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Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan En Route Bali, Indonesia

  • Politics

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Bali, Indonesia

7:30 P.M. ICT
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Hey, everybody.  Okay, as you all know, we’re on our way to Bali, Indonesia, where the President is going to be attending the G20.  As you see, Jake Sullivan, our National Security Advisor, is here to talk about that — that stop and any other questions you may have for him.  And I’m going to turn it over to Jake.
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Thanks, Karine.  Hi, everybody.  I’m going to start with just a few comments on today’s events and then turn to tomorrow’s. 
 
So the President participated in the East Asia Summit today and had a chance to deliver an intervention where he covered the full range of security, economic, humanitarian, and other issues high on the agenda in the Indo-Pacific.  And there was a great deal of interest in the room on the results of the U.S. midterms.  A lot of comments from different leaders about the news that broke this morning that looks like the Senate results ended — ended — will end up with Democrats in control. 
 
So, it’s interesting to see how closely all of the leaders from these different countries, including leaders from countries that are not themselves democracies, very closely follow American politics, right down to state races that they’re all quite familiar with, surprisingly.
 
The other thing about today is that the President had the opportunity to host a trilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan and the President of Korea.  And following that meeting, they released a joint statement that is really unprecedented in its breadth and in the scope of issues that it covers.

Obviously, the DPRK is top of mind for all three leaders as they sat down, but the statement also discusses peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, the need for deeper economic and technology cooperation, and a range of other priorities in the Indo-Pacific.  And it shows the extent to which that trilateral cooperation has really deepened under President Biden’s leadership.

It was also an opportunity for him, bilaterally with each of the two leaders, to be able to consult on his meeting with President Xi tomorrow and to explain to them what he intended to do in Bali, and to make sure that he was well coordinated with his closest allies.
 
And that goes also for the meeting he held with Prime Minister Albanese, where he was able to coordinate with the Australian Prime Minister in advance of tomorrow’s meeting.
 
Overall, in terms of the stop in Cambodia, it is absolutely clear that there’s a huge demand signal for American engagement, as evidenced by the fact that ASEAN has elevated the U.S.-ASEAN relationship to the highest level, to a comprehensive strategic partnership.  And many different leaders of ASEAN solicited American engagement across a range of fields.  And privately, leaders came up to the President to say that it was really important that the U.S. continue down the path that President Biden has put American foreign policy on, which is deepened and elevated engagement in this vital region of the world.
 
So we feel very good about the coordination and the foundation that we’ve set heading into Bali for the G20 and for the bilateral meeting with President Xi of the PRC.

Before he meets with President Xi, President Biden will have a bilateral with President Joko Widodo of Indonesia and will have the opportunity to congratulate President Widodo on the work that he has done hosting the G20 this year, and also to talk about the full range of issues in the U.S.-Indonesia bilateral partnership.
 
And over the course of the three days in Bali, he’ll have a series of significant announcements in terms of American investments and American policy towards Indonesia, including a Millennium Challenge Corporation compact, other significant infrastructure projects, other forms of economic cooperation, and cooperation on climate that will be rolled out over the course of the next 48 hours and we think will mark a significant upgrade in our overall relationship with Indonesia.
 
In terms of the meeting with President Xi, obviously I’ll let President Biden speak to it in his own words after that meeting, so I’m not going to do too much to get ahead of him.  I also want to make sure he has the opportunity to talk to President Xi before we speak in great detail on the record about the issues.  So, you’ll understand that there’ll be certain — some limits to how much I can characterize things in advance.
 
But I will just say that President Biden was clear today in the East Asia Summit meeting what he’s intending to do, which is to make clear in the meeting tomorrow that the United States is prepared for stiff competition with China but does not seek conflict, does not seek confrontation; wants to make sure that we manage that competition responsibly and that all countries, including the United States and the PRC, should operate according to a set of well-established, agreed rules, including on freedom of navigation, on a level playing field for economics, and on refraining from the use of intimidation or coercion or aggression.
 
