Aug 7, 2022
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and John Kirby 8/04/22 Transcript
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and John Kirby 8/04/22. Read the transcript here.
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Karine Jean-Pierre: (00:00)
Karine Jean-Pierre: (00:03)
Oh, it’s so good. I love it. I just want to say a few words about the verdict, the Brittney Griner verdict. So today’s sentencing is a reminder of what the world already knew. Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. She never should have had to endure a trial in the first place. We have repeatedly called for Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates. Under President Biden’s direction, the U.S. government continues to work aggressively pursuing every avenue to bring home Brittney, Paul Whelan and every American held hostage and wrongfully detained around the world. As you all know, we have made a substantial offer to bring her and Paul Whelan home. We urge Russia to accept that proposal. I’m not able to share more publicly at this time, but we are willing to take every step necessary to bring home our people as we demonstrated with Trevor Reed, and that’s what we’re going to do here.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:28)
I can assure you, this is something the President and our national security team are focused on every single day. The President receives regular updates about the status of our negotiations to secure Brittney’s release, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world, so we will continue to focus on getting our U.S. Nationals home. Additionally, as you have might seen, the People’s Republic of China launched 11 ballistic missiles towards Taiwan. To speak on this and other foreign policy news of the day, national Security Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby is here to join me today and he’ll take over and take your questions. Go ahead.
John Kirby: (02:28)
Thank you, Karine. Good afternoon.
John Kirby: (02:31)
As Karine alluded, and I’m sure all of you have covered, overnight People’s Republic of China launched and estimated 11 ballistic missiles towards Taiwan, which impacted to the Northeast, the East and Southeast of the island. We condemned these actions, which are irresponsible and at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the region. China has chosen to overreact and use the Speaker’s visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. We anticipated that China might take steps like this. In fact, I described them for you in quite some detail just the other day, Monday. We also expect that these actions will continue and that the Chinese will continue to react in coming days. The United States is prepared for what Beijing chooses to do. We will not seek nor do we want a crisis. At the same time, we will not be deterred from operating in the seas and the skies of the Western Pacific, consistent with international law as we have for decades supporting Taiwan and defending a free and open Indo-Pacific.
John Kirby: (03:48)
To that end, secretary Austin today is directed that the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the ships in her strike group will remain on station in the general area to monitor the situation. We will conduct standard air and maritime transits through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks, consistent, again, with our long-standing approach to defending freedom of the seas and international law, and we will take further steps to demonstrate our commitment to the security of our allies in the region, and that includes Japan. Beijing’s actions are of concern to Taiwan, to us, to partners around the world. You probably saw the G7 yesterday rejected Beijing’s attempt to coerce and intimidate Taiwan, which is a leading democracy. The nations of Osian also released a statement overnight about the importance of deescalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait. Today, the Japanese government reported that five PRC missiles landed in their exclusive economic zone, noting their grave concern, another example of how China’s actions are undermining peace and security in the region.
John Kirby: (05:02)
We’re going to continue to communicate closely with our partners around the world, which we have demonstrated over and over again is a strength of this administration. Beijing’s provocative actions are a significant escalation in its long-standing attempt to change the status quo. As just one example, over the past two years, the PRC has more than doubled the number of aircraft that they have flown over the center line that separates China and Taiwan as compared to the time period between 2016-2020, and Beijing has pursued economic coercion, political interference and cyber attacks against Taiwan, all of which erode the cross-strait status quo. The United States will be resolute, but also, steady and responsible. We do not believe it is in our interest, Taiwan’s interest, the region’s interest to allow tensions to escalate further, which is why a long planned Minuteman III ICBM test scheduled for this week has been rescheduled for the near future.
John Kirby: (06:16)
As China engages in destabilizing military exercises around Taiwan, the United States is demonstrating instead, the behavior of our responsible nuclear power by reducing the risks of miscalculation and misperception. We will continue to demonstrate transparency in our U.S. ballistic missile tests through timely notifications, that’s a practice that China has often rejected. Rescheduling this test will not in any way, not in any way impact the modernization, the readiness or the reliability of America’s safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent, and the test will happen. It will be rescheduled for the near future. I want to reiterate, as I’ve been saying all week, nothing, nothing has changed about our One-China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiqués and the Six Assurances.
John Kirby: (07:15)
We say it that way every time, because it’s exactly consistent. We said that we oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side. We’ve also said we do not support Taiwan independence and that we expect cross- straight differences to be resolved by peaceful means. We’re also maintaining communication with Beijing. As President Biden told President Xi, the Speaker’s visit was consistent with our One-China policy that she had a right to visit, and that a previous Speaker of the House has also visited Taiwan before without incident. This is how we’re going to defend America’s national security interests and our values, and that is how President Biden directed us to operate in the days ahead, with consistency and clarity and transparency. We’ll keep doing that, what we’re doing, and we’re going to keep supporting cross-strait peace and stability because it matters, not just in the Strait, not just to Taiwan, but to the entire region. With that, I’ll take some questions.
Speaker 1: (08:17)
Thanks, John. A couple of questions about Brittney Grinder’s sentence. First off, why do you believe the Russian judge chose a nine-year sentence for what appears to be a very minor infraction?
John Kirby: (08:30)
I certainly can’t get inside the head of a Russian judge. What we have seen similar maximum sentences for drug charges of foreigners in Russia, they typically, it’s just historically speaking foreigners that are arrested on drug charges and then convicted under their system tend to get much higher sentences than would be Russian citizens, but I honestly can’t speak to it. I will tell you that, as Karine rightly said, she shouldn’t have even been on trial. She’s wrongfully detained. Absent that, we find the sentence reprehensible in its scope.
Speaker 1: (09:11)
Some details of the U.S. prisoner swap offer have obviously been public. Do you think the Russians would ever accept a prisoner swap that wasn’t one-for-one, or two-for-two, two of our prisoners for two of theirs?
John Kirby: (09:25)
That’s a better question for the Russians. What I can tell you is that we put forth a serious proposal, and I know everybody is making some assumptions here about what that proposal is. I won’t go into detail about it, but it’s a serious proposal. We urge them to accept it. They should have accepted it weeks ago when we first made it.
Speaker 1: (09:42)
Why did you make the details of that offer, or the fact that you made an offer-
John Kirby: (09:47)
Speaker 1: (09:47)
… public doesn’t that encourage Russia or really any bad actor to take more Americans prisoner thinking the Americans are going to be willing to deal?
John Kirby: (09:57)
Yeah. Tyler asked that same question, I guess, a week or so ago. We didn’t make the decision to make it public lightly. It’s not the kind of thing that you typically do, but what was happening in her case a week ago, what wasn’t happening in our negotiations a week ago and in the context of her having to testify in her own defense at a sham trial, all of that played into our decision to at least make public the fact that there was a proposal. It was an earnest attempt to see if we could get to some outcomes here. We’re still going to keep making those attempts.
