Proving once again that she was only hired so the Biden administration could fill their diversity quota, President Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struggled through another painful and cringeworthy press conference where she had difficulty stringing coherent sentences together in order to answer simple questions from reporters in the briefing room.
Jean-Pierre’s troubles began when Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked her about Biden looking to hide from the press and not hold a post-midterm news conference as every President has for decades.
Addressing Biden’s refusal to commit to holding a post-election news conference, Heinrich said “An outside observer might conclude that he doesn’t want to have a press conference because he looks poised to lose control of one or both chambers.”
She then asked, “why the day before the midterms won’t the White House commit to holding that traditional post-midterms press conference the day after the elections?”
“You’ve been covering this administration for the past 20 months right?” Jean-Pierre nastily replied. She then made the laughable excuse that “it takes some time in any administration to lay out what the schedule is going to be.”
“I've been very clear. You're going to hear from the President. He always enjoys taking your questions,” she added.
Not satisfied with Jean-Pierre’s nonanswer, Heinrich shot back: “Isn’t the President’s own warning though that democracy is on the ballot plus this potential for unrest make it that much more important that the President avail himself to the free and open press that he has lauded as indispensable to the functioning of democracy?”
Jean-Pierre responded that “the President has been very clear about where he stands when it comes to democracy.”
The incoherent press secretary’s next struggle session with the English language came during a question from CBS News digital’s Kathryn Watson who asked about Biden’s comments over the weekend where he said he wanted to shut down the coal industry and Jean-Pierre’s insistence the President’s words were “twisted” by Republicans or others who are hostile to Biden.
“You mentioned a couple times or repeated, a couple times today that those words were twisted. So who twisted them? Did Manchin twist them? Did someone else twist them?” Watson asked.
“It’s how it was reported out was being twisted,” Jean-Pierre responded. “If you read the full transcript, the President was very clear. Commenting on a fact of economics and technology,” she added.
Last but not least, Real Clear Politics White House reporter Phillip Wegmann sought clarification on Biden’s intentions when it comes to the coal industry. Wegmann asked Jean-Pierre, “you said that the President is fighting for coal communities. But just to follow up, that doesn't mean that he's fighting to keep these coal mines open. Does it?”
Jean-Pierre, in broken English, claimed Biden “has put forward plans that are bringing new energy and manufacturing jobs to states, like West Virginia, to states like Pennsylvania,” and that “he has secured critical investment through the Inflation Reduction Act to support coal communities, as well.”
Wegmann followed up by observing that it “sounds like you’re helping them as the market through economic transition is moving away from coal.”
Thoroughly outsmarted by Wegmann, Jean-Pierre mumbled: “I've been very clear, the President has been very clear on this,” and that she doesn’t “have anything more to add.”
On a separate topic, Wegmann asked, in light of Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s criticism of the Biden administration using the Beijing-beholden social media app TikTok, if “Biden is signaling to the world he believes it is safe to use an app that is beholden to Beijing.”
Jean-Pierre gave a nonanswer and used the fact that the app is currently under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment to deflect.
Wegmann jumped in to ask if “there’s a risk and the review is ongoing, why continue to invite these folks to the White House?”
She responded that “the President uses different mediums to communicate directly with the American people including young people. We think it's important to communicate directly with them.”
To read the transcript from November 7's briefing click "expand":
White House Press Briefing
2:48:00 p.m. Eastern
JACQUI HEINRICH: I know you said from the podium a number of times including today that the American people would hear from the President the day after the midterms but his statement or remarks is not just a departure from the traditions the president has promised to restore to the White House but it also doesn't allow the sort of nuanced discussion about what signal voters are sending in the midterms or how he plans to engage with the new Congress. An outside observer might conclude that he doesn’t want to have a press conference because he looks poised to lose control of one or both chambers. So why the day before the midterms won’t the White House commit to holding that traditional post-midterms press conference the day after the elections?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: You’ve been covering this administration for the past 20 months right? As you know. You know, it takes some time in any Administration to lay out what the schedule is going to be. I've been very clear. You're going to hear from the president he always enjoys taking your questions. So you know, I'm sure he'll take your questions as well. I'm just not going to get ahead of it. I'm just not going to lay out what his day is going to specifically look like on Wednesday. But again, he is going to address the American people and I think that's matters. He's going to be clear about what's on his mind. And I'm just not going to get ahead of it from here.
HEINRICH: Isn’t the President’s own warning though that democracy is on the ballot plus this potential for unrest make it that much more important that the president avail himself to the free and open press that he has lauded as indispensable to the functioning of democracy?
JEAN-PIERRE: The President has been very clear about where he stands when it comes to democracy. You've heard him talk about democracy over and over again. He talked about it last week at how important it is for the American people as they are thinking about the choice in front of them. What's at stake? He's been really clear. He's condemned political violence.
This is a President who the reason why he decided to run for this office. Was because of what he was seeing you know what he talked about the soul of a nation. So I you know, disagree with your premise as if it isn't something that is not important to him. He’s made this an important issue. And again, I'm not going to get ahead of it. You will the American people, which is what matters. Specifically is going to hear from the American people.
HEINRICH: But my last question would be about Elon Musk and Twitter on a lighter note. Is it an abuse for Elon Musk as the new Twitter CEO to use the platform to tell users to vote for Republicans in the midterms?
