Mar 22, 2023

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 3/21/23 Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 3/21/23 Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsKarine Jean-Pierre White House Press Briefing TranscriptsPress Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 3/21/23 Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 3/21/23. Read the transcript here.

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Karine Jean-Pierre (00:05):

Hey. Good afternoon, everyone.

Speaker 1 (00:05):

Good afternoon.

Speaker 2 (00:05):

Good afternoon.

Karine Jean-Pierre (00:08):

All right, happy Tuesday. So, my colleague, Admiral John Kirby is here today to answer any questions on about the President Putin, President Xi meeting in Moscow today. And so, and any other questions that you may all have on foreign policy, he’ll be happy to take them. Kirby, the podium is yours.

Admiral John Kirby (00:31):

Thank you so much.

Karine Jean-Pierre (00:35):

No problem.

Admiral John Kirby (00:35):

Good afternoon, everybody.

Speaker 1 (00:35):

Good afternoon.

Admiral John Kirby (00:35):

I know there’s been a lot of interest around the meeting between President Xi, President Putin in Moscow today, so we’ll get at that. I just wanted to stop by and be available to you for that.

Before I do, I do want to quickly speak to the joint statement between the PRC and Russia that they put out today on deepening their cooperation including on Ukraine.

On Ukraine, I would note that the two sides just said, quote, “The purposes and principles of the UN charter must be observed. An international law must be respected.” Well, we agree. Following the UN Charter would mean that Russia should withdraw from all the territory inside Ukraine, the territory of another member state of the UN, a member that it has invaded. The UN Charter enshrines the principles of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine.

Now, they also said quote, parties – “The parties call for the cessation of all steps that contribute to escalation of tension and the prolongation of hostilities.” We agree. One way to stop the hostilities is to pull Russian troops out of the Ukraine. But short of that, Mr. Putin could stop bombing hospitals. He could stop bombing schools. He could stop launching Iranian drones into civilian infrastructure. He could stop the forcible deportation of young kids, thousands of them, putting them in filtration camps inside other places inside Ukraine, but also inside Russia. And he could stop reducing cities like Bakhmut to bricks, to piles of bricks. That is a way to stop the prolongation of hostilities.

So, now, if China wants to play a constructive role here in this conflict, then they ought to press Russia to pull its troops out of Ukraine and Ukrainian sovereign territory. They should urge President Putin to cease bombing cities, hospitals, and schools, to stop the war crimes and the atrocities and end the war today. It could happen right now.

Now with that, I’ll take some questions.

Speaker 3 (02:41):

The statement also says “The Russian side speaks positively of China’s objective and impartial position on the Ukraine issue.” Do you see China as having an impartial position on this?

Admiral John Kirby (02:52):

No. We don’t.

Speaker 3 (02:54):

How do you interpret the statement then?

Admiral John Kirby (02:56):

Well, certainly I’m not going to do a book review on their statement. They can do that. They can speak to their words. But I don’t think you can reasonably look at China as impartial in any way.

They haven’t condemned this invasion. They haven’t stopped buying Russian oil and Russian energy. President Xi saw fit to fly all the way to Moscow. Hasn’t talked once to President Zelensky, hasn’t visited Ukraine, hasn’t bothered to avail himself of the Ukrainian objective. And he and his regime keeps parroting the Russian propaganda that this is somehow a war of the West on Russia, that it’s some sort of existential threat to Mr. Putin. That’s just a bunch of malarkey.

Ukraine posed no threat to anybody, let alone Russia. So, no, it can’t be seen that that Russia’s impartial. Now, look, if he’s willing to talk to President Zelensky and willing to get the other side, and if any future potential negotiation can incorporate Ukrainian views and perspectives and can be achieved and pursued with Ukraine – as President Biden has said, “Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine” – if that’s the direction, then that’s something that could be seen as impartial. But I just don’t think right now that they can be seen that way.

Speaker 3 (04:23):

Lastly, are we watching a budding alliance between China and Russia here?

Admiral John Kirby (04:28):

I think you’ve seen over years now these two countries growing close together. Peter asked a question similar to that yesterday. I wouldn’t go so far to call it an alliance. Yesterday I called it a “marriage of convenience,” because that’s what I think it is.

In President Putin and Russia, President Xi sees a counterweight to American influence and NATO influence certainly on the continent and elsewhere around the world. In President Xi, President Putin sees a potential backer here. This is a man who doesn’t have a whole lot of friends on the international stage. They can count them on one hand mostly, and he really needs and wants President Xi’s support for what he’s trying to do because he’s running through, he’s blowing through inventory. He’s blowing through manpower. His military’s getting embarrassed constantly.

They’ve lost greater than 50% of the territory that they took in the first few months of this war. He needs help from President Xi. And that’s what this visit was all about. Now whether it results in anything, we’ll see.

Karine Jean-Pierre (05:25):

Go ahead, MJ.

MJ (05:26):

John, two questions for you. Is the US aware if there has now been an official request from Putin to Xi for lethal aid to be used in Ukraine?

Admiral John Kirby (05:36):

I can only go by what we’ve seen them say today, which obviously was not part of their, at least part of the readout and part of the statements that they put out today. I would tell you what I said yesterday and remains true: We don’t think that China’s taken it off the table, but they haven’t moved in that direction. We’ve seen no indication that they’re about to or fixing to provide lethal weapons.

MJ (05:57):

Okay. And my second question, the president considers Vladimir Putin to be a war criminal. I’m just wondering what it means to President Biden that Putin calls Xi Jinping a friend.

Admiral John Kirby (06:10):

I don’t think we’re overly exercised about that comment. These are, it wasn’t that long ago MJ, where they were talking about a relationship without limits, partnership without limits. So, we’re not going to get all hot and bothered about the use of friends. What we’ve seen is these are two countries that are growing closer together, that see in each other useful purposes for pushing back, as I said yesterday, for chaffing and bristling at a rules-based order around the world. They want to change the rules of that game.

In fact, they would love nothing better – both countries – to see the rest of the world play by their rules rather than the ones that are enshrined in the UN Charter and what everybody else is following. So, that’s going on here.

Karine Jean-Pierre (07:03):

Go ahead.

Speaker 4 (07:04):

Just John, to clarify one thing, because this is what Steve asked you. It is regarding the statement, “The Russian side speaks positively of China’s objective and impartial position on the Ukraine issue.” Is the view of this government that China is no longer impartial or is not impartial when it comes to this matter?

Admiral John Kirby (07:21):

We never said China was an impartial participant here.

Speaker 4 (07:24):

Does that and does this statement, does this meeting improve or make it more difficult for President Biden to ever meet again with President Xi, at least anytime soon to discuss this and other issues?

