For the first White House press briefing since the Thanksgiving holiday, it was the ultimate contrast of stupidity vs. substance. In the one corner, longtime far-left White House correspondent and African-American activist April Ryan lobbied the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to have President Biden discuss “the black agenda” with Stevie Wonder.
In the other corner, Fox’s Peter Doocy actually decided to challenge Jean-Pierre and the administration by standing up for Americans who continue to struggle with inflation.
Ryan cut to the chase with her hackery, saying she “had an in-depth conversation with Stevie Wonder last night,” but was interrupted by others in the room (journalists and/or White House staff) laughing at this train of thought. She then lashed out, saying “it’s a serious question.”
She then noted that, as part of their conversation, he “request[ed] a meeting with the President” because “[h]e’s very concerned about the black agenda falling along the wayside and issues like laws of 50 years ago that are now being abolished or gutted, to include issues like the Voting Rights Act, what happened in Arkansas last week, affirmative action — Supreme Court — as we’ve seen it, ban on books, and...the Congo”.
Ryan made this demand because, in her opinion, Wonder’s been so influential in American politics given he’s “met with presidents, um. throughout history” and helped ensure the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The exchange was clearly planned in advance with Jean-Pierre as she had a long, canned answer in her binder, starting with the insistence that “[w]hat you just laid out...is incredibly important and so, we take that very, very seriously here” with Wonder having “made tremendous, tremendous contributions to the civil rights movement and also voting rights”.
After a long, winding answer an “equity agenda” being central to the White House, Ryan followed up with a hilariously unfortunate line about Wonder “looking at this issue courting black males” (click “expand”):
RYAN: But Steve Wonder is not alone in this thought.
JEAN-PIERRE: Obviously, yeah, yeah.
RYAN: He’s not alone in this thought. He’s very upset and he’s even looking at this issue courting black males. I mean, he just wants to have a conversation with — do you — is the President amenable as he is a leader as he has met with other presidents on major issues of rights, humanitarian rights, as well as civil rights?
JEAN-PIERRE: And look, you’re right. It’s not just an issue that Mr. — Mr Stevie Wonder has, right? As you know, we’ve met with civil rights leaders, multiple times...So, we’ve taken this very seriously, very seriously. That’s why we’ve taken the actions that we’ve had throughout the past almost three years in this administration...[W]hen you think about his economy, what he’s put forth on his agenda and policy, when you think about all the policies that he’s put forth, there’s always been equity at the center of that. So, this is something he takes seriously. Again, I don’t have anything to share about a meeting with Mr Stevie Wonder, but, obviously, this is something that both the President, the Vice President, also the First Lady, take incredibly seriously...You see that in the actions that we have taken, whether it’s policy actions, whether it’s speaking out and speaking up about what we’re seeing from Republicans, extreme Republicans...and what they are trying to do in taking away voting rights or what we’ve seen from the Supreme Court justice and taking away, uh, taking away, certainly, affirmative action, which we think is incredibly important, and we’re going to continue to speak to that.
As Jean-Pierre moved on, the bitter, tightly-fixed mask-wearing Ryan blurted out thanks “for taking the question seriously.”
As one of the few adults in the room, Doocy took the reins, asking Jean-Pierre if she could honestly believe that “when people were home for Thanksgiving, catching up with their family members, they were saying to each other, ‘can you believe how much more affordable things have gotten?’”
Jean-Pierre ducked other than to say the White House “take[s]” the feelings of Americans “very seriously” and aren’t “a joke to us” since Biden “talks about it in a very personal way”.
Then, without saying it explicitly, Jean-Pierre argued they shouldn’t be feeling that way because “the data shows that the economy is improving” with “households remain[ing[ in a strong financial position” and “at a record high”
Doocy followed up with another hardball: “But why do you think it is that when you say the economy is improving, and President Biden says the economy is improving that a majority of Americans outside of this building are not buying it?”
JEAN-PIERRE: So here’s the thing. When we walked into this administration, the economy was on a tail — a tailspin. That is the fact because...the Trump administration, because of how they dealt with — dealt with COVID and the pandemic because they didn’t have a comprehensive plan. The President came in. He passed the American Rescue Plan, which was able to get the economy back on its feet, which is able to open up small business. Small businesses were able to open up. Schools were able to open up and we understand what Americans have been feeling. And we understand what Americans have been feeling over the last 2, 3 years. It’s going to take some time. We get that. It’s going to take some time. But it does not take away how we have seen the economy getting back on its feet. We actually had to fix the problem that we saw that the last administration left us.
DOOCY: But almost three years in office. Inflation is up over 17 percent since President Biden came here. And you’re saying that it’s still Trump’s fault?
JEAN-PIERRE: Inflation — inflation — Inflation is moderating because of the actions that this person — this President has taken. Because —
DOOCY: Doesn’t that mean that —
JEAN-PIERRE: — because —
DOOCY: — prices are still going up slower? They’re still high.
JEAN-PIERRE: — it’s going down. The prices are going down...I just talked about last week how turkey prices — the cost for turkeys is going down, the cost for eggs is going down...because of the President’s action that he’s taken. And if you think about gas prices, it’s down by a $1.70 cents since its peak — since its peak because of the actions that this President has taken. So, we understand that people are still not feeling it. We get that....And let’s not forget what Republicans are doing...They’re trying to increase health care costs. They want to get rid of Medicare. They want to get rid of Social Security....They want to make sure the millionaires and billionaires are actually getting the benefits, right? And so, that’s no — that’s not our way. Our way is to build the middle class from the bottom up, middle out, and the President believes in, that he talks about it. You’re going to hear him talk about it in about an hour and that’s gonna be our focus.
During John Kirby’s portion of the briefing, Nadia Bilbassy-Charters of the Saudi Arabia-funded Alarabiya had questions from, of course, the pro-Palestinians camp, including this one:
There was reports saying that the President said that he’s sorry and disappointed in himself after meeting with the Muslim leaders. Do you think that the President could have done more to show sympathy towards Palestinian civilians or be seen as even handed?
To see the relevant transcript from the November 27 briefing, click here.