Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 4/09/24

Karine Jean-Pierre (00:01):

Short today. Good afternoon, everybody.

Speaker 3 (00:02):

Good afternoon.

Karine Jean-Pierre (00:04):

Good afternoon.

Karine Jean-Pierre (00:05):

Oh, okay. Well, thank you. I want to start by addressing some devastating and alarming news from the Arizona Supreme Court. With today’s decision, millions of Arizonians will soon face an even more extreme and dangerous abortion ban than they did before. This Arizona law, which was initially enacted in 1864, more than 150 years ago, fails to protect women even when their health is at risk or in horrific cases of rape or incest. There are now 21 extreme state abortion bans in effect across the country. One third of all women of reproductive age now live in a state with an abortion ban.

All of these bans, including the one upheld today that was upheld by the Arizona Supreme Court are a direct result of the Supreme Court overturning Roe V. Wade. When the President’s predecessor handicapped three Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe V. Wade, it paved the way for the chaos and confusion we’re seeing play out across the country. Today, President Biden and Vice President Harris will continue to stand with the vast majority of Americans who support a woman’s rights to choose, and they will continue to fight to protect reproductive rights and call on Congress to pass a law restoring the protections of Roe V. Wade for women in every state.

On the topic of healthcare, you just heard from the President earlier today, he marked Care Workers Recognition Month by joining care workers, union members and advocates to highlight his administration’s work to make care more affordable for American families, support family caregivers, boost compensation and job quality for care workers, and expand care options through the first Ever Care EO signed by President Biden just last year, as well as through the American Rescue Plan and the CHIPS and Science Act, the bipartisan… Pardon me. The Biden Harris administration is marking transformational investment in childcare, home care, paid family and medical leave and tax cuts for workers and families.

The President’s plan would pay for these investments and working families by making billionaires and the biggest corporations pay their fair share. That is in sharp contrast with congressional Republicans who released a budget that would make devastating cuts in funding for childcare, Head Start, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, all to pay for massive tax cuts for billionaires and big corporations. Care workers play an essential role in our economy, and President Biden will never stop fighting for them.

Finally, today the President spoke with UConn coach Dan Hurley and congratulated him on last night’s championship. The UConn Huskies had an incredible year, which culminated in a series of dominant performances in the NCAA tournament. UConn is the first team to win back-to-back championships in the men’s bracket since the University of Florida accomplished this feat in 2006 and 2007. We also congratulated Coach Dawn Staley and the University of South Carolina on their undefeated season and national championship. The women’s tournament featured fantastic games and generated record ratings. It was really a march madness to remember. We congratulate the University of South Carolina, Uconn, and the athletes on their victories. With that, as you can see, we have the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, who’s here to speak about the Japan state visit that’s happening starting today, and also talk about the developments around the world. Jake?

Jake Sullivan (04:00):

Thank you.

Karine Jean-Pierre (04:00):

I know you’re much taller.

Jake Sullivan (04:02):

Thanks. Thank you, Karine, and thanks everybody. I’ve got some opening comments on the Japan State visit and a couple of other topics, and then I’d be happy to take your questions. Starting this evening, the President and First Lady will welcome Prime Minister Kishida and Mrs. Kishida to the White House for an official visit and state dinner. From the very outset of the Biden administration, we focused on reinvesting in and reinvigorating our alliances, and nowhere has the strength and vibrancy of that strategy been on display more than in the Indo-Pacific, and especially with Japan. The two leaders, President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida have met nearly a dozen times over the past three years in Tokyo and Washington and in cities around the world. This official state visit will build on the immense progress between our two nations that we’ve made towards creating a safer and more secure Indo-Pacific, as well as mutual prosperity for our peoples.

Over the course of the visit, the President and the Prime Minister will highlight the high ambition of our alliance, yes, in the defense and technology space, but also across the board, deepening our partnerships on space technology, economic investment, fighting climate change, coordinating global diplomacy, and strengthening our people-to-people ties. I’ll briefly touch on some of what you can expect the two leaders to announce. They will announce measures to enhance our defense and security cooperation to enable greater coordination and integration of our forces and ensure that they’re optimally postured and linked to other like-minded partners. There will be major deliverables on space, as we lead the way on space exploration and returning to the moon. There will be announcements of significant research partnerships between our leading institutions on critical and emerging technologies such as AI, quantum, semiconductors, and clean energy. All of this will strengthen our economic ties and economic security as we announce significant commercial deals as part of the state visit.

Japan is one of the largest providers of economic assistance and budget support to Ukraine, one of the largest investors in development and infrastructure in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. This visit will highlight Japan’s continued role in global diplomacy and development, and the coordination that the US and Japan have together with significant deliverables on global assistance and investment, both inside and outside the Indo-Pacific. We’ll also announce new initiatives to further foster our cultural connections and promote ties between current changemakers and future generations of leaders.

Following the important visit that Prime Minister Kishida is initiating this evening, and that will carry through tomorrow, President Biden will welcome President Marcos to the Philippines to the White House on Thursday for his second bilateral meeting at the White House in as many years. President Biden will also host the first-ever Trilateral leader Summit between the United States, Japan, and the Philippines. The US Japan and the Philippines are three closely aligned maritime democracies with increasingly convergent strategic objectives and interests. Just this past week, our three countries and Australia held joint naval drills in the South China Sea. When I met with my Japanese and Filipino counterparts in Tokyo last June, we agreed to enhance our nation’s trilateral partnership, and this week is a culmination of months of effort since that meeting in Tokyo last June.