JEAN-PIERRE: So I saw that reporting. That was earlier today, right? So you know, I look I'm limited to what I can say about elections from the podium but broadly speaking I can say that. Every eligible American has the right to make their voices heard in this year's election, that is their right to do. And the president has often spoken about the importance of voting and I'm just going to leave it there as to not get involved in any kind of election conversation.
2:55:53 p.m. Eastern
KATHRYN WATSON: Really briefly to clarify something, you mentioned. Here at the podium. You mentioned about the President's statement or what the President said, on Saturday regarding coal. You mentioned a couple times or repeated, a couple times today that those words were twisted. So who twisted them? Did Manchin twist them? Did someone else twist them?
JEAN-PIERRE: It’s how it was reported out was being twisted. So if you I want if you really clear because this is important. If you read the full transcript, the President was very clear. Commenting on a fact of economics and technology. As it has been from, its earliest days as an energy superpower. America is once again in the midst of an energy transition, & the President is determined to make sure that this transition helps all
Americans, and he's been very clear about that. And these weren't some novel comments. As they were taken and twisted to be. The President has talked for years about this energy transition, and the need to support cole communities through it. And so it was, it was twisted by by many others. And so we wanted to make sure that there was some clarity.
3:05:05 p.m. Eastern
PHILLIP WEGMANN: You said that the President is fighting for coal communities. But just to follow up, that doesn't mean that he's fighting to keep these coal mines open. Does it?
JEAN-PIERRE: Look the President, I laid out very clearly. About how the President sees, sees his his part in this. And what he has done you know he is he has you know, through the work of working group on coal and power plant communities. President Biden has already delivered more than more than twenty-three billion dollars to energy communities across the country. He has put forward plans that are bringing new energy and manufacturing jobs to states, like West Virginia to states like Pennsylvania. And he has secured critical investment through the Inflation Reduction Act to support coal communities, as well. Which he believes is incredibly important, which is why it was included in an Inflation Reduction Act.
And that's from funding for coal miners suffering from respiratory, challenges to billions of dollars in loans to help them see new energy opportunities. So, again, you know, I mentioned this, I just say laid this out while we're trying to help coal communities. When we're trying to do everything that we can, to make sure that they have the funding that they need. Republicans, that very same. Same, policy, same monies that I just laid out. Inflation Reduction Act which is where it's coming from. Republicans want to repeal that taking away the efforts that were trying to to provide for coal communities.
WEGMANN: So that sounds like you’re helping them as the market through economic transition is moving away from coal, that doesn't sound like you’re taking any deregulatory, efforts, or any steps to help the mines themselves stay open. Is that correct?
JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I've been very clear the President has been very clear on this. Don't have anything more to add. Again, we believe what he was trying to say was twisted. And we've laid that down very clearly. You’ve heard from my statement. You heard from what I just said here today.
WEGMANN: Marco Rubio, the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee criticized the administration by saying, quote, by giving TikTok Influencers a platform of White House visits and creating content. Biden is signaling to the world he believes it is safe to use an app that is beholden to Beijing. This comes after TikTok admitted that some European data was accessed in China. Is the President signaling to the American public that TikTok is safe?
JEAN-PIERRE: Can you say that one more time? Because that was a lot.
WEGMANN: Yeah, that was a lot sorry. So, the gist of it is that Rubio argues that by hosting some of these TikTok influencers, here, at the White House, the President essentially, quote, signaling to the world, he believes it is safe to use an app that is beholden to Beijing. My question is, does the President see that way? Is he signaling anything about this application?
JEAN-PIERRE: So just to be very mindful here, not going to comment on TikTok while the committee on foreign investment. In the United States as you all know. Review is ongoing to address concerns. Posed by posed by the app. So generally speaking, the Biden administration is focused on challenge of certain countries, right? Which is including China as you just mentioned to me. Seeking for leverage digital Technologies and Americans data in ways. That’s presently unacceptable and is not safe for our national security it’s at-risk puts our national security at risk. So look, we are taking the steps. That we can to address this challenge.
For example, the President issued, the first-ever presidential directive defining additional National Security factors for this very said committee. To consider in line with the administration's National Security priorities like protecting Americans. America's sensitive. Sensitive data, And last year, the President Biden, put forward an executive order to protect American sensitive data from collection and utilization, So we will continue to look for other actions to deal with this. And again, I don't want to get too far into it but I can lay out what the president has done.
WEGMANN: But if there’s a risk and the review is ongoing, why continue to invite these folks to the White House great TikTok guy and I thought that I'd be asking a question about TikTok.
JEAN-PIERRE: I feel like you’ve asked me questions before about TikTok.
WEGMANN: Parents who are looking at this seemingly benign app and then they're seeing reports that because of the parent company by dance, which is Chinese-owned that there's a risk and then they see the President of the United States is appearing on—
JEAN-PIERRE: And I hear, I hear your question as, you know, the President uses different mediums to communicate directly with the American people including young people. We think it's important to communicate directly with them. But we understand, right? We understand the issues that TikTok presents itself with and so, again, we use different mediums. I just laid out what we're trying to do in our efforts. To deal with the issue that you just laid out. Don't want to get too much into it because it's in front of the committee. But we take this very seriously, hence, the executive order that the President did and we will continue to do that.