Joe Biden

Pool Reports of February 4, 2021

February 04, 2021

Pool Reports by Chris Johnson, Washington Blade

Sent: Reports:
February 4, 2021
08:50

Pool Report #1 - Checking In

Good morning!

I'll be your print pooler today. It's a frosty 34 degrees, but the skies are clear and it should warm up this afternoon.

Your pooler has taken the standard COVID test this morning.

On the schedule: WH news briefing this morning with Jen Psaki, then POTUS trip to the State Department later this afternoon.

Your pooler will keep you posted if anything changes.

February 4, 2021
11:43

Pool Report #2 - WH briefing starts

Jen Psaki began the WH briefing at 11:41. Jake Sullivan is also present.

February 4, 2021
12:39

Pool Report #3 - State Dept. speech excerpts

Psaki concluded the briefing at 12:31.

From the White House:

Excerpts from the President's remarks at the State Department at 2:45pm:

Excerpt 1:
We must meet this new moment of accelerating global challenges — from a pandemic to the climate crisis to nuclear proliferation — challenges that will only be solved by nations working together in common cause.

That must start with diplomacy, rooted in America's most cherished democratic values. Defending freedom. Championing opportunity. Upholding universal rights. Respecting the rule of law. Treating every person with dignity.

That's the grounding wire of our global power. That's our inexhaustible source of strength. That's America's abiding advantage.

Though many of these values have come under intense pressure in recent years, even pushed to the brink in the last few weeks, the American people will emerge from this stronger, more determined, and better equipped to unite the world in fighting to defend democracy – because we have fought for it ourselves.

Excerpt 2:
Over the past two weeks, I've spoken with the leaders of many of our closest friends — Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, France, NATO, Japan, South Korea, and Australia — to begin re-forming the habits of cooperation and rebuilding the muscles of democratic alliances that have atrophied from four years of neglect and abuse.

America's alliances are among our greatest assets. And leading with diplomacy means standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies and key partners once more.
But leading with diplomacy must also mean engaging our adversaries and our competitors diplomatically where it is in our interest and advances the security of the American people.

Excerpt 3:
We will compete from a position of strength, by building back better at home, working with our allies and partners, renewing our role in international institutions, and reclaiming our credibility and moral authority. That's why we've moved quickly to begin restoring American engagement internationally, to earn back our leadership position, and to catalyze global action on shared challenges.

Excerpt 4:
Finally, to successfully reassert our diplomacy and keep Americans safe, prosperous, and free, we must restore the health and the morale of our foreign policy institutions. I want the people who work in this building and in our embassies and consulates around the world to know that I value your expertise, and I respect you.

I will have your back. This administration is going to empower you to do your jobs, not target or politicize you. We want a rigorous debate, that brings in all perspectives, and makes room for dissent. That's how we'll get the best possible policy outcomes.

With your help, the United States will again lead not just by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.

February 4, 2021
13:25

Pool Report #4 - en route to State Dept.

Motorcade starting rolling at 1:23 en route to Foggy Bottom. No sighting of POTUS.

February 4, 2021
13:34

Pool Report #5 — at State Dept.

Motorcade arrived at State Department at 1:30. Still no sighting of POTUS.

Pool has been escorted into the auditorium and is holding there.

February 4, 2021
14:01

Pool report #6

POTUS, wearing a navy suit with a striped tie, entered with VPOTUS and Blinken at 1:40.

Blinken introduced POTUS, offered thanks to new class of Foreign Service officers.

Blinken: "Our president and vice president know how vital, the State Department is to American security and prosperity."

On Harris: "She's dedicated her career to the security of the American people." Adds she "fully shares" goal of "Diplomacy First" foreign policy.

VPOTUS, wearing a dark suit, remembers Blinken he placed his hand on Constitution and oath.

"We know we cannot take for granted those words to support and defend. Every day we have to breath new life into them."

"As difficult as the past years have been," VPOTUS says, Foreign Service officers are up to the task.

VPOTUS talks restoring alliances and international institutions, says foreign and domestic policy are "intrinsically linked."

VPOTUS: "The world is counting and us and we as America must show our allies and adversaries that it's time to deliver."

Blinken introduces POTUS, says with a "brief word," to sparse laughter in audience.

"He welcomes new ideas, dissenting views, rigorous debates." - Blinken on Biden. Blinken says first question POTUS and VPOTUS asks on policy is how it will benefit Americans.

POTUS approached podium at 1:48, says Blinken has background to lead State Dept. "at a critical moment."

POTUS: "It's been a difficult few years." POTUS commends Foreign Service officers: "You not only have great intellectual policy, you have incredible courage."

