Jul 6, 2022
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 7/05/22 Transcript
Whitehouse Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 7/05/22. Read the transcript here.
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Karine Jean-Pierre: (00:00)
All right. Good afternoon, everybody.
Speaker 1: (00:03)
Karine Jean-Pierre: (00:04)
I hope everyone had a restful long weekend. I actually don’t have anything for you at the top. I know you guys are always excited to hear what I got to say. But Darlene, you want to kick us off?
Yes, thank you very much. Is the White House looking into the possibility of having the president visit Highland Park? The death toll there has risen to seven this afternoon.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (00:25)
So the president, as you all know, is going to be traveling to Ohio tomorrow to discuss the American rescue plan, so that’s the trip that he’s going to be making tomorrow. We don’t have any plans right now to go to Chicago. I know some folks were asking if he’s going to go to Chicago, will he go? I mean, if he’s going to go to Ohio, is he going to go to Chicago? The vice president is going to be there and she will speak to the devastation that we all saw with our own eyes yesterday in Highland Park. But I don’t have anything to share about for the president’s travel tomorrow. Again, he’ll go to Ohio where he’s going to talk about the rescue plan, the special financial assistant program in particular, this program will provide financial relief to millions of workers in multi-employer plans, who face significant cuts to their pensions through no fault of their own. But again, nothing to share about him going to Chicago at this time.
Not necessarily tomorrow though, but later this week, next week?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:28)
We just don’t have anything to share, but again, the vice president’s going to be there today, she will certainly speak to the tragedy that we saw yesterday. The president spoke to this yesterday during the 4th of July in a very forceful way and laying out how he and the first lady saw the tragedy and we even had a moment of silence. But we are not planning right now, at this moment, I don’t have any plans of a future trip to Chicago.
And since you mentioned the Ohio trip tomorrow, when the president is in Cleveland, which is relatively near Akron, do you expect him to address at all the fatal police shooting of Jayland Walker?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (02:05)
I don’t have anything to share on that either, whether he is going to potentially, I know it’s about 45 minutes from Cleveland where the shooting happened. Just right now, we’re going to be focusing on the trip that we have planned, which is to talk about the American rescue plan and how to help the American public.
And then one final question, can you talk about the status of the letter that Brittany Griner sent to the president? Has he been briefed on it? Has he even read it? Griner’s wife was on television this morning, she really wants to hear from the president. Will he reach out to her in any fashion?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (02:40)
So I can say that the president did read the letter, I was there when he read the letter. This is something Brittany Griner being held in Moscow, we believe she’s being wrongfully detained in Moscow at this time. This is an issue that is a priority for this president. As you have heard us say before, he believes that any US national that is held abroad or detained or held hostage abroad, we need to bring back safely. And we are going to use every tool that we possibly can to make that happen. Again, this is a priority for the president.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (03:18)
I do want to share that on Saturday, Mrs. Griner spoke with national security advisor, Jake Sullivan. That is their second call in the past about 10 days that they have spoken. Secretary Blinken also spoke with Mrs. Griner as well recently. I don’t have anything else to read out as far as a potential call or a meeting with her family. But clearly, we believe she’s wrongfully detained, we believe she needs to come home, she should be home as well as Paul Whelan as well who’s being held and any other US nationals who is being wrongfully detained abroad.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (03:54)
Speaker 2: (03:54)
Hi Karine, just to follow up on that, Griner’s coach said, if this was LeBron, she would be home, right? It’s a statement about the value of women, it’s a statement about a black person, a statement about the value of a gay person, all of those things we know is true. Do you see this as a double standard?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (04:15)
This is a president who has put all of the things that you just laid out, the LGBTQ community, women, people of color, he has fought for those communities throughout his career and you have seen that in policies that he has put forward. Again, this is a priority for this president, he’s doing everything that he can. The White House is closely coordinating as well with the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, who has met with Brittney’s family, her teammates and her support network. So we are going to continue to have those conversations and we’re going to make sure that she and others get home safely.
