A French reporter asked President Donald Trump on Thursday about his friend “Jim,” a character he’s referenced when discussing how France and its capital were overrun by terrorism.
During a joint press conference alongside French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, a French reporter used his allotted question to ask about Jim.
“You’ve mentioned a friend, Jim, who told you that Paris is no longer Paris,” the reporter said. “You were implying at the time that Paris was not safe anymore.”
“You’ve also said that France and Germany are infected by terrorism and ‘it’s their fault, because they let people enter their territory,'” he continued. “Those are very strong words. Would you repeat them today? And do you still believe that France is not able to fight terrorism on its own territory?”
Trump called the question “a beauty” and told Macron that “you better let me answer that one first.”
“You know what? It’s going to be just fine, because you have a great president,” Trump said. “You have somebody that’s going to run this country right. And I would be willing to bet cause I think this is one of the great cities, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and you have a great leader now, you have a great president. You have a tough president.”
“He’s not going to be easy on people that are breaking the laws and people that show this tremendous violence,” Trump continued. “So I really have a feeling that you’re going to have a very peaceful and beautiful Paris. And I’m coming back.”
Trump then turned to Macron and joked that “you better do a good job please, otherwise you’re going to make me look very bad.”
Macron told Trump he is “always welcome” in France.
The Associated Press wrote about “Jim” on Wednesday, just before Trump embarked on his brief visit to France for Bastille Day. It remains unclear if Jim exists, and Trump’s answer Thursday did not provide clarity on that matter.
In a February speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, Trump said Jim “loves the City of Lights, he loves Paris. For years, every year during the summer, he would go to Paris. It was automatic, with his wife and his family.”
Trump said he one day asked Jim: “How’s Paris doing?”
“‘Paris?'” Jim replied, as Trump recounted. “‘I don’t go there anymore. Paris is no longer Paris.'”
As the AP noted, the mayor of Paris responded by tweeting an invitation to both Trump and Jim to come to France to “celebrate the dynamism and the spirit of openness of #Paris.”
Watch Trump’s comments:
Reporter asks about Trump’s friend, “Jim,” who says Paris is no longer Paris — and who may or may not exist. Still no confirmation from Trump. pic.twitter.com/DqR0lC9jEY
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 13, 2017