Biden Bits: As We Do Around the World

Biden Tweets Logo. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

It’s Wednesday.

HAPPY SEPTEMBER 1ST.

We are just 21 days away from the first day of fall!

For Wednesday September 1st, 2021, President Biden has received his daily brief. This afternoon President Biden will welcome Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the White House. Later this afternoon he will receive his weekly economic brief. At some point today, President Biden will be updated on the impacts of Tropical Depression Ida.

The White House published a background press call by a Senior Administration Official to preview the meeting between President Biden and President Zelenskyy.

The message behind our visit is clear: the United States’ commitment to Ukraine sovereignty, territorial integrity, and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

Our view is that, in the 30 years since Ukraine achieved independence, our strategic partnership has never been stronger than it is now.
This visit is going to build on and amplify the sustained engagement of President Biden and the administration over the last eight months or so of the administration.

President Biden has already spoken with President Zelenskyy twice by phone in April and in June. That June phone call, of course, came several weeks before the President met with President Putin in person in Geneva.

In May, Secretary Blinken visited Kyiv in one of his first bilateral visits, as Secretary, to Europe. And just last week, Energy Secretary Granholm led a presidential delegation to Kyiv to represent the administration at the Crimea Platform Summit and celebrations for Ukraine’s 30th anniversary of independence.

President Zelenskyy, I believe, is arriving in Washington, D.C., this afternoon, and we’ll let the embassy speak to various engagements that he has outside of government. 

But tomorrow, he will be holding bilateral meetings with several members of the Cabinet.  I will let those agencies read out their meetings and their deliverables, but our expectation is that those will deliver some very tangible outcomes, including announcements on our strategic partnership, as well as new agreements on security, energy, and climate cooperation.

These meetings will then set the stage for the meeting between the two presidents on Wednesday.  After that meeting, we’ll be releasing a comprehensive joint statement that articulates our shared values and our strategic priorities, as well as a list of concrete deliverables touching on every aspect of our bilateral relationship.  And, in a few minutes, I will get to an overview of some of those deliverables.

[snip]

Let me turn now to some of the key deliverables that we expect to announce in this joint statement that we will be putting out after the meeting between the presidents.

First of all, to codify the elevated status of our strategic partnership, the U.S. and Ukraine will announce the reinvigoration of the Strategic Partnership Commission.  This commission has not met in three years, and the charter for the commission was written in 2008.  So, we are very keen to reinvigorate and revitalize not only the relationship, but also specifically this Partnership Commission as a means of doing that.

We’re anticipating a meeting this fall between Secretary of State Blinken and the Ukrainian Foreign Minister.  And at that meeting, we expect that they will approve a new charter between our countries that will set out the parameters for how we can work closely together to meet these 21st century challenges.

Second, we’re expecting a couple of major deliverables on the defense side.  First, as I said, President Biden will announce his approval for a new $60 million security assistance package for Ukraine.  And second, the Defense Department will be signing a strategic defense framework that will enhance our cooperation across a range of pressing issues, including Black Sea security, cyber and intelligence sharing, as well as continued support for Ukraine as it faces continuing Russian aggression.
This will build on a strategic defense framework that was written in 2016, and we’ll revise and revitalize that, and address new and emerging challenges since that time.

Moving on to the democracy space: As I mentioned, one of the key themes for President Biden will be continued discussion with President Zelenskyy about the reforms that he is undertaking on the governance front.  We believe strongly that Ukraine can and should enact additional reforms to strengthen its democracy, and the United States will continue to support Ukraine’s efforts to do so.

President Zelenskyy has developed an initiative to develop a transformational reform plan for Ukraine, which is something that we expect President Zelenskyy to preview with President Biden and then roll out more fully at the Strategic Partnership Commission this fall.
We’ve already provided Ukraine with nearly $2 billion in development assistance since 2014.  And we have plans to allocate over $463 million in assistance this year alone.

