May 1, 2023

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 4/27/23 Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 4/27/23 Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsKarine Jean-Pierre White House Press Briefing TranscriptsPress Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 4/27/23 Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 4/27/23. Read the transcript here.

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Karine Jean-Pierre (00:00):

Good afternoon everybody.

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Good afternoon.

Karine Jean-Pierre (00:04):

Okay. Thank you. Thank you so much. Okay. Today marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of an executive order that codified the Lavender Scare, a dark chapter in our nation’s history when thousands of LGBTQI+ federal employees were investigated, interrogated, and fired because of who they were and whom they loved. In acknowledgement of this period, President Biden issued the first ever presidential proclamation to remember the Americans affected by this discrimination, honor the courage of those who fought to end this injustice, and celebrate the many important contributions of our nation’s LGBTQI+ public servants, including members of our armed forces. I have the great privilege of serving with some of these individuals every day who work here at the White House and across federal agencies on behalf of the American people.

Under President Biden, LGBTQI+ leaders are serving at the highest levels of government. We’ve got the first openly gay senate confirmed cabinet, the first openly transgender Americans to be confirmed by United States Senate, and the first open lesbian to serve at the ambassador level as well. Today, this administration joins Americans across the country to honor the lives impacted by the Lavender Scare and renew our commitment to equal rights for all. In this moment, when we are seeing attempts to erase LGBTQI+ history from classrooms, we are committed to telling it. Now today the Biden Harris Administration announced that the administration will impose sanctions targeted at actors who are involved in hostage taking or wrongful detentions in Russia and Iran, and those that provide them with material support. In doing so, the administration is for the first time deploying a new tool that was established under executive order by President Biden to impose severe economic cost on governments and groups that hold hostage or wrongfully detain Americans around the world.

Today’s sanctions afford the administration additional leverage to support negotiations and impose additional costs on those who are responsible for unjustly holding Americans against their will. This is just one of a series of actions both public and private the Biden Harris administration has been taking to deter and disrupt hostage taking and wrongful detentions and help bring Americans home. And finally, I want to mark that it’s Arab American Heritage Month, a time when we join together to celebrate the immeasurable contributions of Arab Americans to our nation. President Biden signed the first ever presidential proclamation for a national Arab American Heritage Month on March 31st, 2023. And earlier today, we had the opportunity to host a briefing for Arab American community leaders here at the White House to discuss our efforts to promote equity, protect the civil rights of Arab Americans, and all communities across the country. With that, Chris.

Chris (03:22):


Karine Jean-Pierre (03:22):

Hey, how are you?

Chris (03:23):

House Republicans pass legislation on the budget and debt limit. What is the White House response to this and do you feel like the ball is in your court now to you start negotiations with House Republicans [inaudible 00:03:35]?

Karine Jean-Pierre (03:34):

So a couple things I want to say about this and let’s just take a step back for a second. The United States has never in our history failed to pay our debts. That is something that we have never done ever again in our history of this country. We’re not a deadbeat nation. Avoiding default is Congress’s responsibility and they should act on it without pre-conditioned as they have done in Democratic and Republican administrations. And they should do that immediately. House Republicans are holding our economy hostage and threatening default, crashing the economy, jeopardizing hardworking Americans retirement, and causing millions of Americans to lose their jobs. As the President said yesterday, he’s happy to meet with Speaker McCarthy, but not on whether or not the debt limit gets extended. That is not negotiable. And we have been very clear about this for the past several months.

We have not minced words here. House Republicans are holding the economy hostage, threatening Americans’ jobs and retirement savings unless we and the Senate agree on an extreme MAGA wishlist of slashing education, veterans healthcare, and Meals on Wheels, taking away healthcare from millions of Americans and sending manufacturing jobs overseas. It’ll increase cost of working families, as I’ve talked about before from here at this podium and what this bill will do, it’ll kill jobs and it’s all to pay for tax cuts for the super rich and profitable companies. It’s not how we grow our economy. The president has been very clear how he sees our economy moving forward. He has actually put forth pieces of legislation and policy on how he sees the economy moving forward. And it’s not trickled down economics. It is building the economy from the bottom up, middle out, and making sure we leave no Americans behind. We leave no one behind. And what we’re seeing from what Republicans have put forward, it will leave people behind.

It will hurt Americans including veterans, including our seniors, just Americans across the board. So again, we took a step back. We are not negotiating on this. We have been very clear it is their constitutional duty to take action.

Chris (05:50):

So another question on the issue of screening within the military for extremism and other issues. Is the White House satisfied that the Pentagon’s doing a good enough job screening for these kinds of issues, given what we’re seeing come out of the classified leaker case?

