Fwd: Pool Report #3: POTUS Remarks at Treasury

Begin forwarded message:

From: Sabrina Siddiqui >
Date: June 14, 2016 at 1:22:59 PM EDT
To: "Gabriel, Brian A. EOP/WHO" >
Subject: Pool Report #3: POTUS Remarks at Treasury

Following a meeting with his National Security Council, where he was briefed on the latest developments related to the attack in Orlando, POTUS began remarks from the Treasury Department at roughly 12:15 p.m.

Key quotes are below -- please check them against the transcript. More quotes to come shortly.

On Orlando shooting
POTUS said there isn't currently "any information to indicate that a foreign terrorist group directed the attack in Orlando."

"It is increasingly clear, however, that the killer took in extremist information and propaganda over the Internet ... He appears to have been an angry, disturbed, unstable young man who became radicalized."

Lone wolf attacks, POTUS said, are "the hardest to detect ... but we are doing everything in our power to stop these kinds of attacks."

POTUS touted the gains made against ISIS, noting it's "been a full year since ISIL has been able to mount a major offensive operation in Iraq or Syria."

"ISIL is on defense," POTUS said.

POTUS did not name Donald Trump but went after his proposal to ban Muslims his rhetoric toward the Muslim community in America.

"When does it end?" he said, adding it "betrays the very values America stands for."

"If we ever abandon those values, we would not only make it a lot easier to radicalize people here and around the world, but we would have betrayed the very things we are trying to protect: the pluralism and the openness, our rule of law, our civil liberties, the very things that make our country great, the very things that make us exceptional."

"And then the terrorists would have won, and we cannot let that happen. I will not let that happen."

In particular, POTUS defended his decision not to use the phrase "radical Islam."

"What exactly would using this language accomplish? What exactly would it change?"

"Would it make ISIL less committed to try and kill Americans?"

"Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away."

"The men and women who put their lives at risk and the Special Forces I ordered to get bin Laden and are now on the ground in Iraq and in Syria -- they know full well who the enemy is. So do the intelligence and law enforcement officers who spent countless hours disrupting plots. And protecting all Americans, including politicians who tweet, and appear on cable news shows. They know what the nature of the enemy is."

"So there's no magic to the phrase 'radical Islam.' It's a political talking point. This is a political distraction."

POTUS also renewed his call on Congress to pass stricter gun laws and renew the assault weapons ban.

"We have to make it harder for people who want to kill Americans to get their hands on weapons of war that let them kill dozens of innocents. Enough talking about being tough on terrorism. Actually be tough on terrorism."

POTUS spoke for roughly 25 minutes.

--
Sabrina Siddiqui
Political Reporter
The Guardian

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