June 13, 2024

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan En Route London, United Kingdom

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan En Route London, United Kingdom

Aboard Air Force One
En Route London, United Kingdom

3:21 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hey, hey, hey!

Q Hey!

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. So before we — before we start, I wanted to wish Steve Holland a happy birthday.

Q Oh! Thank you!

Q Woohoo!

Q Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Happy birthday, my friend. We have something coming for you shortly. I — I didn’t get the timing quite right, but we’re so happy that you’re spending your birthday weekend with us. So, happy birthday.

Q Thank you very much. Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Okay, so as we embark on the President’s trip to Europe — thank you all for coming — (laughs) — and hanging out with us. First, we’ll stop in the United Kingdom, as you all know, where the President will have his sixth meeting in six months with Prime Minister Sunak as part of our close coordination with the United Kingdom on a range of important issues.

After that, he will meet with King Charles at the Windsor Castle and engage with leading philanthropist- — philanthropists and investors as we seek to mobilize finances, support the deployment of clean energy, and mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis in developing countries.

Tomorrow night, the President will travel to Vilnius, Lithuania, for the 74th NATO Summit.

On Wednesday, he will deliver a major speech highlighting how the United States, alongside our allies and partners, is supporting Ukraine, defending democratic values, and taking action to address global challenges.

Finally, we will head to Helsinki, Finland, to participate in the U.S.-Nordic Leaders’ Summit to advance our cooperation on shared objectives.

Throughout this trip, the strength of our alliances and our relationships will be on full display. Thanks in part of the President’s leadership, NATO is stronger, more united, and more energized than ever before.

And with that, as you can see to my right, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is here to give us some more — some more tidbits on this trip.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Karine. Happy birthday, Steve.

Q Thank you, Jake. Thank you.

MR. SULLIVAN: So we’re on our way, of course, to London, England. The President will, tomorrow, have the chance to sit with King Charles and also to participate with the King and with Secretary Kerry — Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry — in an event with private sector leaders that’s really focused on how we bring private capital off the sidelines in service of our climate objectives: the deployment of clean energy, the mitigation of carbon emissions, and help to developing countries in adapting to the impacts of climate change.

So the President will have a chance to hear from them about the obstacles and barriers to the mobilization of private finance and also to encourage them to step up to their responsibilities, even as he talks through what we’re doing in terms of public investment that can help mobilize that private investment most effectively.

He’ll also have the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Sunak at Number 10. This actually will be his first time at Number 10 as president. He, of course, has been to the UK twice before — once for the G7 in Carbis Bay and once for the COP in Glasgow. And then, of course, a third time he was here for the — the coronation — or, sorry, for the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

As Karine mentioned, this is the sixth time in six months that the President and Prime Minister Sunak will be meeting. So I think you can consider this more the continuation of a long-running conversation than a, kind of, formal meeting.

They will have the chance to compare notes going into the Vilnius summit to talk about the issues on the agenda in Vilnius, to talk about progress in the war in Ukraine, and, of course, to talk about a range of other issues from China to climate to technology to artificial intelligence.

We will then head off to Vilnius for the summit. And we’ll have more to say tomorrow night about some of the specifics of the two days of the summit and the particular sessions in which the President will participate.

But, broadly speaking, Ukraine will feature prominently and the work that NATO Allies have done individually and collectively to support Ukraine in the defense of its territory and sovereignt- — territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Of course, there will be the opportunity to mark progress along the pathway towards Ukraine’s membership aspirations in NATO, and Allies will have the opportunity to discuss that directly with Ukraine in a NATO-Ukraine Council format on the second day of the — of the summit.

In addition to that, there are issues core to the Alliance that will be on the agenda: the question, of course, of Sweden’s membership; defense investment pledges from all of the Alliance members; how we move forward to ensure that every Ally is stepping up to make the necessary contributions in terms of materiel and capability for the Alliance to be able to effectively carry ou- — carry out its missions in the Euro-Atlantic area. And then, discussions about how to make sure that we’re continuing to effectively protect, defend, and deter on the eastern flank and on every one of NATO’s borders will be an important part of the conversation as well.

Finally, there’ll be a session with a broader set of partners, including the Asia-Pacific Four, to talk about the ways in which the NATO Alliance is working with others on common challenges, whether in cyberspace or space, or setting norms in critical emerging areas like technology.