Admiral John Kirby (07:36):

The president wants to keep the lines of communication open with China. Nothing’s changed about that. And as I said yesterday, at the appropriate time we’ll pursue another conversation with President Xi.

Speaker 4 (07:44):

And in a semi-related matter, the president of Taiwan has now announced their plans to come to the United States briefly and then head to Central America. Are there any plans for any US officials to meet with the president of Taiwan when they’re in the United States?

Admiral John Kirby (07:58):

This is, as you know, these are called transits, not uncommon. President Tsai has done it six times. Every single Taiwan president in recent memory has done this. It is unofficial and personal in nature in terms of travel. So we would let them speak to their agenda to who they want to meet with and on what timeline. It is not uncommon in previous transits for there to be discussions with US officials and with members of Congress. But again, I’m not going to get ahead. This is really for Taiwan to speak to.

Speaker 4 (08:39):

So, maybe?

Admiral John Kirby (08:40):

This is for Taiwan to speak to.

Karine Jean-Pierre (08:41):

Go ahead, John.

John (08:43):

Thank you, Karine. Thank you, Admiral. On the idea of Russia seeking weapons and munitions, can you give us an assessment right now as to where things stand in terms of their weapons stockpile, Russia’s weapons stockpile? And what sort of help are they getting at this moment from places like Iran and North Korea?

Admiral John Kirby (08:58):

Well, we know that they have a burgeoning defense relationship with Iran. We already know that Iran has provided several hundred drones and we have every reason to suspect that that sort of transaction will continue. I don’t have any specific shipments to speak to today, but we know that this relationship from a defense perspective with those two countries is getting sharper.

I came to the podium and talked about that. And that’s a worry not just for the people of Ukraine, it’s a worry for the people of the Middle East. An Iran that can avail itself of Russian military capabilities would make it more lethal and more dangerous in the region.

We did talk about the fact that we had evidence that North Korea was shipping, at the very least artillery shells, to the Wagner Group. We still believe that that occurred. I don’t have any additional shipments of things to speak to. But again, I think it speaks volumes to your question about inventory.

I couldn’t give you a rundown of Russian inventory on any given type of system, but they have gone through thousands of missiles and most likely millions of artillery shells. They have lost easily tens of thousands of troops and probably north of a hundred thousand in terms of killed and wounded.

So this has not been a fight Mr. Putin has had without cost to his country and to his coffers. And so he continually wants to reach out for more help internationally. That’s what we’re seeing with Iran. It’s what we saw with North Korea. And there’s no question that’s what we’re seeing in his interest in talking to President Xi. But we know this war has had an effect on his inventory.

And we also know, Jonathan, that the sanctions and export controls have had an effect on him, particularly when it comes to cruise missiles, that his ability to restock cruise missiles out of the inventory has been curtailed by the fact that he can’t get some of the micro electronics because of the economic steps that this administration has taken to curb his war making machine.

So, this is a guy, for all the ballyhoo going to Mariupol, this is a guy who has to know that his military is way underperforming and overspending in terms of its ability, its resource ability.

Karine Jean-Pierre (11:19):

Go ahead, Justin, and then I’ll go to the back.

Justin (11:22):

Thanks. I wanted to follow on Ed’s last question. You guys have obviously made this concerted effort to, ahead of the visit of the Taiwanese president sort of downplay it as not uncommon, not intended as sort of a provocation-

Admiral John Kirby (11:35):

Not downplaying, it’s true. It’s not uncommon. They have happened before. It’s not about downplaying, it’s about being factual.

Justin (11:42):

All right. Well, there has been this sort of concerted effort and my question is that if, does that not sort of tacitly acknowledge concern within the administration that China may overreact, or I assume you think there is an overreaction to this visit. And I was wondering if you can play out to some extent what that level of concern is and how the US would react if we see a “Pelosi redux” in how they interpret this.

Admiral John Kirby (12:09):

There’s no reason for China to overreact. Heck, there’s no reason for them to react. This is something that, as I said, is commonplace and has happened before, will likely happen again. It’s personal, it’s unofficial. There should be no reason for Beijing to react in any way to this. Again, business as usual here.

And we did think it was important to provide that context in light of Mr. Xi’s visit to Moscow and all the media attention that is getting as well as in the context of how they reacted to Speaker Pelosi’s. No apologies there at all. We felt that this was an important context to be out there and so we put it out there.

Justin (12:57):

But is it because you are concerned about the Chinese reaction? It’s one thing to say, “Yeah, we hope they don’t react anyway.” It’s another to be like, “They really shouldn’t react.”

Admiral John Kirby (13:07):

We just felt it was important to put it in proper context.

Karine Jean-Pierre (13:09):

Go ahead.

Speaker 5 (13:10):

Thanks a lot, Karine. Right over here, John. Yeah, it’s a big room.

Admiral John Kirby (13:15):

I have to keep up with her fingers.

Speaker 5 (13:17):

The war in Ukraine’s been going on for over a year now. Is it the US position that during the course of all of that time, that China has not provided any lethal weaponry to Russia?

Admiral John Kirby (13:29):

We have seen that through some Chinese companies, there may have been dual use items that have gone. But we haven’t seen any confirmation or indication that the Chinese have provided lethal weapons, lethal capabilities to the Russian Ministry of Defense throughout this conflict.

They have not done that. And obviously, as I said yesterday, we don’t think it’s in their best interest to do that. And quite frankly, it’ll be inconsistent with so many of the things that President Xi has said that he wants to see as a result of this war in Ukraine, including their statements today.

Speaker 5 (14:07):

Why do you think that’s the case? Why do you think that they have not done that yet? And do you think it has a lot to do with what President Biden has told President Xi, what EU leaders have told President Xi. And that is: If they do so, they risk major sanctions being placed upon them by not only the US, but also by the EU, their two largest trading partners?

Admiral John Kirby (14:31):

I certainly can’t speak for President Xi. That’s well beyond my writ. What I would say is we have communicated privately to the Chinese. And you’ve heard Secretary Blinken talk about this. We’ve also said it publicly, that such a move would certainly involve consequences.

But more importantly, we believe, and we’ve said this too, that this shouldn’t be seen by the Chinese as something that’s in their best interest to help Mr. Putin’s slaughter more innocent Ukrainians, to, what’s the word they use? The escalation of tension and prolongation of hostilities. Well, that’s one way to do that.

And again, if we’re taking them at their word of what they want to see happen, it’s hard to square the circle between that, that statement and the provision of lethal weapons. So, we don’t believe it’s in their best interest, a country like China that has a very powerful economy and does have influence around the world to want to see that influence stain by helping Mr. Putin murder more Ukrainians.