Turning to energy, the presidents will announce new initiatives to tackle the climate crisis and to advance Ukraine’s energy security, including the launch of a reinvigorated Strategic Energy and Climate Dialogue that will be led by the Department of Energy.  The aim of this dialogue is to attract energy security investment through reform, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, address other climate change initiatives, and continue to address the impact of Nord Stream 2. 

On the economic side, we’ll use this visit to deepen our already robust economic partnership.  Our two countries will finalize an MOU on commercial cooperation, and the Export-Import Bank and the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine will sign an MOU with an initial amount of $3 billion in EXIM support.

Turning to COVID, as I mentioned, the United States has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with President Zelenskyy as he is similarly dealing with COVID-19.  We’ve already provided $55 million in COVID-related assistance and donated nearly 2.2 million doses of COVID vaccines to Ukraine.

We intend to continue providing assistance to Ukraine, including cold chain storage support and an additional $12.8 million in COVID-related assistance.

And speaking of humanitarian assistance, we are also continuing to support the Ukrainians that remain impacted by the crisis with Russia in in the east, and are pleased to announce that, this year, the U.S. government will provide an additional $45 million in humanitarian assistance to help address Ukrainians that remain in need from that.
So, just to wrap up, we believe this meeting comes at a pivotal moment in the bilateral relationship as we continue to build on ties that bind our two countries together and really seek to take our strategic partnership to an elevated level.

I think, as you’ll be able to see from this package of deliverables, we’ve really tried to look at the relationship in a very holistic way and to find areas for closer cooperation, as well as to revitalize and re-strengthen that cooperation across the full range of sectors, from the political and strategic side to the security side, as well as to the energy and economic side.

And very much looking forward to the meeting here at the White House. 

White House.gov. 09/01/2021 (08/31/2021)

President Biden has tweeted 3 times so far for Wednesday; I’ll be sharing his first two down thread and his 3rd tweet right here…

See above background press call.

When Biden Bits was published, President Biden had not tweeted. He issued 7 tweets giving him a Tuesday Tweeting Total of 7 tweets and 0 retweets.

The YouTube video is 26 minutes and 19 seconds long. President Biden’s full remarks can be found here.

Wednesday’s Tweet:

President Biden (opening remarks): [Last night in Kabul, the United States ended 20 years of war in Afghanistan — the longest war in American history.] We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety. That number is more than double what most experts thought were possible. No nation — no nation has ever done anything like it in all of history. Only the United States had the capacity and the will and the ability to do it, and we did it today. The extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill, bravery, and selfless courage of the United States military and our diplomats and intelligence professionals. For weeks, they risked their lives to get American citizens, Afghans who helped us, citizens of our Allies and partners, and others onboard planes and out of the country. And they did it facing a crush of enormous crowds seeking to leave the country. And they did it knowing ISIS-K terrorists — sworn enemies of the Taliban — were lurking in the midst of those crowds. And still, the men and women of the United States military, our diplomatic corps, and intelligence professionals did their job and did it well, risking their lives not for professional gains but to serve others; not in a mission of war but in a mission of mercy.  Twenty service members were wounded in the service of this mission.  Thirteen heroes gave their lives. I was just at Dover Air Force Base for the dignified transfer.  We owe them and their families a debt of gratitude we can never repay but we should never, ever, ever forget.

President Biden (18:35): To me, there are two that are paramount.  First, we must set missions with clear, achievable goals — not ones we’ll never reach.  And second, we must stay clearly focused on the fundamental national security interest of the United States of America. This decision about Afghanistan is not just about AfghanistanIt’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.

President Biden (20:16): And let me be clear: We will continue to support the Afghan people through diplomacy, international influence, and humanitarian aid.  We’ll continue to push for regional diplomacy and engagement to prevent violence and instability.  We’ll continue to speak out for basic rights of the Afghan people, especially women and girls, as we speak out for women and girls all around the globe.  And I’ve been clear that human rights will be the center of our foreign policy. 