After the President is finished at the NATO Summit — oh, and I should also mention: On the sidelines, he’ll have the chance to engage with a lot of different leaders informally and, potentially, also the chance to have a few bilats, though I don’t have anything to announce right now. We’ll do that tomorrow.

(A birthday cupcake is brought out.)

Oh, I think we’ve got the cupcake.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oooh! Steve!

Q Thank you. Thank you so much.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Happy Birthday, Steve!

Q Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Woohoo! Thank you so much. Thank you. Appreciate that. Thank you.

MR. SULLIVAN: Steve, you don’t want to eat that? (Laughs.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You’re not going to share that cupcake with the rest us, Steve?

Q We’ll pass it around. (Laughter.) Sorry to interrupt, Jake.

MR. SULLIVAN: In regard to the upcoming NATO Summit, while we were on this flight, President Biden had the opportunity to speak with President Erdoğan of Turkey.

Q Oh!

MR. SULLIVAN: It was a 45-minute, hour-long conversation. They talked about a number of issues relative to the upcoming summit, including the war in Ukraine and Turkey’s really robust and stalwart support, including quite concrete military support, for Ukraine’s defensive needs.

They also talked about Sweden’s membership, and they agreed that the two of them would have the opportunity to sit down together in Vilnius. So we’ll have more to say on what will happen with respect to that meeting once we’ve worked out scheduling and timing and the like.

Finally, after the President is done in Vilnius, he’ll go on to Helsinki, as Karine said, for a meeting with the Nordic leaders. And this will really be an opportunity to look at the larger strategic picture, well beyond just the Nordic area or even the Euro-Atlantic area, because these countries are players on significant economic, technological, and security issues globally, and some of our best and most stalwart partners.

The President is really looking forward to having that opportunity with all of the Nordic leaders and a separate opportunity to sit down with the President of Finland. He’ll also do a press availability with the President of Finland while he is there and have the opportunity to take all of your wonderful questions.

So that’s where we’re headed to. That’s what’s going on. And I’d be happy to take your questions.

Q Jake, the President said in the interview with CNN that Ukraine is not ready for NATO membership. Given that Ukraine is currently fighting Russia, you know, holding back Russian aggression — what NATO was designed to do — what specifically makes them not ready? What reforms is the United States looking for to make Ukraine ready? And will there be a roadmap laid out to make Ukraine ready at the summit?

MR. SULLIVAN: So there actually have been reforms identified in Ukraine’s Annual National Programme, which is the instrument that it uses in consultation with the NATO Alliance for how to move forward a democratic, security sector, and economic reforms to ensure that its democracy and its security sector are truly robust, resilient, and are able to tackle issues like corruption effectively.

What the Allies will have the opportunity to do in Vilnius is talk about where we go from here with respect to those reforms that are required. And it’s not just the Alliance asserting that; Ukraine has acknowledged the need to continue to move along the reform pathway as it pursues its efforts to seek membership.

So as we speak right now, there’s work being done on the NATO communiqué, on the language relative to Ukraine’s desire to seek membership in NATO. I think we will see the Allies come to consensus around that as we head into Vilnius. And it will, among other things, talk about a process for continuing to work through those reforms.

Q Can you elaborate on what the Israel-style security assurances the President mentioned is? And where does that money come from? Obviously, you have to go back to Congress. What does this look like?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, the concept is that the United States, alongside other allies and partners within a multilateral framework, will negotiate bilateral security commitments with Ukraine for the long term, meaning that the United States would be prevare- — prepared to provide various forms of military assistance, intelligence and information sharing, cyber support and other forms of material support so that Ukraine can both defend itself and deter future aggression.

I expect that at Vilnius you will see the President speaking to this issue and consulting with President Zelenskyy on this issue, as well as our G7 partners and other partners as well.

The next step, of course, would be to actually get into the details of those discussions and negotiations with Ukraine to work out the terms of that support, the duration of that support, and the specifics of that support.

And, of course, at the end of the day, that will require working very closely with the Congress, because to provide that support effectively requires resources; those resources would have to come from Congress. So they will be a critical and vital partner in that, and that would be reflected in any statement the President makes with respect to this kind of model going forward.