Karine Jean-Pierre (06:06):

The president has confidence in the Department of Defense. So yes.

Chris (06:09):

Even that, they’re making it through the cracks.

Karine Jean-Pierre (06:10):

Look, as we know, there is a DOJ investigation that’s looking into it as you’re speaking to leaks. So certainly don’t want to get ahead of that. They’re going to do their investigation and they’re going to do what is needed moving forward. But again, the president has confidence in the Department of Defense.

Chris (06:26):

Last thing, administration announced new centers to process migrants in Columbia and Guatemala. Can the administration promise that these centers will uphold all humanitarian obligations and access legal counsel for people who are seeking asylum in the United States?

Karine Jean-Pierre (06:41):

So as you all know, the Department of State, the State Department, and also DHS made an announcement, had a press conference earlier today. It’s on YouTube. It was live streamed. So if any of you have questions or want to hear exactly what both secretaries said, so I would refer you to that. More broadly on your question on processing centers, I would say the regional processing center at the State Department and the DHS that they announced today will reduce unlawful migrant and cut out the smugglers. That is our focus. That is what we want to see happen. They reflect the president’s approach on immigration, which is working closely with our partners to manage the challenge that we are seeing together, not just us. We’re seeing this in the Western hemisphere as we have talked about.

These centers will be opening up in several countries, including Columbia and Guatemala as you just mentioned. Chris, we expect to announce additional countries soon. It’s all part of our approach to direct people to legal pathways from where they are. Rather than seeking generous disorderly pathways, we have been very clear we are going to put forth an immigration process that is humane, that is orderly. That is the goal that we have set forward. That is how we want to move forward in that process and do it very differently than it was done in the last administration.

Chris (07:57):

So there will be access to legal counsel for people at the centers?

Karine Jean-Pierre (07:59):

I would refer you to DHS and the State Department on the specifics on that because they will have all of the pieces to your question there. But what I want to say is we want to make sure that it is done in a humane way. That has been the president’s basically sense of how immigration reform is going to move in an orderly fashion. And that’s what we have done. That’s what we have done from day one. Go ahead.

Speaker 2 (08:24):

Thanks, Karine. The nation’s biggest business lobbying group, the US Chamber of Commerce, is now directly calling on the administration to sit down and negotiate on the debt limit, saying the administration to sit with congressional leaders, not delay to find a path to raise the debt ceiling and address runaway deficits. Will the president sit down with Speaker McCarthy, at least right now on the budget as you said he would yesterday?

Karine Jean-Pierre (08:48):

So been very clear, been very, very clear on this. Again, not mincing words here. What we have seen they’ve put together is an agenda, an extreme MAGA wishlist that basically says they’re connecting the two, right? They’re saying to the Senate, they’re saying to the president that we have to go with this agenda in its full form. And the president has said really clearly, when it comes to the debt ceiling, they cannot allow this to happen. This is the Republicans in the House. They cannot allow this to happen. It is their constitutional duty to do so. I’ve gotten this question that you’ve asked me many different ways. I’ve answered it the same way. I don’t have anything new to say. They should not allow any default, which they should not allow our economy to be held hostage here.

Speaker 2 (09:37):

Our Republican in the House have now passed a bill that would prevent a default. So at one rate, that doesn’t mean anything. It has to be a clean bill before the President will sit down at all-

Karine Jean-Pierre (09:46):

We have said very clearly they need to deal with what’s at stake here, what’s at hand, which is our economy, which is making sure that we do not default. We’ve never been a deadbeat nation and this is not the time to do that. And this is something that they’re supposed to be doing that they have done. I read through this with Democratic and Republican presidents. This is their basic constitutional duty to do. And so we’ve been very clear on this.

Andrea (10:19):

Just following up on the economy. First Republic is seemingly in trouble. They have a growing concern that the bank isn’t going to make it because the cost of their lending is higher than the cost what they’re taking in. Can you give us an update on how the administration is thinking about this situation at this regional bank after bailing out SVB and Signature earlier and guaranteeing those deposits. Is that something that you feel is going to be necessary First Republic, and what would be the argument against doing that?

Karine Jean-Pierre (10:57):

So Andrea, we’re continuing to monitor

Karine Jean-Pierre (11:00):

… [inaudible 00:11:00] the situation. A couple of things is that the Financial Stability Oversight Council, including Secretary Yellen, Chair Powell, and all the bank regulators, recently agreed, and this is a quote, “The US banking system remains sound and resilient.”

