From: Evan McMorris-Santoro [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 12:58 PM
To: Velz, Peter
Subject: travel pool report 3: gaggle
some highlights from the gaggle (thanks to Politico's Isaac Dovere for the assist, on half this report.) Full transcript to come. quotes are Eric Schultz.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott was invited to meet POTUS on tarmac, declined.
“I can confirm to you that he was invited to meet us upon arrival in Miami.” Schultz characterized the invitation as standard procedure for presidential visits to a state.
Are you disappointed Scott declined the invitation?
“No, I don’t think so. As custom we invite the governors of the states in which we travel to meet the president. Sometimes their schedule allows them to do so and sometimes it doesn’t."
Scott’s admin has denied reports it banned “climate change” from official gov’t communications. What’s your response to that?
“If it’s not true we look forward to them contributing to the discussion about one of the most important issues that we face. If the Scott administration is now joining the rest of us in confirming the impacts of climate change on both the environment and the energy sectors, we welcome that change in position on the governor’s part."
“Our view is, we must look forward now to a shift from military operations to rapid, unconditional resumption of all party negotiations that allow Yemen to resume an inclusive political transition process. There’s going to be no military solution to this problem, only one that is solved at the diplomatic table.”
Any role played by U.S. specifically to bring about the end of this military phase of the Saudi operations?
“I don’t have any specific conversations to readout to you.”
Climate groups opposing fast track. What are you doing to convince them and why hasn’t it worked?
Schultz said WH understands progressive groups have not gotten what they wanted on trade in the past, said Obama will do more to address his base on trade Thursday at an OFA meeting.
Distance from Hillary Clinton on trade?
“I believe that if you look at the points that are being raised in terms of human rights, environmental protections and labor protections, those are important priorities for this president. So I haven’t seen anything to suggest any distance.”
Responding to questions on Obama’s backtracking on his 2008 campaign promise to use the word “genocide” to refer to the mass killings of Armenians in 1915.
Schultz read a prepared statement saying “a full frank and just acknowledgment of the facts is in everybody’s interests,” and encouraging Turkey to join in that. He noted the strategic partnership with Turkey, but when asked if the relationship was so fragile that using the word “genocide” would upset it, he demurred.
“I know there are some who are hoping to hear different language this year and we understand their perspective, even as we believe the approach we’ve taken in previous years remains the right one for acknowledging the past and for our ability to work with these regional partners in the present.”
Any drug policy changes, Schultz said, would depend on the new attorney general, not the new head of the DEA.
Is the White House confident that Lynch will now be confirmed soon? “One of the great hazards in this job is forecasting what Congress will do.”
Schultz would not say definitively that the president would sign the human trafficking bill as it stands, but said the language “seems to be in line” with legislation he’s supported in the past.
Made another pitch for trade, refused to get into potential political motives of the Democrats opposed to fast-track authority
No detailed read-out of behind-the-scenes work monitoring the police brutality allegations in Baltimore
PATRIOT Act renewal possibility – haven’t had time to reviews
No update on Keystone XL pipeline; won’t be part of the president’s remarks
BuzzFeed News White House Reporter