The three leaders will announce new initiatives to enhance energy security, economic and maritime cooperation, partnerships on technology and cybersecurity, and joint investments in critical infrastructure. With this first-ever leaders trilateral, we’re continuing to deepen our cooperation with our closest partners to ensure what we’ve talked about many times from this podium and elsewhere, a free open and prosperous Indo-Pacific. Over the past three years, the President has achieved historic breakthroughs across the region, across the Indo-Pacific. He’s launched AUKUS, elevated the Quad, brought the U.S.-Japan ROK trilateral to new heights, upgraded relations with ASEAN, Vietnam and Indonesia, and hosted two Pacific Islands summits and one ASEAN summit here at the White House.

We look forward to adding another momentous chapter to this story with both the state visit that Prime Minister Kishida has embarked upon and this historic trilateral meeting among the US, Japan, and the Philippines. I also want to take a moment before going to your questions to address the events of April 5th in Quito Ecuador. We condemn this violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, including the use of force against embassy officials. We’ve reviewed the security camera footage from the Mexican Embassy and believe these actions were wrong. The Ecuadorian government disregarded its obligations under international law as a host state to respect the inviolability of diplomatic missions and jeopardize the foundation of basic diplomatic norms in relationships. We’ve asked Ecuador to work with Mexico to find a resolution to this diplomatic dispute. To that end, we welcome the organization of American State’s Permanent Council meeting this week to help reach a peaceful diplomatic solution.

Finally, let me say something on an important issue that’s moving through the house this week, reauthorization of 702 of FISA. The administration strongly supports the bipartisan bill, whose text is now with the Rules Committee to reauthorize this essential intelligence authority and other FISA provisions before they would expire on April 19th. If we lost 702, we would lose vital insight into precisely the threats Americans expect us in government to identify and counter, terrorist threats to the homeland, fentanyl supply chains bringing deadly drugs into American communities, hostile government’s recruitment of spies in our midst, transnational repression by authoritarian regimes, penetrations of our critical infrastructure, adversaries’ attempts to illicitly, acquire sensitive dual use and military commodities and technology, ransomware attacks against major American companies and nonprofits, Russian war crimes, and more.

To protect the American people, we need to maintain this vital collection authority while strengthening its protective guardrails with the most robust set of reforms ever included in legislation to reauthorize section 702. This bill does that. For these same reasons, the administration strongly opposes the amendment we anticipate being offered that would rebuild a wall around and thus block access to already lawfully collected information in the possession of the US government. The amendment, if it looks like what we’ve seen before, would prohibit US officials from reviewing critical information that the intelligence community has already lawfully collected with only exceptions that are exceedingly narrow and unworkable in practice. Our intelligence, defense, and public safety communities are united. The extensive harms of this proposal simply cannot be mitigated, and so the administration strongly opposes the amendment, but we strongly support the underlying bipartisan bill whose text is now with the Rules Committee. With that, I would be happy to take your questions. Yeah?

Mary (11:27):

The White House is still reserving judgment on the IDF report on the killing of the World Central Kitchen Aid Workers. Why? Why is this review taking so long?

Jake Sullivan (11:36):

Well, first, that report just came out last week, and what I have done is asked an interagency team of experts who actually have knowledge of the humanitarian, operational, other elements of this to look at the circumstances, to look at the findings of the report, and then to come up with some judgments as a result of that. This isn’t a formal process, it’s an informal review. As we gain some judgments from that, we’ll be prepared to share them with you. But that process is underway now.

Mary (12:02):

How long is it going to take?

Jake Sullivan (12:03):

I can’t tell you exactly how long it’s going to take. Yep.

Speaker 1 (12:05):

Jake, could you update us, where do things stand on the latest hostage negotiations? Is any real progress being made? I think Hamas rejected the latest proposal. Are both sides making the kind of concessions that are going to be necessary?

Jake Sullivan (12:19):

As you know, Bill Burns was in Cairo on Sunday. There was a marathon session that went late into the night among the United States, Israel, Qatar in Egypt. Qatar in Egypt, of course, were communicating with Hamas through this process and we have seen Israel take some steps forward in terms of what they’re putting on the table. Of course, we’ve seen the public statements from Hamas that have been, shall we say, less than encouraging. But I spoke with the Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed this morning. He does not yet have an answer from Hamas. I pressed him to try to secure an answer from them as soon as possible. When we have more to report on that front, we will report it to you. Yeah?

Speaker 2 (12:55):

Two things. Prime Minister Netanyahu says he has a date for the Rafah operation.

Speaker 2 (13:01):

Will the administration take any action or restrict military support for Israel if Netanyahu moves forward on Rafa?

Jake Sullivan (13:07):

If he has a date, he hasn’t shared it with us, so I’ve seen his public comments, but I have nothing more on that front. I’m not going to comment on hypotheticals, but I will state here what I stated the last time I stood at this podium, which is that the United States does not believe that a massive ground invasion of Rafa where 1.3 or more million people are sheltering, having been pushed out of other parts of Gaza that are now destroyed into the area where humanitarian assistance comes in. This is not the best way forward. There are better ways to go after Hamas and Rafa. We presented those ways to our Israeli counterparts in a session we held last week. There have been ongoing technical talks between our team since then, and I anticipate we’ll have another opportunity at senior levels to engage them in Rafa and that conversation will stay ongoing, and then we will make determinations about how we proceed based on how those conversations unfold.

