It’s the second day of high-stakes diplomacy for Obama, who arrived here Saturday to an inauspicious welcome: no red-carpeted stairs for Air Force One and open quarreling on the tarmac between Chinese and US officials over press access. Other leaders arriving for the G20 here were greeted with a far grander welcome. [CNN]
IT GOT messy from the jump.
CNN has the Getty photo with President Obama coming down uncovered steps, while other leaders received red carpet welcomes.
The snub rubbed everyone the wrong way.
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From the pool report, via the AFP, POTUS talks about the entourage that comes with being president of the United States.
“It can cause some friction. It’s not the first time it’s happened. It doesn’t just happen in China, it happens in other countries where we travel. I think this time maybe as Josh put it,’ the seams are showing a little more than usual’ in terms of some of the negotiations and jostling that takes place behind the scenes.”
“In fairness, you know, when delegations travel to the United States, sometimes there are issues about our security procedures and protocols that they’re aggravated with, but don’t always get reported on.”
“But none of this detracts from the broader scope of the relationship. As we saw yesterday, president Xi and I continued what has been a historic joint project to elevate climate change issues. The bilateral discussions that we had yesterday were extremely productive. And continue to point to big areas of cooperation.”
“When I bring up issues like human rights, there are some tensions there that perhaps don’t take place when president Xi meets with other leaders. But that’s part of our job. That’s part of what we do. And so I wouldn’t over crank the significance of it.”
“This is not the first time that these things happened. And it doesn’t just happen here, it happens in a lot of places. Including, by the way, sometimes our allies. Part of it is we also have a much bigger footprint than a lot of other countries.”
“We’ve got a lot of planes, a lot of helicopters, a lot of cars, a lot of guys. You know, if you’re a host country, sometimes it may feel a little bit much. You notice some chortling among the Brits. They probably find it a little overwhelming as well.”
But the one thing I will say is we don’t make apologies for pushing a little bit harder when it comes to press access. And that’s been the case from my very first state visit here. And we don’t always get everything that we’d like to see. But we think it’s important for us to at least stand up for those values.”
President Obama talking about press access will bring eye rolls from a lot of reporters, including photographers who don’t have any access at all, which goes exclusively to Pete Souza.
At least the biggest polluters on earth finally decided to “elevate climate change issues,” whatever the hell that means and however it manifests, which is impossible to calculate at this point.