President Trump spoke to reporters about his statement defending Saudi Arabia, saying he is putting "America first" by not disrupting the U.S.-Saudi Arabia relationship over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. "I'm not going to destroy … the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia," said the president before departing to Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday. He also refuted claims that he personally benefits from business deals with Saudi Arabia.
"Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with me," he said. "What does have to do with me is putting America first."
TRUMP: Well, I have nothing to do with -- just so you understand, I don’t make deals with Saudi Arabia. I don’t have money from Saudi Arabia. I have nothing to do with Saudi Arabia. I couldn’t care less.
And I will tell you, and as most of you know, being president has cost me a fortune. And that’s OK with me. I knew that a long time ago. But being president has cost me a fortune; a tremendous fortune like you’ve never seen before, but at -- some day I’ll tell you what that is. But -- and I knew that a long time ago because I don’t do deals.
I don’t -- all I do is focus on this country and making great deals for this country. I don’t focus on making great deals for myself because I don’t care anymore. So Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with me. What does have to do with me is putting America first.
QUESTION: Sir, they’ve read the (ph) …
TRUMP: Wait -- wait -- wait -- wait. They’re buying hundreds of billions worth of things from this country. If I say we don’t want to take your business, if I say we’re going to cut it off, they will get the equipment -- military equipment and other things from Russia and China. Russia and China would be very, very happy because right now we’re doing very well against China.
We’re doing very well against everybody, including Russia, and I’m going to keep it that way. And I’m not going to tell a country that’s spending hundreds of billions of dollars and has helped me do one thing very importantly, keep oil prices down so that they’re not going to $100 and $150 a barrel. Right now, we have oil prices in great shape.
I’m not going to destroy the world economy and I’m not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia. So…
QUESTION: But sir, you said that Saudi…
TRUMP: … I think the statement -- wait a minute. I think the statement was pretty obvious what I said. It’s about America first, yes.