Speaker 1: (10:40)
Perfect. Thank you so much.
Kristen Welker: (10:41)
You had called a counter offer by Russia unserious, which involved their offer that the U.S. release a convicted Russian national who’s being held in Germany convicted of murder. Is it still an unserious offer? Are you giving it another look in light of the sentence?
John Kirby: (11:00)
Nothing’s changed about our position on that topic. I don’t think we’d go so far as to even call it a counter offer.
Kristen Welker: (11:11)
President Biden said today in response, “My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.” Is that a suggestion that he’s willing to go even further? Is there more that the U.S. can do to pressure Russia to accept this offer?
John Kirby: (11:31)
I think Karine covered it really well in our opening statement. The President’s laser focused on this and he and the whole team are working this literally every day. Just like, I won’t get into the details of the proposal that we’ve put forward, I don’t think it would be helpful to Brittney or to Paul for us to talk more publicly about where we are in the talks and what the President might or might not be willing to do. I just want to, again, reiterate what Karine said. He wants to see Brittney and Paul home, and he’s personally involved to making sure that outcome happens.
Kristen Welker: (12:09)
Very quickly, has the President spoken to Brittney Griner’s family? Does he plan to do so?
John Kirby: (12:15)
Don’t have any recent, in terms of the last couple of days, I don’t have any kind-
Kristen Welker: (12:21)
Not in the wake of the sentencing-
John Kirby: (12:22)
Not in the wake of the sentencing, no.
Kristen Welker: (12:23)
And just very quickly on China, given what China’s actions that you talked about at the top, does the administration believe it was a mistake for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan?
John Kirby: (12:32)
We have said, we have said consistently that the Speaker had a right to go. As Speaker of the House and a member of Congress, she had a right to go. I know we’re all focused on the stop in Taiwan and certainly given the events of the last 12, 18 hours, understandably so, but she’s not just going to Taiwan. She’s moved on now to visits in Japan and South Korea to treaty allies, Japan in particular, deeply concerned about what’s going on. We’ll let the Speaker talk about her travels and what she’s learned, what she’s heard, what her takeaways are, I won’t talk for her.
John Kirby: (13:07)
Members of Congress have every right to travel overseas, and that includes Taiwan, and they have, from both parties have just this year. Yes, she’s the Speaker of the House, but she’s also a member of Congress, she has the right to go. Our job was to make sure that she had a safe and secure visit, we did that. We’re still in touch with her staff. We’re still responsible for making sure the rest of her trip is safe and secure. We’ll let her talk about it when she gets back.
Kristen Welker: (13:34)
Speaker 2: (13:35)
Thanks, John. On Griner, I know you said you can’t get into too many details here, but can you say if there are non-prisoner concessions on the table at all, that you would be willing to consider?
John Kirby: (13:45)
I’m not going to get into any more detail.
Speaker 2: (13:46)
Okay, and then on China, is the President considering another call with President Xi at all, given these escalating tensions?
John Kirby: (13:54)
I don’t have any call on the schedule to talk to, or to announce.
Speaker 2: (13:59)
Is that been considered at all?
John Kirby: (14:00)
I’m not going to get ahead of the President’s schedule. As I said in my opening statement, the lines of communication with China are still open at different levels, of course, but I won’t get ahead of the President’s schedule.
Speaker 3: (14:12)
I’m just going to jump around.
Speaker 4: (14:13)
Thank you, and thanks so much, John. So you’ve explained what the U.S. is trying to do in terms of sending out military, the USS Reagan to the region to ensure I assume-
John Kirby: (14:24)
She was already in that region. Yeah.
Speaker 4: (14:26)
Understood. Okay. So I assume that’s also part of keeping shipping routes open and safe. I understand that the Taiwanese President is also saying that she’s in contact with us allies to ensure that airports and seaports remain open, it that also part of what the administration’s trying to do here? The other thing is, just to touch on the kinds of communications that you’re having with the Chinese government, do you believe that at this point there is a diplomatic off ramp for this crisis?
John Kirby: (14:57)
Well, we certainly would like to see the tensions deescalate and if that’s best done through diplomacy, the United States would fully support that. We want to see the tensions come down. I would submit to you that they could come down very easily by just having that the Chinese stop these very aggressive military drills and flying missiles in and around the Taiwan Strait. You don’t need diplomacy to just simply stop doing something that’s escalating the tensions and putting peace and security in the region at risk. Look, the Ronald Reagan and her escort ships, a very capable strike group, they’re there to monitor the situation. They’ll be there for a little bit longer than they were originally planned to be there. Again, I won’t get ahead of the ship’s schedule, but the President believed that it was the prudent thing to do to leave her and her escort ships there just a little bit longer.
Speaker 4: (15:56)
Just to follow up, is there any kind of support that the U.S. is providing to Taiwan in terms of protecting in the context of cyber security attacks? I think that’s also something that the Taiwanese are concerned about.
John Kirby: (16:07)
Yeah. Look, for lots of good reasons, we don’t talk about steps we take either unilaterally or bilaterally in cyberspace. We are committed as we have been now for decades to Taiwan’s self-defense. I’ll leave it at that.
Speaker 5: (16:24)
Can you give us a sense of what Griner’s sentencing may mean for negotiations. Her Russian lawyer had said that a deal wouldn’t be possible until after she was convicted and sentenced. So now that’s happened, is it more likely you think that we may see than willing to negotiate? Essentially, does a conviction open new doors for negotiation?
John Kirby: (16:44)
That’s really up to the Russian side. We’re still open to having our proposal seriously and positively considered, and if on the Russian side, that means that they feel like they’re more empowered to do that, then so be it. We want them to take the offer that’s on the table, because it’s a good one, it’s a fair one, and it’ll help bring Paul and Brittney home. If this is what’s it’s going to take to get them to yes, then, okay, let’s get to yes. Let’s get them home.
Speaker 5: (17:11)
It has been now almost a week since Secretary Blinken and Lavrov spoke over the phone. Have you gotten any serious signs from Russia that they’re willing to negotiate? Is there any glimmer of progress since then in the last week?
John Kirby: (17:21)
I’m not going to negotiate in public. Conversations are ongoing at various levels and I’ll just leave it at that.
Speaker 5: (17:28)
So to follow up on Nancy’s question, what message do you think the Russians are trying to send to the U.S. by giving Brittney Griner so severe a sentence?
John Kirby: (17:39)
Again, I can’t speak for the Russian judge, and your question presupposes that it’s a message sending exercise. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. As I said-
Speaker 5: (17:49)
You think it’s possible it’s not?
