NBC’s O’Donnell, April Ryan Lob KJP Softballs on Abortion, Diversity Hires

January 24th, 2024 7:27 PM

Yes, Fox’s Peter Doocy got his turn during Wednesday’s White House press briefing and pressed Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on the Biden border crisis and a Tuesday remark seeming to embrace election denialism. But before that, the briefing featured pathetic softballs from the likes of NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell on abortion and theGrio’s April Ryan on — what else — race and black women.

O’Donnell had just asked Jean-Pierre about the pro-Palestinian protesters who repeatedly interrupted a Biden rally in Manassas, Virginia when she pivoted to abortion, which the rally was scheduled to have been the main focus.



Boasting of the regime’s “strong view...that reproductive rights, abortion rights are an essential in this campaign season,” O’Donnell invited Jean-Pierre to explain to her how Biden will “find ways to do more to personalize this story of how women are affected by it” such as “cit[ing] ways where women are not getting medical care.”

Jean-Pierre first replied that she “appreciate[ed] the question,” which was usually a great sign that the question was a softie. Jean-Pierre launched into a lengthy answer praising Biden for having been given a “passionately and fiery” set of remarks and Vice President Harris “talk[ing] about how devastating the overturning of Roe has been”.

Jean-Pierre revealed that Biden had not only spoken to Kate Cox, the Texas woman whose story was ginned up by baby-killing advocates and had to travel out of state to seek an abortion but invited her to be a guest at the State of the Union.

This came on the heels of Monday’s briefing, which featured a slew of abortion softies to White House Gender Policy Council Director Jennifer Klein (click “expand”): 

SELINA WANG: Can you talk a little bit about the significance of this rally in Virginia tomorrow and just how much more time you think the President is going to spend on the issue of abortion between now and November?


O’DONNELL: Can the federal government help to define some of the circumstances that women have found themselves in when medical questions about is it the life of the mother at risk — where state law may not spell it out very clearly or clearly enough, is there a role for the federal government there? And since some of these instances do result in ordinary citizens having to get involved in litigation, is there something that the administration can do to support them in pursuing those remedies?


DANNY KEMP: You mentioned the 21 states that have a ban at the moment. Do you have any number or any estimate of how many women have been forced to travel out of state s- — since the — you know, since the decision?


COURTNEY ROZEN: You’ve been talking about abortions and medical emergencies. On the Fifth Circuit’s decision on that, it’s unusual to see a court agree to review agency guidance, let alone rule on whether it can be implemented. How does that court’s decision affect your strategy going forward as you try and navigate this post-Roe landscape?


ROZEN: And on traveling, are you doing anything to support providers in states that are seeing an increase in patients from neighboring states with more restrictive laws — for example, Illinois?


ROZEN: Does today’s announcement that the administration is going to publish training materials for providers in medical emergencies — does that mean you’re going to pr- — advise that same information to hospitals in Texas and Idaho, which I know are the st- — states involved in those cases that the Justice Department is in?

Later, Ryan asked Jean-Pierre what she had “to say about the confirmation — Senate confirmation this afternoon of the 34th and 35th Black women judges in this administration”.

Despite Jean-Pierre emphasizing Biden has “stuck to his commitment...to...an administration that looked like America”, Ryan was dissatisfied and wanted more about these picks at a time when “people are walking away from DEI” (click “expand”):

RYAN: In the long term —


RYAN: — what does this administration believe that this will do to reshape the court system in this nation —

JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I think —

RYAN: — with these appointments?

JEAN-PIERRE: I think it’s important that we — that we have this type of representation and you hear us say this many — many times: representation matters. And I think that is important that we make sure we have, obviously, not just representation, but the women and the — and the — the men and women that he has been able to appoint to these position have been incredibly ex- — experienced. They’ve been impressive with their own record. They are more than qualified to have these appointments and I think that’s important too.

RYAN: But I’m drilling down on the Black women, at a time when people are walking away from DEI and this is historic.

JEAN-PIERRE: It is historic. We agree with you, April. 

RYAN: We’ve never seen it before.

JEAN-PIERRE: It is historic and important. It is historic and important and this is a —

RYAN: But they —

JEAN-PIERRE: — let’s not forget, this is a commitment that the President said that he — he would move forward with — right? — making sure we have representation, making sure we have diversity, making sure we have talented, experienced people in these roles and that’s what he’s doing. That’s what he’s doing.

A reporter in the Politico seat also had a question from the left, wondering if, in light of “recent...layoffs at the LA Times” and Time magazine, the administration would “support legislation...that would require social media platforms to pay news outlets for their content.”

While she bragged that Team Biden will “always...support the freedom of the — of speech” as “journalists have a really difficult job...to...report...the facts,” she didn’t have more to share.

A little later, Doocy Time finally arrived: “There are about 800 gottaways at the border every day, 96,000 since October 1. Does President Biden want to locate these folks who have disappeared into this country to parts unknown?”.

Jean-Pierre claimed she hadn’t heard that number and asserted such cases were why Biden was “having these negotiations...with the Senate...because we want to deal with what's going on at the border.”



A lot of nothing later, Doocy called out Biden for claiming during Tuesday’s rally that former Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) was the real governor of Virginia, not Republican Glenn Youngkin.

Doocy asked if “election denying” was “a joke now,” but Jean-Pierre decided to briefly play dumb: “What do you mean? You have to say more than just to make a random statement.”

He got specific: “Why did the President say, ‘Hello Virginia and the real governor, Terry McAuliffe’?” Jean-Pierre dropped her act so she could claim Biden was merely “making a joke.”

Doocy wasn’t having any of this, asking what makes it a “joke,” but all Jean-Pierre could muster was a reference to how McAuliffe was previously governor.

The Fox reporter closed by lambasting this liberal hypocrisy: “How are guys going to convince people, though, that this idea of denying election results is very bad if President Biden is going out and making jokes like this?”

Jean-Pierre had enough as she told Doocy that Biden “did not deny” anything and claimed, “[h]e congratulated Governor Youngkin....when he won his election.”

To see the relevant transcript from the January 24 briefing (including more pro-Hamas questions from a Reuters correspondent and another reporter defending Iran-backed Houthis), click here.