Karine Jean-Pierre (15:43):

Go ahead, Brian, in the back.

Brian (15:44):

Thanks. John, I guess, the – over here.

Admiral John Kirby (15:46):


Brian (15:48):

Follow-up to that question: Is there any indication that the visitation by Xi to Putin could lead to a deescalation? Have you all seen anything that the statement that they put out about deescalation, in fact was a warning to Russia?

Admiral John Kirby (16:06):

We’re still working our way through the language here, so I don’t want to get into a deep analysis. But coming out of what we’ve seen today, we haven’t seen anything that they’ve said, they put forward, that gives us hope that this war is going to end anytime soon.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Putin said something to the effect today, or his spokesman, Peskov, I think said something to the effect today that they’re willing to negotiate, but it’s the West and Ukraine that is refusing, which of course is absolutely false.

So, we’ve seen no, I don’t think the meeting today gives us great expectations that the war’s going to end anytime soon.

Brian (16:47):

And then, as a quick follow-up of that, is there any indication that we would be willing to talk with – or let me put it another way. Is there any indication that Russia is showing any signs that they would back

Speaker 6 (17:00):

… back off at any point in time. Are they still guns blazing?

Admiral John Kirby (17:04):

No sign at all that Mr. Putin is changing his calculus.

Peter (17:08):

Thank you. John, about the bill President Biden signed yesterday. He says he will declassify COVID origins intel, except info that would harm national security. Is there a bigger national security threat than something that killed one of the one million people?

Admiral John Kirby (17:24):

Yeah. I’ve seen some of the commentary on your network about this. The president obviously has to balance transparency with national security, Peter. Of course, he does. Right when coming into office ordered the declassification of what the DNI had on COVID origins. Ordered the entire intelligence community, and added the Department of Energy to that list-

Peter (17:47):

And where is it?

Admiral John Kirby (17:48):

Hey, let me finish my answer.

Peter (17:50):

If we’re talking about the beginning of-

Admiral John Kirby (17:51):

Added the Department of Energy in the national labs. Told them to keep studying it. We have kept Congress informed. Some of that has to be in a classified way right now. But it’s always a balance between the public’s right to know. Right, not need, but right, and our obligation to protect national security. So, one should not read into that statement that he’s laying a foundation here to be overly secretive. He believes strongly that we’ve got to find the roots and the origins of COVID, so that we can prevent a future pandemic. And through his actions … Just judge him on what he’s done. Through his actions, he’s proven that he’s willing to be as transparent as possible with the American people, because he believes that’s Important.

Peter (18:34):

Then, does the White House hope that the lab leak theory is not true?

Admiral John Kirby (18:39):

We don’t have a hope one way or the other, Peter. What we want is the ground truth. Wherever that takes us, wherever the science takes you, whatever the facts takes you, President Biden wants to know, so that he can help work with the scientific community to prevent a future pandemic. There’s no thumb on the scale here, Peter. It’s not about not wanting a certain outcome. We just want the best possible outcome that we can get.

Peter (19:05):

And just quickly about the meeting today, the Xi-Putin meeting. In November when President Biden met with Xi, he said, “I want to make sure that every country abides by the international rules of the road.” Does he think China is abiding by the international rules of the road?

Admiral John Kirby (19:18):

In some cases we have significant concerns about China’s behavior, particularly their coercive and aggressive behavior. For instance, in the South China Sea and pursuing false maritime claims. Concerns about intellectual theft and some trade practices. And the president’s been very open and honest about that, and he was when they met in Bali. But there are other areas where we believe there’s room for a cooperation with China and we’re we want to be able to pursue that too. But in order to do that, Peter, you got to keep those lines of communication open. You got to have that ability to talk, particularly when things are tense like they are right now. And that’s what the president wants to get back to.

Speaker 7 (19:57):

[inaudible 00:19:58] Thanks, Kirby. In that joint statement today, Russia and China warned against the war transitioning to a quote, “uncontrollable phase.” Ukraine is preparing a counter offensive. Does the US see that part of the joint statement from Russia and China as a specific warning to Ukraine and the West?

Admiral John Kirby (20:14):

It’s difficult to know what they mean by an “uncontrollable phase.” Certainly, we noted that language ourselves. I can’t tell you for sure that we know exactly what they’re referring to. I will not speak ever about future operations, particularly for the Ukrainians. That’s for them to speak to. And I wouldn’t get ahead of anything that they might or might not do. We do know that President Putin is making plans to go back on the offense. I mean, he’s got Wagner continuing to throw, literally, human flesh into Bakhmut to try to take that town. And we have every expectation that he’s going to plan for other offensive operations as the weather gets better. What we want to make sure we’re doing, and we just announced another package yesterday, is that Ukraine is ready to defend themselves against those offensive operations. And if they choose to, be able to conduct offensive operations of their own

Speaker 7 (21:04):

And to follow on that potential Ukrainian offensive, does Xi support for Putin increase the stakes of any potential Ukrainian offensive?

Admiral John Kirby (21:12):

It would depend on what that support look like. I mean, does his visit to Moscow? I think it’s hard to get to there. I think it’s hard to square that circle just by going to Moscow and proclaiming that they’re dear friends. But, if the tangible support changes, certainly if it changes in a lethal way, then obviously, that would be additive to Russian military capabilities, which of course, we would all have to take seriously.

Speaker 8 (21:38):

Mr. Kirby? Thank you Karine and John. Thanks for doing this on back-to-back days. Today marks the 100th day of the eco protest along the Lachin Corridor in the Karabakh region between Armenia and Azerbaijan. So, I’ve got two questions on that. First of all, what is the administration’s position on the ongoing conflict? And, does US view the presence of 2000 Russian soldiers in the Karabakh region as a cause for concern?

Admiral John Kirby (22:05):

I would just broadly speaking … What we’ve said before is we urge all sides here to deescalate. We don’t want to see any of this violence. And we want to see all sides take appropriate steps to deescalates the tension and to stop the violence. But, beyond that, I’m really not prepared to go today.

Speaker 8 (22:26):

And what about the Russian true presence?

Admiral John Kirby (22:29):

I’m not prepared to go beyond that today.

Speaker 9 (22:30):

Good. Thanks, Karine. Thanks Kirby. I wanted to ask about the upcoming trip to Canada, and what does the president [inaudible 00:22:37]Is he prepared to talk about the problems the Canadians are having at the northern border? But is he also concerned that Canada is behind on its contributions to NATO, especially as the war in Ukraine goes on?

