We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 
 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 

Trump Hosts News Conference During Baltic Summit At White House

Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump is hosting the Baltic states at the White House on Tuesday.

Evan Vucci / AP

Scott Horsley

President Trump is hosting leaders of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia at the White House Tuesday, and the leaders are taking questions from reporters.

Earlier in the day, the president said he's been speaking with Defense Secretary James Mattis about using the military to secure the border. And he expressed support for embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Since the weekend, Trump has been tweeting about a caravan of Central Americans, most of them from Honduras, who are making their way north through Mexico.

"Until we can have a wall and proper security, we're going to be guarding our border with the military," Trump said. "That's a big step."

Border apprehensions, which are a proxy for illegal border crossings, have generally declined since Trump took office. Apprehensions of unaccompanied minors have dropped 36 percent in the first five months of the fiscal year, while apprehensions of families are down 46 percent.

Pruitt is under scrutiny for an apparent sweetheart housing arrangement he enjoyed last year in an apartment owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist. A White House official confirms that Trump telephoned Pruitt Monday night, but the official would not talk about what was said in the conversation.

"I hope he's going to be great," Trump said Tuesday.

The "U.S.-Baltic Summit" celebrates the 100th anniversary of independence for the three countries, following World War I.

Throughout the Second World War and the Cold War, the Baltic countries were dominated by the Soviet Union. They regained their independence in the early 1990s and joined NATO in 2004.

The Trump administration will highlight the Baltic countries' robust defense spending. Latvia and Lithuania devote nearly 2 percent of their economies to defense — a NATO benchmark— while Estonia spends slightly more than 2 percent.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Sign up for ReCap

and never miss the top stories

Delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Check out a sample ReCap newsletter.