John Kirby: (17:50)
… historically, what we’ve seen is foreign-born citizens that are arrested and convicted of drug charges tend to get, just historically, anecdotally speaking, tend to get higher-
John Kirby: (18:03)
Just historically, anecdotally speaking tend to get higher sentences almost to the max, which in many cases is 10 years in Russia as opposed to Russian born citizens of the country convicted of the same offense. It tends to be the case there. So, honestly, I wish I could get inside the judge’s head, I can’t do it. So I can’t define why he chose nine years. As I said to Nancy, it’s a reprehensible sentence. She shouldn’t have been on trial to begin with. Again, I think that’s why you saw the President come out so strongly against this sham trial to begin with.
Speaker 6: (18:38)
But to be clear, do you think she’s being used as a political pawn here?
John Kirby: (18:42)
We think that Brittney and Paul Whelan are being wrongfully detained. They’re being wrongfully detained. They need to be let go. They need to come home. We’re going to keep working on that. I cannot ascribe Russian motives or intent here. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to try to speculate what’s in their heads. All I can do is tell you where President Biden is and the national security team. Wrongfully detained, need to come home. There’s a deal on the table. Let’s make the deal. Let’s get them home.
Speaker 8: (19:13)
I’ll come back there. Peter and then I’ll come back.
Thanks John. Why is it that over the last couple months, President Biden’s spent so much tougher on Russia than he is on China?
John Kirby: (19:27)
I wouldn’t agree with the premise of the question, Peter.
Well, I think just when Russia was getting aggressive around Ukraine, the President was out every couple days telling Putin don’t do it. And now China is getting aggressive around Taiwan and we’re not hearing anything like that from the President.
John Kirby: (19:44)
I beg to differ. We’ve been standing up here for almost a week, Peter, talking about our concerns about what China was preparing to do. We put out declassified information that we saw what the Chinese playbook was going to be. Look, I stood at another podium not long ago and much of the same way we reacted then we’re reacting now in terms of being honest and transparent about what’s going on and calling it out for what it is. And then today talking about exactly what we’re going to do to make sure we can help preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific. So I’m afraid I just challenge the premise of your question.
I know you said that there is not a call scheduled with Xi, is there a reason why? Because President Biden’s known him for decades, he’s got a lot of free time up there in the residence this week.
John Kirby: (20:35)
He doesn’t have free time.
Is there a reason he can’t just pick up the phone and call?
John Kirby: (20:38)
He’s been working all the way through his illness, quite frankly, Peter. So, that’s a little bit insulting. And as for a call-
It’s not insulting to say-
John Kirby: (20:47)
To say that someone who is isolating by themself.
John Kirby: (20:50)
You suggested he has a lot of free time as if he’s not doing anything and you know, that’s not the case. Mr. Doocy.
John Kirby: (20:55)
Now look, as for a call with President Xi, I don’t have anything on the President’s schedule to speak to. If ever the President felt like a call with President Xi was the appropriate way to respond or that it would have an effect and an outcome that he wants to achieve, he certainly would be willing to do that. He’s talked to Xi now five times, it’s not like he’s afraid to pick up the phone and call President Xi. And if a call is the right answer, I’m sure that President Biden will do that. But I’m not going to get ahead of the President on this.
John Kirby: (21:24)
I do want to stress. I said it before, but I do think that your question begs me to say it again. That the lines of communication are still open with Beijing and we’re using those lines of communication. I think you’ll see that in days to come as well. That’s really important. And that’s one of the reasons why President Biden made that call a week or so ago was to make sure, and you saw it in Karine’s readout, to make sure that those lines of communications stay open and they are.
John Kirby: (21:50)
Go ahead Jeremy, and then I’ll come to the back.
Speaker 7: (21:54)
John, you said a few moments ago that the President’s been personally involved in Brittney Griner’s case. Can you talk about what that has evolved beyond getting daily updates on her situation and whether or not the President would be willing to speak directly with President Putin to negotiate her release and the release of Paul Whelan?
John Kirby: (22:08)
When I say personally evolved, I mean, he’s in constant touch with all the members of his team that are working on Brittney’s case and it’s not just Secretary of State Blinken, Jake Sullivan, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, the Deputy Homeland Security Advisor Josh Geltzer. I mean, there’s a lot of people involved in here and he’s driving a process of continual updates that he can get from his team. He’s offering guidance to them as needed. You’ve seen that he has talked to Mrs. Griner herself and certainly would expect that he’s going to continue to have those kinds of conversations going forward. He’s staying focused on this.
Speaker 7: (22:49)
And as for speaking with President Putin directly?
John Kirby: (22:51)
Oh, I’m sorry. Again, I don’t have any calls to announce or speak to with President Putin. The President is comfortable that the proposal that we put forward is a serious one and he urges the Russians to accept that proposal so we can get Brittney and Paul home.
Speaker 7: (23:15)
And then you talked about the decision to make public that you had made an offer to the Russians. And you suggested that part of that was perhaps to put some pressure on the Russians because they hadn’t been really all that responsive. Do you feel like making that offer public has changed anything? Has changed the last [inaudible 00:23:32] have you achieved the desired outcome of that decision?
John Kirby: (23:36)
She’s not home, neither is Paul. So, can we say that making it public had a direct line of bringing them home? Not yet, but we hope it will. We hope it will. We felt it was important to make sure the American people knew, but as well as people around the world, how seriously we’re taking these two cases. So seriously, in fact, that we had made a proposal that we believe the Russians ought to accept. And you’ll notice that the day after we did that, the Russians started talking even publicly. So I’ll leave it at that.
Speaker 7: (24:12)
And then on a separate issue. CNN reported today that the Department of Homeland Security is going to stop wiping mobile devices of high level officials and political appointees without backing them up first and is launching a 30 day review of policies. Is the White House directing any other agencies to take similar steps, including the Department of Defense, for example?
John Kirby: (24:32)
I’m not aware of any other instructions to other agencies.
Speaker 7: (24:34)
And then just lastly on Russia more broadly. Can you speak at all to this newly declassified intelligence that the Russia’s preparing to plant fabricated evidence as it relates to this attack on the prison?
John Kirby: (24:49)
Yeah. I can actually. So I can share based on downgraded intelligence that we expect that Russian officials are planning to falsify evidence in order to attribute the attack on the Olenivka prison, Olenivka, sorry, prison on the 29th of July, they’re going to try to attribute that attack to the Ukrainian armed forces. We anticipate that Russian officials will try to frame the Ukrainian armed forces in anticipation of journalists and potential investigators visiting the site of the attack. In fact, we’ve already seen some spurious press reports to this effect where they have planted evidence. We have reason to believe that Russia would go so far as to make it appear that Ukrainian HIMARS, high mobility advanced rocket systems, that have been in so much in the news lately, were to blame, and to do that before a journalist arrived on site. And again, we’re beginning to even start to see some press reporting to that effect.
