The Bold and the Beautiful…and the Pro-Hamas: Highlights From This Week’s WH Briefings

December 15th, 2023 11:32 AM

With President Biden out and about to start the week, White House press briefings didn’t kick off this week until Wednesday and continued on Thursday, leaving plenty of space for questions from the left bashing Israel, the New York Post’s Steven Nelson and Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann stumping Biden flacks Karine Jean-Pierre and John Kirby, and, of course, Doocy Time on Hunter Biden’s life of ruin, illegal immigration, and White House leaks.

Starting with the pro-Hamas questions, Patsy Widakuswara with taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) had this insane question on Thursday courtesy of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) (whose head praised Hamas’s October 7 barbarity): “CAIR has called on the Biden administration to respond to reports that the Israeli military has shot women, children, and babies, in, ‘execution style’ after they sought refuge in a school in Gaza.  Is there any truth to those claims?”

Thankfully, Kirby wanted nothing to do with this, saying he couldn’t “verify those accusations.”

Nadia Bilbassy-Charters of Saudi-funded Alarabyia kept to her shtick, lecturing Kirby about how he “seem[s] to give the Israelis more of a benefit of the doubt that your — than your own President” despite “civilian casualties…mounting. “

Kirby thoroughly demolished this, noting Israel “moved in — into Northern Gaza on the ground in a way that was much smaller than they had previously planned to do”, “reduced the number of airstrikes”, and “published online maps of places where people can go or not to go,” which is “basically telegraphing your punches, and there’s very few modern militaries in the world that would do that,” including the U.S.

Also in the left-wing category, there was this Wednesday softball to Jean-Pierre from a McClatchy reporter: “Does the White House have a plan to address what is likely going to be a wave of legislation in the statehouses next year restricting LGBTQ rights and gender-affirming care? For example, there’s already more than 20 of these kind of bills in Missouri.”

On Wednesday, there were a number of questions about the pending impeachment inquiry vote against President Biden and Hunter Biden’s public remarks outside the Capitol that defied a congressional subpoena.

A few minutes after Jean-Pierre said “the President was…familiar with what his son was going to say,” in response to a question from CBS’s Ed O’Keefe about whether he watched Hunter’s statement, ABC’s MaryAlice Parks and the Daily Mail’s Rob Crilly had some biting follow ups.

This included Crilly pointing out Joe Biden himself said in 2021 those who defy subpoenas should face consequences (click “expand”):

PARKS: Is the President okay with his son defying a congressional subpoena?

JEAN-PIERRE: I’m just not going to get into — into specifics on that. I would have to re- — would have to refer you to the President’s — not the President, but Hunter’s personal — personal representatives. He is a private citizen, so I’m just not going to get into it.

PARKS: Can you tell us when the last time the two of them spoke?

JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I’m also not going to get into private conversation that the President has with his family. We’ve been pretty consistent. That’s nothing new. We’re just not going to get into it from here.

PARKS: Republicans say that they have to take this vote formalizing an impeachment inquiry because the White House is stonewalling them. What’s your response to that?


CRILLY: You just said the President was familiar with what his son was going to say today. Was the President involved in drafting it, discussing it? Did he offer advice? What did you mean by “familiar”?

JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything else to add. He was familiar. I don’t have anything else to add.

CRILLY: Okay. And you — you were asked what the President — what his stance was on people who defy congressional subpoenas. In 2021, he was asked that question specifically and said that he believed the Justice Department should prosecute them. Is that his — still his position (inaudible) —

JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything to add to what you have — what you just quoted me from the President. I just don’t have anything to add.

Fox’s Peter Doocy had his own questions on this: “You said that President Biden was familiar with what his son was going to say on Capitol Hill. If I called my dad and said, ‘I am about to violate a congressional subpoena,’ he would probably say, ‘Son, you shouldn’t do that.’ Was there any attempt by President Biden to talk Hunter out of it today?”

Jean-Pierre reiterated Joe “was familiar with what Hunter was going to say” and remains “proud of” him, but refused to go further (and thus have her cake and eat it too) because Hunter’s “a private citizen” and thus his chats with his father are “private conversations.”

Doocy also hammered away on illegal immigration, wondering if “10,000 illegal border crossings” in just one day would be enough for the administration to “admit…the Biden border policy so far has not worked” and if 1,000 of those being gotaways is “a national security risk.”