Q Jake, specifically on the F-si- — specifically on the conversation between President Biden and President Erdoğan just now, can you elaborate a little bit more how close are they to reaching an agreement on Sweden? And was the issue of F-16s specifically discussed? If you can characterize that.

MR. SULLIAN: The President and President Erdoğan did discuss the F-16s. The President reiterated his longstanding and quite public commitment and support for the provision of F-16s to Turkey. So, nothing has changed in respect to the President’s position on that.

I can’t characterize how close, how far. All I can say is that we believe that Sweden should be admitted to NATO as soon as possible. We believe that there should be a pathway to do so, and we will now see how that will unfold as we head into Vilnius. Whether it happens at Vilnius or it happens in the period that follows, that remains to be determined.

Q Can I — just on F-16s. Before today, I guess, you guys had really tried to distinguish that it was not a quid pro quo for the F-16s — NATO. President Erdoğan had also said that they were unrelated. President Biden, in a CNN interview, was perhaps a little more candid about the two issues being linked. And I’m wondering if that’s because something has changed or he was just being more candid than maybe folks normally are.

And separately, I know, you’ve been having talks with folks on Capitol Hill. Senator Menendez has been a leading opposition figure to this deal. Were you able to convey to President Erdoğan — or was the President able to convey to President Erdoğan that you now have the congressional support to move forward on F-16s?

MR. SULLIVAN: I’m — I’m not going to characterize congressional support. What I will say is that President Biden has been clear consistently that he believes that for the Alliance and for the U.S.-Turkey bilateral relationship, moving forward with this sale makes sense, is in our interest. He also believes that Sweden becoming a member of NATO is very much in our interest, and we should do both of these things.

And doing both of these things would give real impetus and momentum to NATO and to the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Turkey. So that’s what he communicated to President Erdoğan today. That’s what he believes. And that is the basis upon which we’re heading into Vilnius.

Q On Turkey, if I could. How do you interpret Erdoğan’s early release of those Azovstal Ukrainian commanders who were — supposedly there was a deal with Russia that they were going to be kept in Turkey until the end of the war. They were, like, super politically important — you know, symbolically, let’s say — those people. And he released them kind of dramatically. They went home in that plane with Zelenskyy. Was — what — was this him sending some kind of message to Putin that — you know?

MR. SULLIVAN: Honestly, I’m not going to characterize his motives for doing it. I think it would be worth posing that question directly to President Erdoğan.

As far as we’re concerned, seeing the Ukrainian public react to this, as you said, quite emotional event of these soldiers returning home, you know, was something the whole world could witness, we could witness. We weren’t a part of this and aren’t in a position, really, to comment on what Erdoğan was trying to accomplish by it.

Q Do you feel like Putin is losing a bit of a grip though on — on the countries that were, you know, a little bit straddling the fence? Turkey may be a little bit straddling; other countries even more so. Is he losing his hold on those countries, would you say?

MR. SULLIVAN: Look, President Biden was quite candid in response to your questions some days ago that he thinks President Putin has certainly been — has taken a hit from this. And that hit also applies to the way the rest of the world is looking at Russia and looking at President Putin.

How much that will impact particular decisions by particular leaders, what the implications of that are — it’s too soon to tell, particularly since this story is still unfolding of exactly what happened with Prigozhin’s rebellion and what other shoes are to drop inside Russia in the period ahead.

But I would point this out about Turkey: Even before Prigozhin, Erdoğan was prepared to do quite substantial and robust things in support of Ukraine, including the provision of some sophisticated weaponry. So how much this is related to Prigozhin versus how much this is just related to his approach to the Ukraine conflict writ large, it’s hard for me to say. But obviously, it’s something we will continue to watch carefully.

Q On that —

Q Hey, Jake. Jake —

Q — does the U.S. government have an update as to where (inaudible) Prigozhin is?

MR. SULLIVAN: I do not have an update on that.

Q Jake, can we take you back to the cluster munitions decision? The President told CNN he had original doubts about doing this. What did it take to get him to say yes? Was it a Pentagon argument that convinced him? What — what happened?

MR. SULLIVAN: One thing I’ve been a bit of a broken record on with respect to our security assistance in this war, and I think all of you have had a little bit of skepticism about it, is that the President has made decisions about particular capabilities based on the circumstances of the conflict as we find them. This conflict is dynamic. Things are changing on the ground. Things are changing in terms of what we have the capacity to provide. And as they change, our decisions about what we provide change too.