President Biden (15:32): The fundamental obligation of a President, in my opinion, is to defend and protect America — not against threats of 2001, but against the threats of 2021 and tomorrow. That is the guiding principle behind my decisions about Afghanistan.  I simply do not believe that the safety and security of America is enhanced by continuing to deploy thousands of American troops and spending billions of dollars a year in Afghanistan. 

President Biden (20:58): My fellow Americans, the war in Afghanistan is now over.  I’m the fourth President who has faced the issue of whether and when to end this war.  When I was running for President, I made a commitment to the American people that I would end this war.  And today, I’ve honored that commitment.  It was time to be honest with the American people again.  We no longer had a clear purpose in an open-ended mission in Afghanistan. After 20 years of war in Afghanistan, I refused to send another generation of America’s sons and daughters to fight a war that should have ended long ago. After more than $2 trillion spent in Afghanistan — a cost that researchers at Brown University estimated would be over $300 million a day for 20 years in Afghanistan — for two decades — yes, the American people should hear this: $300 million a day for two decades. If you take the number of $1 trillion, as many say, that’s still $150 million a day for two decades.  And what have we lost as a consequence in terms of opportunities?  I refused to continue in a war that was no longer in the service of the vital national interest of our people. And most of all, after 800,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan — I’ve traveled that whole country — brave and honorable service; after 20,744 American servicemen and women injured, and the loss of 2,461 American personnel, including 13 lives lost just this week, I refused to open another decade of warfare in Afghanistan. 

Ida tweets.

The White House published the following readout of the call:

This afternoon, President Biden convened a call with Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and the CEOs of two of the largest utilities in the Gulf Coast, Leo Denault of Entergy and Tom Fanning of Southern Company, as well as Tom Kuhn, the CEO of Edison Electric Institute, an association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. They discussed the destructive power of Hurricane Ida and its impacts on the energy delivery infrastructure that is a lifeline for communities across the impacted region. They assessed that although crews are courageously racing to restore electricity, the power restoration efforts are going to take some time. During the meeting, President Biden committed the full weight of the Federal Government to providing support and resources wherever needed to help expedite power restoration efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi, noting that in Louisiana nearly one million customers remain without power, including the city of New Orleans. Joining the President and Secretary Granholm on the call were Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall and Director of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond.

The White House, senior Biden Administration officials, and FEMA have been proactively engaging with energy sector leaders in preparation for the storm and in the days since Ida made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. To assist with power restoration efforts, the Federal Government is sharing aerial and satellite imagery to support damage assessments, helping with debris removal and traffic control so restoration workers and equipment can get access to downed wires and poles, restoring vital communications infrastructure, and expediting permitting for rerunning of transmission cable across the Mississippi River and for standing up transmission towers. They talked about the essential role of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the President thanked the IBEW for the vital work their members perform, especially during emergencies such as Ida where they run toward the storm while others are being urged to evacuate. More than 25,000 linemen from 32 States and the District of Columbia are on the ground supporting damage assessment and restoration efforts across the region, including in New Orleans, where crews are working around the clock to repair the transmission towers and lines that deliver power to the city. The President has immediately approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Louisiana and pre-disaster Emergency Declarations for both Louisiana and Mississippi.

The CEOs also stressed the need for forward-looking infrastructure policy and investments to harden the grid and enable its resilience against the full spectrum of 21st century threats, including extreme weather events. The President noted the impact that climate change is having on communities across the country, including in storms and wildfires, and stressed the importance of securing broad support for his Administration’s current ambitious infrastructure investment goals and budgetary efforts.

White House.gov. 08/31/2021.

Wednesday Tweet:

The video is 1 minute and 3 seconds long. It features snips from a Hurricane Ida update on Monday August 30th, 2021. I’m not gonna transcribe the video, it’s too snippy…(I make me lol). A readout of the meeting can be found here.

The YouTube video below is 18 minutes and 41 seconds long. The snips above, came from the YouTube below.

It doesn’t show in the video the cow freed, but “people are saying,” on Twitter, the cow is indeed safe.


The press briefing is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. D.C., time.

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About Tiff 2594 Articles
Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.