So, he will communicate all of that along with a genuine willingness to work together in areas where U.S. and PRC interests converge and where it’s in the interest of the broader public good as well, whether it be climate change or public health or other issues. 
 
So, he’ll have that opportunity to sit and be totally straightforward and direct and to hear President Xi be totally straightforward and direct in return and try to come out of that meeting with a better understanding and a way to responsibly manage this relationship and the competition between the U.S. and the PRC, and come out of this meeting with areas where the two countries and the two presidents and their teams can work cooperatively on substantive issues. 
 
So, I’ll leave it at that for right now and be happy to take some questions.
 
Q    Thanks, Jake.  So, first, could you — on your first point, could you provide a little bit more of a qualitative readout of the conversations the President and U.S. officials had with foreign leaders regarding the midterms?  Were leaders congratulating the President?
 
And more broadly, the President, in his first couple of international summits, talked a lot about showing the world that America is back.  He said this morning that he feels that he’s in a stronger place now after the midterms.  How does that sort of — how do the midterms tie into the President’s broader message to the world about America’s commitment overseas?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  So I don’t want to over-characterize it and say there were deep conversations about it.  I would just say that many leaders took note of the results of the midterms, came up to the President to engage him and to say that they were following them closely.  And I would say one theme that emerged over the course of the two days was the theme about the strength of American democracy and what this election said about American democracy. 
 
So, the President feels very good about — obviously, about the results, as he said to all of you, and he also feels that it does establish a strong position for him on the international stage.  And we saw that, I think, play out in living color today.  And I think we’ll see that equally when we head into both the G20 and to his bilateral engagements in Bali.
 
Q    Did the Chinese Prem- — was the Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang — was he one of the people who approached President Biden about the midterms?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  No.
 
Q    And can I just add one more on — staying in ASEAN, on Myanmar specifically: The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Myanmar said that the Russian weapons that are killing people in Ukraine are also being used in Myanmar.  Did the President make the connection between Ukraine and Myanmar when he was speaking to ASEAN leaders?  And would he support an international arms embargo on Russia and Myanmar?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  He did not specifically draw that connection in his comments today, though he thematically drew the connection between the types of aggression against civilians that we see in Ukraine and, obviously, what we’re seeing in Myanmar.  It wasn’t an explicit connection, but obviously he talked about both of those issues in similar terms in his remarks today.
 
Q    A quick question on, sort of, COVID protocols and, you know, what the Chinese are asking President Biden to follow and White House delegation to follow.  Are there any specific protocols, tests that you and the President have to, you know, undertake before going into this meeting?  Or are there —
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Not that I know of.
 
Q    — is there nothing out of the ordinary?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Not that I know of.
 
Q    And one quick one on, sort of, this idea that the Biden administration is trying to reset rela- — its relationship with China — obviously, you know, moving away from the approach that the Trump administration had taken.  How successful do you think this is ultimately going to end up being?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  I’m not sure I understand the premise of your question.

Q    So, you know, resetting its relationship with China in the sense of, you know, extending a diplomatic hand, wanting to engage in conversation.  How successful do you think this is going to end up being?

MR. SULLIVAN:  So, I mean, that’s a term you’re using.  I’m not using that term; the administration is not using that term.

The way we look at this, actually, is this is a continuation of the President’s fundamental view that leader-to-leader engagement is the most important way to manage this relationship effectively.  And this is the first opportunity he actually has to sit in person, as President, with President Xi.  And he wants to take full advantage of that to lay out clearly his priorities and intentions and to hear the same from Xi Jinping.

But the President’s basic approach has been consistent from the very start, and it’s essentially what I said at the — at the top of this briefing: that the President sees the United States and China as being engaged in a stiff competition, but that competition should not tip over into conflict or confrontation, that it needs to be managed responsibly, and that there are also areas where we can work together.