So what does that mean in this case? What it means in this case is that as we look out over the next several months, we see a limitation on the coalition’s capacity to provide unitary rounds of 155 ammunition. Point one.

Point two: We see our defense industrial base, due to investments made months ago, ramping up that production, so that in the future we will have sufficient supply of unitary round 155 to sustain Ukraine’s defensive needs.

Between those two points, we need a bridge, and this was the moment for that bridge. And that is what convinced the President, following a unanimous recommendation from his national security team, a bridge of these stocks of DPICMs — dual-purpose improvised cluster [improved conventional] munitions. And being able to provide them means that the United States and the coalition will be in a position to provide Ukraine with the artillery it needs for its military purposes
indefinitely.

Q And the writtens [sic] — the written assurances that Ukraine provided, what did they say exactly? That they would limit their use?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, you saw the Defense Minister of Ukraine, Reznikov, come out publicly and actually elaborate what Ukraine has committed to with respect to the cluster munitions.

You can see those points directly from him, so I won’t characterize them specifically other than to point out a couple of examples. One being they will not use them on Russian territory; they will only use them on their own territory, where they have the highest incentive to limits — limit impact to civilians, because it is Ukrainian citizens who would be at risk. And second, that they will not use them in populated areas.

So those are a couple of the kinds of examples, but he laid out a fuller list of them.

Secretary Blinken, while we were on this flight, also spoke with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Kuleba, who also gave further assurances to Secretary Blinken on these points.

Q Since the cluster munitions announcement on Friday, we’ve seen some of the Allies reiterate their opposition to using these on the battlefield. Is the President worried that this could make for some contentious talks during the — during the NATO Summit?

MR. SULLIVAN: I think you can see for yourself tomorrow with Prime Minister Sunak. The Prime Minister stated the UK’s legal position: that they are a signatory to the Oslo Convention — the United States is not; that being a signatory means discouraging the use of these weapons. He fulfilled his legal obligation, but I think you will find Prime Minister Sunak and President Biden on the same page strategically on Ukraine, in lockstep on the bigger picture of what we’re trying to accomplish, and as united as ever both in this conflict and writ large. And that will be repeated, in my view, with all of the leaders of the Alliance.

I do not think you will see fracture, division, or disunity as the basis for this dec- — as a result of this decision, even though many allies and signatories to Oslo are in a position where they — they themselves cannot say, “We are for cluster munitions.” But we have heard nothing from people saying, “This casts doubt on our commitment,” “This casts doubt on coalition unity,” or “This casts doubt on our belief that the United States is playing a vital and positive role as leader of this coalition in Ukraine.”

Q And if I could try one more on the Erdoğan call. I know you don’t want to characterize where talks are as — when Sweden may get the approval or not. But is the President more hopeful today than he was yesterday about the possibility of getting an agreement by — by the end of the summit?

MR. SULLIVAN: So the President — I would not characterize his level of hopefulness yesterday or today, because he — he’s not in the prediction game on this; he’s in the “Let’s try to get it done. If we can get it done by Vilnius, great.” That may or may not happen.

If it happens after Vilnius — we’re confident it will happen. We’re confident Sweden will be brought into the Alliance. We don’t regard this as something that is fundamentally in doubt. This is a matter of timing. The sooner the better.

Q I have two questions on Iran, Jake. The first one: Is the administration in talks with Iran, either directly or indirectly? And do those talks involve prisoner swaps and the unfreezing of funds from South Korean banks that belong to Tehran?

And the second one: What else is the administration prepared to do as the JCPOA sunset — JCPOA clause on drones about to sunset in a few months, other than, you know, call them out at the U.N. and release declassified information about this expanded cooperation between Moscow and Tehran on drones?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, on the second question, we’ve taken a significant number of steps beyond the ones you identified to impose costs on Iran for its delivery of drones to kill Ukrainian civilians. We will continue to do that.

That’s been true before the expiration of this JCPOA provision; it will remain true after.

On your first question, we have had contacts with Iran indirectly. There are no direct negotiations over the nuclear file or detainees. We have had those indirect conversations on detainees because it’s our obligation to try to bring U.S. citizens home. So we talk to any government any way we can, like we do with the Russian government on the unjustly detained Americans there, in an effort to find a solution to get our people home.