Speaker 5 (13:58):

To follow up on that, Jake, if the US is not even being looped in on the date for when this military operation is set to take place, why do you think the US has any influence in those upcoming meetings to change Israel’s strategy?

Jake Sullivan (14:15):

First of all, when you talk about looped in the Prime Minister makes public statements. He also talks to us in private about aspects of operations about their thinking with respect to Rafa in some considerable detail. I sat in a situation room not long ago in a secure video conference that went on for hours going into specifics on this, so I can’t speak to every public comment he makes. What I can tell you is that we have open channels of communication with the Israelis on these issues. They understand our position, and we have been very clear about our deep and abiding concerns about a Rafa operation and our belief that there are better ways to deal with the strategic threat Hamas poses than some of the ideas that have been put forward. And our further belief that any kind of plan to protect civilians in a serious way in Rafa, that’s something we have yet to see be presented to us. And so our concerns continue, and now, we will have to wait and see what happens and the United States will respond accordingly. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (15:14):

There’s a report out today that the Israeli government plans to purchase 40,000 tents ahead of its invasion of Rafa. Has the US seen any sort of an evacuation plan, particularly one involving those tents?

Jake Sullivan (15:27):

As I said, just in the answer to the last question, I have not yet seen a credible and executable plan to move people that has any level of detail about how you not only house, feed and provide medicine for those innocent civilians, but also how you deal with things like sanitation, water, and other basic services. We have not seen that yet.

Speaker 4 (15:53):

Do you think 40,000 tents would be sufficient, would more be needed?

Jake Sullivan (15:54):

I’m not going to stand at the podium and substitute for the judgment of humanitarian experts who could speak to what precisely on the shelter front as well as on all of these other fronts I just described would be sufficient. So I just can’t react in real time to news reports like that.

Speaker 6 (16:10):

On the Japan visit tomorrow, the President has said to US Steel workers, “I have your back. I mean it.” What is his message to the Prime Minister tomorrow about the potential acquisition of US Steel? How strongly will the President convey his opposition and will there be any specific things that the President will either urge the Prime Minister to do or will say steps that he’s willing to take to prevent an acquisition?

Jake Sullivan (16:40):

You guys all know Joe Biden. You’ve seen Joe Biden. He’s been very clear that he’s going to stand up for American workers. He’s going to defend their interests. He’s also been very clear that he is going to make sure that the US-Japan Alliance is the strongest it’s ever been. He’s going to accomplish both of those things. That’s what he has set out to do as President. That’s what he’ll continue to do. And I won’t comment further on the specifics of diplomatic conversations between the two leaders.

Speaker 7 (17:04):

Jake, can you give us a better understanding what is the US’ assessment of the troop withdrawal? We’ve seen by the Israelis recently from Gaza as this in response to pressure from the United States. Was there any commitment made to the US there or is this a way of trying to advance negotiations with Hamas, and do you view this as a change in the way Israel is prosecuting its war there?

Jake Sullivan (17:23):

You’ll have to speak with the Israelis about the purpose or motive behind their particular operational moves. I’m not going to characterize that from the podium. What I will say-

Speaker 7 (17:32):

There has been no private commitment made to you that we will remove troops based on the conversation you had or after months of pressure to help.

Jake Sullivan (17:38):

As you might expect, I’m also not going to get into private diplomatic conversations between the President and the Prime Minister, but what I will say is that a reduction in the intensity and scope of military operations does create a greater opening for the movement of humanitarian goods around Gaza at a critical moment when there is a real humanitarian crisis there. So we welcome the opportunity to move more trucks in and then move more trucks around Gaza, so that the innocent people, innocent civilians there can get the food, water, medicine, and other essentials that they need for their…

Speaker 7 (18:12):

You also welcomed Erez and Ashdod, the announcement that was made by the Prime Minister by the Israelis last week. Neither of them have opened now approaching a week since then. Are you satisfied with his timetable? We were told that the US from your colleague, John Kirby, needed to see action within hours or days. It’s now days, but certainly well beyond hours. Are you satisfied by the pace of this and what commitment says the US been made about how [inaudible 00:18:35] that will occur?

Jake Sullivan (18:36):

Well, just to take the opening point of your question, which is that we welcome these steps. What we actually said very clearly from the first minute was Israel has made public statements. Now we need to see them follow through with action. And that action needs to be specific, concrete, and measurable. And that goes for the opening of a crossing into Northern Gaza from Israel. It goes for the opening of Ashdod port. When it comes to those two things, we will watch to see what unfolds over the next few days. What John Kirby was talking about in terms of hours was a step change in the willingness of the Israeli government to take action to get more aid into Gaza. And if you look at the last two days, there has been a substantial increase in the amount of aid going into Gaza. That’s good. It is not good enough. We would like to see more action following through on what the Prime Minister has announced publicly, and we’d like to see that over the course of the next few days. Yeah.

Speaker 8 (19:32):

Thank you, Jake. CNN has reported that the US is bracing for a retaliatory attack by Iran in the Middle East. What can you tell us about your current assessment, whether that’s inevitable and what the US is doing to safeguard its assets there?

Jake Sullivan (19:45):

So we are watching public statements by Iranian officials, public reports of Iranian plans to potentially take retaliatory action. And we have made clear that as the President said to the Prime Minister, and as was read out in his call, that America’s support for Israel’s security is ironclad and America’s support for Israel’s defense against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad. And I’m not going to speak to operational details beyond that.