Okay. Way in the back in the blue. Way in the back.
Speaker 8: (25:47)
John Kirby: (25:49)
[inaudible 00:25:49] James.
Speaker 9: (25:51)
John, yes, when you say that the US is prepared for what China will do, do you mean that you are prepared to engage military?
John Kirby: (26:04)
I’m saying we are prepared for what China may do, and I think it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to go into a great level of detail on that. Let me say that when I say we’re prepared for what China may do, it’s across all the tools of government power. It’s not just about the military. We have a robust military capability in the region. We have strong alliances and partnerships in the region. We also have economic throw weight and we have diplomatic throw weight. There’s a lot of things that the United States can bring to bear if we feel like we need to.
John Kirby: (26:47)
But here’s the thing, we shouldn’t need to do it and it shouldn’t come to blows. There’s no reason for this manufactured crisis to exist. The Chinese have used Speaker Pelosi’s trip as a pretext. Yes, they’re claiming it’s a protest, I got it. But it’s also a pretext to try to up the ante intentions and to actually try to set a new status quo, to get to a new normal where they think they can keep things at. And my point in coming out here today was to make it clear that we’re not going to accept a new status quo and that it’s not just the United States, but the world will reject it as well.
Speaker 9: (27:32)
After that last [inaudible 00:27:34] between President Biden and Xi there were indications that a meeting between the two presidents may take place, there was a room for that. Given the current situation, do you think there’s a room for a meeting between the two presidents?
John Kirby: (27:48)
Nobody’s ruling out the possibility for a meeting between the two presidents.
Phil, then Ed.
There’s reporting that the Biden administration is lobbying against legislation that would designate Taiwan as a major non-NATO ally. Can you tell us if that’s accurate? And as we move towards what President Biden has often described as an era of autocracy versus democracy, should we be strengthening ties with Taiwan by entering into such a designation?
John Kirby: (28:22)
I think with respect to this proposed legislation, I think we’re going to avoid too much comment right now. We certainly appreciate and respect the role of Congress and frankly, the support across the aisle this year, and so many years in the past for support to Taiwan. But I don’t think it behooves us to try to get ahead of some proposed legislation before it moves further on down the ways.
John Kirby: (28:54)
I will only add that the Taiwan Relations Act, which is the law of the land, does provide the administration a lot of vehicles and venues. And we get fixated on the Taiwan Relations Act in terms of a security perspective and arm sales. Those have continued under this administration and they will continue under this administration. But if you read the act, there’s an awful lot more to it than just arm sales. And we fully respect that law of the land, we’ll follow that law of the land, it does provide on its own an awful lot of flexibility and authority for the administration to continue to support Taiwan, particularly in their self-defense and we’re going to keep adhering to it.
Just a quick follow up, you mentioned this briefly about the canceled ICBM test. Can you speak more generally to the decision not to move in that direction, to cancel that? Was that the President’s decision and I guess, can you put a little bit more meat on the bones in terms of escalating tensions right now?
John Kirby: (29:55)
Sure. Yeah. Yeah. First of all, it’s not canceled. It’s only been postponed and it’s been postponed for a short period of time. I’m not going to tell you what the dates certain here is on the calendar, but there is a date certain, and it’s just been postponed for a short period of time. So it’s still going to happen. And because it’s not being postponed for an exorbitant amount of time, it’s not going to have, as I said, any effect on our nuclear readiness.
John Kirby: (30:28)
The decision came in light and in context of the tensions that we’re seeing right now, and they’re pretty escalated. I mean, temperature’s pretty high. And the President believed and the National Security Team believed that a strong, confident, capable nuclear power can afford to wait a couple of weeks for a test to make it clear, not just in word but in deed how serious we are when we say we have no interest in escalating the tensions. We don’t think there should be a pretext for crisis or conflict and as I said in my opening statement, we’re not seeking one. And this decision to postpone for a short while is meant to prove in deed what we’re saying in words about how serious we are. It’s the responsible thing to do. It’s the strong, confident thing to do. And the President stands behind that.
Just a couple more. Ed and then Sebastian.
Thanks Karine. Thanks John. So given the aggression that we’re seeing from China around Taiwan and the FBI Director today saying that China is the biggest threat to the US, or the number one threat to the US, in the next 10 years, would the President then caution companies from expanding business or doing business in China?
John Kirby: (31:47)
We have been nothing but transparent with businesses, private corporations, about our concerns regarding operations in or with China, but they’re private companies and they make their own decisions and we have to respect that.
What about supply chains? With the activity going on around Taiwan, how is that affecting our supply chains and will we have problems?
John Kirby: (32:16)
I don’t think we’ve seen any effects yet. I mean, we’re only a few days into this. So it’s something we’re watching and certainly concerned about. But I would add thanks to COVID, I mean, we’ve done a lot of work, particularly in the last 18 months to make more resilient our supply chains across a range of sectors. Doesn’t mean everything’s fixed, doesn’t mean it’s perfect, but we’ve done a lot of work in that regard. So we’ll just watch and see how this goes, but there is a lot more resiliency in our supply chain capability now than there was a couple years ago.
Speaker 10: (32:50)
Is security [inaudible 00:32:52]-
Thank you. Over here, Sebastian.
John Kirby: (32:54)
I see. I’m looking right at you.
Okay. Okay. There’s a lot of people in blue jackets here. So back to Ukraine and the death of those Ukrainian POWs. So the US is coming out, you’re saying like a whole fabricated propaganda narrative is being spun. Is there anything that the administration will be able to point to have people look at when they look at the pictures that are being saw that would tell you that would not be a HIMARS. Is there any evidence that you are going to be able to bring?
John Kirby: (33:29)
Well, let’s see what they plant, right? I mean, let’s see how they play this. We have information that suggests that they’re going to plan evidence to include maybe pieces of HIMARS, and we’ll see what they do with it. I mean, I think, yes, I mean, analysts would probably… Depending on how big the piece is you’d be able to look at it and know whether it was in fact coming from the munitions that HIMARS fire. Is that what you-
I kind of meant starting from now, not when whatever is going to be shown to journalists is shown. I mean now, so far is there anything that people could look at and say that doesn’t look like a HIMARS impact or is there anything the US is going to be able to bring forward itself?
John Kirby: (34:10)
I’m not aware of any imagery now that we have that will allow us to do that. But, this is all fresh information. We’ll see what they do with it. It’s another common ploy out of the Russian playbook here to accuse others of what you did yourself. And I’m not a criminologist, but I reckon you don’t plant evidence unless you’re trying to put the blame on somebody else.
Just quickly on Iran if I might, the nuclear talks that have restarted. Would it be fair to describe this as a last ditch effort?
John Kirby: (34:44)
The Iran nuclear talks that have restarted.
John Kirby: (34:47)
Last ditch effort.
