Pool report #9 - Mattis transcript

From: John Bennett
Date: September 3, 2017 at 3:40:52 PM EDT
Subject: Pool report #9 - Mattis transcript

Pool report No. 9 | Sept. 3, 2017

(Disclaimer: Due to camera shutter clicking and Mattis’ low tone, please check all quotes against transcript and/or video that already is playing on cable news networks. Many thanks.)

SEC. MATTIS: “We had a small group national security meeting today with the president, the vice president about the latest provocation on the Korean Peninsula. We have many military options. The president wanted to be briefed on each one of them.

“We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attack. And our commitment among the allies is ironclad: Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.

“Kim Jong Un should  take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice - all members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses and they remain unanimous on their commitment to the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula because we are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea. As I said, we have many options to do so. Thank you very much, ladies and gentleman.”

Gen. Dunford did not speak.

The two Marine Corps four-star generals - one retired and one still on active duty - then ignored these and other shouted questions as they returned to the West Wing. These are the ones that were mostly audible on your pooler’s recording:

Shouted question No. 1: “Secretary Mattis, do you believe they’ve got a nuclear warhead that could go on a missile?

Shouted question No. 2: “Was it a high [inaudible], Mr. Secretary?

Shouted question No. 3: “Mr. Secretary, is war inevitable?”

Shouted question No. 4: “Is the president going to war, Secretary Mattis?”

-30-

John T. Bennett
White House Correspondent
CQ Roll Call
xxx@email.com | @BennettJohnT - Twitter

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