Speaker 2: (04:57)
And just to follow up since this is a priority for the president, I mean, she’s been detained for month now. Her wife told CBS this morning that she still has not heard from Biden. And honestly, it’s very disheartening. I know it’s a priority, but why has it taken this long? And why has it taken a letter from Griner in jail to reach the president, to make this a priority?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (05:17)
Look, this has been on top of mind for the president. I was there when he read the letter and he takes this to heart. He takes this job very seriously, especially when it comes to bringing home US nationals who are wrongfully detained. And you saw the work that his administration did to bring home Trevor Reed. That is the same work, the same focus that we did and put behind bringing Trevor Reed home, we’re going to do the same with Brittany Griner and others. So again, this is a priority, we are going to make this happen. We have been in constant communications, Secretary Blinken the special envoys I just listed out and also Jake Sullivan, our national security advisor. We’re going to continue to have those conversations and we’re going to continue to make sure we use everything at our disposal to bring her home and also Paul Whelan and all the other US nationals that are abroad. [inaudible 00:06:19]
Thanks Karine. How did the president go from blaming high gas prices on Putin to big oil, to small business owners now?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (06:26)
Well, here’s the thing about that, Peter, is as of this morning, when you look at the crude oil and when you look at wholesale oil prices as well, they’ve declined about 15%. And so retail gas prices however, have only declined just about 3% over the same time period, as we have seen with the crude oil prices and the wholesale gas prices. And meanwhile, those same retailers, their profit have gone up nearly 40 cents in that same period of time. So what the president is saying, is that everyone along that chain, along that production chain line needs to make sure that they’re doing what is possible, their part in bringing down the cost for the American people, that is what we’re asking. Consumers should not be the first to pay and the last to benefit
Jeff Bezos says the president’s tweet about this is, “Either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.” Which is it?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (07:33)
As you know, we completely disagree with Jeff Bezos. Look, we will continue to call on everyone along that distribution chain as I just mentioned, from oil companies to refineries, to distributors, to retailers, to pass their lower cost through to consumers. That is what is important to make sure that we should not make, again, consumers pay first and get that relief last.
Okay. And then on a different topic, why is there a voicemail of the president talking to his son about his overseas business dealings, if the president has said, he’s never spoken to his son about his overseas business dealings?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (08:12)
Well, first I’ll say that what the president said stands. So if that’s what the president said, that is what stands and second-
He’s leaving a voicemail-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (08:20)
About a New York Times article-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (08:21)
Concerning hundred lines-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (08:24)
Business dealings. And he says, “I think you’re clear.” How is that not him talking to his son about his overseas business dealings?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (08:32)
From this podium I’m not going to talk about alleged materials from a laptop. I will-
So are you disputing it was the presidents voice on the voicemail?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (08:39)
I’m not going to talk about alleged materials on a laptop. It’s not happen.
Are you disputing then that it is not-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (08:44)
Peter, I refer you to his son’s representative.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (08:51)
Speaker 3: (08:52)
Thanks, Karine. The president said the other day that he would meet with governors and then consider some more potential executive actions in response to Roe. So now that meeting has happened, is there anything on the table that you are considering in terms of executive actions?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (09:06)
So as we have said, all options are on the table. The president is going to do everything that he can from his legal authority to make sure that we’re protecting women’s freedoms and women’s rights, so that still stands, that still is something that we are going to do. I don’t have an executive action to speak to at this time. As you know, when the decision came down almost two weeks ago, the president took quick action and he announced some executive authorities that we believe protect women ensure that they can get healthcare access as quickly as possible. As far as executive actions, I don’t have anything for you.
Speaker 3: (09:47)
Really quickly, is there an update on when the president will make a decision on the Chinese tariffs? And will he be speaking to President Xi before he makes that decision?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (09:55)
So I don’t have a timeline for you on that. The president’s team is continuing to look at our options on how to move forward. As you know, the president and President Xi had a conversation back in March and we continue to leave all communications lines open from the president on down. Go ahead.
Speaker 4: (10:14)
Just following up on that, the president did say he would have specific announcements out of the meeting. So has he changed his view on that there isn’t anything to announce right now?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (10:22)
No, not at all. I don’t think he’s changed his view on that. Again, he’s going to do everything in his illegal legal authority to make sure that we protect women and their freedoms and their rights, the best that he can from again, his legal authority. I just don’t have anything for you to share at this time.
Speaker 4: (10:38)
It just sounded like he had something in the pipeline then.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (10:40)
Once we have something, we will be sure to share it.
Speaker 4: (10:43)
On the matter of the Griner letter, now that the president has read it, does he feel it is the type of an outreach to him that he would want to do some kind of personal response back in a letter form or in some other way to Griner, if that is doable through channels or to her wife or family members, to have a direct response from the president?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (11:04)
Well, you all read the letter I presume, it was out there in the press, and it is a deeply personal letter. As you know, this president takes that very personally as well. Brittany Griner talked about the 4th of July, which we just celebrated yesterday, talking about freedom and how different it means for her. You heard the president’s speech, which was also very powerful yesterday, speaking about that in the time and the moment that we’re in. I don’t have anything to share about if he’s going to respond or what that would look like. I can confirm again, that he has read the letter and it was, as we all know, deeply personal, and we are going to do everything, the president’s going to do everything that he can in his power to bring her home along with other US nationals who are being wrongfully detained abroad.
Speaker 4: (11:54)
And any follow up on the energy meeting that Secretary Granholm held? And the president had said he was looking for solutions from the oil companies and so forth, has there been anything brought back to the president for him to review or any updates on that?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (12:10)
So as you know, that meeting went very well. We even heard from some of the CEOs who came out of that meeting as well, we did a readout. We are still looking to get to solution. We think that was a first step, there’s going to be more conversations. We just don’t have more to share on the specific next steps and what has been presented to the president. But clearly, we’re looking for solutions, we want to get that capacity up. We want to make sure that refineries are increasing their capacity so that we can get gasoline out there, we can get diesel out there, so that the cost for the American people come on down. And so that’s what we’re going to continue to work on. Go ahead.