Yeah. Is it fair because the Europeans are calling it like a little bit of a last chance saloon.
John Kirby: (34:54)
I would tell you clearly, I mean, the negotiations are pretty much complete at this point. You heard the President say, we’re not going to wait forever for Iran to take this deal. It’s the deal on the table, they ought to take it. I’m not going to slap a label on it and say latch ditch, but clearly time does appear to be getting very short in terms of being able to get to a deal. And again, we urge Iran to take this deal on the table. No problem in the Middle East, none, gets easier to solve with a nuclear armed Iran.
Speaker 11: (35:27)
Karine, way back. Thank you very much. Did the Senate, as well as President Zelensky, call on the administration to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism? Is President Biden willing to do it?
John Kirby: (35:41)
The State Department’s taken a look at the possibilities around the potential designation, they’re still looking at that. I don’t want to get ahead of their process. I would also add that a lot of the authorities that come with it, I mean, a lot of the-
John Kirby: (36:03)
A lot of the authorities that come with it, a lot of the actions you can take, we’re already taking. We have levied unprecedented sanctions against Russia just unilaterally from the United States, let alone the rest of the world.
Speaker 12: (36:14)
While we’re on China, you just few minutes ago said that China is trying to set a new status quo, a new normal. Could you elaborate on that? What do they exactly want to achieve by creating this crisis?
John Kirby: (36:29)
You’ve seen them fly over the median line on several occasions in just the last 24 hours. You’ve seen them now declare Naval operating areas exercise areas, much closer to the island than they did 25 years ago. You’ve seen them now fly at least 11 ballistic missiles in and around the Taiwan Strait. Apparently, according to our Japanese allies, a couple of them, at least a couple of them landed in their economic exclusion zone, which means they most likely flew over the island.
John Kirby: (37:13)
You could see a scenario where they’re just taking the temperature up, they’re boiling the frog. They’re taking the temperature up to a higher level, with perhaps the intention of maintaining that intensity, or at least being able to conduct those kinds of operations on a more frequent regular basis going forward. That’s a different status quo than the one that we had just a few days ago, just a week ago, and we’re not going to-
Speaker 12: (37:43)
[inaudible 00:37:43] They may take a military action against Taiwan?
John Kirby: (37:46)
I’m not going to speculate for what the Chinese may or may not do. We’re telling you what we’re seeing, and we’re telling you what we’re expecting. We’re expecting more exercises, more bellicosity in rhetoric, we’re expecting additional incursions, and we’ll see how this plays out. As I said, there’s no reason for this to erupt into a crisis. There’s no reason for this to come to blows, and nobody wants to see that happen. I’ll tell you this, having operated a little bit at sea myself, the more hardware you have in close proximity like that with tensions as high as they are, the higher risk you get of miscalculations and mistakes. That is what could lead to something getting a lot more dangerous than it is right now.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (38:34)
Okay, we need to wrap it up. Last question.
Speaker 13: (38:35)
So it’s not a crisis right now?
Mr. Kirby, can you clarify what White House is-
Speaker 14: (38:43)
You said that our policy toward China has been consistent-
John Kirby: (38:45)
Your name is Simon, right?
Yeah. I really want to ask you a question-
John Kirby: (38:48)
Simon, Simon, Simon-
I’ve been trying to ask you this question-
John Kirby: (38:50)
Karine Jean-Pierre: (38:50)
If you allow me to ask you the question.
John Kirby: (38:52)
Sir, I’m going to call on this man. And sir, listen now, I’ve been polite to you, but I expect a little bit of respect in return. You know where we are, it’s the White House press briefing room, and you need to be more respectful. I’m going to call on this reporter.
Speaker 14: (39:06)
Thank you. You described our policy toward China as consistent and clear, but the US policy toward Taiwan is also described as strategic ambiguity. Don’t you think it’s sort of that ambiguity that has allowed tensions like we’re seeing now have developed?
John Kirby: (39:21)
No, we would not agree with that at all. No.
Speaker 14: (39:23)
Okay. So on the subject of Americans detained abroad, the United Arab Emirates detained an American lawyer, a man named, let’s see here, Asim Ghafoor. He is an attorney who’s previously represented Jamal Khashoggi. It happened shortly before the president’s trip to Saudi Arabia. Is there anything you can say about administration’s efforts to free him or any conversations?
John Kirby: (39:47)
There’s not a lot I can say about this particular case sir. We’re certainly aware, monitoring. I’d refer you to the State Department to speak more on that. I’m afraid I just am not able to talk much about that particular individual in that particular case.
Speaker 14: (40:03)
Hungary’s head of state, Viktor Orban is coming to the United States. He’s going to speak at a conservative political conference in Dallas. Has the administration been in touch with Hungary at all over the trip? Is there any planned conversation that might happen?
John Kirby: (40:17)
No and no. It’s a private visit.
Speaker 14: (40:19)
The administration concerned at all with sort of an authoritarian leaning leader coming to the United States to pursue this-
John Kirby: (40:26)
He’s coming at a private invitation and Mr. Orban and the CPAC, they can talk about his visit. Thanks everybody. Appreciate it.
Speaker 15: (40:34)
Mr. Kirby, can you react to letter that you received today from a law firm in DC?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (40:45)
Okay. All right. We’ll continue with that. So we all know how annoying it is when your flight is canceled or delayed, and then it either takes forever to get your money back, or you only get a flight credit for that airline. I’m sure many of you have gone through that last several months. Today, the Department of Transportation issued a new rule to fix that. If your flight is canceled or delayed three hours for a domestic flight or six hours for an international flight, you must get a refund within seven days of a refund request if you paid by credit card. That refund policy also applies if they change your arrival airport, if they add more stops or if they downgrade the class you’re flying in. The rule also has new protections if you can’t fly due to a pandemic or medical advice. Under the DOT’s proposal, when that happens, you’re entitled to a non-expiring travel credit or voucher or a refund if it’s an airline that got government assistance during the relevant public health emergency. With that, Josh, you want to kick us off?
Yes. Thanks Karine. Tomorrow is jobs day, which is like Super Bowl for some of us. Friday-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (42:01)
Is it really?
Look, there are a lot of nerves.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (42:04)
Wow. And I don’t follow football, but wow.
I’m just saying, 12 Super Bowls a year. It’s great.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (42:14)
Speaker 14: (42:16)
Friday’s job report is expected to show the job gains last month slowed to 250,000 from 372,000 in June. Does the administration view this as a sign the economy is healthy?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (42:28)
So as we’ve been saying for many months now we are in a, and the president, including the president has been saying that we are in a transition to a stable and steady growth. And during that transition, what you’ll see is instead of that record high breaking number job numbers that we’ve been seeing every month in the realm of 500,000 to 600,000 jobs on average per month, we’re expecting to be closer to 150,000 jobs per month. And that will be a sign of a success of this transition. And this kind of job growth is consistent with the low unemployment numbers that we’ve been seeing, that rate of 3.6%. And we see that and others see that as a healthy economy. Jump around.