So we’ve taken, as you know, in the early 10 days, or two weeks or so, took decisive and forceful actions to give Americans confidence that their deposits are safe, and to give banks access to liquidity. Since our administration took those actions, we have seen deposits stabilize at regional banks. That is something that we’ve seen in the data. As the President, and Secretary Yellen, and Chair Powell have said, we have used important tools to quickly stabilize the banking system. We could use those tools again if needed. Certainly we are monitoring the situation, I just don’t have anything to preview from here.

Andrea (11:52):

Let me just follow up on that. So you said the deposits have stabilized, but the deposits have not stabilized at First Republic. They’ve seen a massive outflow of funding. Walk me through your argument. What differentiates SVB from First Republic? Why help one set of depositors but not another?

Karine Jean-Pierre (12:12):

Yeah. And so more broadly, across the regional banks, we have seen a stabilization. So, just want to be really clear in the deposits. That is something again, that came from Secretary Yellen, Chair Powell. Those are statements that they made, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, right? So just want to be very clear, more broadly. As it relates to this particular First Republic, we are monitoring the situation. I just laid out the actions that we have taken in the past, especially those really critical first couple of days, in the last situation. And so, we know what we can do. We know what’s in the tool belt, the tools that we have in front of us to use. We’re going to monitor the situation, and I will leave it to the experts to decide on when to take action.

But again, we have proven how we have moved really quickly in a decisive and forth taking decisive and forceful actions in the past, and I could assure you that you’ll see that again from this administration.

Andrea (13:10):

Okay, just one on Sudan. Do you have any update for us on evacuations and any efforts to extend the ceasefire there? Thank you.

Karine Jean-Pierre (13:17):

So a couple things that I have on that, so please bear with me, what we wanted to make sure that’s out there to all of you. So following intense negotiation, the Sudanese Armed Forces, SAF, and Rapid Support Forces, RSF, agreed to implement, as you all know, a 72-hour nationwide ceasefire starting at midnight, on April 24th. Which is about two days ago.

While there was an initial reduction in reports of violence, we are deeply concerned by the increase in ceasefire violations yesterday. We urge the SAF and the RSF to fully uphold and extend the ceasefire. As you heard from the National Security Advisor on Monday, Jake Sullivan, when he was here at this podium, the President has directed his team to help as many Americans as possible. We are working continuously to create options for American citizens to leave Sudan promptly because the situation could deteriorate at any moment, and we are communicating with citizens who have requested information about those options.

And again, at the President’s direction, we are actively facilitating the departure of American citizens who want to leave Sudan, by both air and land. So, something that you heard from the National Security Advisor as well. We have deployed US intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets to support air and land evacuation routes, which Americans are using. And we are moving naval assets within the region to be pre-positioned, to provide any necessary support along the coast.

US Africa Command has established a de-confliction cell to facilitate coordination with our allies and partners. In this effort, we are also supporting our allies and partners who are including Americans in their evacuation efforts. We are helping facilitate onward travel for American citizens who arrive in Port Sudan, including with our counselor teams afloat in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The State Department has deployed additional counselor staff to the region to assist with this effort. The State Department has a counselor team in direct communication with US citizens in Sudan that is working around the clock to advise them of their options to leave Sudan and provide information on the security environment.

One last point to make here, is that this is a dynamic environment and any option entails a degree of risk, but because the situation is unlikely to improve, we encourage Americans who want to leave, to take advantage of the options that are available to them in the next 24 to 48 hours.

[Inaudible 00:15:54].

Speaker 3 (15:55):

Given the President’s direction, what you’re saying right now, a number of other countries have evacuated citizens over the course of the last several days and taken advantage of the ceasefire the US helped put into place. The US still has not. What is different about your risk assessment right now, or security assessment, than what other countries are looking at, as they’ve gone in and gotten their people out?

Karine Jean-Pierre (16:16):

So, I want to be… As you know, when it comes to risk assessments and intelligence, we’re very careful to not speak to that, but we’ve been pretty clear in laying out and communicating with the American people. You’ve heard us here from the National Security Advisor. You heard it from the State Department, from Secretary Blinken directly.

And we have been clear on what the President… Laying out, which is what I did. Laying out at the President’s direction, what we have done, how we’ve moved forward, how we’ve worked with allies and partners to get Americans out. And we’ve been pretty clear about this for the past several months, for the past year, of the situation in Sudan.

And so, we’re going to continue to have those conversations. As I just mentioned, there are counselor services… A counselor team that’s there, that’s trying to help Americans who want to leave in any way that we can. And so again, we’re going to continue to have those communication, but I’m certainly not going to get into any intelligence, or how that’s come about, or how we come to certain kind of intelligence, surveillance, or reconnaissance.

