need, and it’s going to go fast,” Mr. Trump said, referring to the people of Texas, whom state and federal officials have said face a yearslong task of rebuilding after the storm. “You’ll be up and running very quickly, really very quickly.”

“You see such incredible work and love and teamwork,” said Mr. Trump, summoning a message of unity after a period in which his response to racial violence in Charlottesville, Va., had been called divisive. “We are one American family. We hurt together, we struggle together and, believe me, we endure together.”

Mr. Trump offered his condolences to Mr. Niinisto for an Aug. 18 attack by a knife-wielding man that killed two people in the town of Turku, in western Finland. The American leader sidestepped a question about whether he considers Russia — which last month held military exercises in the Baltic Sea — a threat.

Mr. Trump said that many countries are a threat, and “I hope that we do have good relations with Russia.”

The New York Times reported on Monday that one of the president’s business associates promised in 2015 to engineer a real estate deal — which would help Mr. Trump win the election — with the aid of the President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

“I say it loud and clear, I’ve been saying it for years. I think it’s a good thing if we have great relationships or at least good relationships with Russia. That’s very important,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Niinisto skirted a question about whether he had advised the American president on security threats Russia may pose. “We are not feeling ourselves as advisers, but we are feeling ourselves as doing all what is possible to maintain peace,” Mr. Niinisto said.

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Source: New York Times

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