Trump gives warm White House welcome to Greek leader who once called him 'evil'

Trump gives warm White House welcome to Greek leader who once called him 'evil'

US President Donald Trump has given Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a warm White House welcome, despite the Greek leader once calling him evil.

In the White House Rose Garden, Mr Trump praised the left wing leader, calling him a special man who was doing special things.

He was asked by a reporter about Mr Tsipras' remark, made in 2016 during the US election campaign, that Mr Trump represented an "evil" set of ideas that have no place in a Western democracy.

Mr Trump joked in reply: "I wish I knew that before my speech."

Mr Tsipras said the two leaders had a productive exchange, and "not a moment did I feel threatened at any time" during their encounter.

The Greek leader said he shared "common values" with the US.

"Don't forget that the value of democracy and freedom was born in Greece. It's one of the values that traverses American culture and American tradition. The President now continues that tradition," he said.

Mr Trump said many world leaders were initially nervous before meeting him.

"I have very good relationships with the leaders virtually every country I've dealt with," he said.

Mr Trump said Greece had "gone through a lot" during its extended period of economic hardships but vowed the US would remain steadfast as the country executes its debt-relief plan.

"The American people stand with the Greek people as they recover from the economic crisis that recently afflicted their nation," Mr Trump said.

"A strong and flourishing Greece provides immense opportunity for American trade, investment and job creation."

Mr Trump added his administration had informed Congress of a potential sale to upgrade the F-16 aircraft in Greece's Air Force, a deal that could be worth $2.4 billion.

Mr Tsipras also addressed the issue of NATO.

He said it was important for Turkey to remain part of the NATO security alliance and continue its orientation toward Europe despite current tensions between the two countries.

"We continue to support the Turkish course toward Europe," Mr Tsipras said.

"We respect it as a regional power and we believe that it must stay oriented toward the European perspective."

ABC/AP