Quick one. One quick one.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (43:22)
I don’t know. Usually this goes on for a while.
I just had the one left. Based on everything that’s happening in Asia right now, does President Biden consider China to be an opponent or a competitor?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (43:36)
Look, and Kirby said this, and we’ve been saying this for the past couple of days, more than a week. And I’m going to answer it this way because this goes to why this has come up, which is the speaker going to Taiwan. She has the right to go to Taiwan. She has the right to travel wherever she wants. She is the Speaker of the House. She’s a member of Congress. We will not ever tell her where to go. And we’ve been really clear with China. We have said no policy changes at all. The one China policy stands and the president just a week ago today spoke to President Xi. It was the fifth time that they spoke. They continue to have an open dialogue. And so that is, I just want to make that really clear and just they’re the ones escalating here.
Just the relationship moving forward though, would he consider China a competitor or an opponent of the United States?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (44:36)
Look, when you think about our economy, when you think about how we’re competing around the world, around the globe, we think about the CHIPS Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act. One of the reasons we talked about making sure that got done in a bipartisan way, we saw that happen just a couple days ago, is we want to be able to compete. We want to be able to compete with China and we want to be able to have those manufacturing jobs investment in the United States and also strengthen our supply chain, make sure we strengthen our national security. So as it relates to that in that realm, yeah, we want to be competitive as a country. Go ahead.
Kristen Welker: (45:20)
Thanks Karine. When was the last time President Biden spoke with Senator Sinema?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (45:24)
Don’t have a call to read out to you at this time.
Kristen Welker: (45:27)
Can you tell us how he views his role in getting the Inflation Reduction Act over the finish line? I know you’ve been asked some version of this question probably every day this week, trying to take another stab at it though. What does he think he needs to do? Is he going to be picking up the phone? Will he be inviting Senator Sinema here? How does he view his role?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (45:46)
Well, I can tell you how he views this anti-inflation piece of legislation. He’s grateful for it. He thinks it should be passed. He thinks it’s going to change the lives of middle class Americans across the country. When you think about the prescription drugs, when you think about lowering utility cost, this is going to be critical. When you think even about the ACA provisions, lowering a healthcare cost as we talk about premiums and how important that is to many Americans.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (46:16)
So that’s how he sees his role in continuing to talk about it. We have been talking about these pieces, these components of this legislation for some time now. And so he’s going to continue to have conversations. Our team is going to continue to have conversations with members of Congress. But he’s been very clear. He wants to see this pass and to his desk so he can sign.
Kristen Welker: (46:37)
Given how important he believes it is, as you just laid out, he took a decidedly step back and let Senator Schumer and Manchin really be the two engaged in the negotiations to get the Inflation Reduction Act to this point. I guess the question is, does he feel like he wants to have a more direct engagement in these final rounds of negotiations with Senator Sinema asking for changes?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (46:58)
What we’ve been pretty clear about I think for about a year, actually probably since the beginning of this year is that we were not going to negotiate in public. We believed that the Senate, the House, they need to do their work, that we let them speak to the pieces of legislation that they’re putting forth and they’re trying to move forward. We support this. We support the work that Senator Schumer and Senator Manchin are doing.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (47:25)
Again, this is incredibly important to the American people. I think though what is important, I know there’s always this focus on Democrats and on what’s happening with Democratic members in the Senate, I think what’s important here is when you look at this bill, when you look at this anti-inflation piece of legislation and you look at the support across the country, it is bipartisan. It is bipartisan support. There was the Political Morning Consult Poll that came out yesterday, more than 70% of support for many components of that bill, and it’s Republicans in Congress who are opposing this. They’re the only ones who are opposing this. And I think that’s what matters. What matters to us is what Democrats are trying to do and how we’re trying to change the lives of the middle class.
Kristen Welker: (48:12)
Just very quickly. Senator Sinema is not yet supporting it and based on our reporting, she is opposed to closing the carried interest tax loophole. Would the president support a final piece of legislation that did not include that?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (48:25)
Look, what we, and I can’t speak for Senator Sinema, I’m not going to, she can speak for herself. I know that she’s more than capable of doing that. What I can do is speak for this president and how he sees this piece of legislation that is so critical and important. And when you think about the corporate tax component, that 15%, you have corporations who are paying $0, $0. And this is an opportunity to close that loophole.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (48:55)
We’ve heard from many experts talk about how that 15% on corporate businesses is going to make a difference. It’s going to be able to add that $300 billion so that we can bring down the deficit. It’s going to be able to have Americans have lower costs. And so that’s what we see and we think and we have been very clear on that, how important it is to have to close that loophole and make sure that we’re not increasing taxes on middle class Americans that are making less than 400,000. And that does this. This act does that. Go ahead.
Speaker 16: (49:37)
We’ve seen big oil companies report huge profits yet again in recent days, but since gas prices have started falling, we haven’t seen the same level of criticism from this administration. Is profit taking in that industry and a lack of investment in production still a big issue for the Biden administration?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (49:55)
So can you say that one more time?
Speaker 16: (49:57)
Sure. We’ve seen big oil companies take big profits, make big profits in the recent days. We haven’t heard the same level of criticism from this administration since gas prices started falling. And just wondering if that is still an issue for the Biden administration. Are you still looking to curb profit taking and increase production?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (50:18)
So we’ve been very clear about that piece, making sure that the oil companies, the profit that they’re making actually goes to the American people. We say this all the time. The American people should not be the first one to pay the increased costs and the last ones to see the benefit. And we continue to call on oil companies to make sure that they pass on that profit to Americans.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (50:45)
I want to talk a little bit about, we had the Department of Energy had that meeting with oil companies and it was very constructive, the conversation with oil companies, and we welcomed the steps that they are taking to increase production. For example, just want to give you a couple of examples. After discussions with the Department of Energy, one company just last week announced that they are bringing back refining capacity at a New Jersey facility.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (51:11)
That is important. And in June, America produced an on average 12 million barrels of oil a day. And that number continues to increase and is on track to reach record high. So all of these things are important as we’re trying to bring prices down. Oil is down about $25 a barrel from June. Gas prices have gone down every day this summer and are now below $4 for most of the country. That indeed matters. And so we’re going to continue to do the work. We know that we have to give Americans, as you hear the president say, a little bit of breathing room, and we’re going to continue to do that work to make sure that happens. Go ahead.
