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From: David Boyer >
Date: June 16, 2016 at 12:51:51 PM EDT
To: "Allen, Jessica" >
Subject: Travel pool # 3 Gaggle highllights, Sen. Rubio on flight
Eric Schultz, gaggle en route Orlando
Schultz gave a few details on the Orlando visit, saying POTUS and VP will meet with family members of those who died over the weekend, as well as some survivors of the attack and local law enforcement. He will also "offer a few personal reflections," but not an expansive speech.
*Details are sketchy because "putting together the president's schedule has been challenging," but the president and VP wanted to get there quickly and convey that "Americans stand shoulder to shoulder" with the people of central Florida. "There's no more tangible way to show support," Schultz said, "than by traveling to the city where this horrific incident occurred."
*The White House is working with Mayor Buddy Dyer's officer and trying to coordinate this quickly planned trip. They don't want to do anything to "overtax local law enforcement officials," already strained by the attack. Gov. Scott and Mayor Dyer will take part in the greeting at the airport
Q. President's thoughts about Sen. Murphy's filibuster and on the gun legislation being discussed.
A. Schultz said the White House wants: close the no-fly list loophole for gun purchases. Renew the assault weapons ban. Make universal background checks mandated by law. Give federal law enforcement officials have the resources they need to enforce the laws on the books.
The president is "acutely aware of the political realities" that we face. Maybe some of that has changed as a result of the attack ... but heretofore Republicans have "carried water for the NRA" ... "We hope that changes."
Legislation is "moving in real time." Sen. Feinstein's amendment, 4720, "would make a substantive difference" and would give DOJ additional tools to work with
Q. Meeting with the Saudi deputy crown prince
A. Schultz said the prince will do some meetings at the White House today and will meet in the Oval with POTUS tomorrow ... The leaders will talk about restoring stability to the regional conflicts in Yemen and Syria, cooperation with the Saudis in the campaign against ISIL, Saudi's own economic reformation program.
(He did not directly address a question about whether Obama shares Sec. Clinton's view that the Saudis and others need to do more to prevent their citizens from supporting extremist causes.)
On the president's meeting with the Saudi deputy crown prince on Friday, Eric was asked if the president would articulate concern about the Saudis, Yemenis and others' support for extremists.
He said "the bulk of the agenda" will be about restoring stability in the regional conflicts in Yemen and Syria, U.S. cooperation with the Saudis in the campaign against ISIL, adopting best economic practices.
Other officials flying on AF1 today are Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida. Sen. Nelson of Florida is flying on the vice president's plane.
Asked if the White House shares concerns raised previously by FBI Director Comey that some gun control measures under consideration in Congress could harm terrorism investigations, Eric Schultz said, "We take all of that into account, as does the attorney general when she issues a statement of support. We're able to articulate specific support for the Feinstein amendment, that I know is being debated. But our view is consistent with the attorney general and Director Comey in that there is limited bandwidth, we have to make sure our law-enforcement officials are prioritizing the right threats. And that's why the president has so much confidence in Director Comey to do just that."
He said he anticipated the president and Sen. Rubio "having a conversation" on the fight.
Asked if the president had advice for Sen. Rubio about seeking reelection, Mr. Schultz said "I suspect the conversation ... will be much more focused on the events of today and the aftermath of the tragedy."
"This is a moment where Democrats and Republicans can come together and show that in the wake of a horrific attack, when one community is attacked in the United States of America, the United States of America stands together and united to help."
Why a relatively low-key event today?
"The president has had to embark on these trips with too much regularity. There's no playbook for how these trips come together. This is an instance where the president wanted to meet privately with the families that are grieving, with some of the survivors ... and with local law enforcement, and pay his respects. He wants to make sure that those families who are going through this unimaginable pain know that the president of the United States is there with them."
"For understandable and obvious reasons, those conversations will not be in front of the cameras. This healing process is not going to happen overnight. It's not going to be a quick one. that's all the more reason why the president wanted to be there in person."
Trump and NRA?
"The last thing I would want to do is assess the sincerity of that effort. Our focus right now is on the United States Senate. If Republicans can muster the courage to stand up to the NRA, heretofore they have not, but possibly in the wake of this horrific attack in Orlando ...that there are 30,000 gun deaths in America each year, that over 20,000 children under 18 have been killed by firearms in the last decade, and over 500 law enforcement officials have been shot and killed by firearms in the last decade, maybe those realities will finally sink in to Republicans and they will support some of the common-sense gun safety legislation that the president has been championing for years."
White House correspondent
The Washington Times
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