Beyond that, I’m not going to comment on the specifics. And I don’t have any announcements about us having arrived at a particular outcome at this time.

Q Has the President spoken to Secretary Yellen about her trip to Beijing? Any characterization from the West Wing as to how it went?

MR. SULLIVAN: He has not spoken with her yet because she’s basically, you know, in the air — was wheels up and is in the air. But he’s looking forward, while he’s on travel here in Europe, to get a full report from her when she’s landed back on U.S. soil.

He’s gotten updates from her daily, both written and — and the team has briefed us, and we briefed the President about it. So he’s been following it, both the substance of it in each of the meetings, and then, obviously, her public commentary as well. And he feels this was a very important and substantive engagement on her part — important to keep these channels of communication open, important to be clear about U.S. intentions and priorities, and important to be clear about U.S. concerns with certain Chinese practices, all of which Secretary Yellen was.

Q Is it too early to go back to the “guardrails” word? Are they back on — the guardrails? He used to love that word. We used to hear it all the time. (Laughter.) We haven’t heard it in a while.

MR. SULLIVAN: I — I’m not exactly sure how to answer that question. I would just say that our position is that we are in an intense competition. We need to manage that competition responsibly. And that requires intense diplomacy of the sort that you’ve seen from both Secretary Blinken and Secretary Yellen. And we’re going to continue to work that.

It also, in our view, requires sustained military-to-military contacts of the sort that China has been resistant to. And we think that responsible powers have an obligation to step up and engage in those — those (inaudible).

Q Has there been any change on that — on the military-to-military hotline, as it were?

MR. SULLIVAN: There’s been no change.

Q Hey, Jake. One on King Charles. It’s al- — it’s been almost — well, exactly two years ago where the President met with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor. How well does he know King Charles? And is he looking to develop a friendship there?

MR. SULLIVAN: He knows him — not — he knows him fairly well, I would say.

They had a phone conversation not long before the President went to Northern Ireland and Ireland. I had the opportunity to hear that conversation; it was incredibly warm.

The President has huge respect for the King’s commitment on the climate issue in particular that he has been a clarion voice on this issue and, more than that, has been an actor, someone who’s mobilized action and effort. And so the President comes at this with enormous goodwill — this relationship with enormous goodwill — and really does see this as an opportunity to do two things: One, to deepen the personal bond, the personal relationship. And two, to be able to harness their shared interest in trying to drive climate progress and climate action. And that’s what this event will be about.

Q Jake, following on that, do you have any of the businesses or individuals who are participating in that meeting tomorrow, or any of the commitments that are going to be announced that you can preview in any way?

And then for the Sunak conversation later in the day, is it sort of like in Northern Ireland, where they’re going to have tea and kind of check in before other events? Or are you expecting, you know, some sort of substantive announcement, you know, between the U.S. and UK out of that?

MR. SULLIVAN: I don’t know about tea. I don’t believe — we’re not going to have a significant joint statement like we did just a few weeks ago out of Washington.

I do expect it to be a quite substantive discussion, because there are a lot of issues unfolding in real time that the President and Prime Minister Sunak will want to check in on. And it will be — as I said before, it’s like picking back up an ongoing conversation, like returning to a text thread of sorts that they’d been having over the last six months on all of the significant issues of consequence, like I said, from Ukraine to AI.

On the participants and the substance, we will try to get that to you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. Yeah.

MR. SULLIVAN: I’ll make sure that —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’ll get that. We’ll — we’ll get to — that to you all.

MR. SULLIVAN: — our team follows up on it.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q Given the political instability in the United Kingdom, I was just curious if you could talk at all about how that’s affected the relationship the U.S. has had with the UK; if at all, the relationship with the Prime Minister. He’s facing elections coming up. You know, how would you characterize that?

MR. SULLIVAN: I think the answer to that lies in the declaration that the President and Prime Minister Sunak announced at the end of Prime Minister Sunak’s visit to Washington. It’s detailed, substantive, forward looking. It announces this new economic security partnership that we’re investing in. And this relationship between our two countries and our two peoples transcends whoever is in either office or whatever is happening in the politics of either country.