That fundamental frame, that approach that President Biden has brought to this, has been an approach he’s brought from day one.  And it’s obviously had to be applied in real-world circumstances at various points as different issues and flashpoints have emerged.  But the fundamental underlying approach has been very consistent throughout.

Q    Jake, Sergey Lavrov is running around the summit conference.  Did any U.S. official or emissary have a substantive conversation with him?  Or I think Blinken had some maybe “pleasantries” you could call them.  But did anybody talk to him about anything real?

MR. SULLIVAN:  No.

Q    And the Europeans — just one quick one on that.  The Europeans, I think, are talking about potentially walking out as a signal at G20.  Would — how does the U.S. feel about that?  What needs to be (inaudible)?

MR. SULLIVAN:  I’ve read that.  I have not yet heard that directly from the Europeans.  And we’ll look forward to the opportunity to hear their thinking before I comment on it further.

Q    Does the President plan to walk out if President Putin participates virtually?

MR. SULLIVAN:  At this point, I’m not aware of President Putin’s virtual participation, so that’s a hypothetical that we have not yet engaged, in terms of what the President — how the President would react.

Q    Going back to the meeting with Xi, how long — given that this is the first time they’re meeting face to face, how long are you anticipating the meeting could last?

MR. SULLIVAN:  It’s hard to say.  I think it’ll be a couple hours.  Could go longer than that, might not.

You know, it’s a meeting on the margins of an international summit.  And so it’s not itself a kind of summit where they’re coming together in a third country or in Washington or in Beijing.  So we haven’t set, obviously, a time limit on the conversation.  But if I had to ballpark it, I’d put it around a couple of hours.

Q    Jake, I know you love a good summit communiqué.  In Cambodia, the Russians came out and said that they were unable to come to a limit, blamed — or come to a communiqué, blamed the U.S. because of wanting to insert language about their invasion of Ukraine. 
 
In — at the G7 — or, at the G20, we’ve heard that there’s sort of a conflict between G7 nations that are seeking similar language.  Russia, China not wanting that language; Indonesia trying to broker some sort of solution.  Could you walk us through what your thinking is and if you see an acknowledgement of the sort of toll that the invasion of Ukraine has taken on the world economy as necessary for that communiqué to come together and — at the G20?

MR. SULLIVAN:  Well, I will say, first, what I heard in the room today was broad support for the basic principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and no support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

And so I thought the characterization of the Russian foreign minister was an effort to create a narrative that is not consistent with how things actually unfolded.

Second, most of the ASEAN countries voted in the United Nations to condemn Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine.  And when we look at the G20 context, I think you’ll see intensive work over the next 24 to 48 hours, with good faith on the part of the United States and our G7 partners to produce a joint statement or a communiqué. 
 
We’re hopeful that that can happen.  But of course, we’ll have to see how things unfold in the negotiating room.  And it’s hard for me to characterize now, before we’re on the ground in Bali, where exactly things stand in that process.
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Yasmeen.
 
Q    (Inaudible.)
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Hold on.  Hold on.  Go ahead, Yasmeen.
 
Q    Do you feel like you’ve made any progress on getting some of the fence sitters, like India and Thailand?  Or is this part of the effort at the G20 to be — to stand firmer against Russia?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  The main focus of the event today was really about how the United States can be a force for positive progress and stability in the Indo-Pacific. 
 
So, the President touched upon Russia’s illegal invasion, made a principled statement on the subject.  But it was not the central thrust of what he was trying to accomplish in today’s meeting. 
 
We do believe, actually, that the number of countries that are prepared to call Russia out explicitly and to vote against what Russia is doing at the United Nations is going up, not down, as evidenced by the last U.N. General Assembly resolution. 
 
And we’ve now seen even countries like the PRC speak out on the issue of the threat of nuclear weapons.  And so, we think the direction of travel is positive.  And we’ll keep working at it in all of our engagements with countries like India and others.  And I’ll leave it at that for now.
 
