President Trump, standing alongside Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the White House Friday afternoon, said he will leave any decision about what to do with Jared Kushner's security clearance to chief of staff John Kelly.
Mr. Trump, asked if he would grant some sort of waiver to allow Kushner to keep his interim security clearance after Kelly instituted a number of changes to the security clearance process, including revoking many top security clearances, first praised his son-in-law and senior adviser. The president said Kushner has been treated very "unfairly," and is working diligently on solving Middle East peace.
"He's a high-quality person. He works for nothing. No one ever reports that. But he gets zero," the president said, mentioning that Kushner has decided not to accept a salary.
But the president ultimately said he will be leaving decisions about Kushner's clearance up to his righthand man who called for the changes to the security clearance process in the wake of the Rob Porter scandal. Porter had been operating on an interim security clearance for a year, before he resigned over allegations that he abused his ex-wives.
"That'll be up to General Kelly," Mr. Trump said.
The president does have the authority to de-classify information, so it is unclear if that would ever factor into the equation.
But Mr. Trump also spoke of the future of U.S. interactions with North Korea, hours after announcing a new sanction regime against the country. If sanctions don't work, the president said a "phase two" with North Korea would be "very rough."
Trump says he'll let John Kelly make decisions about Jared Kushner's clearance
Mr. Trump, asked if he would grant a waiver for his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who has yet to receive a permanent security clearance, said he will leave that up to his chief of staff John Kelly.
Kelly last week announced new rules that would end top clearances for anyone who has had a background check or security clearance adjudication process going on since last June. That rule goes into effect Friday.
Mr. Trump said he he thinks his son-in-law is being treated "unfairly," but said he will leave any decisions up to Kelly. Mr. Trump said that Kushner has important work to do with reaching peace in the Middle East.
"So that'll be up to General Kelly... I won't make that call," Mr. Trump said.
Trump says "phase two" with North Korea would be "very rough"
If sanctions with North Korea -- which the president imposed -- the president said any such "phase two" with North Korea would be "very rough," not only for the U.S., but for the world.
Trump says China is "killing" U.S. on trade
Mr. Trump, talking about trade agreements, mentioned that the U.S. now has a great relationship with China and Chinese president Xi Jin Ping, but China is "killing" the U.S. on trade.
"We have to straighten out the trade imbalance," Mr. Trump said.
Trump: What Russia, Iran and Syria have done is a "humanitarian disgrace"
Mr. Trump, taking over a question posed to Turnbull, said that what Russia, Iran and Syria have done is a "humanitarian disgrace."
"I will say what Russia, and what Iran and what Syria have done recently is a humanitarian disgrace," Mr. Trump said. "I will tell you that. We're there for one reason, we're there to get ISIS...and go home."
Turnbull says mission of destroying "ISIL" has been largely "completed"
Turnbull said the goal of destroying ISIL has been largely "completed."
Trump says they're "going to do a lot" after Parkland
Mr. Trump, asked what specific pieces of legislation he will propose, said they're "going to do a lot."
Specifically, the president said they're going to be "very strong" on background checks, "especially as it pertains to the mentally ill." The president also said they're going to "get rid of" bump stocks.
The president also said it's very important to have "offensive" capabilities, in addition to "defensive" capabilities, after voicing his support for arming teachers.
"I want to have people in the building," he said, mentioning veterans.
The president also called the suspected shooter a "very sick" person.
Mr. Trump said he spoke with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier that day.
The president repeatedly mentioned the importance of "offensive" capabilities. He also mentioned the on-duty school guard who failed to go into the building, and has since resigned.
"That was not his finest moment, that I can tell you," the president said.
"A security guard doesn't know the children, doesn't love the children," the president said. "This guy standing outside the school doesn't know the children, probably doesn't love the children."
Teachers, on the other hand, will do well because they love their students.
Turnbull sends condolences to those affected by Parkland shooting
The Australian prime minister closed his initial remarks remembering the victims of the Parkland massacre, and their families.
Turnbull says U.S. is most important strategic, economic relationship
Turnbull, speaking for the first time, noted how important Australia's relationship with the U.S. is.
"We spent much of our time today talking about jobs," Turnbull said.
Turnbull said both countries are seeing a strong growth in jobs.
"And we have been inspired I have to say by your success of securing the tax reforms through the Congress," Turnbull said.
Turnbull said they have improved their tax situation, but have more left to do.
Trump praises Australia's "merit-based" immigration
Australia has stricter immigration policies than the U.S., and Mr. Trump said he wants to mimic that. He praised the "merit-based" immigration system of the land down under. Mr. Trump said he hopes members of Congress are listening.
Trump touts relationship with Australia
President Trump opened up the press conference by praising the U.S.-Australia relationship.
But the president, reading from his notes, also noted that he had imposed some of the toughest sanctions on North Korea in history that afternoon. He also said Australia is a key ally in the war on terrorism. Mr. Trump praised the trade relationship U.S. has with Turnbull's country.