Admiral John Kirby (22:46):

I think we’re going to have more to talk about the tomorrow on this, so I don’t want to get too far ahead of where we are. Canada, as you know, is not only a neighbor to the North, but a NATO ally. And the president and prime minister Trudeau have a terrific relationship. He’s looking forward to getting up there. There are a range of issues that you can imagine they’ll talk about, everything from NORAD and modernization of NORAD capabilities, as well as, of course I think, the military security and national security issues are writ large, migration concerns, climate change. There’ll be certainly issues of trade to discuss. There’s a lot. But I think we’ll have more to say about that tomorrow.

Speaker 10 (23:22):

Thank you. Thank you, Karine and Mr. Kirby [inaudible 00:23:28]. Yesterday in New York here, you were asked about Vice President Harris’s trip to Africa, and you said that it’s a trip that’s about Africa. But it’s also a part of the country or part of the world where the Chinese have been investing billions upon billions of dollars. And can you talk at all about whether countering that influence is important at all to the administration?

Admiral John Kirby (23:52):

Our focus on the continent is, as I said yesterday, about the continent. And we’re mindful, of course, of Chinese efforts to improve and deepen their involvement in Africa, Latin America and elsewhere around the world. And one of the things that came out of the African Leader Summit was a growing recognition that we perceived by African leaders, that they’re beginning to realize, that China’s not really their friend. They get these loans, high interest. Can’t pay them. China says, “Hey, bill’s coming due, so I guess I’m going to take this and this and this from you.” And that’s starting to happen across the continent. And African leaders are beginning to see that China’s interests in the region are purely selfish, as opposed to the United States. We are truly committed to trying to help our African friends deal with a spate of challenges, food insecurity, energy insecurity, both of which by the way have been drastically exacerbated by this war in Ukraine by Mr. Putin. Contrary to what Foreign Minister Lavrov would say.

Counter-terrorism, where we are still partnering with some of our African partners to go after terrorist networks. Climate change. I could go on and on and that’s why the president coming out of that summit assigned Johnny Carson’s as the implementer, an implementer. A guy whose whole job is to go out and take all the things we talked about in the summit and make it true. And part of that, of course. Is going to be principle level travel and the vice president will be having discussions with African leaders on all those issues when she travels. And she’s very much looking forward to that.

Speaker 11 (25:34):

I have a follow-up on the African trip. In countering China’s influence on the continent, is the vice president going to take on some of the human rights issues that are present in Ghana and Tanzania and Zambia, because that’s something that we know that China does not do as a matter of policy. How is she going to negotiate that difficult position?

Admiral John Kirby (25:55):

The vice president will, of course, raise human rights concerns everywhere she goes. That’s a part and parcel of American leadership around the world. We’re not afraid. In fact, it’s a sign of how much we care about other nations and partnerships, that we are able and willing to have those kinds of conversations. So, of course, she will raise human rights concerns appropriately everywhere she goes-

Speaker 11 (26:20):

[inaudible 00:26:21] … publicly?

Admiral John Kirby (26:22):

I won’t get ahead of the vice president’s meetings, or how she’s going to couch this. But, of course, that’s a part and parcel of every conversation that we have with foreign leaders around the world. It has to be.

Speaker 11 (26:32):

Can I follow-up on something you just said about China’s ability to be impartial? You just said, “if China can truly be impartial and Ukraine is on board for talks … ” Is that something that the US would support, if Ukraine were interested in China-brokered talks?

Admiral John Kirby (26:44):

[inaudible 00:26:45] nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine. If there’s a path put forward, that President Zelenskyy can get behind and he believes will help lead to a just peace, as he refers to it, then he’ll find no better friend in that effort than the United States.

Speaker 12 (26:58):

Mr. Kirby?

Speaker 13 (27:00):

Hi, Karine. Hi, John.

Speaker 12 (27:00):

10 months, not a single opportunity given-

Karine (27:06):

This is not how it works [inaudible 00:27:07].

Speaker 12 (27:06):

Not one opportunity given-

Karine (27:07):

This not how it works, sir. This is not how it works. Go ahead.

Speaker 13 (27:10):

Hi, John. Today the Uganda in parliament voted in favor of an anti-homosexuality bill and is set to host a summit soon with other African nations on potentially passing other bills across the continent. It’s my understanding that Ambassador Thomas Greenfield spoke to the Ugandan president about this bill. I ask this question, because sources tell me that Russia may playing a major role in the influence of this larger anti-LGBTQ movement, and is using it as a wedge between the US and Africa. Considering the US is currently engaging with Africa on other issues, is this a concern for the US?

Admiral John Kirby (27:53):

Oh, of course it is. And President Biden has been nothing but consistent about his foundational belief in human rights. And LGBTQ plus rights are human rights. And we again, back to the earlier question. We’re never going to shy away be bashful about speaking up for those rights and for individuals to live as they deem fit, as they want to live. And that’s something that’s a core part of our foreign policy and it will remain so.

Karine (28:23):

Guy in the back. Go ahead.

Speaker 14 (28:25):

To follow up on what you said yesterday on Iraq on the anniversary, is there a message for some of us who are actually there and remember, to the families, the 4,010 that lost their lives, the 35,000 injured and the two and a half million that served? And then, second, Japan is hosting the upcoming G7 in Hiroshima. The Japanese Prime minister is currently in Ukraine. This is a big step for Japan. Japan holds the largest number of US military in the world. And as a partner, what role do you think they can play, especially with the upcoming summit, to be part of the partnership going forward? And then finally, the Japanese is the biggest partner. They’ve never had an interview with the president yet. So, hopefully, before the summit, if that could be worked out. Thank you. Maybe before the end of the briefing.

Admiral John Kirby (29:19):

I will defer to Karine on issues of interviews with the president. That’s your job, not mine. Look, on your second issue. I think you saw Mr. Sullivan put out a short tweet about this. We welcome the prime minister’s visit to Kyiv. It’s another example of just how strongly Japan is standing up with the rest of the international community to support Ukraine. And, certainly, as a close ally of the United States, we’re very appreciative of all the things that Japan continues to do, not just in supporting Ukraine, but in promoting security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. I mean, they have rewritten their national security strategy. They have taken a more assertive role in terms of security operations. And all that’s to the good and we’re very grateful for that.

On OIF, I don’t know that I have more than I can say than yesterday. Some of you I’m sure maybe covered the war and saw more of combat than you probably care to remember. And, of course we know, as I said yesterday, so many families here in the United States are still living with the war. The war is not over for them, and we all need to keep that in mind. [inaudible 00:30:41]

Speaker 15 (30:41):

May I ask you, I also have an African question. President Putin said that he will write off debt for African countries of over $20 billion which is a substantial amount of money. And he said that Russia will meet this commitment to provide them with food supply and energy, et cetera. Do you think this comes in the equation of the Russia- Ukraine war and trying to sway Ukraine overboard, especially in the UN? And do you think the US is doing enough to counter Russia’s influence, not just China? Russia’s influence.

