Begin forwarded message:
From: Michael Shear >
Date: May 4, 2016 at 2:22:55 PM EDT
To: "Gabriel, Brian A. Jr. EOP/WHO" >
Subject: Travel Pool Report #5 - Potus remarks after briefing
The motorcade is rolling to the next stop at 2:22 pm
POTUS spoke for about 16 minutes after the pool was let in to the briefing room at the food bank. Please check quotes against transcript that the WH will put out eventually.
POTUS started by thanking the federal officials, along with Gov. Snyder and Mayor Weaver, for the job they have done responding to the crisis. He called it a "whole of government effort" to make sure that people are healthy and to plan for how to fix the city's pipes over the long term.
POTUS urged families to make sure they take the time to have their children checked out by a doctor for lead exposure, and he said that Medicaid expansion in the city will help to provide extra medical resources.
"I want everybody in the city of Flint to know that you should have your child checked," POTUS said.
POTUS also acknowledged that there is "a lot of suspicion" about whether the water is safe to drink. He emphasized that the EPA has concluded that the water is safe for everyone except kids under six and pregnant women as long as a water filter has been used.
"Filtered water is safe, and it works," he said. "Working with the state and the city, filters are now available for everyone in the city."
(At the very end of the briefing, POTUS was asked whether a glass of water sitting in front of him was from Flint. He said it was, and picked up the glass of water. "Generally I haven't been doing stunts but here you go," he said as he took a small sip of the water. He said it "just confirms what we know scientifically" -- that using a filter makes the water drinkable.)
POTUS said the use of filters doenst take away from the need to repair or replace a number of pipes in the city, and he said that will be a long process.
"It might take a year. It might take two years. It might take more," POTUS said.
POTUS also urged residents of Flint to help clean out the system by turning on their water for five minutes each day, something that the city has termed "Flush for Flint."
"It's not the most elegant name," POTUS said. "We need everybody to turn on their tap in the kitchen, the tub, for 5 minutes each day."
POTUS also said that the city of Flint had suffered from neglect long before the current crisis and he said he hoped that the focus on the city now could eventually make it even better than it was before.
"We have to take what has been a crisis and turn this into an opportunity to rebuild Flint even better than before," POTUS said.
"I'm confident that we can do that if we are working together," he said. He said his visit to Flint was not for the purpose of sorting "through all the ins and outs of how we got to where we are. There are times for politics and there are times for turf battles. This is not one of those times."
POTUS also said that "kids are resilient" and that "every kid in Flint is special and has capacity and can do great things." He urged parents not to give up on their kids and noted that lots of people in previous generations, including himself, may have been impacted by lead in lead paint before people knew it was a problem.
"The bottom line is we now know what to do. Parents and communities have to be proactive," he said.
Michael D. Shear
White House Correspondent
The New York Times