Prior to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre using Thursday afternoon’s breaking news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death to end that day’s briefing, she was asked by reporters from two ends of the political spectrum how President Biden and his family have been affected by record-high inflation and gas prices and whether they’ve cut back on anything. Of course, the stammering, yammering Jean-Pierre had nothing to offer.
Fox Business Network’s Edward Lawrence noted that, seeing as how Jean-Pierre has “talked about trying to get costs down,” “a new Gallup poll show[ed] that” Americans have been forced to do so with 24 percent of the country revealing they’re “spending less” and “17 percent traveled less or canceled vacations” due to the high living costs.
Despite that, Lawrence noted that Biden “has been to his beach house six times” and gone on vacations to the Carolinas. “Is he considering any spending cuts for the administration or for himself personally because of inflation,” he asked.
After she had Lawrence repeat the question, Jean-Pierre questioned the premise of Biden cutting back vacations because he should “spend time with his family, which every President does” and was thus “not uncommon to do” as, no matter where the President goes, he can still fulfill his duties.
Jean-Pierre eventually shifted gears to what real Americans are going through and insisted Biden “has been very clear” that he’ll do “everything that he can to make sure that we lower costs.”
Celebrating the fact that gas prices have tumbled for “the last 86 days” (even though it’s only recently fallen below $4 a gallon), she also cited the Inflation Reduction Act and its provision on prescription drugs but said nothing about when they’ll take into effect.
She tried to move on, but NPR’s Asma Khalid pulled an audible and stayed on that topic:
[A]re there any spending plan cuts, either personally that the President is going to make or the White House? Because...as my colleague mentioned, Americans are making some of those cuts and I just wanted to get clarity on whether or not that’s happened?
Jean-Pierre refused to answer other than reiterating that “[w]e understand and we have been very clear...that we understand what the American people are going through” as well as the Inflation Reduction Act, American Rescue Plan, and bipartisan legislation on infrastructure and microchips.
Fox’s Peter Doocy had started to have his turn by wondering “[w]hy do you guys keep saying the Inflation Reduction Act is reducing prices,” but he never got a follow-up as other reporters interjected with news of the Queen’s passing.
On Wednesday, the briefing featured Doocy calling out the Biden administration for a new report showing the lack of vetting for Afghan refugees (click “expand”):
DOOCY: As refugees were being evacuated from Afghanistan into the U.S. last year, why weren’t they all being thoroughly vetted?...[S]o as the White House was managing the Afghanistan withdrawal last year, we were told “no one is coming into the United States of America who has not been through a thorough screening and background check process.” But now there’s this DHS inspector general who says CBP “admitted or paroled” evacuees who were not fully vetted into the United States. That is not good. That is different than what you guys said. So how did this happen?
JEAN-PIERRE: No, it’s not different than what we have said. That very report, it did not take into account the key steps in that rigorous — you heard from us — rigorous and multi-layered screening and vetting process the U.S. government took before at-risk Afghans were permitted to come to the U.S. Again, I would refer you to the DH — DHS comments on this. It did not take into full account of what the other agencies are involved in making sure that this multi-layered process and screening process they — it is a — it is a multi- agency effort, and it did not — this particular report did not include that.
DOOCY: Okay. But — so in the last week or so, we’ve heard the President calling elected Republicans a threat to the country. Does he think MAGA Republicans are more of a threat to the country than people DHS says may pose a risk to national security and the safety of local communities?
JEAN-PIERRE: Again, DHS has disputed this report. It’s — and it said it didn’t take into account the key steps that we have taken as a U.S. government, the rigorous, multi-layered screening and vetting process that we take as a government. That was not part of the report. Again, this report is not accurate. I know that our team has spoken to your team about this, and the DHS has provided a comment saying just that. So, again, I refer you to DHS.
Real Clear Politics’ Philip Wegmann had a series of probing questions about leaks from the Mar-a-Lago raid, Energy Secretary Granholm praising California’s energy policies days ahead of concerns it could fail, and why has it been over 200 days since President Biden last gave a (television) interview.
On that last one, Jean-Pierre responded in much the same way Psaki did when similar questions were raised: “The President loves talking to you all. He takes your questions all the time...He is happy to talk to you all. As you know, he does it multiple times during the week.”