OUCH: KJP Gets Waxed by Fox’s Heinrich, Lawrence on Inflation, CNN on Lack of WH Ethics

April 12th, 2024 1:33 PM

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre went solo for Thursday’s White House press briefing, so she shouldered all the questions, including the Middle East and the economy. It was on this latter topic where she was put through the gauntlet by Fox News’s Jacqui Heinrich and Fox Business’s Edward Lawrence as they called out the administration’s channeling of Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber in denying persistently high inflation.

Lawrence cut to the chase with a brutal inflation fact-check: “[Y]esterday in the Rose Garden, the President said that when he came into office, inflation was skyrocketing, but it was 1.4 percent in January of 2021 and that was the 11th consecutive month at that time under two percent. So, it was the President misleading Americans?”



Unsurprisingly, Jean-Pierre refused to engage and instead doubled down about inflation having taken off because, when Biden took office, the country was “a pandemic” that “was closing down businesses, closing down schools, uh, and so, it was drastically disrupting the supply chain” followed by the war in Ukraine.

Lawrence didn’t buy it: “But the President didn’t say the supply chain was being disrupted. He said inflation was skyrocketing.”

Jean-Pierre doubled down on the dishonesty, leaving Lawrence to ask a third and final time if Biden’s really “being honest” with Americans (click “expand”):

JEAN-PIERRE: But that’s what he was referring to, right? That’s what was going on. Those were the things that were happening right before us. The pandemic — it was taking thousands of lives a day when he — he took office, schools were closed — or  majority of schools were closed, businesses were closing and we had a supply chain that was disrupted. And so, that’s what the President was speaking to and laying out and then, inflation, down the road became even more — increased even more because of the war that Russia had taken on into Ukraine.

LAWRENCE: But...the Fed’s supply chain measure actually went down in — in November at that time. So — so is the President being honest about inflation?

JEAN-PIERRE: The President has said — what he said what he saw when he was — when he took — when he took office. The pandemic was happening, right? It disrupted the supply chain. We know, you know what happens when the supply chain is disrupted. You know what that leads to. And so, that’s what he was speaking to and not only that — we — he had to — we also saw a war in Ukraine that Mr Putin — an aggressive aggression that Mr Putin was — was putting into Ukraine — set forth. And so, the president had to take historic action — take aggressive action in dealing with disruption in the supply chain. He had to — he released a Strategic Petroleum Reserve, so that we can deal with the supply chain and he continued to take action to lower cost. And that’s what we’ve seen, whether it’s health care costs, whether it’s dealing with junk fees, whether it’s prescription drugs, lowering those costs. That’s what the President took action in. But we saw what was happening when the President took office. We did.

Heinrich cited a report in Politico from former Chief of Staff Ron Klain in which he allegedly said President Biden needs to focus more on soaring prices Americans are paying than fixing bridges.

After bringing that up, Heinrich tied it to the lack of a White House statement on the latest Producer Price Index (PPI): “We didn’t get any statement today on the PPI index. You know, why aren’t we hearing more from the White House about the issues that people are facing at grocery stores and paying rent?”

Jean-Pierre’s prepared answer cited the State of the Union as proof Biden has “made very clear about what he understands what the Americans are facing and he’s talked at almost every — every event that he’s had....about lowering costs”.

Along with listing off five different events where an aspect of the economy came up, she closed with the reality that Klain still supports Biden and formulaic lies about Republicans wanting to end entitlements.

Heinrich’s other economic question was about the Federal Reserve: “Is it all inappropriate for the President to be commenting on what the Fed might or might not do with interest rate cuts?”

Jean-Pierre went down the ‘but, Trump’ route by claiming Biden has “giv[en] the Fed the space to make independent decisions” “unlike the last [President]”.

Heinrich did, however, first ask about Iran:

Elsewhere, CNN’s Kayla Tausche strayed from Team Biden’s lionization of the latest state dinner with the Japanese Prime Minister to grill Jean-Pierre over the ethical hypocrisy of inviting Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Apple’s Tim Cook when “regulators in the Biden administration have sued both Amazon and Apple, alleging anti-competitive behavior that has caused public harm.”



Jean-Pierre tried to meander with another mangled mess and affront to the English language about the necessity of “bipartisanship” and inviting “different types of people” to state dinners, but Tausche reiterated the inconsistency:

The Justice Department said just less than a month ago that Apple uses its control over the iPhone to engage in a broad, sustained, and illegal course of conduct, saying that that lawsuit should send a strong signal to other companies. What signal is the White House sending?

Jean-Pierre maintained a comical wall of separation between the White House and Justice Department, but Tausche pointed out the administration still “invite[d] them to dinner” and it would seem to show Biden “doesn’t think that those companies did anything wrong.”

And, from the left, The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg provided the anti-Israel side of things by lecturing Jean-Pierre and the administration that “respectfully,” it’s “not true” that Biden “is doing everything he can on getting humanitarian aid into Gaza”.

His second question was even more lubricious as he argued Republican presidential candidates — when challenging an incumbent Democrat — interfere in elections and national security (click “expand”):

FEINBERG: Earlier this week, the former President met with Lord Cameron, the British Foreign Secretary. He has, in recent weeks, met with Viktor Orbán, the leader of Hungary. He has said he’s spoken to Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia. There is a long history of Republican presidential candidates meddling in foreign policy to undermine their Democratic opponents. Without getting into Hatch Act territory — you know, telling people to vote for or against someone — is the administration concerned that this private citizen could be working against U.S. interests in the interests of his own political ones?

JEAN-PIERRE: And you’re talking about his meeting specifically with —

FEINBERG: With — with foreign leaders: Lord Cameron, his talking with MBS, Viktor Orbán, and others possibly.

JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, a- — look, as it relates to other — other leaders and those types of meetings — specifically, let’s — let’s talk about David Cameron. The UK noted earlier this week it is common for officials from other countries to meet with representatives of different parties. That includes the United States, as we routinely meet with political leaders of different parties as well. For instance, we hosted Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid yesterday — at the beginning of the week — at the beginning of the week.  And so, it’s not uncommon. I am going to be really careful here, because you’re talking about a presidential candidate. I’m going to be really mindful. I used David Cameron as an example, but I’m going to be really mindful. I’m not speaking beyond that. 

To see the relevant transcript from the April 11 briefing, click here.