THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I want to say a few words on a number of topics and take a few questions before the long Labor Day weekend.
True so far.
First, beginning with the number one thing most Americans care about — the economy. This morning, we found out that our economy actually grew at a stronger clip in the 2nd quarter than we originally thought. Companies are investing. Consumers are spending. Over the past four and a half years, our businesses have now created nearly 10 million new jobs. So there are reasons to feel good about the direction we’re headed.
10 Million Part Time Jobs with what average pay and benefits?
But as everybody knows, there’s a lot more that we should be doing to make sure that all Americans benefit from the progress that we’ve made. And I’m going to be pushing Congress hard on this when they return next week.
Good luck with that, you lost that battle when your Abominable Care Act was executed with all the alacrity of melting Ice, and demotivated all your supporters with lack of Single Payer, following Look Forward not Backward — as if there were any future crimes to prosecute. Or, maybe that was the plan; if so we were poorly served.
Second, in Iraq, our dedicated pilots and crews continue to carry out the targeted strikes that I authorized to protect Americans there and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground.
Wonderful. More precision bombing.
As Commander-in-Chief, I will always do what is necessary to protect the American people and defend against evolving threats to our homeland. Because of our strikes, the terrorists of ISIL are losing arms and equipment. In some areas, Iraqi government and Kurdish forces have begun to push them back.
Yes, but where did ISIL get their arms? From US supplies for Syrian Rebels? You need a new tool, that military one is looking shopworn, shoddy, and does not produce good results.
And we continue to be proud and grateful to our extraordinary personnel serving in this mission.
Killing our young again. When will this end?
Now, ISIL poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region. And that’s why our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL. And that starts with Iraq’s leaders building on the progress that they’ve made so far and forming an inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL.
True, and they are funded by whom? Saudi Arabia and Quatar? Any sanctions against those states?
Any successful strategy, though, also needs strong regional partners. I’m encouraged so far that countries in the region — countries that don’t always agree on many things — increasingly recognize the primacy of the threat that ISIL poses to all of them. And I’ve asked Secretary Kerry to travel to the region to continue to build the coalition that’s needed to meet this threat. As I’ve said, rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy, but I’m confident that we can — and we will — working closely with our allies and our partners.
What, no Syria is the existential threat? What happened there, have you discovered the people who want Assad out are worse than Assad?
For our part, I’ve directed Secretary Hagel and our Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare a range of options. I’ll be meeting with my National Security Council again this evening as we continue to develop that strategy. And I’ve been consulting with members of Congress and I’ll continue to do so in the days ahead.
Range of options: Bomb (Kill), Drone(Kill) … More precision bombing?
Finally, I just spoke with Chancellor Merkel of Germany on the situation in Ukraine. We agree — if there was ever any doubt — that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine. The violence is encouraged by Russia. The separatists are trained by Russia. They are armed by Russia. They are funded by Russia. Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. And the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see. This comes as Ukrainian forces are making progress against the separatists.
And the US did not ferment revolt, interfere, and install a puppet? What did you think Russia would do to such a threat? A threat to Russia’s ONLY warm water port? Can you people read history? Would you stand back if China pulled that stunt in Canada?
As a result of the actions Russia has already taken, and the major sanctions we’ve imposed with our European and international partners, Russia is already more isolated than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Capital is fleeing. Investors are increasingly staying out. Its economy is in decline. And this ongoing Russian incursion into Ukraine will only bring more costs and consequences for Russia.
And fired off a salvo of unintended consequences, in a bout of spite and petulance better suited to a five year old.
Next week, I’ll be in Europe to coordinate with our closest allies and partners. In Estonia, I will reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the defense of our NATO allies.
Right, you want a war with Russia? And Mr Winter, overextended into Ukraine and Russia? Wonderful legacy you’ve got there, pity if anything happened to it (such as shooting yourself in your own foot).
At the NATO Summit in the United Kingdom, we’ll focus on the additional steps we can take to ensure the Alliance remains prepared for any challenge. Our meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission will be another opportunity for our alliance to continue our partnership with Ukraine. And I look forward to reaffirming the unwavering commitment of the United States to Ukraine and its people when I welcome President Poroshenko to the White House next month.
Prepare for a challenge? You mean prepare for War? Better you back down now, before you exacerbate the situation to a potential thermonuclear war.
So with that, I’m going to take a few questions. And I’m going to start with somebody who I guess is now a big cheese — he’s moved on. But I understand this is going to be his last chance to ask me a question in the press room. So I want to congratulate Chuck Todd and give him first dibs.
