The President’s Last 24™
The President Makes a Statement on the Situation in Iraq
Today, after a meeting with his national security team, President Obama delivered a statement from the White House Press Briefing Room on the situation in Iraq and the U.S. response, in the wake of the terrorist organization ISIL making advances inside Iraq. Watch his remarks below:
Obama: No combat for U.S. troops in Iraq
President Obama Speaks on the Situation in Iraq
The President made clear that he has “no greater priority than the safety of our men and women serving overseas,” which is why he is taking steps to relocate some of our embassy personnel, and also sending reinforcements to better secure American facilities.
He noted that the U.S. has significantly increased intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets in order to get a better picture of what’s happening in Iraq. “This will give us a greater understanding of what ISIL is doing, where it’s located, and how we might support efforts to counter this threat,” he said.
The President also said that the U.S. will keep increasing our support to Iraqi security forces, reiterating that U.S. forces “will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people.”
The President emphasized that “the best and most effective response to a threat like ISIL will ultimately involve partnerships where local forces, like Iraqis, take the lead.”
The President’s Export Council Meeting
Remarks by the President at Export Council Meeting
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
10:30 A.M. EDT
President Obama Joins a Meeting of the President’s Export Council
THE PRESIDENT: I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who are here. Some of you have been serving on our Export Council for quite some time. Some of you are here as new additions, but all of you have been extraordinarily successful in your various fields. And it gives us an enormous opportunity to hear from you in very concrete terms about how we can advance not just America’s export agenda, but how we can build the kind of economic future that we want for our kids and our grandkids.
For the last 51 months, we have created jobs here in the United States — 9.4 million jobs in all. But we’re going to have to create more. And one of the best ways to do it is to boost American manufacturing and American exports. That’s why since I came into office we have been promoting American products and businesses when I travel overseas. It’s why we created the President’s Export Council in 2010. There are some of the most iconic companies in the world — Boeing being an example, Xerox being another one.
And with your help, exports have driven one-third of the economic growth in our recovery and now support over 11 million U.S. jobs. Last year, we exported $2.3 trillion in goods and services, which was an all-time high. And business executives around the globe say that the United States is the best place to locate, the best place to invest, and the best place to hire. And that’s the first time that they’ve said that, that we are number one when it comes to their desirable location to invest. This is the first time they’ve said that in over a decade.
So the “Made in America” brand is stronger than ever. And as we saw yesterday at the first White House Maker Faire — I was out there watching these 22-year-olds coming up with incredible things — it is going to be a remarkable future that we have to look ahead to. Because in many ways, manufacturing is becoming easier, some of the barriers to entry are lowering. It gives inventors and entrepreneurs the opportunity to create new products and services in ways that we can’t even imagine. And we want to make sure that all those trends accelerate here in the United States.
So this is a moment of opportunity. We’ve got a chance to extend our competitive advantage in the world. That’s what this meeting is about. One thing I want to focus on today is opening up even more new markets to “Made in America” products. We’re working very hard to finalize trade agreements with our partners in Europe and in Asia that will make us the center of a free trade hub covering two-thirds of the world economy. And Mr. Michael Froman has been putting in a lot of miles trying to make sure that that happens. And I know he’s consulted with some of you — not just big companies, but a lot of small- and medium-sized businesses who have enormous opportunities if we’re able to open up these markets, and oftentimes are the ones that have the hardest time navigating through some of the barriers that are out there.
I especially want to increase trade and investment in the region. And this is going to be one of the issues we discuss in August. There has been some explosive growth in certain parts of the world where we’re just not doing enough, Africa as being a prime example. You’ve got six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in Africa, a young population that is growing rapidly. Some of these economies are doing very, very well, but we’re not penetrating those markets as well as we should.
And I think we’ve got a great opportunity in August with an African Leaders Summit that’s going to be taking place for us to talk about trade and commerce, because that’s really what that continent is interested in. They’re not interested in aid as much as they are trade, development, and partnering with the private sector.
