Friday, August 10, 2018

Department Press Briefing - August 9, 2018

Heather Nauert
Department Press Briefing
Washington, DC
August 9, 2018

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I have some staffing news to bring you now. And I’m really excited about this one, because it affects our Bureau of Public Affairs and specifically the folks that you will working with. Today I’d like to announce that Robert Palladino will be joining our press team as the State Department’s deputy spokesperson. Robert is a career Foreign Service officer and I believe known well to some of you or perhaps many of you.

Over the past year, Robert has served as director of press and acting National Security Council spokesperson. In that role he’s helped to prepare Sarah Sanders for her briefings at the White House. He was also a spokesperson to the White House press corps and worked as NSC communications lead for both Asia and Europe. Robert’s Foreign Service career has included postings in Washington, where he worked for our Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Office of the Under Secretary for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis], and also on Capitol Hill. Overseas, he’s worked in Milan, Italy; Guangzhou, China; and also Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Prior to joining the State Department, he practiced law in Asia and Europe in the Army JAG Corps. His service included deployment to Rwanda. He is a graduate of Notre Dame University, Washington and Lee School of Law, the U.S. Army War College, and he also speaks Chinese and Italian. Pretty impressive.

We are delighted that he is coming back to the State Department from the White House. I know you will enjoy working with him. For those of you who have not met him, he is a terrific guy. We’ve worked closely together for the past year or so. I asked him what his children thought, because he has two young girls – I asked him what they thought of his job, and I love these quotes. His youngest daughter said, “I’m proud of America and I’m proud of you, Dad, but it sounds really boring.” And then his older daughter said this – and you’ll appreciate it – “But wait a minute, everybody yells questions and they’re angry. That’s the worst job in the world.” That actually might be the White House press corps, not you all. But we look forward to welcoming Robert when he joins us on the 20th of August. But try not to bug him between now and then; he’s on vacation with his family. So another addition to our press family. ...

QUESTION: Well, I mean, that’s – it’s not our job to, like, sit here and go back and forth on that. We’re asking today. The U.S. has tried to increase its target training with – to try and improve the targeting of the Saudi coalition. Is that still continuing?

MS NAUERT: Elise, I think that would be a DOD issue, so I’d encourage you to talk with my --

QUESTION: But these are foreign – okay, but these are foreign military financing.

MS NAUERT: Yeah, yeah.

QUESTION: Which is out of the State Department.

MS NAUERT: And I would encourage you to talk to DOD about that. So some --

QUESTION: Well, maybe --

MS NAUERT: Some of this – some of this is a State Department equity, but much of this is Department of Defense, so I’d encourage you to talk with them about it. ...

QUESTION: Can you tell us --

MS NAUERT: Go ahead. Hi.

QUESTION: Can you tell us if you made any progress about the situation of Pastor Brunson?

MS NAUERT: Yeah, I would say we would define progress as Pastor Brunson being brought home.

QUESTION: So in other words, no.

MS NAUERT: And so progress is --

QUESTION: Until he – until he’s --

MS NAUERT: Progress is Pastor Brunson being brought home to the United --

QUESTION: So until he’s home there is no progress?

MS NAUERT: -- to the United States.

QUESTION: Did you give any --


QUESTION: Did you give any deadline? Did you give Turkish officials any deadline?

MS NAUERT: I don’t have any information for you on that. ...

QUESTION: Are you still investigations or waiting --

MS NAUERT: I don’t have anything more for you on that, okay?

QUESTION: All right, thank you.

MS NAUERT: Thanks.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS NAUERT: Kylie, go right ahead.

QUESTION: So there’s been discussion of potentially having another meeting with North Korea. Has there been any progress on that that --

MS NAUERT: We have no meetings, no travel plans to announce today, and by the way, we just got back from a long flight, which I will remind you was a very long flight. Headed over to Asia, a long flight back. We’re okay with being here for a while.

QUESTION: All right.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS NAUERT: Okay. Hi. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Well wait, can I just follow up real quick on that?

MS NAUERT: Just hold on, hold on, hold on. He asked first. Go right ahead.

QUESTION: Oh, I’m sorry. ...

MS NAUERT: I can confirm there was a letter. Anything that the White House has said about that or Ambassador Bolton has said about that, I’d refer you back to them on those matters. When I have something to let you know, I certainly would be happy to.

Okay, last question.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS NAUERT: Yeah. ...

Okay, thanks. We’ve got to go, guys. We’ll see you soon.

(The briefing was concluded at 3:28 p.m.)

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