Speaker 3 (17:22):

Yeah, I understand on that front. I think my question, one, the security [inaudible 00:17:26] of the State department over the course of the last year never told people to leave. We told people never to travel there.

Karine Jean-Pierre (17:29):

Yep. That’s true.

Speaker 3 (17:31):

The people that live there, that are now trying to get out.

Karine Jean-Pierre (17:32):


Speaker 3 (17:32):

What I’m trying to understand is the difference between what the US sees and why they will not send in assets to evacuate, versus other countries that have over the course of the last several days. Clearly there’s something that’s being seen. I’m not asking for intelligence, I’m just saying, can you explain the process here, given the President’s directive to help?

Karine Jean-Pierre (17:50):

No, I understand. And what I was saying is that we’ve been communicating with the American people for the past year, right? Level 4, that was out there for some time now.

Look, we have deployed US intelligence, surveillance, and recognizant assets to support air and land evacuations routes. That is something that we have done, and which Americans are indeed using. And we are moving naval assets. I remember you asked me that just two days ago, and I talked about that, within the region to be pre-positioned to provide any necessary support along the coast. That is something that we have done. This is something that… Jake Sullivan himself, spoke to this on Monday. I’m just not going to go beyond what Jake said.

But again, we have provided some, again, intelligence, surveillance, and recognizant assets to support that air and land evacuation routes, but I’m not going to get ahead. Even when Jake was here, he was also very mindful in answering that question.


Speaker 4 (18:45):

Following up on the question you were asked about the Chamber of Commerce saying administration should now meet with congressional leaders without delay. The Business Roundtable also said it hoped that the house passage will jumpstart bipartisan negotiations. So are you concerned that the business community will blame the President if he doesn’t negotiate and the government defaults?

Karine Jean-Pierre (19:03):

What I have been very clear about and what we’re concerned, is about what House Republicans are doing, and what they are threatening and have been threatening for some time. Which is to hold our economy hostage and a potential default, which we have never done, which we have never done. And that is why we’re going to continue to say to them, call them out, and say they need to do their constitutional duty. This is their job. This is their job to do. They did it three times under the last administration. We’ve been very clear about this. This is not confusing. This should not be confusing for them.

Speaker 4 (19:37):

Why are you confident the public will see it that way and lay the blame on them and not on the administration?

Karine Jean-Pierre (19:44):

Well, we’ve been very clear about the bill they put forward, what’s in that bill. Right? We’ve talked about it numerous times. The President has talked about it, I talked about it, and we’re going to continue to communicate with the American people.

When you think about a 22% tax cut… Or cut, I should say, to programs that Americans really need… Whether it’s a veterans program, whether it’s Meals on Wheels, whether it’s healthcare, whether it’s education, that’s what they put forward. That’s what House Republicans voted on just yesterday.

And so, we’re going to continue to be very clear on that. And it is their constitutional duty, and they have to make sure that we are not a deadbeat nation. That’s what’s happening here. We cannot be a deadbeat nation. We have never failed in history to pay our debts.

Go ahead. And then I’ll come around. Okay.

Ed (20:37):

It’s me. Thank you.

Karine Jean-Pierre (20:41):

Yes, Sebastian.

Ed (20:41):

Hello. Hello.

Karine Jean-Pierre (20:41):

Sorry. You, Sebastian.

Ed (20:42):

Thank you very much. So two questions, all right? Very different. One, Papua New Guinea, the government there says that the President is going to be visiting at the time of his Asia trip. Can you comment on that?

Karine Jean-Pierre (20:52):

We don’t have anything to preview on any additional travel. As you know, we announced the G7 and the Quad yesterday, I believe, in a statement from me. But I just don’t have anything additional to announce at this time.

Ed (21:04):

Okay, and on the debt ceiling… This used to be a kind of theoretical parlor game thing, like what will happen if there’s actually a debt cliff and you go over it? Now it’s actually getting close enough. And if the two sides stick to their guns… And the President clearly is sticking to his guns on this, if there’s a default, is he gaming out what will be a plan B to actually stop the crisis? Is the trillion-dollar coin, the 14th Amendment of these things, being teed up?

Karine Jean-Pierre (21:29):

All of the things that you just listed, that’s clearly something that the US Treasury, right, is going to speak to. I’m not going to speak from here on that. But look, really, this is a question for the Congress. It is their constitution. I cannot say this enough from here, and I know you probably get tired of me saying this from here over and over again, but it is true. It is their constitutional duty to get this done. It is. They did it three times. Democrats joined Republicans three times in the last administration

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:00):

… to get this done, to make sure that we did not default, to make sure that we were not a deadbeat nation. So again, this is something that they need to do. It’s very simple. Avoiding default is a constitutional obligation Congress has to the American people. That is their obligation, not to us, not to this president, but to the American people. [inaudible 00:22:23] April.