Admiral John Kirby (31:09):

I think this is a cynical effort by Mr. Putin to try to convince nations in Africa that the West is the reason for their food insecurity and for their energy insecurity. And, if I was any leader in Africa, I would take anything that President Putin says about assurances of financial, economic or energy assistance with a huge grain of salt. I mean, it is Mr. Putin’s war that has contributed to the food insecurity on the continent. It’s his war that has contributed to the energy insecurity on the continent. And he might like to gloss over that and send Foreign Minister Lavrov on field trips all over Africa to say that it’s the West’s fault, or it’s the United States fault, but it’s not. It can be tied directly …

Now, it’s also due to drought, climate change and even domestic instability. I don’t want to overstate other factors here. But don’t make no mistake, his war in Ukraine is having these kinds of effects on the African continent. And if he’s serious about addressing it, if he’s serious about winning over African audiences, about making things better, rather than throwing out false promises of loan relief, he ought to just pull his troops out of Ukraine. Then, if there’s no war, energy and food insecurity will be a lot less worrisome for everybody.

Karine (32:30):

Way back. Way back.

Speaker 16 (32:30):

Thanks, Karine. Thanks, John.

Admiral John Kirby (32:30):

Yeah, thanks. Appreciate it.

Speaker 16 (32:32):

The bill that the president signed yesterday on COVID origins? It calls for the declassification within 90 days. Can you give us a better sense as to when that information will actually be declassified? Are we talking about days, weeks, months?

Admiral John Kirby (32:46):

I can’t give you a date certain right now. I mean, he just signed this yesterday. We’re mindful of what the legislation says in terms of the 90-day timeframe. We’ll work on this as diligently, as we have been working on it. And we will be fully transparent with the American people, again, appropriately to our own national security concerns. But, I couldn’t give you a date certain on the calendar.

Speaker 16 (33:06):

When it’s out there, people will be able to see it for themselves and form their own opinion. At this point, has the president formed an opinion as to what he thinks happened? You think happened?

Admiral John Kirby (33:18):

He has not. Nor would he. Why would he? He wouldn’t form an opinion before he has access to more and more intelligence about what happened. I’ll tell you what he has formed an opinion on, and that is that it’s important that we get to the roots of it, so that we can prevent another pandemic. And that, scientific research labs, who do important work also know that they need to be as accountable and transparent as they can be with the research that they’re conducting. That he has formed a strong opinion on, but he’s made no conclusions, nor would he, until more information is available.

Karine (33:53):

A couple more. All the way in the back. All the way in the back.

Speaker 17 (33:57):

[inaudible 00:33:58] Thank you, Admiral. Appreciate [inaudible 00:33:59] back here. Thank you. I’d like …

Speaker 14 (34:02):

If I may-

Speaker 18 (34:03):

Mr. Kirby did not ignore me once when he was in the State Department.

Speaker 14 (34:05):

Okay. If I may turn your attention to Nicaragua, sir.

Speaker 18 (34:08):

I don’t mean to, but-

Speaker 14 (34:09):

Nicaragua. [foreign language 00:34:12]. Nicaragua is my question. Okay. So, you may know that Daniel Ortega recently threw into prison Bishop Rolando Álvarez, well-known, well-respected bishop throughout the world. But in Nicaragua, that’s where he was bishop. He was thrown in prison for 26 years on trumped-up charges. Question one, are you aware of any efforts the U.S. is making to free Rolando Álvarez, the bishop?

Admiral John Kirby (34:38):

I’m going to have to take the question and get back to you, sir. I’m not tracking that particular case.

Speaker 14 (34:44):

Okay. And, two, would the Biden administration have any message for the Ortega regime that continues to persecute Catholics in that country?

Admiral John Kirby (34:50):

We have been clear and consistent with nations all over the world about the importance of religious freedom and proper human rights and civil rights for not only their citizens but certainly for ours as they travel abroad. But I don’t have anything more specific on that.

Speaker 14 (35:05):

Thank you.

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:05):

Okay, two more. SV, way in the back.

John (35:07):

Yeah, thanks. Admiral, you talked about how Russia’s forces are going through ammunition, going through personnel. We’ve seen reports about them increasing the draft to get more soldiers. At what point do they start running out of ammunition? I mean, do you have an assessment on how long they can continue what they’re doing before either someone resupplies them or they have to-

Admiral John Kirby (35:35):

I think you can see in his own efforts to hire Wagner and for Wagner and Mr. Prigozhin actually bragging about going to prisons and getting more convicts. I think you can see it in what they’re doing in Bakhmut. I think you can see it in their outreach to Iran and now trying to forge some sort of transactional relationship where Iran actually gets access to Russian military capabilities. I can see the outreach to North Korea for artillery. And, of course, this meeting in Moscow, which, make no mistake, Mr. Putin was hoping would lead to additional support from China. You can see it in what Mr. Putin is doing. The fact that he goes to Mariupol on the eve of President Xi’s visit, what is that other than trying to cast some sort of signal that he’s large and in charge there and that President Xi should take note of that?

You can see in what Mr. Putin is doing that he knows he’s having resource difficulties because of what he’s blown through over the last year, in terms of actual ammunition and missiles, the tanks and aircraft he’s lost, and absolutely the soldiers that he has literally thrown into a meat grinder and continues to do so. By his own actions, you can see very well that he knows that he’s got shortage issues, and he’s trying to overcome them. And that’s another reason why, quite frankly, we don’t want to see a ceasefire right now. Because a ceasefire right now, freezing the lines where they are, basically gives him the time and space he needs to try to re-equip, to re-man, to make up for that resource expenditure.

John (37:10):

Can you quantify the ammunition issue, or do you choose not to in front of the world?

Admiral John Kirby (37:14):

I choose not to in front of the world.

Karine Jean-Pierre (37:15):

Okay. Last question.

James (37:19):

Thank you. Two, if I may. On this U.S. claim to have intelligence that China has been considering providing lethal aid to the Russians, and without expecting you to divulge classified information here, can you at least say that you have any insights or some window onto what kind of lethal aid the Chinese have been considering providing?

Admiral John Kirby (37:44):

No, I’m not going to go there, James.

James (37:45):

You don’t know?

Admiral John Kirby (37:46):

I’m not going to go there.

James (37:48):

And my second question. I want to draw on your long experience in the Navy and in the national security apparatus. You’ve served, I don’t know how many administrations. How many administrations?