Speaker 8 (20:12):

On Ukraine, speaker Johnson has said that he will pursue what he described as innovations to the Senate package. Has the White House been briefed on what those innovations are and whether the President could support any of them?

Jake Sullivan (20:25):

Our teams between the White House and Speaker Johnson’s teams as well as with the other leaders in both the House and the Senate have had ongoing discussions about how we get a bipartisan, a bill that is supported on a bipartisan basis passed by 70 votes in the Senate. We believe it could be passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House actually onto the floor and voted upon. And I’m not going to speak to the specifics of those conversations, because I don’t want to negotiate from the podium. Yeah.

Speaker 9 (20:51):

Thanks, Jake. Just on Russia, Russian investigators said today they’re opening a probe into the financing of terrorism that they say involves Western countries, specifically including funds received by the firm, Burisma, by which Hunter Biden was employed. What’s your comment on that? Is that just as a political ploy or how do you view that?

Jake Sullivan (21:11):

I mean, it’s nonsense. Russia knows that it was ISIS who committed the attack in Moscow. We know it was ISIS who committed the attack in Moscow. We warned Russia of an impending terrorist attack in Moscow. And all of the rest of this is noise.

Speaker 9 (21:25):

Just very briefly, if you may, yesterday, David Cameron, the British Foreign Secretary, met with Donald Trump. What’s your view on that as the President concerned to see him meeting a potential election rival?

Jake Sullivan (21:37):

I’m not going to speak to campaign-related issues Hatch Act, so I’ll plead that and move on. Yep.

Speaker 10 (21:42):

Thank you. So you are saying that changes from Israel are good but not good enough, so to pursue more changes, are you going to do something besides talking to them?

Jake Sullivan (21:55):

Well, what the President said on Friday is that our policy will be determined by the actions that we see unfold. We’ve seen them take some actions. We would like to see more actions. And as Secretary Blinken said last week, if Israel doesn’t continue to sustain and make further changes, then our policy will change. And I won’t go beyond that. Today, we’re going to continue to watch. We’ve seen positive steps, we have welcomed those positive steps, and we have said that we need to see more steps, particularly the follow-through on the things that they have committed to publicly.

Speaker 11 (22:23):

Thank you, Jake. Two questions quick. Regarding the defense industry cooperation and joint production of defense equipment between United States and Japan, do you think South Korea and the United States and Japan will be joined this industrial cooperation, is to strengthen their power in the Pacific region?

Jake Sullivan (22:53):

Look, I believe, I don’t necessarily like to use the word synergies very often, but I do believe that there are synergies on a trilateral basis in terms of our technological industrial economic capacity, as well as our security and military cooperation. And we want to build on that for tomorrow. What we are announcing will be bilateral measures in this space. And then, of course, we would be open in the future to discussing things more broadly.

Speaker 11 (23:19):

[inaudible 00:23:19] technology approaching North Korea for a summit. But North Korea says it is not interesting because there is no content for the summit. What is the United States position on Japan’s push for a summit with North Korea?

Jake Sullivan (23:38):

Speaking from the United States’ perspective, we believe that principled diplomacy is a good thing. It’s a necessary component of an overall strategy to confront the North Korean threat. We, ourselves, have indicated we’re prepared to engage in diplomacy with North Korea. Of course, the North Koreans have not shown any interest in that. They have only tried to move down the track of further development of their weapons, their missile, and nuclear programs. And so we, the United States, have pulled closer together with our allies to enhance our capacity and posture in the Indo-Pacific, and we’ll continue to do that. Yeah.

Speaker 12 (24:10):

Jake, you were scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia before you were recently injured. First, how are you doing? And second, is there a rescheduling of that meeting with the Crown Prince back in the books?

Jake Sullivan (24:22):

Cracking your rib is very painful. Maybe not as painful as answering your questions, but I kind of rushed the timing on that joke, which I prepared for. So, yeah, no, actually, it hurts a lot. Some of you may have cracked your ribs at some point. There’s not a lot you can do about it other than just rest. And yes, I intend to go to Saudi Arabia.

Speaker 12 (24:47):

Nothing scheduled yet?

Speaker 13 (24:48):

What happened, Jake?

Speaker 14 (24:49):

Can I follow up?

Speaker 13 (24:49):

You’ve got to tell us.

Speaker 14 (24:51):

Just to follow up, you mentioned bilateral deliverables for the Prime Minister tomorrow, but can you also touch on some of the more regional stuff? There are also plans for an integrated air and defense missile system with Japan, Australia, for example. If you can speak about that, how Japan can support AUKUS and also any plans for trilateral, joint naval patrols between US, Japan, and the Philippines. Anything you can share?

Jake Sullivan (25:12):

Well, first of all, in the naval patrols, we just saw trilateral plus Australia, a new form of quadrilateral, joint naval patrols last week. So you can expect to see more of that in the future. With respect to AUKUS, there was an AUKUS defense ministerial yesterday with the statement that came out of it that indicated what we’ve been saying for quite some time, which is that under pillar two of AUKUS, which is the advanced technology pillar, we’re prepared to work with additional partners beyond the three of us where they can bring capabilities. And Japan is one of the countries that could very well bring capabilities to that. So we will explore partnership with Japan under pillar two of AUKUS as well as other partners.

Speaker 14 (25:53):

The approach broadly, I mean, if we look at this, it’s kind of like what you guys have been trying to do in the Middle East against Iran, this joint, this integrated

Speaker 14 (26:00):

… integrated missile air defense system. So is the President’s ultimate vision, ultimately an air and also naval network of alliances against Iran in the Middle East and then China in the Indo-Pacific. Is that where he’s going?

