A reporter confronts Greek prime minister at press conference with Trump over past comments calling him 'evil'

As he stood feet away from President Donald Trump in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tried to downplay his former comments calling Trump "evil."

During a press conference, Fox News' John Roberts asked Tsipras to reflect on his comments from March 2016, in which he said he hoped "we will not face this evil," referring to a potential Trump presidency.

"I wish I knew that before my speech," Trump quipped after the question.

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President Trump hosts Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the White House
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President Trump hosts Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the White House
U.S. President Donald Trump greets Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as he arrives at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump greets Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as he arrives at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras walk down the White House colonnade to a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras walk down the White House colonnade to a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrive to hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras conclude a joint press conference in the Rose Gard at the White House October 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. A left-wing socialist, Tsipras was critical of Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. But with tension high between the U.S. and Turkey, Trump and Tsipras are looking for renewed ties as they discuss defense, economic issues, energy security and cultural ties, according to the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands at the start of a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands at the end of a joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands at the start of a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he holds a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and U.S. President Donald Trump return to the Oval Office after a joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for a joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President Donald Trump (L) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrive for a joint press conference following a bi-lateral meeting at the White House in Washington, DC on October 17, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Jason Connolly (Photo credit should read JASON CONNOLLY/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attend a joint news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) talks during a joint press conference with US President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 17, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Jason Connolly (Photo credit should read JASON CONNOLLY/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras listens to reporters' questions during a joint press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Rose Gard at the White House October 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. A left-wing socialist, Tsipras was critical of Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. But with tension high between the U.S. and Turkey, Trump and Tsipras are looking for renewed ties as they discuss defense, economic issues, energy security and cultural ties, according to the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: (L to R) Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and U.S. President Donald Trump listen to questions during a joint press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House October 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. A left-wing socialist, Tsipras was critical of Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. But with tension high between the U.S. and Turkey, Trump and Tsipras are looking for renewed ties as they discuss defense, economic issues, energy security and cultural ties, according to the White House. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrive for a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on October 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)
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Tsipras described the US as "a very strong power," and broadly praised US intervention abroad, dodging Roberts' question while affirming Greece's general commitment to common goals with the US.

"I am very optimistic after the meeting we had today," Tsipras said.

"The meeting we had was very productive, not a moment did I feel threatened at any time," Tsipras said. "I saw that there is a very fertile outlook here in order to set aside any differences we may have here to find the common ground which is very important to the relationship."

Though Trump once called the country "unsalvageable" because of its campaign debt, on Tuesday, the president praised Greece's recovery, as it underwent harsh austerity measures including spending cuts and tax hikes in exchange for a bailout from the European Union.

"They're doing a terrific job of coming back," Trump said. "They will be back. We're working with them on many different things."

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