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Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Queens, NY

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Queens, NY
Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Queens, NY

Aboard Air Force OneEn Route Queens, New York 1:17 P.M. EST MS.  JEAN-PIERRE:  All right.  Hey, guys.  All right.  Let’s do this.  Okay, good afternoon.  A couple of things before we get started.  So, I want to take a moment to quickly address the fallout of the Alabama Supreme Court decision.  When the Supreme Court […]

The post Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Queens, NY first appeared on Social Gov.

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Queens, New York

1:17 P.M. EST

MS.  JEAN-PIERRE:  All right.  Hey, guys.  All right.  Let’s do this. 

Okay, good afternoon.  A couple of things before we get started.  So, I want to take a moment to quickly address the fallout of the Alabama Supreme Court decision. 

When the Supreme Court took the outrageous step of overturning Roe v. Wade, it paved the road for Republican elected officials to pursue their extreme agenda.  Since then, they have put in place extreme abortion bans in 21 states, proposed three national abortion bans in Congress, and have introduced more than 380 state bills attacking access to reproductive healthcare.  But it doesn’t stop there.

With the latest decision out of Alabama, IVF is under — is now under attack.  Since the decision came down, Americans have read the devastating reports of families seeking fertility care who don’t know what to do or where to turn.  Doctors are afraid of prosecution, fertility clinics are halting operations, and families in other states are worried they might be targeted next.

Apparently, during their two-week recess, House Republicans read those reports too.  Now they have shamefu- — shamelessly — they are shamelessly attempting to erase their own records on IVF. 

The problem is they can’t, because just — just last year, over 120 Republicans, including Speaker Johnson, co-sponsored the Life at Concep- — Conception Act, a dangerous bill that would eliminate reproductive freedom for all women in every state and nationalize the same policies that resulted from the Ala- — Alabama Supreme Court ruling.

Republican officials now think they can me- — message their way out of their support for these extreme policies, but no attempt to rebrand can change the fact that they have spent decades trying to eliminate the unconstitutional right to choose and undermine reproductive freedom everywhere. 

Their agenda is clear.  They’re just worried it’s not popular, and they are absolutely right about that. 

On Thursday, as you all know, Pres- — President Biden will travel to Brownsville, Texas, to meet with U.S. Border Patrol agents, law enforcement, and local leaders.  He will discuss the urgent need to pass the Senate bipartisan border security agreement, the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border in decades. 

He will reiterate his calls for congressional Republicans to stop playing politics and to provide the funding needed for additional U.S. Border Patrol agents, more asylum officers, fentanyl detection technology, and more. 

And finally, we welcomed the Hungarian Parliament’s overwhelming vote to- — today to approve Sweden’s application to join NATO.  And we urge the Hungarian government to quickly com- — complete the process so we can quickly welcome Sweden into our Alliance. 

 Sweden is a strong and capable defense partner with a highly capable military.  Having Sweden as a NATO Ally will make the United States even safer. 

As you all know, welcoming Sweden into the NATO Alliance has been an important priority for President Biden.  The President had encouraged Sweden and Finland to apply to NATO, and he hosted their leaders at the White House to celebrate their applications for NATO membership. 

He also worked with Congress to ratify Finland’s and NATO’s — and Sweden’s NATO accession protocols to — in record time.  And we would like to welcome Sweden, alongside Finland, into the NATO Alliance very, very soon. 

And, with that, Zeke, what you got? 

Q    Thanks, Karine.  We can start off with the Middle East hostage talks, ceasefire.  Has the President been briefed on the — on the updated state of negotiations?  And what is the White House’s level of optimism right now that a deal can be reached?

 MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, I — I don’t have anything to share, any news to share at this time.  Obviously, the President is regularly briefed on what’s going on with those negotiations.  The — it is our priority to — to move forward with a temporary ceasefire. 

As you’ve heard the President say himself, we want to make sure we get these hostages home, including the American hostages home.  We want to make sure we get that all-important humanitarian aid into — into Gaza. 

And again, I’ll just reiterate what we’ve said over and over again, which is the national security supplemental needs to get passed.  Obviously, it has — in that supplemental, it has — it has aid for Ukraine to make sure they have what they need to continue to fight against the aggression that Putin started — right? — two years ago and has that humanitarian aid that Gaza so desperately need, has that — has that assistant for Israel and Indo-Pacific as well. 

So, it’s important that that gets done.  If that — if that national security supplemental were to go on the floor of the House, it would get bipartisan support.  We know this.  We’ve heard from Republicans who have said this.  And we’re going to continue to push forward.  And that is part of what the President is going to discuss with the Big Four tomorrow.

