Joe and Jill Brandon both chewed out the press Friday evening over coverage of the Summit of the Americas being held this week in Los Angeles, according to reports by radio pool reporter Patsy Widakuswara with Voice of America. Earlier in the week, Brandon complained to reporters about press coverage in an off the record meeting on Air Force One on the flight to Los Angeles.
The summit was boycotted by leaders of Mexico and several other Central American nations, catching the White House off guard (again).
Joe and Jill Brandon at the Summit for the Americas in Los Angeles, June 9, White House photo via Twitter.
Widakuswara posted to Twitter, “[email protected] seemed unhappy with news coverage of #SummitoftheAmericas. He looked at us and said “I wish they’d go back and interview all the heads of state.” Said there was “overwhelming support for what we’re trying to do by holding all the hemisphere together…@FLOTUS said @nytimes article on #SummitAmericas was “so unfair”because at the dinner “every leader came up to Joe and said, ‘what a difference you’ve made. It’s so great that you’re here. It’s so great that we’re working together.’ And that’s what all the spouses said to me.”
.@POTUS seemed unhappy with news coverage of #SummitoftheAmericas. He looked at us and said “I wish they’d go back and interview all the heads of state.” Said there was “overwhelming support for what we’re trying to do by holding all the hemisphere together.”
— Patsy Widakuswara (@pwidakuswara) June 11, 2022
.@FLOTUS said @nytimes article on #SummitAmericas was “so unfair”because at the dinner “every leader came up to Joe and said, ‘what a difference you’ve made. It’s so great that you’re here. It’s so great that we’re working together.’ And that’s what all the spouses said to me.” https://t.co/FrC2kme71D
— Patsy Widakuswara (@pwidakuswara) June 11, 2022
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) June 11, 2022
Politico reported Wednesday on Brandon’s off the record session with reporters (excerpt):
JOE BIDEN doesn’t do many off-the-record chats with reporters. So the traveling White House press corps was surprised and intrigued when the president dropped by Air Force One’s press section for one such session with them during a recent trip to the West Coast.
But Brandon wasn’t just there to field questions. He had his own message to deliver. According to multiple people familiar with the off-the-record session, he used much of his time with reporters to criticize the quality and tenor of press coverage of his administration.
There is growing frustration by the president and his family that he is not receiving the kind of generally more positive coverage they believe he deserves — that too often attention is focused on staff turnover and poor poll numbers and not a robust jobs market and America’s relatively strong economic recovery.
The White House posted a promo video for the summit.
It’s an honor to welcome leaders from across the Western Hemisphere for the ninth Summit of the Americas. pic.twitter.com/qdM4h6zJkM
— President Brandon (@POTUS) June 10, 2022
We are all connected — especially in the Americas.
Joe and I are excited for leaders and their spouses to join us in the beautiful City of Los Angeles for the Summit of the Americas. pic.twitter.com/nq2Vhjwjnm
— Jill Brandon (@FLOTUS) June 9, 2022
Jill Brandon with the spouses of whom she said had nothing but praise for her husband.
— TV Film Music News (@TVFilmMusicNews) June 11, 2022
Excerpt from CNN report on Wednesday about the boycott:
Snubs from key leaders at Summit of the Americas reveal Brandon’s struggle to assert US leadership in its neighborhood
The decision by Mexico’s President to boycott this week’s summit for regional leaders in Los Angeles rendered futile months of work by President Brandon and other top officials to convince him to attend.
Now, key nations in Central America are following President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s lead, dispatching only lower-level delegates instead of their leaders. And by the time Brandon arrives to the summit Wednesday, questions over the event’s invitation list and attendees will have obscured its larger purpose, a source of frustration to administration officials who didn’t necessarily expect the mess.
The decision by several countries to stay away from the southern California gathering, a protest of Brandon’s decision not to invite three regional autocrats, has underscored the struggle to exert US influence in a region that has become fractured politically and is struggling economically.
…Yet the absences of the presidents of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are still notable since the United States has worked to cultivate those leaders as partners on immigration, an issue that looms as a political liability for Brandon.
…And the White House insisted the President was firm in his view that the autocratic leaders of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua should not be invited to participate — even if it means widening rifts with other countries in the region.
Earlier Friday Brandon announced an agreement on migration (White House transcript excerpt):
The Los Angeles Declaration is built around four core pillars:
First, stability and assistance: making sure the communities that are welcoming refugees can afford to care for them, to educate them in their education, medical care, shelter, and job opportunities.
Second, increasing pathways for legal migration throughout the region as well as protections for refugees.
Third, working together to implement more humane and coordinated border management systems.
And finally, making sure we are working together to respond to emergencies.
You know, we know that safe, orderly, and legal migration is good for all our economies. But we need to halt the dangerous and unlawful ways people are migrating — and the dangerous ways.
Unlawful migration is not acceptable, and we’ll secure our borders, including through innovative, coordinated actions with our regional partners.
Working these efforts simultaneously, though — humane policies that secure borders and support people — representing ground-breaking, integrated new approaches. It addresses the needs of vulnerable migrants and the needs of countries hosting those migrants. That’s why it has the support of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees and the International Organization for Migration. And that’s why so many nations — again, 20, representing the entire migration route from Chile to Canada — were eager to sign up to be part of this shared solution and have stepped up with their own major commitments.
More on the agreement from Fox News reporter Adam Shaw, “Among the migration-related commitments announced by the US today:- 22,500 H-2B visas to Central America/ Haiti, – 20,000 refugees from Americas in FY 23/24- Increase “reunification” progs for Cuba/Haiti migrants
– $314M in refugee aid in the region”
Among the migration-related commitments announced by the US today:
– 22,500 H-2B visas to Central America/ Haiti,
– 20,000 refugees from Americas in FY 23/24
– Increase “reunification” progs for Cuba/Haiti migrants
– $314M in refugee aid in the region https://t.co/SgG6H6oW2V
— Adam Shaw (@AdamShawNY) June 11, 2022