Q    Jake, can I just pick up what — when you mentioned that ASEAN’s support for Russia.  But at the end, ASEAN —
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Not — not support for Russia —
 
Q    I’m sorry.  Ukraine.  I’m sorry.  At the end, ASEAN did not agree to allow a video address by President Zelenskyy.  Is the White House, is the President disappointed about that?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  In fact, President Biden thanked the Cambodian Prime Minister, the chair of ASEAN this year, for inviting the Ukrainian foreign minister to Phnom Penh.  He was here.  He had the chance to engage with ASEAN.  That is a highly unusual act and shows ASEAN’s willingness to engage Ukraine.
 
Q    But their — but their request was to have President Zelenskyy deliver a video address.  And they didn’t agree to that.
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  I think this is sort of losing the forest for the trees in terms of ASEAN’s willingness to engage Ukraine in an unprecedented way at an unprecedented time.  And we thought that was quite a powerful signal of support for Ukraine.
 
Q    The readout of the meeting with the Cambodian Prime Minister had some tough language in there about the 2023 elections and an open society and also whether the Chinese are hanging around at their base in the Gulf of Thailand. 
 
So how did that go over?  Because they had some comments — public comments that weren’t so great.
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Sorry, I didn’t — what were the public comments?
 
Q    How was that message was received when you raised those iss- — when the President raised those issues with the Cambodians?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  I will tell you that what you saw in that readout very much matched what President Biden raised in the room with the Cambodian Prime Minister, including on the naval base; including on opening of the political space and the upcoming elections; including on the release of the U.S. citizen who’s being held, we believe, unjustly in Cambodia. 
 
I’m not going to characterize the Cambodian response because I think that’d be inappropriate to do since this was — it happened behind closed doors. 
 
But I would say the conversation was direct and candid and constructive.  It was not acrimonious or harsh.
 
Q    Was there movement of any kind?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  Again, I’m not going to — I’m not going to characterize their response.  They well heard the President, understood what he was saying, and I’ll leave it at that. 
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Zeke.  Go ahead, Zeke.
 
Q    Coming out of the trilat, can you speak more broadly about the DPRK and then the looming potential of a seventh nuclear test?  What — was there an agreement on consequences for the North should that happen — some sort of joint response?  What would that look like?  Is the U.S. sending a warning to North Korea now not to conduct that test?
 
MR. SULLIVAN:  I won’t telegraph the response, but I will say directly to your question: Yes, the three leaders did coordinate on a joint response in the event that there would be a seventh nuclear test by the DPRK.  And they tasked their teams to work out the elements of that response in real detail. 
 
And that work has been ongoing for some time, so now it’s in the stage of just being refined.  But I think you can expect a trilateral response, well-coordinated, among the three countries in the event that there is such a test.
 
And we’ve been clear that a test would be a flagrant violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and a threat to peace and security, just as we have been clear that the continued missile tests are similarly violations of the U.N. Security Council.

Q    Just to follow up on that, what would that response look like?  What would that joint response look like?  Any sort of, you know, outline of what that could potentially look like?

MR. SULLIVAN:  I think I said at the start of my answer that I wasn’t going to telegraph the response, because I think it’s important to leave the space for the teams to really coordinate on multiple elements that, you know, would include security, economic, and, of course, diplomatic, if there were a seventh nuclear test. 
 
And all of those elements are being worked very intensively, coordinated very intensively among the three countries.  But not my place to advertise them tonight on this flight.

Q    Jake, a couple days ago, you hinted at some of the bilats that might come on to the schedule at the G20.  Do you have any that you can announce at this point or —

MR. SULLIVAN:  Nothing more to announce today.

Q    Can I pick up on the naval base ques- —

MR. SULLIVAN:  I don’t expect there’ll be any others tomorrow, beyond Indonesia and the PRC.  So when we do our discussion tomorrow, whoever does it, maybe we’ll have some news for Tuesday.

Q    Can I ask, on the naval base: Did the President ask and did he secure an agreement from the Cambodian Prime Minister that U.S. officials can verify whether or not there are Chinese military activities at the naval base?