And then beyond that, the President and Prime Minister Sunak have a very good personal relationship and really have been able to develop a strategic dialogue between them in the real sense of the word, not in the show sense of the word. So the President looks forward to seeing him anytime. Looks forward to having a chance to pay a visit to Number 10. And I think you’ll see the momentum continue.

Q Jake, a few weeks ago, the President said that the after-action review on Afghanistan vindicated him. He’s — because he said that he knew that al Qaeda will be gone. He said the Taliban would help. That statement sparked a lot of speculation. So can you say definitively: Is the adminis- — administration at any point working with the Taliban to hunt down terrorist targets?

MR. SULLIVAN: What I could say is that we are holding the Taliban to their commitments under the Doha Agreement, which is that Afghanistan cannot be used as a safe haven to plot terrorist attacks against anyone and especially, from our purposes, against the United States of America, our homeland, our allies, and our partners. We are working tirelessly every day to ensure that that set of commitments is fulfilled.

And beyond that, I won’t say anything further.

Q Thank you, Jake.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I think that’s it.

Q Thanks, Jake.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right, guys —

Q Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, you’re welcome. Are you going to give us — going to give us — (laughter) —

I actually don’t have anything. So if you guys have questions — if not, that’s okay too.

Oh, okay.

Q (Inaudible.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, wow.

Q Will the President have crumpets?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh.

Q With the tea.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: With the tea. Well, you heard Jake about the tea.

Thanks, everybody.

Q Bye!

Q Are you going to brief at all — or on the trip? Are you going to brief?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, we’re going to try and do something on Tuesday.

Q Oh, actually, Karine, this was maybe better for Jake, but there’s the speech on Wednesday that you guys are kind of billing as a major address.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q Is there — should we expect anything new, or is it just kind of a summary of where the war is at this point?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I think we’ll certainly have more as we get closer to that day.

Look, as we all know, when it comes to foreign policy, this is a place that the President has been a leader on — not just as president, as vice president, as a senator. And you saw what he’s done the last two years, as far as bringing our allies and partners together. You — we’re going to see that with NATO and the strength of NATO. We’re going to see that at — in the UK with the Prime Minister and certainly the King.

And so I think this is going to be a continuation of — certainly of the — of the speech that he gave in Poland. I think that was incredibly important, as we looked at the anniversary — unfortunate anniversary of the — of the war that Russia started. So I think you could probably — it’ll be in that kind — type of a vein.

Q Hopefully warmer (inaudible).

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. (Laughs.) Warm — yeah, warmer outside.

So — so I think you — that’s what you can look towards and, like, where — where he sees the world, where — where — where — kind of, where we’re going in our relationships with our partners and our allies.

I don’t want to get too far ahead of him, but I think that’s what you can expect.

Q Thank you.

Q Can you give us a sense a little bit — because, you know, the —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I thought you guys said I was done. I don’t even understand what’s happening right now. (Laughs.)

Q Just a color — a color question, because the President was at the beach yesterday.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay.

Q Can you just give us a sense of what his mood is going to Europe, and just anything that you can add?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, I think he’s in a really — he’s in really good spirits. You know, he’s going to see the Prime Minister Sunak for the sixth time, as I mentioned, in six months — clearly, as Jake said — continuing an important — continuing conversations.

He’s going to see the King, who — Jake had said — have a fairly friendly, a very good relationship, and they’re looking to continue growing that relationship. There’s a really important issue to talk about, as you think about climate change. And the President has been such a strong leader on climate change and all of the — all the actions that he’s taken the last two years. So that’ll be a pretty substantive conversation, we believe.

And then, look, NATO — I mean, the la- — NATO Alliance, that is so important. You know, having added a member this past year. And clearly, we’re — we’re pushing for Sweden to be another member.

And the strength of — of NATO — let’s not forget: When Putin started this war, he thought he was going to break NATO, and the opp- — the complete opposite happened. And so I think that’s going to be, I think, incredibly important to see those members come together again to have a conversation about Ukraine, to have a conversation about how they continue to strengthen their partnership moving forward.

So —

Q Thank you, Karine.

Q Thank you. See you later.

3:52 P.M. EDT

Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2023/07/09/press-gaggle-by-press-secretary-karine-jean-pierre-and-national-security-advisor-jake-sullivan-en-route-london-united-kingdom/