Briefing Room Wrap Up: The Week in Briefings with WH Hidin’ Biden in Delaware

June 19th, 2024 5:48 PM

With it being summer and the first presidential debate only eight days away, President Biden has been and will soon go into hibernation with trips to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and Camp David in Maryland, leaving only Monday and Tuesday for White House press briefings.

However, the press corps made it count with hardballs and softballs on what the ever-inept Karine Jean-Pierre called “cheap fakes” videos and some whacks from the left on Biden’s new executive order for illegal immigrants.

The Associated Press had Will Weissert play Biden tool on Monday with this question about the latest string of videos showing a decline in Biden’s mental faculties: “[T]here seems to be a sort of rash of videos that have been edited to make the President appear especially frail or mentally confused. I’m wondering if the — the White House is especially worried about the fact that this appears to be a pattern that we’re seeing more — more often?”



Sure enough, this set the table for Jean-Pierre to uncork this new term of “cheap fakes” (click “expand”):

Yeah, we — and I think you all have called this the “cheap fakes” video and that’s exactly what they are. They are cheap fakes video. They are done in bad faith.  And — and some of your news organization have — have been very clear, have stressed that these right-wing — the right-wing critics of the President have a credibility problem because of — the fact checkers have repeatedly caught them pushing misinformation, disinformation and so, we see this, and this is something coming from — from your — your part of the world, calling them cheap fakes and misinformation and I’ll quote The Washington Post, where they wrote — they wrote about this, and they said, “How Republicans used misleading videos to attack Biden in a 24-hour period.” And to their credit, we have a conservative — Washington Examiner did call them out as well, calling out the New York Post. Ironically, several — several recent cheap fakes actually attack the President for thanking troops — for thanking troops. That is what they’re attacking the President for. Both in Normandy this happened and again in Italy and I think that it tells you everything that we need to know about how — how desperate — how desperate Republicans are here and instead of talking about the President’s performance in office — and what I mean by that is his legislative wins, what he’s been able to do for the American people across the country — we’re seeing these deep fakes, these manipulated videos and it is, again, done in bad faith.

Daily Mail’s Geoff Earle later on was more inquisitive, wondering then what Italian Prime Minister Meloni and former President Obama were doing in separate videos having to grab hold of and guide Biden in a different direction.

Jean-Pierre stammered through an answer about how the Obama regime “put out a statement” defending Biden’s mental state, so Newsmax’s James Rosen took it upon himself to wonder about Meloni.



Jean-Pierre again ducked, leading Rosen to wonder if this meant the discussion was “much ado about nothing, and he is totally normal”.

Hilariously, the press secretary didn’t answer and instead robotically reiterated her talking points about “cheap fakes”.

“So, the — the majorities of American voters who are telling pollsters repeatedly for years now that they have serious concerns about this President’s cognitive fitness are being misled by cheap fake videos? Is that what you’re telling us,” Rosen wondered to no avail. Once again, he asked three times whether this all means Biden’s “fine”, but Jean-Pierre never gave a definitive answer.

In contrast, Fox Business’s Edward Lawrence grilled Jean-Pierre on the struggling Biden economy while Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann sought confirmation on whether the President would pardon son Hunter (click “expand”):

LAWRENCE: I want to ask you about the American Dream. So, overall, the average sale price of a home is up 29 percent under President Biden. We have record-low inventory, according to the National Association of Realtors and the cost of a mortgage is up because interest rates are up to fight inflation. So, is the American Dream out of reach for a lot of Americans now?

JEAN-PIERRE: So, Ed, I appreciate the question, and I — I hear what you’re saying and, look, the President understands that Americans are struggling right now to pay for their rent, to — to buy a home, and we get that. That’s why the President took action some time ago in hi — early in his administration and the things that it did was reduce mortgage insurance premiums by 900 bucks per year for hundreds of thousands of first-time home — home — homebuyers, expand rental assistance to 100,000 additional household, cut the red tape and expand financial — financing to build tens of thousands of affordable housing and because of that, we see a record 1.7 million housing units are being built nationwide, and that is the most ever and more apartments are being built each year under — under this President since — since — than any oth — other administration since 1980s and so, that matters, but the President also understands that there’s more work to be done, but he has taken action. He’s created a task force to deal with this issue, because he understands how much — how much Americans are struggling just to buy a home, just to pay rent. 