Speaker 5 (22:23):

Karine, two questions, two different questions. One, Carolyn Bryant has died. She’s the woman who accused Emmett Till 67 years ago of whistling at her, ultimately creating the atmosphere for him to be lynched and killed. And 67 years after the President signed into law the first ever anti-lynching act in this nation, federal anti-lynching act, what does this White House say and the President say about her death as there’s no justice for Emmett Till’s mother now.

Karine Jean-Pierre (22:58):

So the President was very proud to sign the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act into law this past spring. As you just mentioned, April, this is something that he was very proud to do. He also hosted, as you know, civil rights leaders for a screening of the film Till at the White House just this past February. At February’s screening the President said, “Only with truth comes healing and justice.” So the White House has worked hard to honor the legacy of Emmett Till and his mom. We will continue that work alongside the brave leaders across our country, his family, civil rights leaders, continuing the fight against racial hatred. And that’s what the American people should know, that the President is committed, committed to dealing with this crisis that we see in front of us and dealing with this racial hatred that we see across the country.

Speaker 5 (23:52):

And last question, you had Tennessee Three here and we know what happened in Tennessee. Let’s go to Montana, the Montana State legislature. It seems similar in a lot of ways, shutting down someone, a state lawmaker who is in protest of something that they feel is wrong. What do you say to that and what is the President saying and what is the White House doing in the midst of seeing, now, these legislatures shut down people who are doing what democracy speaks of, trying to strengthen it?

Karine Jean-Pierre (24:30):

Well, as you know, when the Tennessee Three, as they’re called was, as you know, peacefully protesting and they faced expulsion. Clearly, now, the two that were expelled are now back serving as state legislators. The President called that un-American when they were expelled, and it’s unfortunate that we’re seeing that. We’re seeing this kind of behavior as it relates to Montana, more specifically. We’re seeing devastating pieces of legislation across the country and state houses aimed at taking away freedoms, aimed at attacking people for who they are, especially our young people.

These bills cause families to live in fear. They’re creating great uncertainty about how they will receive the care they need. This is specifically to Montana. And again, when you see these types of things, silencing an elected representative in an attempt to suppress their message is a denial of democratic values. It is undemocratic. The Biden-Harris administration continues to stand with transgender and LGBTQI leaders and their families across the country in the face of extreme attacks, and so we’ll continue to do that.

Speaker 5 (25:56):

And then lastly, I want to ask a question because we understand that transgender youth are some of the most vulnerable youth now in this nation. What do you say from that podium, if someone in that community and the LGBTQ+ plus community, to those young people in Montana and beyond in the midst of this moment?

Karine Jean-Pierre (26:20):

Well, the President has been very clear in his message to the LGBTQI+ community, in particular as we’re seeing these… I believe there’s more than 600 bills coming out of state houses across the country. Majority of those bills or few hundred of those bills go after trans community, especially our trans kids and their families. And the President has been very clear in saying, “We have their backs. We will continue to support them.” The President has a history and a record on supporting this community and he’ll continue to do that.

I believe I am here and many of us who are here believe in this President’s record, believes in how he wants to move forward to protect people’s rights, protects people’s freedom, of course, but also let people be who they are and allow them to love who they want. And that is just a basic, a basic principle and also that is who we are as a country. Those freedoms and just to be yourself, and so that is something that the President’s going to continue to say. We have their backs and I’ll just leave it there. [inaudible 00:27:28]

Speaker 6 (27:27):

Thank you, Karine. A few on the immigration thing today and then one other, and I’m asking actually that immigration one’s in part on behalf of Spanish-speaking organizations that can’t be here today. This intention to expel non-Mexicans back to Mexico. Right now, they take about 10,000 under Title 42, but as far as we can tell, Mexico has yet to say publicly that they will continue to take non-Mexicans and that it might exceed the 10,000 or so they’re currently taking. Has the US secured a commitment yet from Mexico to take non-Mexicans, and is there any sense of how many they may be willing to take on either a weekly or monthly basis?

Karine Jean-Pierre (28:08):

So more broadly on your question about the deportations in Mexico, we intend to continue this process with Mexico under Title 8. That is our intention and that’s how we’re going to move forward. The question on how many, that is something that CBP is always planning for various different scenarios and that is something that they do and don’t want to go beyond that. Certainly that’s something that Department of Homeland Security is going to be dealing with specifically and directly.