Look Out! Softball….
Q I’m glad you said “in the press room.” Let me start with Syria. The decision that you have to make between — first of all, is it a “if” or “when” situation about going after ISIL in Syria? Can you defeat ISIL or ISIS without going after them in Syria? And then how do you prioritize? You have said that Assad has lost legitimacy to lead. Defeating ISIS could help Assad keep power. Talk about how you prioritize those two pieces of your foreign policy.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I want to make sure everybody is clear on what we’re doing now, because it is limited. Our focus right now is to protect American personnel on the ground in Iraq; to protect our embassy, to protect our consulates, to make sure that critical infrastructure that could adversely affect our personnel is protected.
Correct Answer: Yes we were wrong. We were idiots.
Q Do you need Congress’s approval to go into Syria?
THE PRESIDENT: I have consulted with Congress throughout this process. I am confident that as Commander-in-Chief I have the authorities to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently. As our strategy develops, we will continue to consult with Congress. And I do think that it will be important for Congress to weigh in, or that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate.
Correct Answer: Yes
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Do you consider today’s escalation in Ukraine an invasion? And when you talk about additional costs to Russia, are you ready at this point to impose broader economic sanctions? Or are you considering other responses that go beyond sanctions?
THE PRESIDENT: I consider the actions that we’ve seen in the last week a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now. As I said in my opening statement, there is no doubt that this is not a homegrown, indigenous uprising in eastern Ukraine. The separatists are backed, trained, armed, financed by Russia. Throughout this process, we’ve seen deep Russian involvement in everything that they’ve done.
Correct Answer: We deliberate provoked the situation, and underestimated the Russian Response. Now we are trying to bully our way out and save face.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Last year, you said that you believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress. In response to Chuck’s question you said you don’t have a strategy yet, but you’ll reconsider that going forward. But why didn’t you go to Congress before this current round of strikes in Iraq? Do you not believe that that’s the case anymore, what you said last year? And throughout your career you’ve also said that — you raised concerns with the expansion of powers of the executive. Are you concerned that your recent actions, unilaterally, had maybe — have cut against that?
THE PRESIDENT: No. And here’s why: It is not just part of my responsibility, but it is a sacred duty for me as Commander-in-Chief to protect the American people. And that requires me to act fast, based on information I receive, if an embassy of ours or a consulate of ours is being threatened. The decisions I made were based on very concrete assessments about the possibility that Erbil might be overrun in the Kurdish region and that our consulate could be in danger. And I can’t afford to wait in order to make sure that those folks are protected.
Correct answer: US Policy is based on Ready, Fire, Aim: Bomb, bomb, bomb.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Do you regret not moving on ISIS earlier? There are some reports indicating that most of the weapons, the U.S. weapons that they have, they got it or they acquired it after the fall of Mosul. And also, the Iraqi President said today that the Iraqi forces are in no position to stand up to ISIS. What makes you think that forming a new government will change the situation?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, once ISIL got into Mosul that posed a big problem, because there’s no doubt that they were able to capture some weapons and resources that they then used to finance additional operations.
Correct Answer: We broke it, we own it, and it is a complete mess (See Humpty Dumpty).
Q Mr. President, despite all of the actions the West has taken to get Russia to pull back from Ukraine, Russia seems intent on taking one step after another — convoys, transports of arms. At what point do sanctions no longer work? Would you envisage the possibility of a necessity of military action to get Russia to pull back from Ukraine?
THE PRESIDENT: We are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem. What we’re doing is to mobilize the international community to apply pressure on Russia. But I think it is very important to recognize that a military solution to this problem is not going to be forthcoming. Now, the fact that Russia has taken these actions in violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainians has resulted, I believe, in a weakening of Russia, not a strengthening of Russia. That may not be apparent immediately, but I think it will become increasingly apparent.
Correct Answer: The Russians called our bluff, and we are now telling out NATO puppets how much of their economies we’ll grab before coming in late to the War to “save the day,” following millions dying in the coming war. That is, the US will fight to the last German.
Remember the Russian are very good a 11 Dimensional Chess…
Q Mr. President, how are external events and your executive decision-making going to impact your decision on immigration reform? Some people say you’re going to delay this.
THE PRESIDENT: Let me just say this: I’ve been very clear about the fact that our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. And my preference continues to be that Congress act. I don’t think anybody thinks that Congress is going to act in the short term, but hope springs eternal that after the midterm elections they may act.
Correct Answer: I’ll pardon them all, it is within my power.
Thank you, guys.