Admiral John Kirby (37:57):

Well, over the course of my entire Navy career?

James (37:59):


Admiral John Kirby (38:00):

Oh, gosh. I don’t know. Six or seven, probably.

James (38:02):

So, I wonder if you could share with us any observations you might have as to the current Commander-in-Chief and whether you observe anything distinct or unique about how he approaches the central business of the presidency, which is decision-making.

Admiral John Kirby (38:18):

James, I don’t know that that’s a fair question for me. I’m just the guy talking for the NSC up here. But, look, I didn’t know the President before I took this job. But I’ve since got a chance to get to know him. And I’ll tell you, his fine feel and touch, particularly on issues of foreign policy and national security, is very, very distinct. And he asks great questions. There’s not a single engagement that I’ve ever had with him where he wasn’t pushing and pressing and wanting more detail and wanting a deeper level of context. He thinks these things through carefully. And I can tell you, this I know for sure, certainly, because of my job at the Pentagon, too, before I came here, that when it comes to putting America’s men and women in uniform in harm’s way, you won’t find another Commander-in-Chief who thinks more carefully, deliberately, and consciously about that than President Biden. Thanks, everybody. Appreciate it.

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:16):

Thank you.

James (39:16):

Thanks, John.

Speaker 19 (39:16):

Thanks, John.

Speaker 21 (39:17):

Thank you, John.

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:18):

Thanks. Thanks, Admiral.

Okay. I know folks have to gather at 4:15. So, we’ll try to do this super quick. As you just heard from the President earlier this afternoon, this administration is taking historic action to protect our nation’s most cherished landscapes. Today, President Biden established two new national monuments: the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada, also known as the “Spirit Mountain,” and the Castner Range National Monument in Texas.

Together, these new monuments protect our over half a million acres of public lands that honor a Tribal site and our military veterans. In addition, the President directed the Secretary of Commerce to consider initiating a new National Marine Sanctuary designation to protect all U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands. These actions continue to deliver on the most ambitious land and water conservation agenda in American history. In his first year in office, President Biden has protected more lands and waters than any President since JFK.

Over the last two years, he has secured the largest investment in climate, environmental justice, and conservation ever. And he has put the entire U.S. Arctic Ocean off limits to new oil and gas development. President Biden’s aggressive climate agenda could not come at a more important time. Yesterday, the United Nations issued a sobering report on the state of our climate, underscoring the critical importance of President Biden’s climate leadership at home and also abroad.

Now, remember, when President Biden came into office, he talked about how climate change was one of the most important crises that we needed to address. And that’s what you’ve seen from him over the last two years. He rejoined the Paris Agreement and rallied more than 100 countries to join the Global Methane Pledge to reduce methane emissions. He secured the most ambitious climate legislation, which has sparked a clean energy manufacturing and jobs boom here at home while accelerating the global clean energy race abroad. He put the United States back on track to reach its clean energy goals, reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and reaching net-zero goals. And on the President’s watch, EV sales has tripled and domestic solar capacity is on track to increase five times by next year.

But here’s the thing: MAGA House Republicans want to reverse that progress. They want to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which is helping Americans save on solar panels, electric vehicles, energy-efficient windows, and so much more. And the extreme MAGA Freedom Caucus is proposing Draconian budget cuts that will raise costs for hardworking families.

The House Republican proposal will increase healthcare premiums by an average of 800 bucks per year for nearly 15 million Americans; eliminate Pell Grants altogether for 80,000 students, and reduce the maximum Pell Grant by nearly $1,000 for the remaining 6.6 million students; cut childcare access for 100,000 children; cut vital nutrition assistance for 1.2 million women, infants, and children. And as we said yesterday, the MAGA Republicans’ proposal will be a five-alarm fire for hardworking families. While President Biden is focused on giving those families more breathing room, MAGA congressional Republicans would increase costs and worsen inflation. And, with that… Hello, Josh.

Josh (43:03):

Hi, how are you, Karine?

Karine Jean-Pierre (43:03):

Good to see you.

Josh (43:04):

Happy Tuesday.

Karine Jean-Pierre (43:05):

Happy Tuesday indeed.

Josh (43:07):

Two questions.

Karine Jean-Pierre (43:08):


Josh (43:08):

Today, Treasury Secretary Yellen said the federal government could step in to protect depositors at banks if there is a risk of contagion. What does the administration think about that risk of contagion? Is that about fundamentals in the economy or the psychology of the markets?

Karine Jean-Pierre (43:26):

So, as you mentioned, Secretary Yellen was at the American Bankers Association, and she delivered remarks early this morning. And as she said, I just want to quote her for a second: “The federal government delivered decisive and forceful actions to strengthen public confidence in the U.S. banking system and protect American economy.” And that’s what you’ve seen from this administration about almost two weeks ago when they stepped in, when we saw this crisis happening. But our focus has been very clear, the President’s focus on this has been very clear, which is strengthening the banking system and protecting depositors. That has been what has been at the forefront of the minds of the federal regulators and also the Department of Treasury. And there’s evidence our actions are indeed working. They’re restoring confidence in the safety of deposits. Treasury has seen deposit flows stabilized, which is incredibly important, in regional and also small banks, in some cases, mostly reversed. And so that has been the focus of this administration for the past 10-plus days.

Josh (44:30):

And then, secondly, the Los Angeles School District, the second-largest in the country, is shut down for a three-day strike. Should school staff be paid more money?

Karine Jean-Pierre (44:41):

So, look, and we’ve talked about this before. We respect the process and employees’ right to engage in protected concerted activities. That is something you hear the President talk about how he supports the collective bargaining process. And that is something that he will continue to do. We urge both sides to work in good faith toward a mutually acceptable solution so that there can be a quick resolution and the kids and school employees can get back to where they want to be, which is in schools, especially the kids. The President, as you’ve heard him say, this is incredibly important to him, making sure that kids go back to school and get their education. Go ahead, Steve.

Steve (45:23):

To follow up on Josh’s first question, can you insure all deposits in the U.S. banking system? And do you need legislation for that?

Karine Jean-Pierre (45:30):

So, look, there are many things, and I have talked about this, that… Well, let me step back. The President and the administration, they took quick action when this happened a couple of days ago. And, of course, there’s things that Congress can do. We’ve talked about how the President has already called for Congress to make it easier for regulators to claw back compensation, impose civil penalties, and ban executives from working in the banking industry. So that’s something that we’ve asked for.

But as I was mentioning a moment ago, there are quite a bit that we can do without Congress. And this is what you have asked, the President has asked regulators to do in the last two years: to take actions over the last few years, to reverse the last administration’s deregulation, which we know happened back in 2018, after the Obama-Biden administration put in stronger, strengthening regulations back after what we saw in 2008. So, look, we don’t want to let Congress off the hook. We want Congress to continue certainly to take action. And so, we’re going to call on them to do just that.

