The president of Finland deflected a question from a Finnish reporter at the White House on Wednesday about the types of “favors” President Donald Trump has asked of him.

“What kind of favors has Mr. Trump asked from you?” a reporter asked Finnish President Sauli Niinisto during Wednesday’s press conference. The question — which clearly referenced the growing controversy surrounding Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president — led to gasps and nervous laughter from other journalists in the room and came after Trump asked Niinisto to “pick somebody nice from Finland” for the next question.

“I think you mean the other way around,” replied Trump before Niinisto got a chance to answer. The Finnish leader eventually gave a response similar to the American president’s, and also said “both ways.”

Niinisto also later swatted Trump’s hand away when he touched his knee.


The Finnish president said that he had called on Trump to devote more of his time to building a strong relationship with Finland in order to help both the United States and Europe.

In his opening statement on Wednesday, Niinisto also praised Trump for what he perceived as his efforts to safeguard democracy in the U.S.

“Mr. President, you have here a great democracy. Keep it going on,” Niinisto told Trump.


The transcript of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over the summer reveals the former leader asked the latter as a “favor” to investigate Joe Bidenthe Democratic frontrunner in the 2020 presidential election. On Thursday, Trump asked China to probe the former vice president.

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