VPotus pool report 5 - VP speech at Panama Canal

From: David Rennie [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2017 4:10 PM
Subject: VPotus pool report 5 - VP speech at Panama Canal

remarks from VP - will file verbatim words on his comparison between Teddy Roosevelt and Trump

Wrapping up four-country tour of Latin America, VP said "there is no better place to conclude our trip than Panama."

He recalled that the US was the first country to recognise Panamian independence.

He called the Panama canal  "a symbol of our bond," forged by Panamanian grit, American know-how and Pittsburgh steel.

He noted that many rulers and countries had dreamed of building a canal here, but where others saw the impossible, America saw opportunity.

VP noted that the first ship official sailed through the canal 103 years ago this week.

"The Panama Canal changed the face of the earth, it united the Atlantic and the Pacific."

He praised Panama's management of the canal since the US handed back the Canal Zone nearly 20 years ago, and the daring project to expand the canal, which required the removal of three-quarters as much soil as the original canal, and used enough steel to build 29 Eiffel Towers.

The new expanded canal has created growth and new manufacturing jobs in America, he noted.

Mr Pence offered an impassioned comparison of his current boss and Theodore Roosevelt, who as president oversaw the launch of the construction of the Panama Canal in 1904 . Your pooler has heard VP staff described Teddy Roosevelt as one of the VP's great heroes

In President Trump, the United States has a president of can-do spirit reminiscent of Teddy Roosevelt, he said.

VP offered further praise for his boss, whose leadership has he said led to new trade deals. He cited an agreement already announced in Colombia easing trade in Colombian Hass avocados and American rough rice. He added: "Just moments ago, President Trump announced that after 25 years of barriers American pork will once again be able to be exported to Argentina."

Describing the opening of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, VP said the existing NAFTA had "significant room for improvement" but expressed confidence that it can be modernised to recapture the spirit of its original founding 20 years ago.

(Your pooler notes that Mr Trump is not normally as upbeat about the intentions of the original NAFTA 20 years ago.)

VP offered a closing passage on Venezuela, saying that the United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles. He commended Panama for joining 11 other nations in signing the Lima Declaration last week calling on Venezuela to restore democracy.

He said: "The United States will continue to bring to bear the full weight of economic and diplomatic power to bear" to restore democracy in Venezuela.

In language identical to that used by the VP on previous stops in Colombia, Argentina and Chile, Mr Pence nodded to recent comments by POTUS suggesting that there are military options for restoring democracy in Venezuela - a suggestion publicly rejected by leaders across Latin America. He said that Mr Trump had said that America has many options in Venezuela but remains confident that a peacable path can be found.

David Rennie
Washington bureau chief and
"Lexington" columnist
The Economist
Washington DC
t xxx-xxx-xxxx
c xxx-xxx-xxxx
email xxx@email.com
@dsorennie

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