Speaker 17: (51:50)
Thanks Karine. Does the president have any plans to intervene or fire the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security Joseph Cuffari?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (52:01)
Speaker 17: (52:03)
We asked [inaudible 00:52:05] talking about this in April when the leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senators Durbin and Grassley expressed concerns about him. Obviously this was before some of the concerns that have been raised in recent days about January 6th. And she said that she would follow up on that. I’m wondering have there been any conversations in the White House about his leadership-
Karine Jean-Pierre: (52:27)
There’s no personnel updates that I have for you at this time. Look, the president has been very clear. I think I answered some of this yesterday, that he believes in the independent role of the inspector generals and that they serve an important function in ensuring accountability for the American people. That still stands. He believes that.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (52:46)
So again, we’ve seen the reports as you’re laying out and the comments from members of Congress, as you just told me expressing concerns with his performance, but again, we believe in the independent role and I don’t have any news.
Speaker 17: (53:00)
Just follow up on that, you said that the job of the inspector general is, as you just outlined, does the president have confidence that given what has unfolded in the past few days and weeks, does he still have confidence in his ability to do that [inaudible 00:53:13]?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (53:13)
Look, it’s important to do the job that the inspector general is doing. We have confidence in that. And again, we’re not going to comment anymore any further than that, but we have seen the reports.
Speaker 17: (53:25)
Just one more that I wanted to follow up on that I asked earlier this week about the president’s own COVID protocols. As soon as he tests negative, was he fully free from isolation or is there, I know other White House staffers have been required to test negative twice before returning to work. What are the protocols?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (53:43)
Basically for isolation, today is day five of the rebound because this is a rebound, not the first, I don’t want to say bout because this is a continuation, it’s just a rebound. And so he will remain isolated until he tests negative as we previously stated. And so the.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (54:03)
Test negative, as we previously stated. And so when we’re doing that test to make sure that he’s negative, that is above and beyond as you, I think, we’re alluding to. That’s what the white house protocol is for us. And so we won’t see him again until, at least in person, you have guys have seen him virtually, and he’s been working from the White House residence these past couple of days. Until he has at least in person until he has that negative test.
Which is one day, the first time he tests negative, he will be…
Karine Jean-Pierre: (54:30)
Well, the last time we shared, because of his unique role, right? He is the president and we’ve tried to make sure that we protect all of you and we protect the staff. We did do two tests and make sure that we’re both negative.
Speaker 18: (54:44)
Can I follow up on, on Tyler’s question please? Thanks Karine. On the issue of the Chinese tariffs, the president has been waiting for some time whether or not to ease some of those tariffs, and just given the aggressive action we’ve seen out of China since speaker Pelosi’s visit. I’m wondering, will that factor into this decision on the tariffs at all, or just the White House see those as two separate issues?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (55:05)
I’m not going to go into any detail of the thinking of how we’re moving forward with he China tariffs. I know it’s been on the minds of all of you, a question that’s been out there, the President is taking this decision very seriously. And once he makes his decision, we will share that with all of you.
Speaker 7: (55:27)
Thanks Karine, just to put a finer point on Tyler’s question. So will it be two negative tests this time or just one?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (55:34)
Yes, we put out a pool note that said just that, I believe on Saturday.
Speaker 7: (55:38)
I don’t think you guys said clearly whether it was two negative tests like he did the first time, or if one will be sufficient.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (55:43)
Well, what we’re going to do, there’s five days of isolation. This is the fifth day. We will have a negative test. It is up to his doctor to decide if there will be a second one. What we did last time, what I can speak to, and his personal physician shared this, that they did two negative tests because of the unique role that he has. And that is something that his doctor decided.
Speaker 7: (56:11)
Okay. And then on monkeypox, we learned in the last 24 hours that the Department of Health and Human Services failed to ask that the bulk of the stocks of the vaccine that it already owned, be bottled for distribution quickly enough. And does the President feel like his administration, and the Department of Health and Human Services in particular, has acted with enough urgency to confront this monkeypox?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (56:34)
So I want us to take a step back on this, because this is really important, and I know that many folks have questions about this. And we are going to do everything that we can to end this outbreak. That is our commitment. And that’s what we’re going to make sure that we do that. So, as you all know, the monkeypox outbreak has evolved rapidly and uniquely from prior outbreaks. So we are in a different, it’s a different dynamic than it was the last couple times. Because monkeypox has been here in this country before. And so we have aggressively responded at different stages of this outbreak. And so just wanted to give you a little bit of that context because it’s spreading at different phases here.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (57:18)
So first within two days of the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the U.S., we began deploying vaccine to states and jurisdictions, and pre-positioning tens of thousands of additional doses in the strategic national stockpile. The initial science led us to believe, and this I think will answer your question a little bit, based on recent past monkeypox outbreaks, that those doses would be sufficient to meet the needs of the country.As what we knew at that time, because it’s dynamic, it’s changing.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (57:48)
But however, infectious diseases are dynamic, as I just said, and unpredictable, inherently unpredictable. Which is why soon as we saw that this outbreak was different and transmitting much more rapidly, we quickly moved to order tens of thousands of more doses. So just to give you a little bit of the numbers that we have, we have made more than 1.1 million doses available and shipped more than 600,000 doses. Those are currently out there going into jurisdictions, to states. And with more being delivered each day, we also have ordered 5.5 million additional doses, which are helping us get more doses out sooner, knowing that more are on the way. So this is just part of the process and what we have been following the science and making sure that we are rapidly reacting to this and that’s what we’ve been doing this past couple days.
Speaker 7: (58:45)
Given that there is currently a mismatch between the number of doses that the government has in bulk, the number of doses that have been bottled and sent out to state local authorities. And then the number of doses that are actually needed. Does the president feel like his administration has acted with enough urgency?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (58:59)
I mean, what we’re saying to you is that I laid out how dynamic and how rapidly changing this virus has been. And also we just had, HHS just held a press conference and talked about this, that’s why we moved the briefing, so you all can have a sense to hear directly from them. There was the 600,000 that they talked about. They went from testing capacity from 6,000 to 80,000 a week. That matters as we’re trying to make sure we deal with monkeypox. And we’re working hand in hand with local authorities to get the resources they need.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (59:37)
And as you also know, they took an additional step, which is to announce a public health emergency declaration of monkeypox. That’s important because what that’s going to do is going to help accelerate the vaccine production and distribution. This includes new dosing strategies that have the potential to increase the number of available doses by fivefold. So yes, the President has confidence in HHS, and let’s not forget, we just brought on the monkeypox coordinators, the response team, which is going to also make a difference.
