From: Memoli, Michael [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, November 19, 2015 04:42 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N. EOP/WHO
Subject: WH Travel Pool 11/19 #5b: Rest of bilat
Wrapping up the comments at the POTUS/Trudeau bilat:
Returning to refugees, POTUS said the “overwhelming numbers who have been applying are children, women, families – themselves victims of terrorism,” and said they are already subject to rigorous vetting.
"The idea that somehow they pose a more significant threat than all the tourists who pour into the United States every single day just doesn't jive with reality.”
“So my expectation is after the initial spasm of rhetoric, the people will settle down, take a look at the facts, and we’ll be able to proceed.”
He said that the rhetoric around Guantanamo “alienates Muslim-Americans” in the same way that the rhetoric around refugees does, and said the detention center “has been an enormous recruitment tool for organizations like ISIL.”
“We can keep the American people safe while shutting down that operation.” The population has been “reduced drastically,” with the bulk of transfers happening in the Bush administration.
“We have reduced that population further, and I expect that early by next year we may even have fewer than a hundred people at Guantanamo.”
“We are going to go through, meticulously, with Congress, what our options are, why we think this should be closed. I guarantee you there will be strong resistance. Because in the aftermath of Paris, I think that there is just a very strong tendency for us to get worked up around issues that don’t actually make us safer but make for good political soundbites, whether it’s refugees or Guantanamo, those are handy answer, particularly for folks who aren’t interested in engaging in a more serious debate about how we invest in the long, hard slog of dealing with terrorism.”
He again made reference to an AUMF, saying it was easier to talk about Guantanamo than to do the hard work to pass one.
Trudeau then answered the Q on ending Canada air missions against ISIL.
“There is much that Canada can do and Canada will continue to work with our coalition partners to ensure that we’re doing what we can, including militarily, to degrade and defeat ISIL over the long haul.”
He said he would be discussing these issues further. “But I made a clear commitment to Canadians to withdraw the six fighter jets, and we will be doing that in collaboration, coordination with all our allies to ensure that the coalition still has tremendous impact against ISIL.”
On the advice he received from Obama, he said that he doesn’t “dwell on the gray hair, because there’s nothing I can do about that.”
“But what Barack pointed out to me about how fast his daughters grew in the seven years since that first night of his electoral victory really struck home to me. I am making sure to try and remain as attentive and present for my kids, not just because it makes me a better parent and a better person, but also because it’s what keeps us focused as leaders on what actually matters.”
A reporter from the Globe and Mail asked both PM Trudeau and POTUS about energy issues, including the “dirty oil” from tar sands.
Mr. Trudeau said Canadians and other nations have felt Canada hasn’t doing enough on the environment, and said there is no longer a choice to be made about what’s good for the environment or good for the economy. He said he would reassure Canadians that he is serious about meeting reduction targets and being positive actors in the fight against climate change.
POTUS said we’re all rethinking how we do energy. “Transition does not happen overnight. Both of us are large oil and gas producers. That’s an important part of our economy. We make no apologies for that. But I also think we have to recognize that, if we want to preserve this planet for our kids and grandkids than we’re going to have to shift increasingly away from carbon-emitting energy sources.” He said he expected Canada would be going through the same debates the U.S. is on that transition. “Some of this is also going to be dictated by market prices. Right now in Alberta a lot of the issues with respect to hard-to-extract oil just have to do with the fact that oil prices are low, and they’re going to be low, I suspect, for a while.”
“This is going to be a messy, bumpy process world-wide. But I am confident that we can get it done. And the fact that we have a very strong partner in Canada to help set up some global rules about how we approach this I think will be extraordinarily helpful.”
A small bit of color:
The two leaders at before a blue curtain with four alternating US and Canadian flags directly behind them, and two ferns in the corners of the small room in the convention center. Trudeau sat to POTUS' left. Both wore dark blue suits, POTUS a silver tie with white stripes, dark socks, and Trudeau a dark blue tie with checkered socks. On a table between them was a small floral arrangement, and a pair of water glasses; POTUS also had a coffee cup nearby.
Delegations from both nations were seated in a horseshoe. The US side included Susan Rice, Mike Froman, Ben Rhodes and Josh Earnest. Fuller names tk