And as your businesses know well, when we export products overseas, we’re creating jobs and opportunities here at home. That’s the focus here today and every day of my presidency — how do we create thriving businesses that are also able to create great jobs that allow people not just to stay in the middle class, but to work their way into the middle class if they work hard and take responsibility. And all of you have done that.
This council is doing great work. And with that, I’m going to turn it back over to Jay to hear about some of the ideas that you’ve come up with and how we can help advance this agenda.
10:35 A.M. EDT
President’s Export Council Meeting Full Meeting
June 19, 2014
02:04 PM EDT
Our hopes for a more peaceful and just world depend on respect for the rights and dignity of all people. It is for this reason that our foreign policy champions human rights and opposes violence and discrimination that targets people because of who they are and whom they love. President Obama’s groundbreaking Presidential Memorandum of December 6, 2011 reflected this commitment by directing the federal government to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT people abroad.
We have seen extraordinary advances for LGBT rights in the United States and in many countries around the world. But some governments have challenged this progress, with results that not only endanger local LGBT communities, but also pose a setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice, and equal rights.
The Government of Uganda’s enactment of the “Anti-Homosexuality Act” is precisely such a step in the wrong direction. As President Obama made clear in February, the enactment of the AHA is more than an affront to the LGBT community in Uganda — it calls into question the Government of Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of all its people, and complicates our bilateral relationship.
After thorough consideration, the U.S. government is taking a number of actions to underscore the critical importance we place on human rights and fighting against discrimination, protecting vulnerable populations, respecting freedom of expression and association, and advancing inclusive governance.
- Restricting entry to the United States. We want human rights abusers, worldwide, to know their misdeeds are not unnoticed and would-be human rights abusers to understand that there are consequences for engaging in such actions. The State Department is therefore taking steps consistent with its current authorities (including Presidential Proclamation 8697) to restrict the entry into the United States of specific Ugandan individuals involved in serious violations or abuses of human rights, including those determined to have committed such violations or abuses against LGBT individuals. While we will not identify the individuals whom we have watch-listed in line with confidentiality requirements, this step makes clear our commitment to sanctioning individuals determined to have perpetrated human rights abuses or who are responsible for such acts in the future. In addition, the United States will also take steps consistent with current authorities to restrict entry into the United States by Ugandans who are found responsible for significant public corruption.
- Ceasing support for Uganda’s community policing program. We are very concerned about the extent to which the Ugandan police may be involved in abusive activities undertaken in the name of implementing the AHA. These concerns relate to the April 3 raid on a U.S.-funded public health program at Makerere University, as well as credible reports of individuals detained and abused while in police custody. Therefore, even as we continue to press the police at every level to fulfill their responsibility to protect all Ugandans, we will also be discontinuing a $2.4 million program in support for the Uganda Police Force community-policing program.
- Redirecting certain financial support for the Ministry of Health (MOH) to other partners. We remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting the health needs of the Ugandan people, but we seek to invest in partners and programs that share our commitment to equal access and our evidence-based approach to medicine and science. We are accordingly shifting a portion of our financial support for MOH salaries, travel expenses, and other items to health-related activities being undertaken by non-governmental partners in Uganda. These modifications will focus on MOH central headquarters staff in order to avoid negatively affecting health care workers and direct service providers in Uganda.
- Relocating funds for a planned public health institute and other measures relating to health programming. For similar reasons, we are relocating to another African country the planned establishment of a National Public Health Institute, for which we would have provided approximately $3 million in funding. We have also relocated a National Institutes of Health genomics meeting from Uganda to South Africa.
- Cancelling a military aviation exercise. We have also cancelled plans to conduct the Department of Defense’s Africa Partnership Flight exercise in Uganda. This was intended to be a United States African Command (AFRICOM)-sponsored aviation exercise with other East African partners.