Jake Sullivan (26:14):

That is not how I would characterize it. The President has said that his alliances are not designed against, they’re designed for, they’re designed for a free and open Indo-Pacific, for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. And frankly, the American Alliance system has helped bring peace and stability to the Indo-Pacific for decades. And now we need to update and upgrade that alliance network for the modern age.

And that includes also reaching out to partners who are not traditional treaty allies of the United States who have a key role to play in ensuring that the Indo-Pacific remains free, open, prosperous, and secure.

So that’s how we’re looking at things across the region. And by the way, it goes way beyond security. It’s economics, it’s technology, it’s infrastructure development, and its diplomacy. And that’s all going to be on display in the meeting with the Prime Minister, and it’s all going to be on display in the trilateral meeting among President Marcos, Prime Minister Kishida and President Biden.

Speaker 14 (27:10):

Please Jake, if I may, [inaudible 00:27:12] tomorrow is the end of Ramadan. The President originally said that the goal was a ceasefire before Ramadan. Tomorrow is the end of Ramadan. What does that say about the President’s ability to bring about peace?

Jake Sullivan (27:23):

Well, I think it says more about the fact that you have a party, Hamas, who is holding innocent people that it took hostage a long time ago. Doesn’t get a lot of attention unfortunately in the commentary. And I’ve said that from the podium before. And there could be a ceasefire in place today that would extend for several weeks to be built upon longer if Hamas would be prepared to release some of those people.

So let’s train the attention where it belongs, which is that the world should say at this moment to Hamas, “It’s time. Let’s go. Let’s get that ceasefire.”

We’re ready. I believe Israel is ready, and I think Hamas should step up to the table and be prepared to do so as well. Yeah?

Speaker 15 (28:05):

Xi Jinping met earlier today with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. I wonder what you made of that meeting, and just is the U.S. seeing any evidence that China may offer some type of direct military aid to Russia in the order with Ukraine?

Jake Sullivan (28:20):

We have not seen any evidence that they’ll provide direct military aid to Russia, but we have expressed our concerns about inputs to Russia’s defense industrial base, something Secretary Blinken spoke about, I think quite effectively in Europe last week. I can’t comment on the meeting or characterize it yet because I actually haven’t had a chance to get a readout. Yeah?

Speaker 16 (28:41):

Just to follow up on Danny’s question, a policy question on a political question, with Cameron at Mar-a-Lago, is this something that the administration knew about in advance? And is it helpful to have the former president potentially weighing in more on Ukraine and meeting with foreign leaders?

Jake Sullivan (28:57):

So I’ll take the first of that, a factual question, yes, we knew it about it in advance. And beyond that, I’m not going to comment on it. Yeah.

Speaker 17 (29:04):

I just wanted to follow up on the AUKUS question, because we heard a lot from the Australian Prime Minister yesterday about how it wasn’t an invitation for Japan to join that alliance. Is that something that the U.S. envisions happening someday? And is any part of this discussion this week part of moving toward that?

Jake Sullivan (29:18):


Speaker 17 (29:18):


Jake Sullivan (29:20):

Yeah. So what the statement said was that we’re engaging in discussions with a range of partners, and then it went on to say that Japan could be a critical contributor to this. You will see when they speak tomorrow an indication that that’s the direction we’re moving in. And I’ll leave the precise terms of that announcement to the President and the Prime Minister to make, so I don’t front run them. Yeah?

Speaker 18 (29:41):

Thanks. On the meeting with Japan tomorrow, is the President going to discuss the high-speed rail in Texas? And how does he square support for that with opposing the Nippon Steel merger or acquisition of U.S. Steel?

Jake Sullivan (29:55):

I can’t tell you standing here today whether the high-speed rail issue will come up tomorrow or not. Yeah?

Speaker 18 (30:00):

One more if I could on BRICS. One more if I could on BRICS Jake. Iran, Egypt, UAE and Ethiopia have joined BRICS now with Saudi Arabia considering it. How worried is the President that he’s been degraded on the world stage in terms of the leadership?

Jake Sullivan (30:16):

Well, if you look at what’s happened with NATO, we’ve made NATO larger than ever. If you look at what’s just happening this week, a historic trilateral with the U.S., Japan and the Philippines, if you look across the Indo-Pacific at how we’ve upgraded our relations, not just with traditional allies, but with the likes of Vietnam, Indonesia, ASEAN as a whole, if you look at the fact that next month the President will welcome the president of Kenya for a state visit here, a historic moment, one of the few times that a president has welcomed an African leader, if you look at the fact that twice he’s hosted all of the leaders of the Pacific Islands, that he’s hosted all of the leaders of Africa at a summit in the United States, that the United States has increased its investments in the infrastructure, physical, digital energy infrastructure in the Americas in Africa and Southeast, Asia and beyond, the partnership between the US and India, a country in BRICS, has gone to new heights with an engagement across technology and security and so many other dimensions.

I think if you look at the U.S. role and standing in its relationships across the key regions of the world, we feel very good about where we are.

Speaker 19 (31:24):

So Jake, really quick, I just need an update on immigration and the funding for Haiti. The immigration piece is there going to be some kind of temporary movement to allow Haitians as they’re dealing with war, assassination of the president, democracy is pretty much gone. Their in tyranny from coordinated militia there. Will there be a temporary change in status for immigration to the United States? They can seek asylum here instead of seeking asylum there?