Speaker 6 (28:41):

So in plain English for the uninitiated who may be watching or listening, under Title 8, that means you can keep sending them back to Mexico and that already agreement exists.

Karine Jean-Pierre (28:52):

That’s our intention. Those are the conversation. I’m not going to get into diplomatic conversations from here, but certainly, look, as I just stated, that’s what we intend to do but not going to get ahead. This is something the Department of State, that’s diplomacy, as they deal with other countries and Homeland Security, as well, in partnership.

Speaker 6 (29:10):

The centers that are going to be set up in Guatemala and Colombia and then eventually elsewhere, they are not being set up at US embassies or US consulates, correct?

Karine Jean-Pierre (29:22):

That part, I would refer you to Department of State.

Speaker 6 (29:25):

Understanding, let’s say, that they are not and that it’s some kind of third party who’s setting it up, already there are some concerned that, in essence, the United States is outsourcing US immigration decisions to either other countries or international organizations or the United Nations. Is that what’s being done? So

Karine Jean-Pierre (29:42):

So what I can say, there will be open soon before May 11th, any additional information that will come out of Department of State and Department of Homeland Security. That is something that lives with them and they will share more of the details on that.

Speaker 6 (29:57):

Just one other. 2024 mechanics, in the realm of the hat check that I know we’re very sensitive about around here-

Karine Jean-Pierre (30:03):

I appreciate that.

Speaker 6 (30:06):

… we now know that Julie Chavez Rodriguez, who’s set to be the campaign manager, is still on the White House payroll, doesn’t plan to leave until the week of May 15th. We also have learned that there are some senior West Wing officials who plan to, in essence, split their time officially with the campaign in keeping with what previous administrations have done. Has there been an edict yet or some kind of memo sent out across the West Wing saying, ” If you’re interested in doing that, if you’re planning to do that, let us know,” or any kind of distribution of reminder of the rules or how that’s going to work?

Karine Jean-Pierre (30:37):

So first on Julie, I just want to say a couple of things here. She will not onboard with the campaign until her federal services have concluded and will continue to adhere to all legal and ethical obligations, so I want to make sure that is clear. And you are correct, her last day here is going to be specifically May 16th, but again, not going to speak for the campaign so I just want to be very clear about how she is going to move forward before she leaves and we will follow all protocol and certainly follow the rule of law.

And I think I mentioned this too. There will be some White House staffers, which is not unusual, which is the norm as I think you were trying to state to me, but we just don’t have a list of who they will be, who will be able to have the ability to split their time. I just don’t have a list of who those folks are going to be at this time.


Jacqui (31:35):

Thanks, Karine. The L.A. Times said that their reporter did not submit any questions in advance of yesterday’s press conference, so to people who saw that pocket card, can you explain how that ended up there and why the President needed something like that?

Karine Jean-Pierre (31:50):

So just to step back, and I’m actually glad you asked that question. Clearly, I would let the reporter for Los Angeles Times speak for herself. It is entirely normal for a president to be briefed on reporters who will be asking questions at a press conference and issues that we expect they might ask about. It is not surprising that yesterday we would anticipate questions that he did receive, right, on the visit with the South Korean president as the South Korean president was standing to his right, or about 2024. That was completely expected. Or about the debt ceiling, which he took questions at the end, shouted questions at the end, and, of course, we would note those issues to him likely come up.

And let’s not forget, we do these briefings every day and a lot of the questions that you all tell me, that’s how we brief him as well. You all ask me. That’s how we brief him as well. So, look, we do not have specific questions in advance. That’s not something that we do and, in fact, I would point out the question that was asked was different than what was on the card that you all saw.

Karine Jean-Pierre (33:00):

Look, again, we have these press conferences. The president takes your questions. Our job is to get a sense of what you all want to ask him. That is our job here, to get a sense of what’s the news of the day, the topics you all are interested to ask of him so that we are all, not just him, we are all prepared to take that seriously and to take that in a way that is going to be reported from our point of view because we know that you all are reporting out to the American people and want to make sure you get our point of view of how we see these different issues that I even just laid out, whether it’s 2024, whether it is what has been discussed or the agenda with the president of South Korea. Again, we take this very seriously, and we want to make sure that we’re providing information that’s helpful to you and the American people.

Jacqui (33:51):

How were the reporters decided?