MR. SULLIVAN:  I’m going to leave it where we left it in the readout, which is they had a discussion on the naval base.  The President laid out his perspective and what he hoped to see. 

Again, he had a very direct and detailed conversation, including a detailed response from the Cambodian Prime Minister.  But I’m not going to go further into what the nature of that conversation was.

Q    Since you last briefed, I think we were a little uncertain of what was going on in Kherson, whether Russians actually left.  So, they’re gone.  There’s damage to that dam.  Where does this leave things?  Does it require even more military aid so that they can take the momentum before it gets cold, or maybe the weather doesn’t matter?

MR. SULLIVAN:  We are remaining steady in our supply of security assistance.  You saw the package we just announced.  There’ll be another one in the next couple of weeks on roughly the same timetable and at roughly the same magnitude as we have been doing over the course of the past few weeks and months.

So there will be no slackening in our support or deviation from the frequency and intensity of that support.  We’re also consulting with Congress about acquiring additional resources as we look ahead to next year.

I think there is a little bit of a binary that is set in.  It’s — the winter is sort of seen as: Will there be fighting or won’t there be fighting?  And I think the binary is the won- — wrong way to look at it.

The — it’s more about decisions the Ukrainians will have to make about the pace and tempo of operations, not whether they will be turned on or off.

Q    Can I —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Wait, wait, wait.  Patsy, you got to let other people go.  Yasmeen, you have the last question.

Q    Thank you.  Will anyone from the administration meet with MBS at the G20?  I know you said the President won’t, but is anyone from the administration planning to meet with him, deliver any sort of message, especially that he appeared to be doing the OPEC cut for political reasons ahead of the midterms?

MR. SULLIVAN:  I don’t believe that there’s any meeting scheduled with MBS from a member of the U.S. delegation.

Q    Jake, can I ask about the G20?

MR. SULLIVAN:  Last question.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Final, final, final question.

MR. SULLIVAN:  Last question.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead.  Go ahead.

Q    So, initially, there was a lot of pressure on the Indonesians to not invite President Putin.  President Biden said that he was not going to attend if President Putin attends.  And then he said it’s okay as long as President Zelenskyy was also invited.  There was a lot of back and forth.

So can you characterize a little bit about how that went and whether or not the President is now happy with this outcome where all the G7 leaders are attending and President Putin is not coming in person, President Zelenskyy is invited to participate virtually?

MR. SULLIVAN:  Look, I think when President Biden looks at the G20, he looks at an opportunity to get together with the leaders of the major economies of the world to deal with the consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

And so what he’s going to be focused on are practical solutions on food security, eners- — energy security, debt, multilateral development bank reform.  And so “happy/unhappy,” I think, is not quite the right way to think about, you know, whether President Putin chose to show up or not.  President Putin made his decision for his reasons under the pressures he’s facing. 
 
President Biden is in — or shortly will be in Bali.  He’s going to be there.  The United States will be there to stand up and be counted to help deliver on a positive agenda at the G20. 
 
And we think the contrast of President Biden there, showing that he’s ready to roll up the sleeves and help solve problems, President Putin not there, that speaks for itself.  And I don’t have anything to add to that.
 
Thank you, guys.
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Thank you, Jake.  Thank you, Jake. 
 
I’ll just take a few questions.  Zeke, you want to kick us off?
 
Q    Thanks.  So, does the President regret nominating former Director Magnus to head CBP?  And can you give us some more context, now that that resignation is in: Did that resignation come directly at the behest of the President?
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, you saw I put a statement on the — on the resignation of Magnus.  I don’t — I’m not going to go any further to the statement that we put out this morning.  Don’t have any context or anything else to add.  Again, not going to comment any further.
 