And what’s going on with the funding that the White House has proposed, and that Republicans are kind of holding up when it comes to Haiti?

Jake Sullivan (32:03):

We are consulting with the Congress to try to unlock that funding because it is critical to get a multinational security force led by the Kenyans on the ground in Haiti as soon as possible to help bring about stability and calm so that we can alleviate the suffering of innocent people in Haiti, as you were referring to.

And then the United States has a very forward-leaning policy relative to Haitians being able to access programs to come to the United States. We will continue that as we go forward. It’s a historic level of access for people who would be fleeing violence or otherwise seeking to deal with their circumstances in Haiti by coming here. That’s going to be our-

Speaker 19 (32:44):

Just a follow up though. But if everything is so broken down in Haiti, and a militia is basically controlling everything, how can people genuinely go to file for asylum and really make it happen, and come here, versus just getting on a boat or going some kind of way to get here? Isn’t that harder in a war-torn or militia-torn country to do that there, versus just coming here?

Jake Sullivan (33:12):

I’m not sure I entirely understand the question, but the root of all of this, of people’s ability to operate freely in their country or choose where they’re going to go from their country is security and stability. And the United States is leading a global effort to try to help restore stability and calm to Haiti through a multinational force.

And we need the funding to do that. And I thank you for raising that because we would like support on a bipartisan basis from the Congress to unlock that funding which is currently being held and we’re pressing for that on a daily basis. I’ll take one more question. Yep?

Speaker 20 (33:44):

The French Foreign Minister said that France is contemplating imposing sanctions on Israel in order to speed up humanitarian aid, Turkey as well, which is a close ally of yours imposed restrictions on trade and goods with Israel, at what stage the administration will consider similar measures? And also, do you still believe that Israel is not in violation of the Geneva Convention or international humanitarian law?

Jake Sullivan (34:10):

So I will say, sound a bit like a broken record to your first question, which is repeating what the President said, repeating what Secretary Blinken said. Our policy going forward is going to be determined by whether we see sustained follow-through on specific concrete and measurable steps to provide access, provide deconfliction, take other measures to alleviate the suffering of people in Gaza. And if Israel’s policy doesn’t change on a sustained basis in that way, our policy will change. And I can’t go beyond that.

Speaker 21 (34:41):

[inaudible 00:34:42] I have a question, Jake? [inaudible 00:34:44].

Jake Sullivan (34:44):

All right, fine. One more. Yeah, go ahead.

Speaker 22 (34:46):

So back to North Korea. If Prime Minister Kishida decides to meet Kim Jong Un, does the U.S. support such a meeting under any concerns?

Jake Sullivan (34:54):

So again, I can’t speak to a hypothetical of what may happen or may not happen. I’ve only just made the point, on a principled sustained basis the United States has supported diplomacy with North Korea as long as it fits into a broader approach that is well coordinated with us, with South Korea, and we should continue to work in that direction. And I can’t speak to any particular meeting because I don’t know the specifics of it. Thanks.

Speaker 23 (35:20):

[inaudible 00:35:21] Speak to the planned Isis attack on churches.

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:24):

Thank you so much Jake. We have about 10 minutes or so. I think some of you are tracking that the hostage families or the families of the hostages are going to be speaking at the sticks, and we want to give you all an opportunity to ask questions at like three o’clock.

Speaker 2 (35:48):

They’re just meeting with the Vice President?

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:48):

I believe so, yes. They just met with the Vice President. I shouldn’t say I believe so, yes they just met with or they’re meeting… or I’m not sure where they are in that process.

So don’t have too much time, but Joshua, it’s always good to see you. Go ahead.

Speaker 2 (36:00):

Good to see you. A quick following up on Arizona, other than calling for a national law, is there anything else the administration plans to do a response?

Karine Jean-Pierre (36:10):

I think we’ve been very vocal here. We’ve been very straightforward. We’ve been… I don’t know how more vocal and leaning into where we stand on this, which is with the majority of Americans, we believe and been very clear, the President, the Vice President, this administration, that we have to make sure that there is, when it comes to reproductive freedom, that it is available to all, to women, millions of women right now who are put in a incredibly difficult situation.

You all have read about the stories, you’ve all heard the stories about what women have to go to now because of these extreme restrictive bills that we have seen, laws that we have seen across the country. So we’re going to keep the issue of reproductive freedom at the forefront. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to continue to call it out. It is causing chaos.

What we saw this former president do in making sure that there were Supreme Court justices that he appointed, obviously to the Supreme Court, that overturned Roe V. Wade because of the Dobbs decision. And it’s created some awful stories, some chaos as I just mentioned. And so we’re going to continue to put that out at the forefront.

We believe that women’s lives are at stake across the country, and we’re just not going to stop speaking out. And obviously we’re going to ask Congress to legislate and make Roe v. Wade the law of the land. And that’s something that we’re going to continue to do.

Speaker 2 (37:37):

And then inflation’s at 3.2%. It’s higher than it was in January. Are there any concerns that the disinflation we saw last year is starting to stall out?

Karine Jean-Pierre (37:48):

I’m going to say that this is a president that is doing everything that we can to fight inflation, to build an economy from the bottom up, middle out. And we’ve been pretty consistent about that.

And what we have seen over the past several months is that inflation is down two-thirds and core inflation is at the lowest since May of 2021, that matters. Wages are rising faster than prices over the last year. Since the pandemic, we’ve seen 15 million jobs created because of the policies that this president has put forward. Some really historic, bipartisan, even legislation that’s come into law to help create those millions of jobs. Unemployment is at under 4%.