Speaker 5: (12:48)
Thanks Karine. On the China tariffs again, AFL-CIO and other labor unions have urged the president not to use these tariffs. The president is going to Ohio tomorrow. The Democratic Senate candidate, Tim Ryan has also said this would be a major mistake to use those tariffs. So how would-
Speaker 5: (13:03)
… and Ryan has also said this would be a major mistake to use those tariffs. So how is the president weighing those concerns among labor unions and some rust belt Democrats against other people who are saying these tariffs should be lifted?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (13:14)
So look, again, I don’t have anything to preview or announce at this time. Look, there are a lot of different elements to this, especially since the previous administration imposed these tariffs in such a haphazard way, in a non-strategic way. We want to make sure that we have the right approach. And again, his team is talking, is figuring it out and they’re talking through this. And once we figure out the right approach, this is about what is right for the American public, for the American people, we will have an announcement and we will let you all know.
Speaker 5: (13:47)
And on the stalled, the China competition bill, any calls to Capitol Hill to read out on that? What’s the White House’s strategy to try to get that across the finish line?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (13:55)
Well, as you know, it’s something that we believe is incredibly important to the American people to getting that competition bill done. We are going to continue to have those conversations on the Hill. As you know, we don’t read out any personal conversations, but we’re going to continue to do the work with folks on the Hill to get this done.
Speaker 6: (14:16)
Karine, thanks. A couple questions. Overall, there was a published report today that say overall frustration among Democrats with President Biden. Is this administration concerned about that criticism from Democrats? And it also says that the president is incapable of the urgency needed because of Roe V. Wade being overturned. Any response from the administration to those published reports?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (14:41)
So when you say Democrats, you mean elected officials or?
Speaker 6: (14:45)
Elected Democratic officials. Overall frustration with the Biden administration.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (14:49)
Here’s the thing, I’ve heard of this. The president has shown, if you look at the different issues that have come up most recently, in particular, let’s start with gun violence. The president showed urgency, he showed fury, he showed frustration. He spoke to that issue at every time that he could, whether he was at Uvalde or Buffalo, or did a prime time address. And we were able to get a first step, still a lot more to do, a bipartisan gun reform piece of legislation, which is something that we have not seen in 30 years. A lot of that is because of his leadership, same thing that he was able to do 30 years ago when we saw the assault weapons ban. So he showed urgency there and we were able to deliver in a bipartisan way.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (15:42)
When it comes to Roe V. Wade, within hours of the announcement of the decision that we heard from SCOTUS, he put forth executive authorities that went into effect with the medication, that’s approved medication from FDA, and also making sure that calling on DOJ to protect women who are crossing the lines because they have to make decision on their health. And those are things that actually matter.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (16:08)
There’s more work to do. He’s going to look at everything that he can do on the legal authority. But here’s the thing, when it comes to Roe, when it comes to a precedent that’s been around for nearly 50 years, what needs to happen is Congress needs to act. We have to codify Roe. We have to make sure that it is the law of the land and that’s what he’s going to keep speaking to.
Speaker 6: (16:29)
With the criticism of the president, is this administration concerned about how the Democrats will perform in the midterm elections?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (16:36)
Well, as you know, I can’t talk about the midterms from here. That will get me into big…
Speaker 6: (16:40)
Is the president concerned?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (16:42)
Well, I’m just saying, I got to be careful about that.
Speaker 6: (16:43)
Has he expressed any concern?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (16:45)
I got to be careful about that. Look, the president wants to make sure that we continue delivering for the American people. He has said, what I can say from here, if we are in a position where Congress does not act, as we’re speaking to on Roe V. Wade and does not codify Roe, make Roe the law of the land, then the American public should make their voices heard. They should make their voices heard at the ballot box. And that is something that he’s going to call on. That is going to be something that he’s going to speak on very loudly and very, very aggressively as you laid out. And this is an important, important issue. He has said this was an extreme decision by the court. He has said this is going to change the lives of so many women, upend their lives if you will, because of this extreme decision and it should not stand. And what we saw a couple weeks ago is not, almost two weeks ago, is not the end. It is only the beginning and we just have to keep working towards that.
Speaker 6: (17:49)
Finally, as far as a different matter entirely, as far as the letter that was presented to you, signed by 70 members of the White House press corp, any reaction from the administration regarding that letter?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (18:01)
Well, you could say I responded to you, didn’t I?
Speaker 6: (18:03)
Yeah. You did say you would talk to us, but that was all I heard. Is there anything else you can add?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (18:07)
Look, we’re coming into a different place of COVID. Things are starting to open up. We’re even doing tours here. We had 7,000 people out in the south lawn yesterday, military families and others to celebrate 4th of July, which was a wonderful event. It was great to have, to see our military families out there. And so we understand, we want to be accessible. We want the president, his events to be accessible and we are working to that with the understanding that we have been working through, as we look at his events during this pandemic and we’re trying to see what the next steps are.
