From: Nelson, Colleen [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 21, 2015 12:49 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N. EOP/WHO
Subject: Travel Pool Report #5b -- additional Obama remarks
A couple quick programming notes and additional quotes from Obama speaking about refugees:
The White House says that the young children that Obama first met at the Dignity for Children Foundation were a mix of foreigners, migrants and refugees.
The White House also passes along the name of the teacher at the center: Ms. Huey Lin Heng
More Obama remarks:
“When I sat there and talked to them and they were drawing or doing their math problems, they were indistinguishable from any child in America. The notion that somehow we would be fearful of them, that our politics would somehow leave them to turn our sights away from their plight, is not representative of the best of who we are.”
He then turned to the group he was meeting with there, which included refugees from Myanmar, Sudan and Somalia. He focused on the “young lady” seated to his right, who was 16 years old. She fled Myanmar on her own when she was 8, and was subject to trafficking, POTUS said, but the United Nations was able to help her resettle. Now, she advocates on behalf of other refugees.
“This is who we want to help,” POTUS said, which prompted the woman to say: “Thank you, sir.”
“This is the face of people all around the world who look to the United States as a beacon of hope,” he continued. “When we talk about American leadership, American leadership is us caring about people who have been forgotten or who have been discriminated against or who’ve been tortured or who’ve been subject to unspeakable violence or who’ve been separated from families at very young ages.” That’s American leadership, “not when we respond on the basis of fear.”
“When people have a chance to hear the individual stories here, you will see the degree to which they represent the opposite of terrorism, the opposite of the despicable violence that we saw,” Obama said.
“We should lift them up,” he said.
“The good news is that in the face of this global crisis, more and more countries are recognizing that they need to do more. The United States is currently the world’s largest donor for humanitarian aid.,” he said.
“We have shown that the we can welcome refugees and ensure our security – that there’s no contradiction.”
America has always been a place where people in other parts of the world who are subject to discrimination and violence …. “They have in America a friend, a place of refuge,” Obama said.
He said he was very excited to see what the people who were seated at the table with him end up doing in the United States of America.
As pool was led, out the 16-year-old young lady Obama singled for praise gave the president a hug and thanked him.
The pool continues to hold at the hotel.
Colleen McCain Nelson
The Wall Street Journal