Is there more work to be done? Absolutely. We’re going to continue to do everything that we can to lower cost. We’re going to continue to take on big pharma, for example. We’re going to continue to lower housing costs, which we know really hurts families. And you hear a talk about junk fees, getting rid of junk fees and the gouging that we’re seeing from corporations. That’s also very important.

Congressional Republicans want to do the opposite. They want to cut Social security, Medicare, Medicaid, cutting taxes for the wealthy and big corporations. That’s not where the President is. You

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:00):

You heard him talk about it in depth during the State of the Union, and we’re going to continue to fight for Americans. So look, we see inflation is down. It is important, and we’re going to continue to build an economy that leaves no one behind.

Speaker 5 (39:12):

Thank you, Karine. In Michigan, the parents of a school shooter have just been sentenced to at least 10 years in prison. Does the White House think this precedent could impact the number of school shootings in the future? Does the President believe parents should be held accountable in this way?

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:29):

So, look, I don’t want to get ahead of the legal process here. There is a legal process, I want to be super careful, but the President obviously remains committed to stopping tragedies like these from happening. It is a tragedy that we’re seeing in all communities across the country. Ending the epidemic of gun violence that is tearing up communities is a priority for this President. We know that when it comes to guns, it is the number one killer of our children, and that shouldn’t be. So we know that most students who carry out the K-12 school shootings are using firearms they obtain from home, of a friend, or a family member. That’s why we recently announced new executive actions to help promote the safe storage of firearms, the U.S. Department of Education released guidance to help parents and families learn about the importance of safe firearm storage.

And the DOJ released a gun guide on best practices for safely storing firearms. Under the leadership of this President, of this administration, we’ll continue to use every tool at our disposal to implement these and other common-sense gun safety measures to protect our children. We’re going to continue to work. We did the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that you know that we passed in 2021, obviously, in a bipartisan way. That was important, but we need Congress to take another step. And so we’re going to continue to push Congress on taking more steps to get those weapons of war, if you will, off our streets. And that’s what the President wants to continue to do.

Speaker 5 (40:59):

So no reaction?

Karine Jean-Pierre (41:00):

No. I’m going to be super careful about the legal process. I’ve talked through, I just laid out I think in pretty detail about what we’re doing to make sure that, as we know, the K-12 students who carry out those types of horrific actions they easily have access to firearms. So we’re trying to, through DOJ, through an executive action, try to figure out and really help parents and folks really store their firearms in a way that this doesn’t happen. So we’ve taken actions and steps in those forms, in that way. And so, look, we’re going to continue to do what we can to work with Congress to do more. Go ahead, Mary.

Mary (41:36):

Just a follow-up on Jake’s comments on Rafah. He stopped short of saying that an invasion would lead to a change in U.S. policy. You want to see how these high-level talks and conversations play out. But the White House has been very public in warning Israel that if they don’t make concrete changes to address humanitarian suffering, there will be these changes. Why not extend that warning to an invasion that you clearly have very deep concerns about?

Karine Jean-Pierre (41:57):

So I want to be really careful. I mean, you had the National Security Advisor right in front of you, lay out where we are with the conversations. We had a virtual conversation. Jake was part of it. He just talked about how it took some hours. That happened just about a week ago. And the most important thing there is that there’s conversations happening with the Israeli government and our government, and they’re listening to what we’re saying, and obviously, we’re hearing them out, and we understand. I want to be really clear. We understand that there are Hamas operatives in Rafah, but there are also more than one million innocent civilians who are taking refuge in Rafah, and we want to make sure that they are protected. So a major military operations is not something that we support. We’ve been pretty consistent about that. Don’t want to get into hypotheticals here, but we believe that the conversations are happening.

They’ve been productive. That is important. There’s going to be a face-to-face conversation, in-person conversation that the Israeli government agreed to. So that’s going to happen. But those open line of communications, as the National Security Advisor was saying just moments ago from this podium, is continuing. They’re happening almost every day. And so just want to be super, super careful about not getting to hypotheticals. But we’re in conversation. They’ve been productive. We had one last week virtually, and we’re going to continue to make sure that we’re having those discussion and they hear from us directly about how we believe protecting those more than about 1.5 million civilians in Rafah. We got to protect those lives.

Speaker 1 (43:30):

When should we expect that US-Israel meeting to take place?

Karine Jean-Pierre (43:34):

I believe it’s going from what I’ve been hearing from our folks at National Security Council it’s going to be in a couple of weeks, but again, those open line of communication, there’s constant communication happening every day. But as it relates to this particular conversation, when they’re going to be here in person, the members of the Israeli government, that’s going to happen in a couple of weeks.

Speaker 24 (43:54):

Thank you, Karine. A couple of days ago in Dearborn, there were protesters chanting death to America and death to Israel. Does the President condemn that?

Karine Jean-Pierre (44:02):


Speaker 24 (44:03):

Is the President at all concerned that Dearborn is becoming, is facing a risk of becoming a hotbed of any sort of homegrown threat?

Karine Jean-Pierre (44:12):

I don’t have any intelligence to share with you on that. Obviously, that’s something that we’re always very vigilant about, but don’t have any national intelligence to share with you. But obviously we will condemn any violent rhetoric, which we have been very, I mean, you’re hearing from me, right? You’re asking me a question, I’m answering it. And we’ve been very vigilant about, or very consistent about, denouncing that type of rhetoric.