Q    So can I ask why not?  I mean, this is an administration that’s prided itself on transparency.  Here — this is a policy.  The President has been under a ton of pressure there a couple days after the midterms, just as — you know, he learned the results of the Senate, then — then you take this sort of decision.  I mean, this seems like you’re obfuscating here by making this move for clearly political purposes at inopportune political time?
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Absolutely not.  As I said, the first sentence of the — or I should say I disagree with the premise of your question. 
 
The first sentence of the — of the statement that I put out this morning said we accepted the resignation of the commissioner.  If you want any further details, I would refer you to the Department of Health — of Department of Homeland Security.
 
Again, I’m just not going to go into any further detail or go beyond the statement that I put out this morning.
 
Q    The President, this morning, got the question about whether he would tr- — you know, now that Democrats are going to hold the Senate, the next Congress, trying to codify Roe; codify voting rights; make voting — sorry, voting rights reforms — something that he talked a lot about on the campaign if Democrats hold Congress, he would try to get done. 
 
So, he didn’t really make that pledge directly today.  So, can you speak a little bit about what it would take for the President to actually deliver on some of those promises he made to voters during the campaign about codifying Roe, about —
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, certainly, what — the Democrats holding on to the Senate is welcome news.  You heard directly, as you stated, Zeke, from the President this morning.  And, you know, he’s been very clear he’s willing to work with — with Republicans.  He has been.  This is something that we know the President has done as part of his record with being able to, you know, work with Republicans in a bipartisan way.  We’ve seen that over the past 20 months of his presidency in particular.
 
But, you know, look, his — his vision is to — his goal is to deliver for the American people.  He’s going to do that, and he’s going to continue to do that, along with the Senate — Senate Democrats.  But certainly, it will make it — the task easier — right? — to get some of his agenda done now that — now that we know that we have — we’ll have the majority back in the Senate.
 
I don’t have any details or anything to lay out.  But the President has always been very clear he’s going to continue to do the work on behalf of the American people.
 
I have talked about a list of items that he’s — he wants to continue to do.  And so, making sure that the government stays open — right? — making sure that we protect Medicare and Social Security.  And so there’s a list of issues — marriage equality, as I’ve talked about yesterday.  And also, as you just talked about, making sure we protect a woman’s right to choose, which is codifying Roe.  So, all of these things remain to — remain a priority for this President.
 
Again, I don’t want to get ahead of what his agenda may look like because he is going to have conversations with leaders in the Senate and also in the House, so I don’t want to get too far ahead of them.
 
Q    Karine, on the Biden-Xi summit, I believe the Chinese didn’t even confirm that there was going to be a meeting a day, possibly even two days, after the White House announced it.  I’m not asking you to speak on behalf of the Chinese, but I guess I’m asking: On something so important, wasn’t there some kind of coordination about the announcement itself?
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, Jake got some version of this question yesterday, and we’ve always been very clear.  From the last time President Xi and President Biden spoke, they talked about their — both sides, their staff getting together and trying to figure out a time for them to meet and have their — their first conversation in person, as President — as Biden as President.  And that’s what you’re seeing.
 
I’m not going to, again, as you stated, speak for the Chinese government.  But we have been always very clear for the past several months, since the last time they spoke, that they were going to find — the two leaders were going to find a time to — to sit down and have a very important, critical conversation. 
 
And that’s what you’re — that’s what you’re seeing.  That’s what you’re going to see tomorrow.  And I’m not going to get ahead of the agenda or what they’re going to talk about.  And you’ll hear directly from the President about that.
 
Q    Karine —
 
Q    Karine — sorry. 
 
Q    Go ahead.
 
Q    Oh, thank you.  Just a quick one on — you know, the President had spoken about wanting to invite Republicans and Democrats to the White House once he goes back.  Is that plan still on?  And, you know, what is — what is that now going to look like with Democrats kind of clinching control of the Senate? 
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, I — I don’t have any — any date to preview for you at this time.  But look, the President has always been clear: He is willing and would — and wants to work with Republicans if they are willing to — to work together to make sure that we deliver for the American people. 
 