Q    Speaking of that meeting, just real quick, what is the President’s idea of success coming out of that meeting?  I mean, he’s had these lawmakers over to the White House previously and has not moved the ball on the supplemental.  You know, what is he hoping to get out of it tomorrow?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, we — we’ve done these types of meetings before, and it has moved the ball, right?  As you know, with the deal as it relates to the budget when we were dealing with the debt ceiling, it moved that — we were — he was able to move that ball forward. 

Look, he was able to move the ball forward in the Senate to get a bipartisan negotiation on the border security deal that was rejected, obviously, by Republicans because of the last President and — President Trump, to be exact — and what he was able to do, obviously, putting politics over the American people. 

And — but also, what we were able to do on the Senate side is get mov- — removing the border security, was able to get a national security supplemental that passed out of the Senate — Senate 70 to 29.  It passed out of the Senate.  Now it needs to go to — to the House. 

So, we have seen some movement.  We have seen the President’s leadership on this. 

Look, what the President wants to see is we want to make sure that the na- — the national security interests of the American people gets put first.  Right?  It is not used as a political football.  Right?  We want to make sure that gets done. 

And we also want to see that — you know, that — that the government does not get shut down.  It is a basic, basic priority or duty of — of Congress is to keep the government open.  So, that’s what the President wants to see.  He’ll have those conversations.  Obviously, not going to get ahead of the agenda for — that the President is going to — you know, of — of the President and what he’s going to discuss.  But these things are incredibly important.

Q    Karine —

Q    A couple of things on Russia, if I may. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, sure. 

Q    The first is: Can you confirm that the U.S. and Germany were in talks with Russia for a prisoner swap involving Aleksey Navalny before his death?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have — I don’t have anything to share on that.  I’m not going to get into a private discussion. 

Obviously — obviously, when it comes to American hostages, we do everything that we can to make sure that we get them home safely to their — to their family.  You’ve seen the President be successful in doing that in the last three years.  I’m not going to get into — into discussions. 

Q    And secondly, on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  President Zelenskyy said at the weekend that 31,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed.  There have been reports that the U.S. has an estimate that’s about double that.  What’s — I mean, what’s — what’s (inaudible) —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, let me — let me first say that we certainly mourn the loss of so many Ukrainians who have bravely fought to — to defend their freedom and independence as part of this brutal war that Russia launched unprovoked more — obviously, two years ago.

I’m not going to speak to Ukrainian numbers.  That’s for them to speak to.  I just don’t have anything else to add to what Zelenskyy said.

Q    There’s no independent U.S. assessment of that? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — I don’t have an independent assessment to speak to.  I would — I would refer you to the Ukrainian government. 

Q    Karine, you referenced the President’s trip to Texas on —


Q    — Thursday.  Can you give us a sense of whether he plans to unveil anything new in terms of an announcement or an executive order?  He’s been under pressure to do so from Republicans.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, a couple of things there.  As it relates to an executive action, we’ve been very clear.  There is no executive action that would have done what the bipartisan Senate negotiation proposal could have done.  Right?  That would have been a step forward in dealing with the challenges at the border, in dealing with policy changes, obviously, and in dealing with what is actually happening with the immigration system. 

And so, no — no executive action could — could do that.  And — and we’ve been very clear: We think — we think that — that — that Republicans should get out of the way, not politicize this.  This is an issue that the American people — majority of American people care about. 

And so, what the President is going to do — he’s going to go — he’s going to — he’s going to go to the border, as I just mentioned, go to Texas — more specifically, Brownsville — and he’s going to hear directly from the Border Patrol agents.  He’s going to see for himself to see what they’ve been doing on the ground. 

Remember, these — these Border Patrol agents have been doing everything that they can to secure the border to — with the resources that they have.  They need more.  They need more. 

And so, I’m — you know, you’ll hear more from us on what that trip is going to look like.  But, again, no executive action would have done — would have been able to do what — what this bipartisan Senate negotiation that — that the President worked with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate for four months.  And, again, politics got in the way, and Republicans rejected it.

Q    But no new policy, then, on Thursday? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I just — I don’t have anything to share at this time.  We’ll have more to share as we get — as we get closer to Thursday.

But I just wanted to make sure that — what would help is that bipartisan — bipartisan proposal that went — that — that was agreed upon.  It was — it was the toughest and the fairest agreement that we have seen.  And if it had been put into law, it would have made a difference. 

Q    Karine, just to follow up on that. 


Q    I know the last time President Biden went to the border, there was some criticism that he didn’t meet directly with migrants.  Is that on the schedule, something you guys are prepping for this trip? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, we’ll have more to share as we get closer to Thursday.  Don’t have anything for you at this time.  Obviously, he’s going to meet with frontline folks who — who work on the ground, including Border Patrol agents; hear directly from them; see, also, for himself what is it that they do every day to protect Americans, to secure the border.

Again, they need more resources.  Let’s not forget, that bipartisan — bipartisan proposal that came out of the Senate to deal with the border challenges, to deal with immigration was — was approved by the Border Patrol union, by — there was a Wall Street Journal editorial about it.  There was — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supported that — that proposal. 