Speaker 6: (18:53)
So you don’t have anything for us.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (18:54)
I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that we’re willing to work with you on this, and this is also a priority of ours.
Speaker 6: (19:00)
Karine Jean-Pierre: (19:01)
Okay. All right. Great. Go ahead.
Speaker 7: (19:04)
So just following up on the executive actions, the ones that the president had hinted we might hear more of Friday, you say are still being talked about. There’s broad frustration among voters we’ve talked to, among many Democratic lawmakers that you had this unprecedented situation of more than a month of knowing pretty much what was going to be likely in the ruling. You had the dynamics on the court were clear in place when this case was heard. There’s a lot of frustration of why weren’t those orders deliberated and decided and ready to roll out at a faster pace than here we are about two weeks later talking about when that next wave might come out. And what’s your response to that general frustration and-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (19:42)
Look, I’ll say this. We understand the frustration. What we saw the court do almost two weeks ago should be frustrating, should be infuriating, and should have everyone angry, not just women. Because this is not just about women’s rights. It’s going to, as we saw, as you just mentioned, Clarence Thomas and what he just said in his remarks, we are in an incredibly scary time. And so we have to take their words very, very seriously. And let’s not forget what Republicans, national Republicans have been saying for the past couple of weeks is how they want to make a national ban. And so because of that, the president has been very forceful in saying that we have to take action. He cannot just do this alone. Congress needs to take action. So that’s number one.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (20:32)
But to your point, within hours when this decision came down, the president used his executive authority, which matters here because we know those who want to ban all abortions, their next moves are going to be medicated abortion and travel across state line. And so we wanted to make that clear and make sure we got ahead of that if you will, as we’re seeing what we’re seeing across the states with the banning of abortion for the next round of attacks. That’s what we did first.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (21:08)
Now we’re going to look at his legal authority on what he can do on executive actions, but we jumped into action I would argue within hours of the decision and the actions that we took. Those executive authorities that we took were in consultation with groups, were in consultation with legal experts. We’ve been having these conversations with them for many, many weeks since we heard of the draft proposal.
Speaker 7: (21:37)
And quick follow-up on January 6th hearings, I know the White House has been pretty clear that due to the unique situation of January 6th, that executive privilege is not a top concern about precedent, but I’m wondering given the unique nature of a White House council’s position, is there any conversations about whether that sets a precedent for a White House council going forward to have to answer to Congress about deliberations inside the White House?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (21:58)
Let me just first say, when it comes to January 6th, the hearings, the select committee, what we’re seeing, it is important. The president believes it’s important to get to the bottom of what happened for the American public to see for themselves and get all the information that they can on what happened on that day. So as it comes to executive privilege, there is no privilege for trying to overthrow the government. That’s what the president believes. That’s why the president has consistently declined to assert executive privilege with respect to documents or testimony about the extraordinary events under investigation by the January 6th committee. We’re going to continue to defer to the committee as it conducts its bipartisan independent investigation.
Speaker 9: (22:44)
Thanks Karine. On Brittney Griner, you were there when the president read Griner’s letter, what was his reaction and did he express any message for Griner and her family?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (22:54)
I’m not going to share any personal interaction that I had with the president. I just wanted to confirm that he did read the letter. And I will say again, this is very personal to him, especially when someone writes a letter in such a personal way. We have made this a priority. We have Secretary Blinken, National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan has spoken to Mrs. Griner and her teammates and her family. And so we’re going to continue to keep that open communication and have very honest conversations with them. They’re private conversations. So I’m not going to share what those conversations have been. But this is also the case with all US nationals abroad. Again, this is a priority for US nationals who are abroad who are wrongfully detained. It is important to the president to bring them home safely, just like we saw with Trevor Reed very recently ago. And so we’re going to continue to make that a priority, but I’m not going to share any private conversations.
Speaker 8: (24:01)
And this is a follow-up on the pleas from the Griner family on wanting to personally speak with the president. After reading this letter, is that something that the White House at this point is considering?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (24:10)
I just don’t have anything to share on what communication the president’s going to have with Mrs. Griner and her family. All I can confirm is that he’s read the letter and he’s making this a priority. Go ahead.
Speaker 9: (24:22)
First, just on the Illinois shooting. Illinois already has a red flag law. It isn’t used that often. It wasn’t used in this case, even though the suspect apparently had put some violent imagery online. Is your expectation that the gun bill that just passed is something that would’ve addressed this kind of situation?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (24:40)
I want to be very clear, yes, the bipartisan gun reform bill was an important first step. It was the first step that we have seen in 30 years. The last time was when this president led the banning assault weapons legislation that lasted for about 10 years and sunset in 2004. And so the president believes that we need to make sure that we ban assault weapons. That is one of the things that’s being reported that this suspect had. And so banning assault weapons is something, again that he’s going to continue to fight for.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (25:22)
With that said, he understands that there’s more work to be done. The bipartisan bill is going to save some lives, like that is true. It will save some lives. But we need to do more work. And the president’s going to continue to do that fight. What we know, one thing I would say about red flag laws as we’ve seen them over the past several years is that when they are implemented, they do work in red states and in blue states. And they are also very much in line of what majority of Americans support. So again, when they’re actually enacted , red flags laws are actually effective.