These steps are in addition to the measures that we announced in March. Among other things, we took steps at that time to redirect funding away from program implementers whose actions called into question their willingness to serve all people in need, to shift certain military and intelligence engagements to other locations, and to suspend certain near-term invitational travel for Ugandan military and police officials.
In taking the measures that we have described, the U.S. government is mindful of the wide range of issues encompassed by our relationship with Uganda — including our development and humanitarian support for the Ugandan people, our efforts to counter the murderous Lord’s Resistance Army, and a partnership that advances our security interests in the region. We will seek to advance these interests while also working with both governmental and non-governmental partners to end discrimination against LGBT people in Uganda and around the world — a struggle central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.
Uganda’s New Gay Death Penalty Bill
A gay Ugandan’s fears of persecution under new anti-homosexuality bill
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on the Response to Uganda’s Enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act
As President Obama has stated, the Government of Uganda’s enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) runs counter to universal human rights and complicates our bilateral relationship. We announced in April a series of initial responses, and we have since considered how further to reinforce our support for human rights of all Ugandans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Today, we are announcing several additional steps. Specifically, the Department of State is taking measures to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals. In addition, the United States will take steps, consistent with current authorities, to prevent entry into the United States by Ugandans who are found responsible for significant public corruption. We are also discontinuing or redirecting funds for certain additional programs involving the Ugandan Police Force, Ministry of Health, and National Public Health Institute, and cancelling plans to hold a U.S. military-sponsored aviation exercise in Uganda.
None of these steps diminishes our commitment to providing development and humanitarian support for the Ugandan people, or our partnership with the Ugandan government to counter the murderous Lord’s Resistance Army and improve security in Africa. We will seek to advance these interests even as we continue—in Uganda and around the world—to oppose discriminatory practices and champion human rights for all.
Statement by the President on the Observance of Juneteenth
On this day in 1865 – more than two years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation – word finally reached Galveston, Texas that the slaves there were free.
Juneteenth marked an important moment in the life of our nation. But it was only the beginning of a long and difficult struggle for equal rights and equal treatment under the law. This year, as we also mark the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer, we honor those who continued to fight for equality and opportunity for Americans of every race and every background. And we recommit ourselves to the unending work of perfecting our Union.
The President Awards the Medal of Honor to Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter
Remarks by the President at Presentation of The Medal of Honor to Corporal William Kyle Carpenter
2:33 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Please be seated. On behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House.
The man you see before you today, Corporal William Kyle Carpenter, should not be alive today. Hand grenades are one of the most awful weapons of war. They only weigh about a pound, but they’re packed with TNT. If one lands nearby, you have mere seconds to seek cover. When it detonates, its fragments shoot out in every direction. And even at a distance, that spray of shrapnel can inflict devastating injuries on the human body. Up close, it’s almost certain death.
But we are here because this man, this United States Marine, faced down that terrible explosive power, that unforgiving force, with his own body — willingly and deliberately — to protect a fellow Marine. When that grenade exploded, Kyle Carpenter’s body took the brunt of the blast. His injuries were called “catastrophic.” It seemed as if he was going to die. While being treated, he went into cardiac arrest, and three times, he flatlined. Three times, doctors brought him back.
Along with his parents, who call Kyle’s survival “our miracle,” we thank God they did. Because with that singular act of courage, Kyle, you not only saved your brother in arms, you displayed a heroism in the blink of an eye that will inspire for generations valor worthy of our nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor.
Now, Kyle and I have actually met before. During his long recovery at Walter Reed, he and some of our other wounded warriors came to the White House to celebrate the World Series champion, the St. Louis Cardinals. Some of you might be aware, I am a White Sox fan. (Laughter.) Kyle likes the Braves. So it was a tough day for both of us. (Laughter.)
But after the ceremony, Michelle and I had the chance to meet Kyle. And at the time, he was still undergoing surgeries. But he was up and he was walking, and he was working his way toward being independent again, towards the man you see here today. And, Kyle, the main message we want to send is, welcome back. We are so proud to have you here.
Marine who took grenade hit receives Medal of Honor