VP pool report — #4

From: "Parker, Ashley"
Date: July 30, 2017 at 6:20:05 PM GMT+3
Subject: VP pool report — #4

At 5:25 p.m. local, Vice President Mike Pence (now in black suit, blue tie) arrived at the office of Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, in the Old Town part of Tallinn, for a bilateral meeting. Ratas greeted him at the front of the circular driveway, and the two exchanged pleasantries your pool could not make out, before turning to pose for the scrum of cameras.

The two men, and pool, proceeded upstairs to the second floor, where Pence and his team introduced themselves to a small reception line of the prime minister’s staff. Ratas then gave Pence a tour of his office. Again, your pool could make out very little, though at one point Pence deemed something, “remarkable,” and at another he declared, “You’ve been real pioneers in government.” Near the end of the tour, the vice president sat and silently signed a large guest book: “May our friendship and freedom grow and prosper always. We are with you,” he wrote, per Rebecca Propp.

Then, the leaders moved into another room and sat at an oval-shaped table with their staffs for the bilat. Your pool was able to hear the introductory remarks, before being ushered out.

Ratas told Pence he was “extremely happy that you and your colleagues are here in Tallin, Estonia” and mentioned several issues he said were important to Estonia — “Defense, security, cyber and also the economy.” Remarking on the deep ties between the nations, he said, “A lot of our relatives, they live today in the United States, for 60 or 70 years.” He concluded, “it means for us a lot that you are here today” and said, “We will look forward to our strong and deep cooperation in the future, as well.”

And here are Pence’s remarks, in full, save a for a few words that got garbled in the click of cameras: “Well Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your hospitality. I bring greetings from President Donald Trump. He wanted me to be here to review the strong ties and strong [inaudible] between the people of the United States and the people of Estonia. We are grateful for you leadership and grateful for you strong commitment to our common defense and I want to offer my congratulations to Estonia, stepping into the role of the presidency of the European Union. And we look forward to working with you as you continue to provide a strong example and strong leadership [inaudible] Trans-Atlantic Alliance. I know that we have much to discuss, and I look forward to our conversations. I look forward to meeting the president tomorrow, along with other leaders from the Baltic states. Thank you for the warm welcome to this historic place, thank you for leadership, and thank you for telling me how many family members you have living in the state of Indiana.”

At this — the mention of the prime minister’s family in Indiana — Ratas confirmed, “It’s true.”

Pence said, “I was already very impressed with you,” but said he was even more so now that he knows Ratas is “a basketball fan.”

As your pool was being ushered out, Ratas said his favorite player was Reggie Miller.


Ashley Parker

The Washington Post

Cell: (301) xxx-xxx-xxxx

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