On both, Jean-Pierre instead bashed Republicans, accusing them of wanting to slash the number of border patrol agents and prevent law enforcement from stopping the flow of fentanyl.

Shifting to Thursday, Doocy Time was with Kirby as the Fox correspondent wondered “why would somebody around here leak that the Vice President is upset with the President about Gaza”.

Kirby noted the regime officially “refute the basic premise of” it, but he didn’t entirely because a vice president should be “offering…advice and counsel to the President” and everyone there “wants to see the Israelis be more surgical, more precise”.

Doocy unsuccessfully tried again, but not without a hilarious flub as he asked whether “President O’Biden” and his team were “okay that people…are going to press with this.” Naturally, it drew more than a few laughs, including from Kirby and Doocy.

As for Wegmann, he stumped Kirby on not only what the Taylor Force Act is, but also whether the U.S. supports plans by Argentina to move to the dollar (click “expand”):

WEGMANN: I wanted to follow up on your comments about the Palestinian Authority remaining in governance. I’m just curious: As Congress puts together an aid package for Ukraine and Israel, does the President want to see the Taylor Force Act remain in effect? Or is he open to U.S. aid going directly to the Palestinian Auth — Palestinian Authority there?

KIRBY: You’re going to have to refresh my memory on what the Taylor Force Act is.

WEGMANN: The Taylor Force Act prohibits direct funding to the Palestinian Authority so long as their policy of sending aid to the families of deceased terrorists is in effect.

KIRBY: Yeah, look, this is all part of what we believe should be a reformed and revitalized Palestinian Authority so that they can be credibly and authentically in charge of governance over Palestinian territories.

WEGMANN: So — and then, second question. Any comment on Argentinian President Milei’s proposal to dollarize their economy there? Is that something that the White House welcomes?

KIRBY: I’ll take the question. Don’t have an answer for you.

WEGMANN: Thank you, sir.

Disappointingly, Nelson was the only reporter on Thursday to reup impeachment and Hunter Biden, which set Jean-Pierre off on a bender about there being “no evidence” and “zero evidence” to assertions Joe Biden benefitted from Hunter’s foreign business dealings (click “expand”):

NELSON: For a lot of people at home who only view this in very broad strokes, can you explain to people why the President interacted with so many of his relatives’ foreign associates and why he continues to deny any interaction? How should people think about this?

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, let’s be very clear here and I talked about this yesterday, and I’ll talk about it a little bit more and the President put out a statement yesterday that was very clear. It’s — you know, what we’re seeing from House Republicans is wasted time, and it is certainly a, you know, baseless political stunt. That’s what we’re seeing and they’re leaving — House Republicans are leaving this week to go, you know, enjoy a nice holiday — right — as most Americans should, but where — what happened to the funding to Ukraine? You just asked me about Ukraine. They haven’t been able to get that done. They haven’t been able to fix — help us fix what’s going on at the border. They haven’t been able to get that done. They haven’t been able to start a conversation on how we’re going to avert a shutdown in January. They haven’t been able to do that and so, look, you know, there has been zero evidence — zero evidence. You can ask me about engagement and what the President has done with his family in conversation, but there’s no evidence. There’s —

NELSON: Well, because it’s —

JEAN-PIERRE: Wait, wait, but there’s no evidence. There is no evidence that the President has done wrongdoing. There’s none. Absolutely none. None and that is just a fact. You’ve heard it from Republicans themselves. So, they are wasting their time. Instead of doing the work of — for — on behalf of the American people, they go after the President’s family. That’s —


JEAN-PIERRE: But that’s a waste of time.

NELSON: Is there an easy way to counter the central message, though, that the President interacted with associates and has been lying about it since? What is the —

JEAN-PIERRE: The President is not lying about anything when it — as it relates to what House Republicans are trying to do. It is baseless, it is a political stunt, and he has — it has not proven that the President has done anything wrong — anything wrong and so, they are wasting their time. They are wasting the American people’s time and what they should be doing is the things that I just listed. They’re going to go home, but they haven’t taken care of what we need to make sure that we are helping Ukraine. There’s going to be potentially a shutdown next month. They have done nothing — nothing to avert that shutdown.

To see the relevant briefing transcripts, click here (for December 13) and here (for December 14).