WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump boasted Thursday about his friendship with Argentine President Mauricio Macri, calling him “a great leader” during a meeting at the White House.
Trump welcomed Macri at the door to the West Wing, shook his hand and spoke with him away from the microphones.
The presidents then posed with first ladies Melania Trump and Juliana Awada for photographers.
Trump patted Macri on the back as the two couples entered the White House and headed for the Oval Office, where the presidents spoke briefly with reporters.
“I feel very comfortable backing him (Macri), because I know what I’m backing,” Trump said. “I am backing a man who loves his people and loves his country.”
Macri and Trump got acquainted many years ago while doing business with a group headed by the Argentine president’s father, Italian businessman Franco Macri.
Trump said he would give “very serious consideration” to the issue of lemon imports from Argentina, suspended by the US government in January. The Argentine government has requested a lifting of the ban.
After a private meeting in the Oval Office, the presidents attended a working lunch along with other officials, and Trump announced an agreement with Macri to create a bilateral working group dealing with cyber security to “protect economic and security interests” in both countries.
Macri, for his part, noted the disagreements between Washington and Buenos Aires in the past, saying that he expected to strengthen and expand bilateral relations.