And when do we — when do we see that, right?  When do we ever see something like that in a bipartisan way? 

And so, I’ll just leave it there.  We’ll have more to share, obviously, as we get closer to Thursday.

Q    And then, on a different note, we’re about 10 days out from the State of the Union Address.  Where is the state of that speech, and how is the President preparing? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  As you — as you can imagine, the President takes that opportunity to speak to millions of Americans, in- — obviously including — including on the Capitol, in front of congressional members, very seriously. 

I don’t have anything to share on his — on his remarks.  He will be working on it over the next — next week or so, how much time — however time we have until — until March 8th.  But I just don’t have anything to share. 

It’s going to be an important moment to speak directly to the American people, as he has done, you know, many times before as President.  And so, we — he looks forward to that opportunity.

Q    Can you tal- — can you talk about why now for — for the border trip, sort of what lead up to it?  Why does the President want to see and interact with these agents now?  And also, any reaction to the former President being at the Texas U.S. border, as well, on Thursday?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I don’t have a reaction to the former President.  I’m not going to speak to his schedule.  What I can speak to is this President and what he’s trying to do.  He wants to — he wants to make sure that he has — he puts his message out there to the American people.

He — we have said that we were going to take it directly to the American people so that they know — they know what’s going on, right?  They know what’s going on in Congress.  They know that what we tried to do with the Senate in a bipartisan way to get a border — a border security deal and, obviously, a deal that deals with the immigration system.  And we tried to get that done. 

The President has been working on this since day one of his administration, putting forward a comprehensive immigration policy, and Republicans keep getting in the way. 

So, the — so, the American people are going to hear directly from him.  He’s going to see what’s going on on the ground.  He wants to — he said he was going to take action; he’s going to that.  We’re going to see him on Thursday on the ground doing that. 

And so, look, there was a de- — there was a — there was a deal coming out of the Senate in a bipartisan way that took four months.  Republicans got in the way because of what Donald Trump told them to do or told them to — how — told them how to move forward on it.

Q    Can you say anything about today’s trip to New York?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Say what?  What’s that?

Q    Can you say anything about today’s trip to New York?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have anything — I don’t have anything more to say about — or anything to say about New York.  It’s a campaign — obviously, there’s a campaign component to it.  The campaign can speak more specifically about — about his trip today.

Q    Karine, you just said that the President will — will take action on Thursday at the border.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, I meant — I meant him going.  I probably should clear that up.  You’re right, I did — when I said it, I was like, “Oh, gosh.”  (Laughter.)

Him going is showing that he is taking — he’s taking this very seriously.

Q    So, he’s not going to do anything when he’s there?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No.  (Laughs.)  No, what I’m saying —

Q    (Inaudible.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m saying — what I meant by that is, like, him going is an action, right?  He’s — he’s taking this very seriously.  He’s going to go directly to — you know, to Brownsville, Texas; see exactly what’s going on; hear directly from the Border Patrol agents who — who are doing the work, you know, in the best way that they can with the resources that they have, but they need more.  They need more.

Q    Karine, there was some reporting that the President was going to tape Seth Meyers’s show today.  Is that — is that a campaign event?  Is that really not something you can confirm?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — I don’t have — I don’t have anything on that.  If we have more to share, certainly, we will — I don’t have —

Q    Is that just because of protests that you don’t want to share details about the President’s schedule, because you’re afraid of protests?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — I don’t — I don’t have anything else to share on that.

Q    Karine, is there a White House response to the former President’s comments on Friday that his indictments appeal to Black voters because he’s been discriminated against, as Black Americans have been?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, as you know, I’m going to be really careful.  He’s a candidate as well, and he was speaking at a political event, and it’s an election — 2024 — so I need to be really mindful.  And then, I think we have to sit down. 

So, speaking separately, it is — it is a repugnant and dis- — and divisive — it is repugnant and dis- — divisive to traffic in racist stereotypes that have the re- — that have the effect of — of tearing — tearing all Americans down.  And in any context, it is profa- — profane to compare the long, painful history of — of abuse and discrimination suffered by Black Americans to something totally different for self-serving purposes. 

President Joe Biden has been always very clear on this, that we must give hate no safe harbor.  Instead, we need to bring Americans together around our shared values about the rights and — and dignity of everyone. 

That’s what the country needs to hear right now: a unity for the sake of all Americans — to unify in the sake of all Americans, not division for the sake of one person.

I think that’s all I got.

Q    Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Thanks, guys.  Thank you.  Thanks, everybody.  See you on the ground.

1:32 P.M. EST


Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2024/02/26/press-gaggle-by-press-secretary-karine-jean-pierre-en-route-queens-ny/

The post Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Queens, NY first appeared on Social Gov.