Speaker 8: (26:02)
And do you.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (26:03)
… red flags laws are actually effective.
Speaker 10: (26:03)
I know you don’t have any travel to confirm, but does the president want to go to Illinois?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (26:08)
I just don’t have anything to say about any travel to Illinois.
Speaker 10: (26:12)
Okay. And then just one other thing that I wanted, is it accurate that the White House was planning to nominate this anti-abortion Republican judge, Chad Meredith, for a federal judgeship in Kentucky the day that Roe V. Wade was decided?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (26:25)
So we make it a point here to not comment on any vacancy, whether it is on the executive branch or judicial branch, especially those that the nomination has not been made yet. So I don’t have anything to say on that. It is something that we just don’t comment on.
Speaker 10: (26:42)
Will the president ever appoint a judge who doesn’t support abortion rights to the federal bench?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (26:47)
I mean, that’s a hypothetical that I can’t really speak to.
Speaker 10: (26:49)
That’s not a litmus test for him though.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (26:53)
Well, I’m not going to go onto litmus test. All I can tell you is that we don’t normally speak on vacancies where we haven’t made a decision yet, whether it’s on the judicial level or the executive branch. Go ahead.
Speaker 11: (27:06)
You’ve mentioned Trevor Reed a couple times, whose released as part of a prisoner swap. Should we view that as a viable option when it comes to Brittney Griner or Paul Wayland or others?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (27:14)
I cannot speak to any discussions that are happening on how any US national who’s being held abroad and wrongfully detained, what the process is going to be to bring them home. I just cannot speak to that from here.
Speaker 11: (27:29)
Is there a broad kind of contextual structure in which you look at prisoner swaps? Why was that considered an okay thing in the Trevor Reed case? Is there kind of a construct that the administration follows?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (27:41)
Again, I cannot speak about that from here. Clearly there are security and privacy reasons to not discuss the details of how a release happens. So it’s not something that I can speak from, from here. I can say that we have a special envoy, that this is their focus. We are in constant communication with them on their process, but it is just for safety, security reasons, this is not something that I can speak from, from here.
Speaker 11: (28:09)
Just one more on a different subject on the China competition bill that Jordan asked about. The Senate passed that more than a year ago. Is there a concern that it was allowed to linger for too long, and in fact gave Senator McConnell the opportunity to put the roadblocks he’s put up in front now because you didn’t move on it until 13 months later?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (28:31)
Look, it’s unfortunate that Senator McConnell has taken this approach. Clearly that’s not an approach that’s going to help the American public. That’s how we see it. This competition bill is important for many reasons, so we’re going to continue to work with Congress to get this done. So we’re going to just continue that process. I’m not going to go into any personal conversations or negotiations as we tend to say from here. But again, this is an important piece of legislation that we would like to see move forward.
Speaker 12: (29:05)
Speaker 13: (29:05)
Thank you. Yesterday, President Biden and his first opportunity to address the public in person on the shooting. He did so sort of very obliquely and fleetingly, and then he came back out on stage about two hours later and spoke a little more. Was that because his team felt he had initially missed the mark?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (29:24)
No, he felt that he needed to speak on that himself. That was his own decision to move-
Speaker 13: (29:30)
Not from his statement. He came out and he verbally said, at the 4th of July, “You all heard what happened today. Things will get better still, but not without more hard work.” Then two hours later that same evening he came out and said a bit more. Is that the because he felt-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (29:43)
No, my answer is still the same. He wanted to make sure that he had an opportunity to speak to this. He took that opportunity the second time. He spoke to it very briefly, as you just stated, the first time, and the second time he got on stage and wanted to give an update. He actually, if you remember, he gave an update of what was currently happening, and he gave a moment of silence. That was him. That was something he decided to do.
Speaker 13: (30:11)
Briefly following up on that, Governor Pritzker said in a press conference, he said he was furious, “It was a time to be angry.” You have said, referring to what President Biden said, as he spoke forcefully yesterday, he spoke with urgency. I guess I just want to make sure I understand, do you and the president believe saying, “You all heard what happened today”, after yet another mass shooting, is that your definition of forceful and urgent?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (30:34)
What I’m saying is that there’s been many times that the president has spoken forcefully, urgently about a moment that currently exists in our country, which is a gun violence epidemic. He has done that in prime time on many of your colleagues networks, he has done it in Uvalde, after coming back from Uvalde, after he met with parents and family members, and dealing with their devastation. He did that in Buffalo as well. He has shown over and over again how important this issue is. It’s not just important during his presidency, it’s been important when he was a vice president, and it was important when he was a senator. So to say that this president has not shown urgency, it’s just false.
