Fox’s Heinrich Fights KJP on the Border Crisis as WH’s Sullivan Rips Pro-Hamas Journo

March 13th, 2024 4:37 PM

During Tuesday’s White House press briefing featuring the ever-inept Press Secretary. Karine Jean-Pierre, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich dropped the jackhammer on President Biden declaring Hungary a dictatorship, the Biden border crisis, and Biden now touting Hamas-approved statistics on the war in Gaza.

Elsewhere, Bloomberg and ABC reporters questioned both on the bipartisan bill to force TikTok to divest from its Chinese Communist Party-linked parent company, and arguably the most pro-Hamas journalist in the room lashed out at the U.S. for supporting Israel.

Heinrich took the Hungary questions to Sullivan: “Is it the position of the United States government that Hungary, a NATO ally, is a dictatorship?”

Sullivan punted to the reelection campaign since the President leveled the charge at a campaign event, but conceded “we have made no bones about our deep concerns about Hungary’s assault on democratic institutions, including the judiciary, Hungary’s corruption, and other erosion of democracy in Hungary, from the leadership there.”

Heinrich tried again, arguing “a foreign policy statement of that magnitude would be made with, you know, some coordination” and not a “footnote”. Sullivan again declined to weigh in, even leveling a snarky charge that Hungary’s government “remains a source of grave concern to us and I — I take it from your question, it may be of grave concern to you as well.”

Surprisingly, a Fox reporter was actually defended by The New York Times with their White House correspondent Peter Baker noting Biden’s Hungary line was so significant that “[t]he Foreign Minister of Hungary than summoned the U.S. ambassador to answer for it and says that these were lies and an insults.”

As for Heinrich vs. Jean-Pierre, the former wondered whether Biden has given up on using executive action to address the border crisis:

Heinrich continued to press because Biden and his team have given “conflicting answers over the span of a few weeks,” but Jean-Pierre kept interjecting with “no, we haven’t” before they went around and around with Jean-Pierre falsely putting the onus on the Republican Party for the border crisis.

Before Jean-Pierre moved on, Heinrich wondered why Biden is endorsing Gaza death tolls concocted by the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health (click “expand”):

HEINRICH: And, very quickly, on a different subject. Why was the President, in that interview, using the Gaza Ministry of Health — which is run by Hamas — their numbers on the death toll in Gaza? It — they — there’s a 30,000 figure that he cited on MSNBC. The last time he decided Hamas numbers, officials here dismissed it as a reference to publicly available data, but I would assume that the U.S. has its own assessment of what the death was?

JEAN-PIERRE: We’ve been very clear here. We — there are public available data that you all have — you also are taking a look at that we are citing as well. That’s what we’re talking about. That’s what the President —

HEINRICH: So, we should use that number too then?

JEAN-PIERRE: — you can use whatever you want. I’m just saying that —

HEINRICH: But I’m asking you.

JEAN-PIERRE: — we — we have said, we’ve been really clear. There are publicly available data that showed sadly, how many — how many deaths that we have seen in Gaza, and the President has been very clear. There’s too much. It’s tragic. It’s tragic what we’re seeing and the President’s gonna keep — continue to speak to that.

At the other end of the spectrum, Nadia Bilbassy of Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya asked Sullivan whether the U.S. regrets “bear-hugging Netanyahu and his extremist government, including and openly racist member like Ben Gvir” and “supply[ing] them with little weapons that killed 70 percent of women and children” and has “American national security now” at “risk”.

Sullivan immediately tore into this tangent, noting he didn’t hear a single mention of “Hamas, who conducted a grievous attack on October 7”. Bilbassy ghoulishly countered that Hamas and October 7 are unrelated to her question.



Sullivan was finally allowed to continue, noting “[a] fundamental part of our policy since October 7 has been to help Israel defend itself against a group that authored the worst massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust” with proclamations they want to do it again.

He added (click “expand”):

And from our perspective, Israel had a right and an obligation to take action against Hamas. And Hamas created a set of burdens on Israel’s military operations that are nearly unprecedented by hiding among the civilian population and — ah — that made it more difficult for Israel to conduct its military operations. It did not take away Israel’s responsibility to take every possible step to protect innocent people and far too many innocent people, including women and children died and the President spoke to this, I thought, quite powerfully on Thursday night. And we are very mindful of it. And every one of those deaths as a tragedy. And we have said Israel has to do more when it comes to the protection of civilians, and we’ve spoken today at some length about Rafa, but I do feel it is important To continue to ensure that this conversation, this story is complete, that all elements of it Are brought into the picture, and not just some, and that does mean paying attention to the suffering of innocent people. Not just their vulnerability to the military actions of Israel, but also their vulnerability to a lack of food, water, medicine, shelter. And these are things that we work on around the clock. These are things I personally stay awake at night about, so I care about this very much, but I also care about making sure that our partner and ally Israel is not facing in the future the kind of threat that it faced on October 7 and — and our country and any country in this circumstance would take action against terrorists doing this kind of thing. And the President has said from the beginning of this conflict both — that we need to support Israel in its efforts to go after Hamas and that Israel needs to do so in a way that protects innocent civilians, and he has spoken out about his concerns about the protection of innocent civilians — uh — with sincerity and authority and I think you saw that on full display in the State of the Union.

As for TikTok, Bloomberg’s Justin Sink asked Sullivan about whether the administration has any concerns about the bill and whether it could withstand court challenges, which gave the latter the chance to correctly call out those “throwing around the worlds ‘ban TikTok’, ‘TikTok ban’ when “the ultimate objective of the bill is about a question of ownership.”

ABC’s Selina Wang had two questions of her own in the Jean-Pierre portion, including the hypocrisy on the part of Biden since his reelection campaign has a TikTok account when, on the government side:

To see the relevant transcript from the March 12 briefing (including questions to Jean-Pierre about the Hur hearing), click here.