MJ (46:39):

Karine, I know this White House doesn’t weigh in on the Fed’s policy deliberations, so not asking you to do that. But just in the bigger picture, can you give us a sense of how the White House is watching Jerome Powell’s statement tomorrow, as well as the interest rate decision that is coming?

Karine Jean-Pierre (46:55):

Look, I just want to be very, very careful here. I’m just going to go back to what we have said many times. The Fed is indeed independent. We want to give them the space to make those monetary decisions. I don’t want to get ahead of that. I don’t even want to give any thought to what Jerome Powell might say tomorrow. I just want to be really, really mindful and careful here.

MJ (47:20):

Just totally different topic. Does President Biden believe that it is appropriate for a person who is indicted to run for office?

Karine Jean-Pierre (47:30):

So, nice way to ask, MJ. Very clever. So I’m going to be, again, really careful from here as it relates to any upcoming elections. And specifically, I’m assuming you’re talking about the 2024 election. I’m just not going to give any analysis, any foresight, any kind of decision or thoughts on that because we are covered by the Hatch Act. So not going to speak to politics. And I’m just going to leave it there.

Speaker 20 (48:01):

Thanks, Karine. Has the President seen the video that seems to show the moments during and after Irvo Otieno died while in law enforcement custody at Virginia Central State Hospital? Has he been briefed on this?

Karine Jean-Pierre (48:14):

Yeah, we’ve definitely seen the reports. I know the President has been tracking this. Look, I said this last week when I was asked by TheGrio, I believe by April Ryan. Our hearts certainly go out to the family on this devastating event that occurred. The President is indeed, he saw the reports. We’ve been paying attention to reports. We’re just going to be incredibly mindful on speaking on this as there’s a current investigation.

Speaker 20 (48:44):

And has he been in touch with the Otieno family?

Karine Jean-Pierre (48:45):

I don’t have a call. We don’t have a call to preview or to speak to at this time. But clearly, it was devastating, again, what we saw. And our hearts go out to the family. Go ahead, Justin.

Justin (48:57):

Thanks. I just wanted to follow up on Steve’s question. In your answer, you highlighted the President’s past actions, said Congress shouldn’t be off the hook, but you today and yesterday avoided talking about what, if any, unilateral actions that the President is considering going forward to sort of stabilize the financial system. And I’m wondering what the strategy is there, especially after we saw this sort of robust response a little over a week ago. Is it because you think the crisis is over, that you’re worried that talking about what you’re talking about could fuel the panic? Is it that you want to set a precedent ahead of the debt ceiling fight of not really entertaining unorthodox solutions? Is it a combination of those three things?

Karine Jean-Pierre (49:41):

No, totally understand the question. Look, when it comes to specifics about the debt ceiling and all of those things, that’s something that Treasury, certainly, and the Secretary has spoken to this many times. I would say that, and I will quote her here, “The actions we have taken,” this is from the Secretary, “to protect depositors and the stability of the banking system have not affected the X-date for the debt limit.” So just want to reiterate that from the Secretary. Look, if we’re worried about unorthodox interventions? No, we’re not. We’re going to use every tool that we have to make sure that the American people have the confidence. That’s what we’ve been trying to work through these last almost two weeks, is making sure that they feel that their deposits will be safe and will be there when they need it. And that’s what’s important in the actions and what the President has asked the regulators to do and also the Treasury Department to do.

Justin (50:41):

So it’s fair to say that those conversations are ongoing, but you don’t necessarily want to detail them because of that confidence issue?

Karine Jean-Pierre (50:47):

Well, I mean, this is something that lives in the Treasury Department. This is something that they have been tasked with, as it relates to dealing with this issue that we have seen. That’s the directive that the President has given the Secretary and the

Karine Jean-Pierre (51:00):

The regulators so that lives there. That’s why I’m referring you to them, but we are going to do everything that we can to use the tools that are given to us to make sure that, again, that the American people feel confidence and they should, right. That’s kind of what you heard from the secretary today, that we see a stabilizing, that the banking system is resilient and a lot of that is because of the work that this president has done. I know you’ve mentioned the current things that he’s doing, but let’s not forget what occurred in the Obama-Biden Administration and how they were able to strengthen that, the regulations. And so that work will continue. But again, we can’t lift Congress off the hook. They have to take some actions as well. Go ahead.

Speaker 22 (51:45):

Thank you.

Karine Jean-Pierre (51:46):

No, go ahead. Go ahead. Yes.

Speaker 22 (51:48):

We know that Chicago, Atlanta, and New York City are in the running for the Democratic Convention and ultimately the decision is up to President Biden. What are the factors he’s looking for? And will the host city be announced before the president makes his second term announcement official, or is the timing not related?

Karine Jean-Pierre (52:11):

Okay, so first let me answer your last question first, which is the president has said many times that he intends to run. I’m not going to go beyond that. That is for the president to decide clearly. And look, that question that you just asked me is a political question that lives with the DNC, the Democratic National Committee, so that I would refer you to them. But all of us are probably tracking that a decision hasn’t been made on that front. Again, that’s for the DNC to decide, but just like many of you, all of you here, we will all find out at the same time which city gets chosen. I just can’t speak to that from here.

Speaker 22 (52:52):

I wasn’t asking about the DNC.

Karine Jean-Pierre (52:54):

Oh, okay.

Speaker 22 (52:54):

I was asking because the DNC does the vetting and the guide selection, but then they give a recommendation to the president who is the decider, just like when the primary happened, the news came out from him. So that’s why I’m asking you a little bit more how this may work out.

Karine Jean-Pierre (53:10):

Well, the president is the leader of the Democratic Party, but from here I cannot talk about politics, so that’s why I’m referring you to the DNC. Go ahead, Alex.

Speaker 23 (53:21):

San Francisco just held a hearing on reparations for decades of institutional racism and other cities and states are considering paneling similar commissions. DC is one of them. Where does this administration stand on reparations for slavery and segregation and similar historic wrongs specifically pertaining to Black Americans?

Karine Jean-Pierre (53:51):

So look, we understand that there’s a legislation on the hill currently on the study of reparations, pardon me. And we think Congress is the appropriate venue for consider consideration on such action. And so we’re going to leave it there for Congress to decide to let them go through their process that they’re taking at this moment.