That has always been something the President has been very clear about.  He said himself — during his press conference at the top, his opening remarks, he said that he had signed more than 200 — or about 200 pieces of legislation now into law that was bipartisan, including the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, including the CHIPS Act — CHIPS and Science Act, which are both historical and going to change the lives of millions of American, create good-paying jobs. 
 
And so, this is what the President wants to do.  He has also been very clear that when it comes to Medicare and Social Security, he is not going to agree with getting rid of — of two policies or two items that are incredibly important for the American people.
 
We heard what the Republicans’ policy — Republican officials had said the past several months, is that they wanted to chop Medicare and Social Security, which is — the President said he would not do.
 
So, look, again, looking — he’s going to have those conversations.  He has an agenda that he believes is important for the American people, and he’s going to continue to deliver.
 
Q    Karine, you, just a couple minutes ago, laid out some of the President’s priorities.  But I’m wondering: Now that you’ve secured the Senate for another term and, as a consequence, will have a smoother sailing on the President’s nominees for — sort of across the board, does that change the strategy for what you want the Senate to focus on during the lame duck? 
 
Are there legislative priorities that are sort of bubbling to the top that might — otherwise, floor time would have been spent on — on those nominees or that sort of thing?
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  It’s a great question.  Look, the President said that himself: It’s going to make things a lot easier now that we — that we’ve held on to the — to the Senate — the Democrats have held on to the Senate. 
 
Don’t want to get ahead of what that agenda might look like during the — during the lame duck.  Clearly, keeping the government open is going to be a priority. 
 
Obviously, the President is going to meet with leadership on — on both sides and talk through what the lame duck is going to look like.  Again, don’t want to get ahead of it.
 
As you know, we’ve been abroad — leaving — leaving Cambodia going to Bali, and certainly that’s been a priority and a focus.  And so, once we get back, we’ll have more to share.
 
Q    Karine, the President didn’t travel to Georgia during the midterms.  You obviously have the — the Senate already, but what impact — does the President plan to go to Georgia?  Does this impact any travel that he might have already — you know, having the majority there?
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So again, don’t have any trips to preview for you at this time.  The President is willing to do whatever is going to be helpful to Senator Warnock.  Don’t have anything there to lay out. 
 
But look, you know, this is going back to what the President said for the past several weeks, several months, which was, you know, this election was about choice.  Right?  This election was about how we wanted to move this country forward.  And we believe that the American people chose what Democrats have been able to do these — this past 20 months. 
 
And so, we’ve had great candidates.  We had a great — good message.  And the American people delivered, and they — they made that choice.  We believe it wasn’t — it wasn’t a referendum; it was indeed a choice.  And we saw that on Tuesday.
 
Q    Karine, can you add anything to what Jake said about how these undecided U.S. elections have been kind of hanging over the summit?  And like is the Sultan of Brunei tracking what’s going on in Clark County and bringing it up to you guys? Like what — how is this playing out?
 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, look, I — you know, I — I’m not going to go into details or into specifics, but I’ll say this: One of the things that we had said was on — was on — was a choice that Americans had to make was democracy.  Right?  Democracy was definitely, you know, on the ballot for Americans.
 
And so that is one of the things that Americans chose.  They chose to protect our democracy, and I think that matters.  I think that matters globally around the world as leaders are looking to — to the — to the President to lead.
 
And so I think that sends an important, strong message. Don’t want to get — again, I’m not going to get into details or specifics on what was said.  I think Jake spoke to that pretty well.  But again, you know, there were — this was — this was an election about choice.  This was an election about freedom, about rights, about protecting people’s Medicare and Social Security, and also about democracy.
 
Q    Is the lack of a resolution — how is that affecting the President’s ability to do his job, if at all?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Say — what do you mean “resolution”?

Q    Well, we don’t know who’s going to run the House.  That — that the second we took off —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, I’m certainly not going to — not going to get into electoral politics and make any prediction from here.

Again, we had a lot of — we had a strong message.  We had strong candidates.  And the Americans made a strong choice — right? — some really important choices.