Speaker 13: (31:22)
One final follow up on that, on what we were just talking about, which is guns, but also on a range of issues, abortion rights, the threat to American democracy, why do you think so many members of your own party, elected leaders, voters, activists, pundits, why do they all seem to, in this moment, disagree with that assessment you just gave?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (31:43)
Well, I can’t speak for them. I could only speak to what we’re trying to do. I can only speak to-
Speaker 13: (31:49)
[crosstalk 00:31:49] that’s not coming through [crosstalk 00:31:49]
Karine Jean-Pierre: (31:50)
Again, I’m not going to speak for them. I would go directly to these folks, these activists and our Democratic colleagues, and speak to them directly. I’m sure they will give you a very clear response on why they feel that way. Look, this is a president that has been working tirelessly, day in and day out since he’s walked into this administration, fighting for the American public. That is what matters to him. That is what is important, is delivering every way that he can, to make sure that we get things done.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (32:25)
I mean, let’s not forget, while again, there’s more work to be done, there was a bipartisan gun reform piece of legislation that has been done that has not been done in 30 years. That matters. Is there more work to be done? Absolutely. Is he going to call for more action and do the best that he can? Absolutely. This is also a president, in his first year of office, has had more executive actions on gun reform, on fighting gun violence, than any other president at this time. So that matters as well. His actions should speak as well for how he’s delivered for the American public. Go ahead.
Speaker 14: (33:03)
Yeah, thank you. I know you said the White House didn’t comment on judicial vacancies, but this case, the white house already provided an intention to nominate to Kentucky governor this year, that it would intend to nominate Chad Meredith on June 23rd. So does the president plan to nominate this individual who has come under criticism from Democrats in Kentucky and nationally for being an anti-abortion attorney and a member of the federal society?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (33:33)
Again, I’m not going to comment on something that has not been decided on, on any open vacancies. It’s still, currently it is an open vacancy, and so I’m just not going to comment from here.
Speaker 14: (33:44)
Is there any deal with Leader McConnell regarding this judge ship that the president has entered into, whereby McConnell wouldn’t hold up certain judicial appointments moving forward?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (33:55)
I’m just not going to comment on an open vacancy at this point.
Speaker 14: (33:57)
Then what’s your reaction to all this response, angry response from a lot of Democrats in Kentucky, Representative Sean Yarmouth, Andy Bashier, others who have criticized that Biden would nominate somebody who stands against abortion and holds conservative views?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (34:13)
Well, we haven’t nominated anyone, that’s what I would say, as of yet. Okay, I guess I got everybody. Go ahead.
Speaker 14: (34:24)
Thank you [crosstalk 00:34:25]
Speaker 15: (34:25)
Karine Jean-Pierre: (34:25)
No, go ahead. Go ahead.
Speaker 15: (34:25)
Following the Highland Park shooting, president Biden’s 4th of July message was telling Americans to make sure they vote, but he didn’t make an explicit call for Congress to act. So is that tacit acknowledgement that he sees Congress, as it stands right now, unlikely to take any additional action?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (34:43)
Can you say the beginning part of your question?
Speaker 15: (34:45)
Well, in his 4th of July message, he urged Americans to go to the polls and vote, but he didn’t specifically say Congress needs to act.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (34:51)
Act on… Is there something-
Speaker 15: (34:54)
Act on gun control legislation. So was that tacit acknowledgement that Congress, as it stands right now, cannot do that?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (35:00)
Well, Congress did act on gun reform. There was a bipartisan bill that was passed.
Speaker 15: (35:05)
Was he frustrated that it didn’t go far enough?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (35:09)
I mean, the president has been very clear that we need to go further on the gun reform, that he is pleased that he was able to sign a bipartisan gun reform bill. And that has been the first time, again, in 30 years that we have seen that type of reform or any type of reform. Do we need to do more? Absolutely. He has been very clear on that. One of the things that I just mentioned a few moments ago was banning assault weapons. That is something that, as we saw yesterday, we saw an assault weapon was used in a horrific, horrific event yesterday in Highland Park. So that is something that he led on 30 years ago and he wants to continue to see, or see that happen, again, the banning of assault weapons.
Speaker 15: (35:57)
But is that something he believes this Congress can accomplish?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (35:59)
I mean, look, this Congress was able to do a bipartisan gun reform legislation. So we’re going to continue to work with members in Congress to see what else we can do.
Speaker 15: (36:10)
Since those mass shootings, has he called any members of Congress? Has he planned to set up any meetings? A mass shooting just happened, we’re just trying to understand what he’s done since then.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (36:21)
Well, I mean, again, we saw a gun reform bipartisan legislation pass. He signed that into law, which was a first step. This happened yesterday. You heard directly from the president in a statement. He spoke on this twice yesterday. We are always in constant communication with members of Congress on a slew, of a long list of issues that are important to the American public. And so we will continue to have those conversations.