But I would lay out and speak to what the president has done over the last two years. When he came into office, he talked about the different crises that this country is dealing with, and one of them was racial equity and racial equality and fighting for that for communities like the Black community. And one of the things that he did right away, straight away in the beginning of his administration is he signed an executive order that made sure that across the government that we had of approach that dealt with inequality that made sure that political appointees in those agencies put that equality lens as they were moving forward with dealing with policy.

So that’s important in really getting to the root of that issue. Clearly that’s on the federal level. And just last month he issued a second order reaffirming the administration’s commitment to deliver on that equity. So the president has shown his commitment, he’s spoken to this issue that in particular that Black community has to deal with for generations upon generations. So he is going to continue to lift that up, but as it relates to the legislation, we want to leave that in the hands of Congress. Okay, Courtney?

Speaker 24 (55:31):

Thanks, Karine. I wanted to ask about the Supreme Court. The American Bar Association last month passed a resolution urging the Supreme Court justices to agree to an ethics code. Given how consequential their decisions have been over the last year and their bills in Congress considering this, what’s the president’s position on a mandatory code of ethics for the highest court?

Karine Jean-Pierre (55:52):

So I’m just not going to speak to that from here. That is something for SCOTUS to work through and to speak to. I’m just not going to make a comment from here about that.

Speaker 24 (56:02):

Thank you.

Karine Jean-Pierre (56:03):

Go ahead Steven.

Speaker 25 (56:03):

Thanks, Karine. When [inaudible 00:56:05] was here, the president said he looked forward to going to Ireland to celebrate the Good Friday agreement. The actual anniversary is less than three weeks away. Can you give us a sense of where things are on the planning for this trip and when we might get a formal announcement of it?

Karine Jean-Pierre (56:15):

It’s a good question, and so I don’t have anything more to share. Any plans to go to Northern Ireland and the Republic to acknowledge the anniversary of a Good Friday accord. The president said he looks forward to doing that, but we’re still in process of hammering out what those details will be, and as soon as we have more information, we’ll certainly share that understanding that that’s three weeks away. But as the president said, he’s looking forward to it. Are you new you to the room?

Speaker 26 (56:47):

Yes. Allie Rocker with NBC.

Karine Jean-Pierre (56:48):

Nice to meet you.

Speaker 26 (56:48):

Nice to meet you too. Earlier this month, president Biden said he spoke with the family of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell after his fall has the president spoken directly with Leader McConnell since then?

Karine Jean-Pierre (57:00):

Don’t have any conversations to read out at this time? Yes, the president called the family of Leader McConnell clearly wish, wishing him a speed of recovery, which we continue to do, just don’t have anything beyond what we laid out a couple weeks ago. Okay. Go ahead.

Speaker 27 (57:18):

Thanks, Karine. I wanted to ask you about some comments by the president of Mexico who’s been very critical of the administration recently. Just today, he suggested that the US had blown up the North Stream pipeline. He suggested the administration was trying to derail Donald Trump behalf the 2024 election. And then recently you said that fentanyl is a US problem, not a Mexican problem. This of course comes just a couple of months after the two leaders met in Mexico City. I’m wondering what this says about US-Mexico relations, how you go forward when he’s saying these kinds of things.

Karine Jean-Pierre (57:51):

Well, you said a couple things that I want to address clearly. The first two are not true, and so I’m just going to put that on the record. As it relates to the fentanyl, this is not a US problem, it’s a global one. The trafficking of illicit drugs is causing a societal damage, needless death and suffering, and not just here, but also in Mexico. And so we want to be really mindful about that. Dr. Liz Sherwood Randall recently the president’s Homeland Security Advisor and other high level US delegation, they were in Mexico and they discussed concrete opportunities to detect and disrupt and prosecute those who are manufacturing and traffic fentanyl. And that is a conversation of delegation that went to Mexico to have this conversation. And so just want to be really clear about that because that is something that when we think about fentanyl, something that is affecting many communities.

Look, we see our relationship with Mexico a vital one, an important one. They’re a close neighbor. As you just mentioned, the president was just recently in Mexico City in January to do the summit, not just with the president of Mexico, but also the Prime Minister of Canada. You saw them. They had a very good, very good summit, good discussion bilaterally when they had that opportunity during the summit. And so we’re going to try and continue to grow to grow that relationship. But I’m certainly going to speak out and make sure we correct the record on some of the things that have just been said.

Speaker 9 (59:30):

Thanks, Karine. You spoke about that sobering UN climate report earlier. Has the president read the reports been briefed on the report?

Karine Jean-Pierre (59:36):

That’s a good question. I would have to ask to see if the president has been briefed on the report. I don’t have an answer for you at this time.

Speaker 9 (59:43):

Well, he also talked about the steps this administration has taken on the issue of climate change, but this report indicates that what’s being done so far is not enough to avert these catastrophic temperatures. Does the administration field in and enough action can be taken in time to avert the earth from reaching this?

Karine Jean-Pierre (01:00:00):

It’s a great question, and what I will say to that is this is why the president has made tackling climate change a priority. And this is why he has done more on climate change and protecting the climate and trying to reverse the damage that we have seen. He’s made that a priority and he’s taken more actions than any other president. His record speaks for that. There’s always more work that needs to be done. And so the president going to continue to focus on all the things that we can do to deal with this issue. And at the top, I laid out the different actions the president has taken and clearly we’re going to continue to move forward. But again, yes, does more work to need to be done? Absolutely. And that’s why the president has made this a priority. One of the crises that he mentioned, one of the four crises that he mentioned when he walked into this administration and took action right away. And so that’s going to continue. He’s never going to back down. I have to wrap up. Okay, last question.

Speaker 28 (01:01:00):

On the climate announcements. Today, Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo put out a statement saying that they were not consulted on the Avi Kwa Ame site and that he opposes it being designated as a national monument. It did the White House consult the governor? And if not, why not?

Karine Jean-Pierre (01:01:17):

So I don’t have any meetings to work to talk through or conversations. So look, I mean, this is something that I was saying before. This is the president that has taken an aggressive stand on climate and made this a priority. This is the most engaged, when you think about the engagement that we have seen on this issue, it is important because there’s still much more that needs to be done to tackle this climate crisis, and so we’re going to continue to do the work. I can’t speak to any conversation that has been had with the governor, but I can say that the president is tackling the climate crisis as a priority, and we’re doing the work like no other president has done, and so we’re going to continue to move forward on doing that.

Speaker 28 (01:02:08):

Does the president usually consult governors on these kinds of decisions?

Karine Jean-Pierre (01:02:12):

The president and his Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, which deals with the governors and deals with mayors and also local elected officials is in constant communications. To your question with governors, I just don’t have a readout to give you on that particular conversation or engagement. All right, everybody. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Speaker 25 (01:02:32):

Thanks, Karine

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