Speaker 7: (01:00:10)
On that front, it does seem like this week you’ve named a monkeypox coordinator, you’ve now declared this public health emergency. Seems like the administration is shifting into a higher gear as it relates to responding to this outbreak. And I’m wondering, was there any new information that led to these steps in that higher gear response? Because the WHO, it was nearly two weeks ago, that they called this effectively a public health emergency.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:00:35)
Well, I think I answered that in the first question that you asked, which is the dynamic of the virus has changed. It’s spreading a lot more rapidly than it had in previous times. And when the first two cases were known by the CDC back in May, we were meeting the moment at that time. And so now it’s, again, it’s spreading much more rapidly. The dynamic of it has changed, that tends to happen inherently with viruses. And so this is what we’re doing right now to make sure that we are responding to the needs of jurisdictions and states. [crosstalk 01:01:18]
Speaker 19: (01:01:17)
Yeah, thank you very much. Can you go back to the event earlier today, Mary Barra of G.M. was there talking about the Inflation Reduction Act. One of the debates currently among Democrats is the electric vehicle subsidy provision. One of the senators from Michigan has been objecting to that. Can you say whether the President discussed the EV provisions in that at all with the participants in the call, beyond the public media portion?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:01:45)
So I haven’t gotten a download from that call and we were busy doing many other things before coming out here. So I can’t speak to that specifically.
Speaker 19: (01:01:58)
On another field, Senator Klobuchar has a big tech bill, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, that looks like it’s spilling to September. Senator Schumer looks like he’s planning to bring it to the floor in September. Does White House have a view on that bill coming to the floor for a vote in September? The anti big tech bill, which would… Or the big tech bill that would prevent those platforms from giving preference to their own products?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:02:19)
Well, I mean, we’re trying to deal with all the pieces of legislation we have. There’s a lot going on. We’re trying to deal with what we have in front of us. I would have to…
Speaker 19: (01:02:27)
Senator Klobuchar is very passionate about this.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:02:29)
Yes, yes. We are aware of that. I would need to just talk to the Office of Leg. Affairs to get more specifics and details on where we are on that. As you know, reform in the tech industry is something that’s very important to the President. We’ve talked about that many times in the past 18 months, but I don’t want to get too… I don’t want to get ahead of our team.
Speaker 19: (01:02:51)
Okay. And finally, going back to the monkeypox issue, do you have a sense of whether there’s will be a need for new funding from Congress for this?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:02:59)
Yeah. Again, we have been asking for, as you know, new funding, additional…
Speaker 19: (01:03:06)
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:03:06)
Yeah, for the COVID response. Again, I would just have to get in touch with our team. At some point in the next couple of days or weeks, we will have the monkeypox coordinators here in front of you. And you all can get to know him and, both of them, and ask your questions.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:03:26)
Speaker 20: (01:03:26)
Speaker 21: (01:03:27)
That’s great. Oh, you want to do this guy?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:03:30)
Yeah. I’ll come to you after you.
Speaker 20: (01:03:31)
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:03:32)
I just haven’t. I don’t see you very often. I see you all the time.
Speaker 21: (01:03:37)
Just to follow up on the monkeypox updates. California, Illinois, New York have all declared states of emergency each, but due to the fact that most of them will be… How will declaring monkeypox as a public health emergency affect colleges and universities in those states particularly? That have already declared the state of emergency?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:03:57)
How the states for themself? You would have to talk to the states directly on that piece, because that’s their own state emergency public emergency.
Speaker 21: (01:04:10)
Is there any plan from the White House or any guidelines that would possibly come down, looking forward to essentially explaining what the college and university should do?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:04:22)
We don’t have anything for you at this time, but I would go to the state specifically. You talked about California, you talked about New York. Having their own state of emergency, I’m sure they have plans as schools are opening back up and dorms are opening back up. I’m sure they have specific guidelines to that, that I cannot speak to from here.
Speaker 20: (01:04:41)
There was a report yesterday that Kyrsten Sinema number one, she wants to mix the Carried Interest Loophole, which is a 14 billion revenue raiser. And also she wants 5 billion in drought resiliency funding. Does the administration think we need a few more billion dollars for drought resiliency, would that be a good thing?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:04:57)
I’m not going to, I’m not going to speak to what the Senator is calling for, asking for. That’s negotiations that are happening in Congress. I’m just not going to speak to that from here.
Speaker 20: (01:05:08)
Can I quickly get you to respond to the Peter Meijer situation? He’s one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. He went down on Tuesday night, but the DCCC and other groups were going hard to boost his pro-Trump opponent. Does the president have a view of playing ball in primaries like that, in a way that helps Trump?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:05:26)
So because of the Hatch Act, I cannot speak to any political campaigns, or elections, midterms including. And so I just can’t speak to that at this time.
Speaker 20: (01:05:35)
You talked about the old fashioned days when you could hang out with republicans…
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:05:39)
No, we don’t do the old fashioned days. We do it the right way. I’m just going to… Go ahead.
Speaker 22: (01:05:46)
Thanks Karine. Can you walk us through the President’s involvement and engagement on the monkeypox outbreak? When was the first time he was briefed on this? How he’s getting updates on case numbers, testing capacity, vaccine supply, and distribution? How much is he getting updated on this right now?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:06:01)
The President is regularly briefed on monkeypox. This is something that is top of mind as well for him. And so I can assure you that he is regularly briefed by his senior teams, also by Secretary Bacerra. I don’t have a list of how many times he’s been briefed, but he’s very aware, clearly, of what’s happening. And he actually is constantly asking, “What are we doing? How are we getting the vaccines out there?” And is clearly interested in the specifics and making sure we get this under control.
Speaker 22: (01:06:37)
Can you talk about how this virus has been evolving? We heard today from the conference call about how this is spreading very quickly. One of the criticisms during the baby formula shortage was that the President’s acknowledged later that he didn’t realize at the time how bad that was getting, and that he didn’t know how quickly that had gotten bad. Can you say now that the President was informed in a timely manner about how quickly this was spreading, and how fast it was moving?
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:07:02)
What I can tell you is that this is an urgent matter, monkeypox, for this administration, for this president. That’s why you have seen the announcements that we have made in the past several weeks, not even just today or yesterday or the day before. Last week we were announcing vaccines 800,000, and now we’re talking about how much have been shipped. Now we just announced the coordinators, that rapid response team. Again, this is a virus. As we know, viruses inherently can be dynamic and it is spreading rapidly, and we acknowledge that. When we first heard about the first couple of cases, we believe we met that moment. And now we are rapid things up, and making and making sure that we are meeting the moment across the country and what people need. That’s why we have 80,000 capacity in testing. How important that is. We went from 6,000 to 80,000. That’s why we now have 1.1 million vaccines.
Karine Jean-Pierre: (01:08:06)
The other thing I do want to say is that as we accelerated delivering of 150,000 JYNNEOS vaccine doses to the U.S., these doses which had been slated to arrive in November, is now going to be in September. So again, we’re taking this very seriously. We’re accelerating and strengthening our comprehensive response, so that we can make sure that we end this outbreak. And that is the number one priority for the President. We’ll be here tomorrow, I’ll be back tomorrow. I’ll be back tomorrow. If you, if you take a seat, I promise I will.