Speaker 16: (36:52)
Is the mic turned up? Thanks [Kurdy 00:36:55]. Just a specific question. In a statement today, several prominent congressional Democrats criticized president Biden over his comments last week, saying that he supports selling F 16 fighter jets to Turkey. I’m just curious if the White House has any response to that criticism, which [inaudible 00:37:12].
Karine Jean-Pierre: (37:13)
Is it because after Erdogan’s meeting that he had at NATO?
Speaker 16: (37:17)
Karine Jean-Pierre: (37:17)
Is that what this is coming from?
Speaker 16: (37:19)
Karine Jean-Pierre: (37:20)
So we’ve been very clear about this, the F 16, that conversation about the F 16 and Turkey has been around for some time. We’ve talked about this several months ago. So there’s really nothing new. The president has supported that effort. So there’s really nothing new to that. Okay.
Speaker 17: (37:38)
Yeah, I’m going to take this. Mid East question, and also Ukraine question. Let me start with the Mid East. A US district court judge has given the administration until August 1st to decide whether to grant immunity to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, in a civil lawsuit filed by his fiance, obviously in relation to his death. I’m just wondering if president’s willing or ready to weigh in on that, or if that’s going to happen during his trip, or if that’s something he’s going to discuss with the Saudis?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (38:08)
So that’s a legal determination, so I cannot comment from here on that, because it’s a legal determination.
Speaker 17: (38:14)
Cool. Let’s move on to Ukraine then. Can I just get the White House’s assessment on these recent Russian territorial gains, and whether that changes your approach? And then also with the president of Ukraine calling for a swift end to this conflict by winter, is there a military solution to this conflict? And if not, what is the administration doing to reach a negotiated settlement? Could this happen in the G 20? Who’s involved? Can you lay out any sort of roadmap?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (38:44)
Well, as the president has said, to your last question first, as the president has said many times, no conversation about Ukraine without Ukraine. What we have been trying to do and have been doing for the past several months, is to make sure that we put, with our assistance that we have been providing, make sure we put Ukraine in the most strong-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (39:03)
… Make sure we put Ukraine in the most strongest kind of position so when there is that opportunity to do those negotiations, they’re able to do that. But what we have seen from President Putin is he is not in a place or has no desire to negotiate. So going to your first question now is our approach has not changed. We are going to continue to support Ukraine. We’re going to continue to help Ukraine, fight for their democracy fight, for their territorial integrity. And then to your second question, going to the second one, we have said for months that the fighting and the Donbas which is where I think you’re speaking about could be prolonged and protracted. That is something that we have been saying for some times. And we would see with gains and with losses on both sides.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (39:54)
We’re seeing that today as you just laid out. But that doesn’t mean that the Russians have been able to achieve with their goals. And doesn’t mean that the Ukrainians have stopped fighting. They have shown their bravery. They will continue to fight and fight for their democracy. And so we will continue to support Ukraine. We have given them the most amount of support than any other country as it relates to security assistance. And that’s not going to stop. Okay.
Speaker 18: (40:27)
Thank you. Karen. I would like to ask you about the announcement that the President made in at the G7 for global partnership on infrastructure. But before that, I would like to know what’s the difference between President Trump watching TV, even pleading to go to the Capitol while the Capitol was being attacked and President Biden going to the beach and having found why Supreme Court justices are under attacked by a verbally-violent law. What’s the difference between those two leaders?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (41:03)
Wait, what’s the comparison you’re making. Could you say the first part?
Speaker 18: (41:06)
So I’m saying that what’s the difference between President Trump not doing anything while the Capitol was being attacked and President Biden not doing anything while the Supreme Court justices were under attack in their own homes with their families and with their children?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (41:22)
Well, there are two major differences here. First of all, our predecessor was very…. We have said that his behavior on that day on January 6th was atrocious. The president has said that. And we are going to let the select committee the January 6 select committee continue to do their independent review of that, their hearing. And you guys all saw for yourselves. The American people have seen for themselves what our predecessor has done, his behavior and his involvement. So that is not the same. That is absolutely not the same. We are talking about what we saw in January 6th. We are talking about an attack on our democracy. We are talking about a very dark day that the person who was here before us seemingly, if you watch, was very involved. So that’s very different. Now, fast forward to this president, this president is fighting for women’s rights.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (42:33)
He’s fighting for women’s freedom. He has spoken out. He’s been very clear about what needs to happen next. He put out two executive authorities that lays out ways that we can protect women. He has said that everything is on the table. We’re going to see what else we can do. But he has also has spoken very truthfully and very honestly with the American people, which is, if we want to see Roe become the law of the land, we also have to act. We have to hold Congress accountable and make sure that they act and that that cannot happen, then Americans need to go to the ballot box. And that is very different. And to say that there is no difference. That is just unbelievably wrong.