Karine Jean-Pierre (33:55):

The way that we have moved forward with this type of process is that we reach out to a number of reporters who we know are going to be at the press conference. That’s what we did yesterday. Also, we try to be really mindful on who has not gotten a question in a while. As you know, we could only pick two reporters yesterday, so that limits our ability on how many reporters we can call on. Mary’s not here, but I can say one of the reasons that we picked Mary is because she was just named a chief White House correspondent for ABC and had not gotten a question in some time. And we picked the Los Angeles Times, which has not gotten a question in some time.

I want to add the fact that California has the largest Korean American population in any state in the country, and LA has the biggest population of any city in America, and LAT is the biggest daily paper serving that population. So we are mindful on who we pick and who we want to communicate out to. So that’s how we moved forward with Mary and Courtney. We thought that is pretty reasonable, as we have the South Korean president with us during this press conference because we wanted to also communicate with the Korean Americans. So that’s usually how we move this process forward.

Jacqui (35:19):

Isn’t your-

Speaker X (35:19):

[inaudible 00:35:20].

Jacqui (35:19):

I’m sorry.

John (35:19):

Karine? Is it your contention, Karine-

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:21):

I’m not taking call-

John (35:23):

… that the question that was-

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:23):

Jacqui’s not done.

John (35:23):

… on the so-called cheat sheet was not similar-

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:25):

Jacqui, your colleague question-

John (35:27):

… to the question that was asked at the press conference?

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:28):

Your colleague is not done. Go ahead. Go ahead.

John (35:30):

It’s a very reasonable question.

Jacqui (35:31):

[inaudible 00:35:32] to take-

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:32):

I hear you. Can you wait your turn?

John (35:35):


Karine Jean-Pierre (35:35):

Thank you. Thank you, John. I appreciate that. I really do. Go ahead, [inaudible 00:35:38].

Jacqui (35:39):

Just to be clear, the people, skeptics who saw the card and saw the question number one and might think that that is a signal that it was pre-organized, did the president have other questions that he was prepared… had similar talking points in case he was asked something on other topics in that same…?

Karine Jean-Pierre (35:56):

Jacqui, as someone who is part of the prep briefing with the president for these press conference as his press secretary, we talk about an array of topics that could potentially come up. That’s what we do. Just at the end, there was shouted questions, and he took those shouted questions. We also had a sense that he might get something on the debt ceiling, which makes a lot of sense, which is one of the news of the day. So we cover an array of topics. It’s not just the two Americans who asked questions. It was also the two South Korean reporters who asked questions. So we do our best to make sure that the president is ready to communicate with all of you and the American people. Yeah, we covered an array of issues, but of course, there are probably the top three, top five topics, hot items that you all are interested in. That’s how we move forward.

Jacqui (36:49):

The last one, just on that shouted question that he did respond to on the debt ceiling. Having heard your response to questions that were answered already here today, you’ve had now Democrats saying that Republicans have come to the table, might not like what they came to the table with, but it’s time for the dialogue. How long can this posture from the president last before it feels like intellectually dishonest to say they’re holding the economy hostage and not raising the debt ceiling when they did pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling and that the argument’s really about the budget cuts, the spending cuts, and not about whether or not the debt ceiling gets raised?

Karine Jean-Pierre (37:34):

I have to say, Jacqui, I disagree with the intellectually dishonest. That is certainly not how we see ourselves here because we’ve been very, very clear that they need to deal with the debt ceiling. They need to not default. It is a constitutional duty. Again, this is not to us. This is to the American people. If you think-

Jacqui (37:56):

[inaudible 00:37:56] cuts without conditions.

Karine Jean-Pierre (37:57):

No, but-

Jacqui (37:57):

Unless it’s a clean bill, they won’t talk.

Karine Jean-Pierre (37:59):

I’ve been very clear. Without conditions, we will not negotiate. There’s nothing new there. What you’re seeing that the House Republicans have done is they said, and I’ve said this before, this is nothing new that I’m about to say, unless the President and the Senate agree to an extreme MAGA wish list, slashing, slashing education, veterans’ healthcare, Meals on Wheels, taking away healthcare from millions of American and sending manufacturing jobs overseas, they’re going to default and crash the economy. We’ve said this over and over and over again and been very clear. The president does not agree with this bill. He believes and we believe and the American people deserve this, that they need to do their constitutional duty. They need to do this so that we are not holding… they are not holding, not we, they are not holding our American economy hostage. We cannot be a deadbeat nation. We cannot be.

Jacqui (38:55):

[inaudible 00:38:55] unless it’s a clean debt, though.

Karine Jean-Pierre (38:56):

Look, we’ve been very clear about this. We’ve been very, very clear. I appreciate the question.

Jacqui (39:01):

[inaudible 00:39:02].

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:03):

Oh, okay. Let me just take a question from the back.

