Will He or Won’t He? Doocy Confronts KJP on Whether Biden Will Debate Trump

March 7th, 2024 11:41 AM

Fox’s Peter Doocy made the most Wednesday afternoon of the last briefing for the week (with Thursday’s State of the Union and President Biden on the road for Friday) as he went around and around with the ever-inept Karine Jean-Pierre over whether Biden will actually debate former President Trump now the general election fight is all but set in stone.

But first, as a quick aside, Doocy led off with a question that drew some chuckles concerning Tuesday’s caucus in American Samoa: “[H]as President Biden called to congratulate Jason Palmer?”

Once Jean-Pierre replied that Team Biden does “congratulate Jason Palmer on his win last night,” Doocy cut to the main event: “Now that the field is down to two, is President Biden going to commit to a debate with Donald Trump?”



Jean-Pierre refused to answer, hiding behind the Hatch Act and thus punting to the campaign. Nonetheless, Doocy pointed out how, during the last campaign, Biden said he could “hardly wait to debate” Trump (click “expand”):

JEAN-PIERRE: That’s something for the campaign to speak to.

DOOCY: Well, we know when the debates are going to be.


DOOCY: We know where they’re going to be. Is he going to go?

JEAN-PIERRE: You should speak to the campaign.

DOOCY: In 2020, once it got down to one on one. Joe Biden said, “I can hardly wait to debate him.” How about now?

JEAN-PIERRE: I’m gonna sound like a broken record. You should reach out to the campaign.

DOOCY: Why is this a campaign thing?

JEAN-PIERRE: Because it’s an election. It’s a debate for the 2024 presidential election.

DOOCY: I’m not asking what argument he is going to make —


DOOCY: — at a debate. I’m just as —

JEAN-PIERRE: — it’s not a —

DOOCY: — do that.

JEAN-PIERRE: — it’s not an ar — we’re not talking about arguments. You were talking about his attendance.

Doocy tried another way: “You get a lot of questions in here about these polls concerning the President’s age and his acuity. Do you think that it is going to quiet concerns about the President’s age and acuity if he decides not to debate?”

Only then with the qualifier that she wouldn’t specifically be “talking about the debate” did she opine that Biden’s age will be put to rest by the State of the Union and Biden “lay[ing] out his plans” after “a successful three years of progress.”

A long, winding answer later (that was interrupted by a loud sneeze in the back of the Briefing Room), Doocy kept pushing: “So, just for clarity, it’s possible that there will be no Joe Biden-Donald Trump debates this fall?”

Jean-Pierre thought she could mock Doocy into giving up: “Is that you — is that what you’re excited about? Is that what you want to see? Because you keep asking me. You asked me about three, four, five different times in different ways.”

Amid crosstalk, Doocy wasn’t having it: “I would love to see Joe Biden and Donald Trump debate. How about you? How would President Biden do in a debate? I’m not asking a question about a specific debate. I’m just — how would he do in a debate?”

Jean-Pierre moved on, but not before claiming Biden shouting back and forth with Republicans over entitlements at the 2023 State of Union was proof of his “impressive” stamina.

Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann immediately followed and, after a question about the impending resignation of the longtime (and, for some, controversial and shadowy) State Department official Victoria Nuland, he inquired as to Biden’s thoughts on “France codifying abortion rights into their constitution.”

As you’ll see below, Jean-Pierre waxed poetic about how glad the regime was to see this, but Wegmann quickly turned the tables and got a non-answer when he brought up the fact that it actually prohibits abortion after 14 weeks (click “expand”):

JEAN-PIERRE: So, we appreciate countries taking a step forward to protect the right for a woman — a woman or women to make a very difficult decisions [sic] on their health care. We appreciate that, and I think that’s a good thing to see. And, as it relates to here in this country, the President’s going to talk about Reproductive rights and fighting for that and what we’re seeing across the country — more than 300 bills that were introduced recently on finding ways to prevent women from making these really important decisions on their bodies, and that should not be and that’s because Roe v. Wade was overturned, which is a law — a — law that was Constitution for those — part of the Constitution for almost 50 years, almost 50 years. And that was taken away. We see Republicans putting forth three national — national bans against abortion. That’s — you know, that’s not — that’s not what the President is fighting for. He’s fighting for the right for a woman to make a decision on their — on her — on her own body.

WEGMANN: And does he think that the French prohibition on abortion after 14 weeks is reasonable?

JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I’m not going to get into the specifics of that particular bill. What I could say — it’s — it’s always important to see other — other countries actually take steps to protecting — protecting rights — fundamental rights that women should have, but I’m not going to get into the specifics of the bill.

Finally, Bloomberg’s Jordan Fabian and The New York Times’s Michael Shear deserve shoutouts for bringing up the bipartisan legislation that, if passed, would require TikTok to divest from its Chinese Communist Party-linked parent company ByteDance or face a U.S. ban.

Along with both making sure National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s support for the bill is where the administration writ large stands, Shear seemed to suggest a TikTok White House event was afloat, which Jean-Pierre refused to confirm or deny: “Is the President planning on talking to TikTok influencers on Friday after the State of the Union about his speech?”

To see the relevant transcript from the March 6 briefing (including one from the left about whether Biden’s speech will channel “the anger and frustration” about the lack of a ceasefire being imposed on Israel), click here.