Speaker 18: (43:24)
Is it concern that Supreme Court justice-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (43:26)
I’m moving on. Go ahead, Phil. Hold on. Go Phil. And then I’ll come. I’ll come back to you.
Speaker 19: (43:32)
Thank you. I’ve got a policy question about some of the oil that was released from the Strategic National Petroleum Reserve. First, I’ll follow up. We have all heard that the president likes to say, “I will always level with you.” He says that again. And again, moments ago, though, you seem to dismiss Peter’s question about his conversation with his son Hunter Biden with regards to his business dealings. And I’m wondering how is that silence consistent with the president’s promise to always level with the American public? Because in public, he says he hasn’t discussed these business dealings, and then at least according to the voicemail that’s been obtained by the Daily Mail and Washington Examiner, it certainly seems like he was seeking to do exactly that- have a conversation about these business dealings. Is he leveling with the American public on this?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (44:23)
Phil, I hear your question, but what I can tell you from here standing at this podium is that I cannot comment on any materials from the laptop. And I would refer you to the representatives of Hunter Biden. That’s what I can share with you at this podium at this time.
Speaker 19: (44:40)
Okay. And then there’s a Reuters report out this morning that says that more than 5 million barrels of oil that were released from the emergency of oil reserves were exported to Europe and Asia last month. And some of it purportedly was actually heading to China, is the administration aware of those reports? And does the president mind that some of this oil that was meant to ease paying for consumers is headed overseas?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (45:08)
I have not seen that report. So I would honestly have to go look into it and see what the truth is in that statement that you just laid out and see exactly what’s happening. I just have not seen that report. go ahead, Ed. And then I’m so sorry. And then Ebony, I’m so sorry. I was supposed to go to Ebony, but you go quickly and then we’ll go Ebony.
Speaker 20: (45:27)
Yeah. The Atlanta Fed GDPNow tracker is estimating second quarter’s negative growth 2.1%. Should that hold the US has been in recession for the first half of this year, does the president believe that we are in a recession? First of all. Second of all, if that does hold, does the president accept responsibility for its policies as part of that?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (45:48)
So first, do we believe we’re in recession? No, that’s my answer to you on that. So there is a nonpartisan data that came out recently, the National Bureau of Economic Research, which I’m sure you know very well. Ed, it determines and defines recession. And so let me just quote here for a second. “In recent decades, the two measures we have put the most weight on are real personal incomeless transfer and non-farm payroll employment.” So that is from the Non-partisan National Bureau of Economics Research. Again, determines the definition of recession. So here are the facts. The facts are this. We’ve averaged more than 400,000 jobs, I should say, over the three months. We’ve held steady that 3.6 of unemployment rate. Consumer spending remains strong and above pre pandemic trends. Business investment remain strong and household balance sheets remain strong. So we do not believe that we are in a recession and we have a nonpartisan entity to speak to that more directly, more specifically.
Speaker 20: (46:55)
One more quick one. At the G7, there’s video of the French president running up to President Biden and relaying a message saying that the Saudis are about at capacity through the UAE. Did President Biden ask the French to ask the Saudis to pump more oil through the UAE?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (47:11)
I did not hear this conversation, so I can’t speak to that conversation either. But what I can say is, as we know, the early week of June, the OPEC+ announced that they were going to increase their capacity for July and August by 50%. So I will leave that there. And I think that says a lot about where they are with their capacity. And of course, we welcome that. But again, I’ll leave it to OPEC+ to speak to that. Go ahead, Ebony. I know I promised you.
Speaker 21: (47:40)
Two quick questions. One on gun reform. Is there anything or any consideration that the administration can do when it comes to regulating military-style ammunition, whether that be in production? Is there anything that the fed can do to move in that capacity since you’re not getting anywhere on guns? What about ammunition, any talks?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (48:01)
So we believe that the best way to really have a comprehensive gun reform is through legislation; is to work with Congress as it comes to the federal level. The president has done the most executive action than any president at this time in their administration. And so now what we are going to continue to do and continue to focus on is to work with Congress to do more. And one of the things that I’ve just been pointing out is the banning of assault weapons, which we believe is incredibly important as the president led on this issue back in 1994.
Speaker 21: (48:41)
My second question really quickly.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (48:43)
Speaker 21: (48:44)
The Senate recess is in August. A lot of the president’s efforts on criminal justice basically have solved but I want to ask about the equal act legislation to end the disparity between crack and powder cocaine. The House passed the bill last September, overwhelming bipartisan support. Is the president leaning in at all on lawmakers to get this bill to him?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (49:06)
So I have to talk to our Office of Leg. Affairs on that. I do not know where that legislation is currently. I don’t know if it went over to the Senate, I don’t know where the mechanics are on that but happy to take that question to you in the back. Nope. We got to go, guys. Thank you. Be back. Well, hopefully, we’ll see you in Ohio tomorrow.
Speaker 21: (49:28)