LAWRENCE: So, you’re sort of saying eventually prices will come down and — and what’s the timeframe?

JEAN-PIERRE: No, what I’m saying is the President has taken action, and we have seen 1.7 million housing units are being built — affordable housing mu — units are being built. There’s more work to do. The President also is calling on Congress to pass his housing plan, which was called by experts “the most consequential housing plan in more than 50 years.” So, he’s taking more action. We’ve seen how the three things that I laid out in answering your question has actually helped: taking away red tape, continuing to expand rental assistance, making sure that thousands of Americans are able to have these insurance premiums and 900 bucks per year — these mortgage insurance premiums — which is all important in how they’re trying to — you’re right, trying to get that American Dream. Buying a home is indeed very much part of that American Dream and the par — the President understands that. 


WEGMANN: There was some confusion on this previously, and the President seemed to address this in passing as he was walking away from that joint press conference...So, I just wanted to clarify. President Biden has ruled out any type of commutation or reduced sentence for his son, Hunter Biden, correct?

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, he has.

Come Tuesday and the questions weren’t probing on the Biden executive order and tough questions correctly calling out the rank partisan nature. Instead, the queries were grievances it didn’t go far enough.

ABC’s Selina Wang bemoaned: 

[C]an you just walk us through how the administration decided the contours of this? For instance, it is 10 years, but if someone’s been married for — it’s — you have to be in the country for at least 10 years. But, if you been here for just slightly less than that, they would not eventually be eligible, right?

Jean-Pierre confirmed this was the case and argued the administration believes those “who would be eligible for this, we are — we are predicting have been here for about 23 years. 23 years.”



Wang remained fixated on standing up for illegal aliens and seemed to wonder there was a cap: “Just — but what do you say to those families, you know, who have a member who’s been here for, like, nine years and 11 months? And so, they’ll never be able to have a chance?”

Jean-Pierre gave up by saying in part that this discussion was why “the way to actually deal with this is to have a comprehensive immigration legislation — is for Congress to do their jobs and to move forward.”

Wang’s ABC colleague Karen Travers had her own softball: “[H]as the President met with any families that would be impacted that could benefit from what he’s going to announce today. Has he been moved personally by any stories that then led him to take action?”

Later, Anita Powell of taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) lamented this expansion of legal status for illegal immigrants married to Americans would be difficult to bring to fruition because, well, paperwork is xenophobic or something (click “expand”):

POWELL: [I]n many states in the United States, such as my home state of Texas —

JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, the marriage — yeah, right. Okay.

POWELL: — you have to present a stack of documents. For example, a driving license, a certified copy of a birth certificate, passport or military identification card and Social Security cards in order to get a marriage license.


POWELL: This — I just wonder if this puts some of these applicants in this Kafkaesque situation where they haven’t applied for this, they may have an informal marriage or a common law marriage and that — and would that make them ineligible for this executive order? Do you accept things like, for example, the declaration of informal marriage form from states?

JEAN-PIERRE: So, I appreciate this is a process question. I appreciate the question. You’re going to have to go to — uh — DHS to get specifics on that. I — I — I — I won’t get into details of this, but that is something that the Department of House —

POWELL: Are you concerned that, you know, asking for what amounts to paperwork — legal paperwork for people who undocumented and have a lack of paperwork in many critical ways might — might put them in a binding position.

JEAN-PIERRE: — look, I — here — I think the bottom line here is — is — is something to remember that there are American families — there are people who have been here for 23 years who is — who are married to American citizens and who have contributed into these communities...[T]his is an important announcement...Congress needs to act to actually have a comprehensive answer here to deal with the system. You would not be asking me this specific question if Congress did not — would do their job — right — if they would actually take action and do their job.

To see the relevant briefing transcripts, click here (for June 17, including more questions about topics such as the border and Israel) and here (for June 18).