"You're America's face...it matters quite a big deal how you comport yourself..." POTUS says. Adds families aren't thanked enough, spouses have to give up careers."

"The main message I want to communicate to ya'll...the vital success" of the nation "depends in no small part" on you.

"democracy is back"
"Diplomacy is back"
Name-checks crises, including climate change

POTUS asks FSOs to have integrity, accountability, "working in the interest of the American people, not self-interest," promoting diversity and equity.

"It's been a long time I've been dealing with this building and all of your predecessors." - POTUS

"We need you badly. I trust you and I'm gonna have your back." - POTUS

POTUS recalls time as Senate Foreign Affairs chairman, recalls integrating State Dept.

"I expect you to have the back of the American people." - POTUS

POTUS: "I've got a lot of work to do" and need your help. Makes joke about coming back when someone doesn't hav to wipe down podium. POTUS concluded at 1:55 and exited.

February 4, 2021
14:05

Pool Report #6a

Listen to remarks here: https://otter.ai/u/9KLMQCQTwvk8isK-o-iysjrrgHo

From the White House:

Seated stage left are Acting Deputy Secretary Ambassador Dan Smith, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, National Advisor to the Vice President Nancy McEldowney, and Acting Chief of Protocol Asel Roberts.

Pool escorted out of auditorium and seated in Benjamin Franklin room at 2:04.

February 4, 2021
14:23

Pool Report #6b

From the White House:

Correction: Nancy McEldowney's full title is "National Security Adviser to the Vice President."

The full name of the room we're holding in is the Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room

February 4, 2021
15:06

Pool Report #7 — speech highlights

POTUS, still wearing a navy suit and striped tie, entered the Benjamin Franklin room at 2:41, followed by VPOTUS and Blinken.

No one is in attendance other than staffers and journalists. Your pooler will keep it brief because the event was live-streamed.

Blinken introducing Biden: "I've see his commitment to the American people, his expertise in diplomacy."

"In the history of the presidency, no one has brought more foreign policy experience" than POTUS. - Blinken

Also commends VPOTUS, says US needs diplomacy because the problems of the world "aren't going to resolve themselves," cites coronavirus, climate issues.

POTUS began remarks at 2:45.

"America is back. Diplomacy is back. It's the center of our foreign policy."

POTUS cites China, Russia as threats, also climate, nuclear negotiation, "challenges that only be solved with nations working together."

American values have been "under pressure," "pushed to the brink in the past few weeks," an implicit reference to attack on Capitol.

Burma- "The Burmese military should relinquish power," including telecommunications and "refrain from violence," talks about about potential consequences.

"American alliances are our greatest asset, POTUS says must engage partners "diplomatic."

Russia- Biden name-checks renewing START treaty for five years. Biden adds he made clear to Putin "days of the United States rolling over...are over." Biden adds Alexei Navalny "must be released immediately."

China- POTUS says U.S. will rise to competition "from a position of strength." Biden adds "we're ready to work with Beijing" when it suits U.S. interests.

POTUS announces SECDEF Austin will conduct global posture review of forces, stopping all planned troop withdrawals from Germany."

Yemen- Says U.S. aid in conflict over, announces appointment of envoy to "push for a diplomatic resolution." "This war has to end."

Refugees- "We've shined the light of liberty," on refugees, announces executive order to restore refugees. "It's going to take time to rebuild what has been so badly damaged."

LGBTQ- POTUS announces presidential memorandum that has policy "including by combatting criminalization and protecting LGBTQ refugees and asylum-seekers."

Democracy at home- POTUS gives thanks to FSOs, references EOs ending Muslim ban and prohibition on transgender people in military, says free press "essential" to democracy, denounces white supremacy and systemic racism.

"There's no longer a bright line between foreign and domestic policy." - POTUS

POTUS emphasizes *if* International trade and intellectual property rules are fair, "there's no country on earth, not China or anyone else, that can match us."

POTUS says U.S. must protect "every ethnic background," religious minorities, women and LGBTQ people.

"American can no longer afford to be absent from the world stage." - POTUS

"We're a nation that does big things" and America is ready to take up mantle. - POTUS

POTUS concluded at 3:05 pm.

February 4, 2021
15:11

Pool Report #8

Pool was escorted out of State Department and into the motorcade at 3:11.

February 4, 2021
15:21

Pool Report #9

Motorcade headed out at 3:15 and returned to the White House at 3:19. No sighting of POTUS upon departure.

February 4, 2021
15:25

Pool Report #10 - lid

The White House called a travel-photo lid at 3:23.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Joseph R. Biden, Pool Reports of February 4, 2021 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/348870

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