Ed (39:05):

[inaudible 00:39:06].

John (39:05):

[inaudible 00:39:06].

Speaker X (39:07):


Karine Jean-Pierre (39:07):

Well, I just took a bunch of questions on this. I want-

John (39:10):

You literally just told me that you would come back to me.

Ed (39:10):

Different question.

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:12):

You also-

John (39:13):

But you literally-

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:13):

… screamed-

John (39:14):

You literally just told me [inaudible 00:39:15].

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:15):

I said wait your turn, but now we’re running out of time. Go ahead, Ed.

John (39:17):

[inaudible 00:39:18].

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:18):

Go ahead, Ed. Go ahead, Ed.

Ed (39:19):

I wanted to ask you about the Inflation Reduction Act. The Penn Wharton Budget Model just came out, which I realize you probably haven’t seen. It released new cost estimates previously saying that it would cost $385 billion over 10 years. The new estimate, based on implementation details for the climate provision, is now more than a trillion dollars over 10 years. Is government spending a concern for this president?

Karine Jean-Pierre (39:43):

Look, and I did see this report, the higher score reflects that the Joint Committee on Taxation assumption that the Inflation Reduction Act will spur more manufacturing projects and more clean energy deployment than when JCT originally scored the bill. That is a good thing. It means more private sector investments, more American manufacturing, more jobs, more secure supply chains, and lower costs for American families thanks to cutting-edge technologies.

Even with the new score, the Inflation Reduction Act still reduces the deficit over the long run, as you know, I know you followed this very closely, outside of the 10 years because it looks at it in a decade. The Inflation Reduction Act increasingly reduces the deficit as time passes, including that second decade, as I was just mentioning, and beyond. Moreover, a number of experts have said that the CBO likely underestimated the deficit reduction from the Inflation Reduction Act’s cracked down on rich tax cheats. An expert from the Treasury Department, two former IRS commissioners, and Treasury Secretary say the law’s provision to make the wealthy pay what they already owe will reduce the deficit by more, even hundreds of billions more than CBO estimates. I will take one last question in the back.

Speaker X (40:57):

[inaudible 00:40:58].

Karine Jean-Pierre (40:58):

I’m going to go way in the back. Way in the back, way in the back.

Speaker 7 (41:03):

Thank you, Karine. Two national security related questions. Is there going to be any planning or at least discussion of changing the structure of intelligence that came in post-9/11 with the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency in light of the recent leaks that have come out? Is that under discussion?

Karine Jean-Pierre (41:29):

Totally understand the question. As I said many times before, my colleagues at NSC have said many times before, it is under the Department of Justice. This is an investigation ongoing. Just not going to get ahead of that. Clearly, there’s was some announcement made from the Department of Defense, so I’m just going to leave it there. Just don’t want to get ahead of any of that.

Speaker 7 (41:49):

In Sudan, there is more and more reports coming out about the ties of warlord Hemedti, the insurgent, to Russia, and particularly his own connection to the gold that’s in Khartoum. Would the US recognize him if he came to power and wins the ongoing Civil War?

Karine Jean-Pierre (42:14):

Look, we’ve been very clear about our concerns and how we want to continue to see the ceasefire occur. As you know, it was set for 72 hours on April 24th. We’ve been very clear on how we think that should move forward. I’m just not going to get ahead or speak to your hypotheticals. The young lady in the back.

Speaker 8 (42:35):


Karine Jean-Pierre (42:36):


Speaker 8 (42:36):

This is my first time [inaudible 00:42:38].

Karine Jean-Pierre (42:38):

It’s okay. Don’t be nervous.

Speaker 8 (42:40):

My question is, what is the most difficult part about being press secretary? [inaudible 00:42:51] inspiring to me. Maybe I want to be a press secretary.

Karine Jean-Pierre (42:54):

Oh, you should definitely be press secretary. Oh my goodness. I love that. I love that me being here inspires you to be press secretary. I have to say that is the most beautiful thing that I’ve heard today. I’m not going to speak to the negative here. I’m only going to speak to the positive. Who’s your parent? Who are you here with?

Speaker 8 (43:15):

Ah, her and [inaudible 00:43:16].

Karine Jean-Pierre (43:17):

Okay, all right. Well, it’s good to see you. Welcome to the Briefing Room. Hopefully, we will see you behind this podium sometime soon.

Speaker 8 (43:24):

Thank you.

Karine Jean-Pierre (43:24):

All right, everybody, I’ll see you Monday. Have a great, great…

Speaker X (43:27):

Thank you.

Karine Jean-Pierre (43:28):

See, isn’t the White House more fun?

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