Speaker 24 (44:40):

Should we expect a statement from the President on that, though? I mean, it was a pretty significant display.

Karine Jean-Pierre (44:44):

I mean, you’re hearing from me. I think that’s important. The other part, too, that I do want to be very clear about, peaceful protest, is something that the President has also been very, very clear that is important to give folks space to peacefully protest, but any type of violent rhetoric we are going to denounce.

Speaker 24 (45:01):

And then, on some of the comments he made today, did the President mean to essentially accuse Republicans of murder? I mean, the language that he was using to describe opposition to the Affordable Care Act, the quote was, “They want to terminate the Affordable Care Act, terminate it. Well, guess what? Killing millions of Americans.” Does he think that Republicans are trying to kill Americans?

Karine Jean-Pierre (45:26):

I think you’re taking the most extreme, extreme definition or extreme evaluation of what the President said. Here’s the reality. The Affordable Care Act, which obviously started in the Obama-Biden administration, the President expanded on that, making sure that people have affordable healthcare that saves lives. It does. It is important-

Speaker 24 (45:48):

[inaudible 00:45:48] use other language, though. It’s stronger than usual.

Karine Jean-Pierre (45:51):

But you’re taking what he said to the most extreme part of your definition or your realization. I know, but let’s be really clear. Let’s be really clear. People having healthcare is important. It saves lives. It is important to have that. The fact that this President was able to expand that is important, right? We’re talking about people who didn’t have access to healthcare that could, whether they’re dealing with diabetes, or cancer, or something that is affecting their everyday life, right? And I think when you have a party that’s trying to get rid of social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and says it bluntly and wants to repeal, they tried to repeal affordable healthcare, or Affordable Care Act, to be more specific, more than 60 times, they literally voted on it when it is saving people’s lives. Why? Why do they do that?

Why? Do they not want Americans to have healthcare, affordable healthcare to protect themselves, to save their lives? I mean, that’s the question to be asked. The President’s trying to do the right thing. He’s trying to be where majority of Americans are and protect their healthcare, protect their Medicare, protect their Medicaid. And you don’t see that from the other side. You just don’t. He literally had a back and forth with them during the State of the Union about that. So, go ahead.

Speaker 8 (47:15):

On the nomination of Adeel Mangi, there are three Democrats publicly opposed. Does the administration feel like there are some winnable Republican votes here? And is the administration committed to filling this circuit court position by the end of the year, even if that means moving to the front of it all?

Karine Jean-Pierre (47:38):

Somebody’s door, I don’t know what’s happening. The chime. Everything’s okay here.

Speaker X (47:38):

It’s windy.

Karine Jean-Pierre (47:38):

It’s windy.

Speaker X (47:38):

It’s actually warm.

Karine Jean-Pierre (47:45):

But to your question, I’m not going to comment or respond to particular members. I will say what I’ve said many times from here is that the President is deeply proud to have nominated an extraordinarily qualified person for this position who is being targeted by malicious attacks. We know that. We have heard from the Anti-Defamation League. They made that clear; they debunked the right-wing smear campaign against Mr. Maji. They said it was profoundly wrong, and it is unfortunate that we’re seeing this. And so we’re fighting for him. We are continuing to have conversations with members of Congress about this. We’re committed to getting him through. And again, this President believes that he’s highly qualified and is proud to have nominated him to this position. We have one more question because we’re running out. Go ahead. Go ahead, Brian.

Brian (48:36):

Thanks a lot, Karine. I wanted to ask about the Mayorkas impeachment, how Republicans are planning to send articles of impeachment to the Senate. What is the President’s response to this, and has the President personally reach out to members of the Senate to talk about this?

Karine Jean-Pierre (48:51):

So the President spoke, I think, the last time they tried to do this and were unsuccessful. The President put out a statement, and he said that the history will not look kindly on House Republicans about this. It is a blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship. That’s what the President has said. He continues to believe that. Look, the President was in Madison, Wisconsin, yesterday. He talked about student loans. He talked about ways to give Americans a little bit more of breathing room, making sure that they can go after their dreams, making sure that borrowers who have been really crunched by student loans has an opportunity to get out from that. And that’s something that Republicans could be helpful with. But instead, they get in the way and block what the President is doing. But he’s going to continue to do that. There is a national security supplemental that could go to the floor in the House that the speaker can put to the floor.

We know it’d pass overwhelmingly. We know that it would protect our national security. It will help Ukraine, the brave people of Ukraine who are fighting for their democracy, help them. They are getting in the way of that. So look, there are ways. Let’s not forget the bipartisan border deal that the former President said to Republicans to reject that deal because it would help Joe Biden and hurt him. Who are they working for? Are they actually working for the constituents who put them into office? I mean, that’s a question for them to have to answer. Majority of Americans, the things that I just listed out, majority of Americans want to see action. They want to see us work in a bipartisan way. We saw that coming out of the 2022 midterm election. They want to see us come together and get things done. So House Republicans need to stop playing politics. They need to stop being partisan about these issues that matter to majority of Americans and get to work and get to work. We expect them to be leaders, but so do Americans expect them to be leaders as well.

Guys, I have to go because I know they’re going to go to the sticks, and I want to make sure that you guys get that. And so the President, obviously, is going to have the two plus two press conference tomorrow, and then we’ll be back on Thursday. Thanks, everybody.

Brian (50:51):

Thanks, Karine.

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