Look, here’s the thing to think about what happened on Tuesday: It was historic.  It was historic on the Senate level.  It was historic on the House level.  It was historic on the state legislative level.

And, as we saw, the American people talked about what matters to them.  Women’s right to choose was important to them.  Democracy was important to them.  But I’m certainly not going to get into what may happen in the House.

We’ll — we’ll continue to watch the data come in, as you all are watching the data come in, as well.

But again, this — this was a historic — historic election.

Q    Karine, Vietnamese state media reports of a planned phone call between President Biden and Vietnam’s Communist Party Secretary and a possible visit by the President that was discussed during a pull-aside between the President and the Vietnamese Prime Minister last night.  Can you confirm and comment?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have anything to — to share on that at this time.

Q    Was there a pull-aside?  I’m sorry, I didn’t read the pool —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Again, I just don’t have anything to share.  I would have to check in with national security team.  I don’t have anything to share on that particular question.

Q    We know a lot of U.S. allies, including Japan and South Korea and the Europeans, expressed a lot of relief at the midterm results and that the Democrats had a stronger-than-expected showing and a lot of these election deniers didn’t win some of these key races.

How does that impact what the President has been able to do while he’s overseas?  Are people sort of taking his word more seriously about the U.S. being back and U.S. leadership?  Just because the —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t — I don’t think — I don’t think this trip abroad was — was the — was — made a — made a definitive decision for world leaders on the President’s ability to lead.

I think we have heard from — we’ve seen — what we’ve seen the President do this the past 20-plus months as a world leader at bringing — bringing the West together, bringing NATO together to — to really show this unity against Russia as they invaded Ukraine, that is something that happened because of the leadership of this President.

And so — and, as you saw, in COP27, we’re leading — we’re leading the — America is leading in the — in making sure we’re fighting climate change because of what we’ve been able to pass, because of what the President has been able to do.  That matters.

So we have shown leadership, this President has shown leadership.  And it’s not just this presidency.  It’s 8 years as Vice President; 30 — you know, 34, 36 years as senator.  He has a reputation, and he knows many of these leaders, and these leaders know him.

So I don’t think it — I don’t think this trip or what happened with this election, you know, made that decision for — for leaders across the coun- — across the globe.

But what I would say is, and I — this is what Jake was saying, they were following it closely.  Global leaders are — global leaders were following this race closely because, again, democracy was on the line here.  And the American people spoke very clearly, voting to protect our democracy, voting to strengthen our democracy.  And I think that matters.

Q    Just one last one, if I could.  Probably should have asked this to Jake, as well.  Do you have any more details just on the format for tomorrow’s meeting?  Are they going to meet one-on-one?  Translators — consecutive, simultaneous translation?  Delegations?  What’s the — you know, what’s the structure?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  That’s a really good question.  We will have more to share on what that — and you’re talking about the meeting with President Xi, on what that meeting is actually going to look like?  I don’t have anything to share at this time.

You know, sometimes it goes up to — to the final hour on negotiations or what things — on what these —

Q    So you’re negotiating that — those details right now?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have — I’m just — I’m just saying that could be a factor.  I would have to check in with the national security team.  I just don’t have more to share.  And what — we will.  We’ll sha- —

Q    What are you going to tell — how are you going to — I know there’s a presser.  Are you going to do more extensive readouts on the granular stuff?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, we’ll definitely have a readout of the meeting and the bilats — the other bilats that the President will be doing, as we have done on every — on every foreign trip, including where we just left, in Cambodia, the bilats that he has there.

Don’t have anything else to share.  And — and you’ll hear — you will hear directly from the President.

Q    Jake said we’d hear from the President after the meeting.  So is there going to be a press conference after?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  We will have more to share, as — but you will hear directly from the President tomorrow.  We’ll have more to share on the details of that.

Q    Thanks, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  All right.  Thanks, everybody.

8:10 P.M. ICT
 

Source: White House