Fox’s Doocy, Even CNN’s Lee Asks KJP: Where the Heck Has Joe Biden Been All Week?

January 12th, 2024 1:48 PM

When you have the Fox News Channel and CNN asking the same thing this week during White House press briefings, that’s a bad sign for any administration. Such was the case as, on Wednesday and Thursday, CNN’s M.J. Lee and Fox’s Peter Doocy pressed the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre where has Joe Biden been this week as he wasn’t seen in public on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

Lee asked on Wednesday a simple question: “[C]an you tell us what the President is up to today?”

Jean-Pierre’s only real answer was being briefed by his national security team (which a President has everyday, regardless of their schedule), having lunch with Vice President Harris, a phone with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), but otherwise included drivel such as this: “As he as he always does, he’s working around the clock, focusing on the issues that matter to the American people — everyday Americans, obviously.”

Lee’s follow-up snuffed out her non-answer, but couched it in leftist hackery: “Since there isn’t anything on his public schedule. What would the White House say to any Democrats that might say, you know, we’re now getting closer to the election, the people — the American people need to see him every day, out in public?”

A day later, Doocy reupped these concerns: “President Biden has not had any events at the White House in the new year, and he’s been kept from public view for three full days now. Why?”

This time, Jean-Pierre more or less admitted that Biden needed a few days off: “The President had a three-day swing, went to four states in the new year.”

She then recapped his “three-day swing” through Pennsylvania and South Carolina for (rabidly partisan campaign) speeches, Texas for a funeral, and a stop home in Delaware as proof he’s active for the American people.

Once she added the caveat he’d be seen in public on Friday, Doocy dispatched with the pleasantries and went hardball: “So, he did a three-day swing, but for the last three days — Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday — none of his constituents have seen him doing anything. Who decided that the American people are best served by seeing less of President?”

Jean-Pierre cartoonishly said she “would disagree....[Americans] saw less of the President” since he spent three days out in public, adding one other piece of business from Wednesday was a meeting with the sister of Paul Whelan, an American held in Russia since 2018.

Doocy’s other question was intriguing, but drew a filtered statement about how “proud” Team Biden is of “taking...rules very seriously”: “There’s an item in Axios that President Biden was advised by the White House Counsel to stop giving big-dollar donors tours of the Oval Office. While he has been out of view of the public for the last three days, has he given any wealthy campaign donors tours of the Oval Office?”

Rewinding to earlier in the briefing, NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez asked National Economic Council Chairwoman Lael Brainard what she’d “say to Americans who are worried about food prices” even as she claims “inflation has cooled” and “‘Bidenomics’ has not caught on.”

Brainard downplayed these concerns, arguing groceries and the purchasing power of Americans is more or less just peachy (pun intended).

Fox Business’s Edward Lawrence turned up the heat with facts: “[S]ince President Biden came into office, overall CPI inflation is up 17.6 percent. Food, you’re talking about, is up about 34 percent. Electricity is up 27 percent. So, what’s your message to Americans who are feeling this every day when they buy and use things?”

Brainard insisted Biden’s “fighting for American consumers,” but rejected his question because of “real gains” in the economy and, where there’s pitfalls, she blamed “corporations that were all too eager to raise prices”.

Lawrence had another big reality check: “But in that same timeframe...real wages are down 2.5 percent. So, people are — are feeling that pain”.

Brainard interjected that “[r]eal wages are up since pre-pandemic,” but Lawrence noted it’s only “0.8 percent from February of 2020.” She replied that’s only for “average hourly earnings” whereas “[r]eal wages are up over a percent for all workers, and they’re up over 3 percent for moderate-income workers.”

Considering inflation has been more than twice that and the recent inflation report pegged it at 3.4 percent, that still means what Americans make is worth less.

During the John Kirby portion of the briefing, Nadia Bilbassy of Saudi-funded Alarabiya, the AP’s Seung Min Kim, Patsy Widakswara of taxpayer-funded Voice of America, and one unidentified reporter pestered and, in some cases, hounded him to accept South Africa’s anti-Jewish and outlandish lawsuit before the International Court of Justice that Israel — not Hamas — has been committing genocide (click “expand”):

BILBASSY: Today at the hearing of the ICJ, the judge said that under Article 51 of the Convention that Israel is a signatory to, Gaza is an occupied territory. Despite the fact that Israel has withdrew troops, Gaza — Israel maintains control over land and sea, and therefore, the protection of civilians in Gaza is a legal obligation of Israel. So, number one, do you agree that Israel is — Gaza is occupied?  And second, is protection of civilian legally under the Israeli jurisdiction?

KIRBY: I’m not going to render a legal opinion from this podium, Nadia. We have said         repeatedly that we believe these allegations, this case is unfounded and that there is no basis for accusations of genocide against — against Israel. That’s not a word that ought to be thrown around lightly and we certainly don’t believe that it applies here. Now, to the question about civilians. Again, I’m not — I’m not an international lawyer. I’m not going to pretend to be, but we have, since the beginning, talked to our Israeli counterparts about the special burdens that modern militaries, particularly modern democratic militaries, have when they conduct military operations to protect innocent civilians and to protect civilian infrastructure. Those conversations continue, including on Secretary Blinken’s trip.

BILBASSY: Okay. Since you’re not an international lawyer, I will advise you to read what the judge said, which is Israel is in violation of Article II(a), II(b), II(c), II(d). He said that the bombing campaign in Gaza is the heaviest in the history of modern warfare, including what Russia is doing in Ukraine. So, he asked the Israelis to suspend immediately the military operations in Gaza. The White House position is no ceasefire. So, is the Biden admin- — administration in violation of international law —


BILBASSY: — and the call of the judge —


BILBASSY: — to suspend military —

KIRBY: No. No.

BILBASSY: — operation in Gaza?

KIRBY: The judge statement notwithstanding, the answer is absolutely no. Israel has a right and a responsibility to defend itself. We’re going to continue to make sure that they can do that. We’re going to continue to supply them with the tools and capabilities they need to do that. No country should have to live to that kind of threat next door. So, no, we are not in violation and we’re going to continue to make sure Israel has what it needs. I’ll add one more point. We’re going to also continue to make sure that humanitarian assistance can get to the people of Gaza; that Israel conducts its operations in the most precise, careful, deliberate way possible so that they can minimize civilian casualties. 

BILBASSY: Will you change your position if the final ruling is actually that you are in violation?

KIRBY: I — I’m not going to get into — I’m not going to get into hypotheticals from here. We have made our position clear. 


KIM: You obviously made the position of the U.S. clear, but will the U.S. accept the court’s decisions or penalties if Israel is found by the court to have committed genocide?


KIM: Can the Isr- — can Israel count on the U.S. to block any potential sanctions that are levied by the court should it come to that?


WIDAKUSWARA: But if you’re saying, as you have said to my colleagues last week, that the U.S. is not actively assessing whether Israel is using these weapons in accordance to the laws of war because you don’t see any indication that Israel is violating those laws of war, and if there’s no congressional oversight, no State Department internal review process, and no verification process on the ground, then how do we know that Israel is using these weapons in accordance to U.S. and international law?


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I want to follow up on the ICJ. We have 22 Arab countries, including some of American allies — from Jordan, Saudi Arabia — are supporting South Africa. Do you have any comment on that?

KIRBY: Each country should speak for themselves about this particular case and what their view is. I have spoken for the United States and — and what our view is, and that hasn’t changed.

To see the relevant transcript from the January 11 briefing (including even more questions, solid and completely bizarre), click here.