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EXCLUSIVE: Trump says he doesn't particularly believe in unidentified flying objects

ABC News logo ABC News 6/15/2019
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: ABC News' George Stephanopoulos talks with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, June 12, 2019. © ABC News ABC News' George Stephanopoulos talks with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, June 12, 2019.

President Donald Trump said he doesn't particularly believe in unidentified flying objects (UFOs), despite a rise in reports of unidentified aircraft by U.S. Navy pilots.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos this week, the president was asked what he made of the increased reports.

"I think it’s probably -- I want them to think whatever they think. They do say, and I've seen, and I’ve read, and I’ve heard. And I did have one very brief meeting on it. But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particular," Trump said.

Asked if he thought he would know if there were a case of extraterrestrial life, the president replied, "Well, I think my great pilots would know. Our great pilots would know."

"They see things a little bit different from the past. So we’re going to see. We’re watching, and you’ll be the first to know," he continued.

Earlier this year, the Navy updated its guidelines for how its pilots report the sighting of "unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft" due to an increase in the number of reports in recent years.

(MORE: Navy pilot recalls encounter with UFO: 'I think it was not from this world')

"There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years," Joseph Gradisher, spokesperson for Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, told ABC News last month. "For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] take these reports very seriously and investigate each and every report. As part of this effort, the Navy has updated and formalized the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities."

Gradisher added that senior Naval intelligence officials and aviators "who reported hazards to aviation safety" have briefed congressional members and staff in response to requests for information.

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