Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders (Excerpts)

May 1, 2018

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

MS. SANDERS:  Good afternoon.  Today, President Trump welcomed the heroic crew and passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 to the White House.  While in route from New York to Dallas last month, an engine failure crippled the aircraft.  Because of Captain Tammie Jo Shults, one of the first women ever to fly tactical fighter aircraft in the United States Navy, First Officer Darren Ellisor, and the three crewmembers, the plane was able to land safely in Philadelphia.

We continue to pray for the family of Jennifer Riordan who tragically passed away due to injuries she sustained.  The President thanks all of these men and women for their bravery.

Lastly, we strongly condemn yesterday’s suicide bombing in Kabul.  More than 35 people were killed, including at least 10 journalists.  These journalists were in the area to cover a bomb blast when a second explosion occurred.  Afghanistan’s press corps is a powerful illustration of how that country has transformed.  There’s absolutely no justification for such a senseless and heinous act.

And with that, I will take your questions. John.

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Q    Can I ask you about Iran, Sarah?  You described — or the NSC last night described it as a clerical error.  But it was a significant editing error that has policy implications.  Can you state from the podium what this White House believes is the current state of Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon, and if it’s in full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as the IAEA has said it is?

MS. SANDERS:  We think the biggest mistake that was made was under the Obama administration by ever entering the deal in the first place.  The typo that you referenced was noticed and immediately corrected.  And we are focused on moving forward on the safety and security of our country.

Q    But you assert what that says, that there is no current program in Iran, and that it is in compliance with the deal, at least as it’s negotiated.  Right?

MS. SANDERS:  Well, the problem is that the deal was made on a completely false pretense.  Iran lied on the front end.  They were dishonest actors, and so the deal that was made was made on things that weren’t accurate.  And we have a big problem with that.

Q    Can you specify?

MS. SANDERS:  Sure.  Particularly the fact that Iran’s nuclear capability were far more advanced and far further along than they ever indicated, which if this nuclear deal maintains as it is right now, when the sunset provision hits in seven years, they will be much further along in the process and able to make a nuclear weapon much quicker than they’ve ever indicated before.  And that’s a big problem.

[...]

Q    Sarah, the Israeli announcement yesterday, how is that affecting the President’s thinking about what to do about the Iran nuclear deal?

MS. SANDERS:  Certainly the fact that the deal was made under a false pretense is problematic.  But the President has been very clear that he thinks the deal is one of the worst that we’ve ever seen, and we’ll keep you posted when he’s made a final decision on that front.

Q    And when did the President first hear about this?  Was it in early March when he spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m not aware of the exact date that the President was made aware, but we were — the White House and the President were made aware prior to Israel’s announcement yesterday.

Q    And last thing.  Was this coordinated yesterday with the White House?  Did Netanyahu say — give you a heads up and say this is coming?

MS. SANDERS:  Yeah, this was something that the Israelis did.  However, they did give us a heads up that it was going to take place prior to the announcement.

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