President Obama will continue his fundraising push this week with a West Coast swing through three major cities, juggling his midterm money chase with two major immediate foreign policy challenges and the ongoing immigration crisis on our own southern border.
Over the weekend, the Obama administration was still grappling with fallout over the downed Malaysian jetliner with reports that Russian-backed separatists were tampering with evidence and removing bodies along the 10-mile crash site in eastern Ukraine.
Secretary of State John Kerry complained bitterly about the limited access the separatists provided to international investigators and fingered Russian President Vladimir Putin for failing to live up to his promises to ensure that a credible and thorough investigation into the incident took place.
“What's happening is really grotesque and is contrary to everything that President Putin and Russia said they would do,” Kerry told NBC's David Gregory on “Meet the Press” Sunday. “There are reports of drunken separatist soldiers unceremoniously piling bodies into trucks, removing both bodies as well as evidence from the site.”
Kerry is headed to Egypt Monday to meet with Egyptian and other senior officials on the situation in Gaza, and President Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday, the second call in three days, to discuss the situation in Gaza.
Obama told Netanyahu that the U.S. would work closely with Israel and regional partners on implementing an immediate ceasefire and stressed the need to protect civilians in Gaza and Israel.
Against that background, Obama plans to spend Monday and Tuesday mornings on two domestic policy events before leaving for Seattle on Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday, he will sign an executive order protecting LGBT employees from workplace discrimination and award the Medal of Honor for conspicuous bravery to Ryan M. Pitts, a former active duty Army staff sergeant.
Tuesday morning he plans an event highlighting the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which will consolidate federal job-training programs and overhaul requirements throughout the job-training system and enjoys bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.
His fundraising swing through the West Coast will include events in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where he will deliver remarks on the importance of job-driven skills training at a community college in Los Angeles.
On Friday, the president will return to Washington, D.C., to host the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador at the White House. The four leaders will discuss how to reinforce ongoing collaborations to stem the flow of illegal immigrants from Central America into the United States.