After Monday’s smashing return to the White House Briefing Room, Fox’s Peter Doocy had a new topic to do battle with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre over. Monday’s foray concerned Biden family corruption and another example of the expanding nanny state, but Tuesday focused on a captured ISIS sympathizer that had been working to smuggle people across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Prior to Doocy’s back-and-forth, Jean-Pierre was also under the gun from Doocy’s wife, Hillary Vaughn of the Fox Business Network, over transgenderism continuing to infect women’s sports. Vaughn started by wondering if Biden agreed with 2024 GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley that transgenderism encroaching on girls sports “is the women’s issue of our time.”
Jean-Pierre wasn’t amused based on her answers. Lamenting “we’ve talked about this many times” and “[t]he Department of Education proposed a rule...that gives schools the flexibility to establish their own athletics policies” on a topic that’s “a complicated issue.”
Of course, it isn’t. And Vaughn made that clear: “The President has granddaughters. Does he care that girls are allowed to compete in sports without the fear of injury? Does he think it’s fair for girls to have to compete against biological males?”
Jean-Pierre stammered some before reiterating the cockamamie assertion that this “is a complicated issue” and “[t]here is no yes or no answer to this.”
Doocy closed the briefing with his exchange, starting with a simple question: “How is it possible that an ISIS sympathizer is sneaking people into this country?”
After stalling by asking him to confirm he was referring to reporting from CNN, she proclaimed “the intelligence alerted us to a human smuggling network” and “[w]e moved fast and — and successfully to — to — successfully to disrupt it, so just want to be very clear of that”.
Doocy had enough of this mealy-mouthed response and interjected: “When you say that you disrupted it, are you saying that you know where all of the people this ISIS sympathizer snuck into the country are?”
Jean-Pierre demanded she be allowed to “answer the question” because “I’m sure I’ll touch on every — everything that you want to ask me.”
She then reiterated her previous answer with the addendum that “smugglers have been detained overseas” and while “[t]here’s no sign that any — anyone moved by the smuggling network has terrorism connections...[p]eople brought here by smuggling network are being subject to extra vetting and are all in removal proceedings”.
Doocy countered with the reality “that the U.S. has to be right with preventing terrorist attacks 100 percent of the time” while “[t]hey only have to be right once.” In response, Jean-Pierre cartoonishly claimed the “White House...is committed to making sure that we are protecting the homeland” (click “expand”):
DOOCY: You said that there’s no sign of a plot. But isn’t it true that the U.S. has to be right with preventing terrorist attacks 100 percent of the time? They only have to be right once.
JEAN-PIERRE: So, let’s be very clear. I want to be really clear here: We are committed — this is — this is a White House that is committed to making sure that we are protecting our homeland and also protecting the American people. That is our commitment. We will continue to be vigilant on that and so, want to be incredibly clear on this and — and we are thankful, we are grateful for our law enforcement who — who acted very quickly here and they disrupted — they dis — they successfully disrupted the smuggling network.
DOOCY: We’ve seen human smuggling networks operated by the cartels for years. Why the sudden urgency with this one?
JEAN-PIERRE: We always have — we have always and will be and have been vigilant here when it comes to making sure that we are protecting our homeland. That is something that this President is committed to. That is something that this administration is committed to. We will always be and we will continue to be. Let’s not forget that this was successfully disrupted, and it was because of the quick act of our law enforcement that we are incredibly grateful to.
Also like we saw Monday, there were eye-rolling questions from the left (seeing as how they too went weeks without having a turn in the Briefing Room).
McClatchy’s Alex Roarty tried to find ways to poke at Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) over his preparations for Hurricane Idalia in two questions to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell :
Can you relate what your conversation — what you talked about with Governor DeSantis and add any details about what coordination you’re undertaking with Florida officials?
And can I ask — following up real quick — I mean, what were those concerns that he had at that time?
American Urban Radio Networks’s Ebony McMorris came a few minutes later and asked for “communities of color” to receive priority when responding to Idalia and, before Criswell pealed off, Yahoo!’s Alex Nazaryan had a climate change softball (click “expand”):
MCMORRIS: When — I want to go back to Hurricane Ian. When Hurricane Ian hit, you had many communities of color, you also had poor communities complaining that they were not prioritized during this time. And so, they didn’t get necessary — the relief that they wanted and they felt like they were, kind of, put on the — on the back burner. Many of these areas are in places that are more physically vulnerable. What is your message to those who have that concern that there may be a repeat in their community?
NAZARYAN: You mentioned just extreme weather that we’ve seen all — all summer from, you know, Hawaii, storms in Southern California. Is this — is this, in your view, the new normal — just summers where we’re seeing these kinds of events more frequently and maybe more intense events than before?
To see the relevant transcript from the August 29 briefing (including one from the AP lobbying the White House to accept Al Sharpton’s invitation to join a summit in Jacksonville “on hate and hate crimes”), click here.