Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Boston, MA
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Boston, Massachusetts
2:01 P.M. EST
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hi. Hello. Okay, a couple of things at the top. Okay, good afternoon. We are on our way to Boston, as all of you guys know, where President Biden will participate in a phonebank and a fundraiser for the DSCC and Senator Warnock.
The Prince and Princess of Wales are also in town to host the Earthshot Prize. The President looks forward to spending time with Prince William at the JFK Library, where President Biden shared his vision to end cancer as we know it. We expect that they will discuss their shared climate goals, prioritization of mental health issues, and decreasing the burden of the disease.
We’re rounding out a big week here at the White House. And we’re — we’ve had a lot of great news for the American people. As we know, as — as we end this week, jobs are up, incomes are up, consumer spending is strong, and the economy is growing. At the same time, inflation is moderating, gas prices are down. And this morning, President Biden signed legislation averting a rail shutdown that would have been devastating to our economy.
None of this is by accident. It’s because of — the President has continued to follow through on his promises to — to rebuild the economy from the bottom up and middle out, to take actions to lower costs for Americans, to bring manufacturing and supply chains back to the U.S., and to make sure our economy works for working people.
While there’s still more progress to be made, the economic data we’ve seen this week is strong and positive news for the American people.
And now for a quick look at our week ahead. On Sunday, the President will return to Washington, D.C., from Camp David. In the afternoon, the President and the First Lady will host Kennedy Center honorees in the East Room, including actor and filmmaker George Clooney; singer/songwriter Amy Grant; singer Gladys Knight; composer, conductor, and educator Tania León; and Irish rock band U2, compromi- — comprised of band members Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen, Jr.
In the evening, the President and the First Lady, the Vice President and the Second Gentleman will attend the 45th Kennedy Center Honors. This is the second consecutive year of the Biden-Harris administration which they have — all have attended the nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in the arts.
On Monday, the President and the First Lady will host the Congressional Ball on the state floor.
On Tuesday, the President will travel to Phoenix, Arizona. The President will visit TSMC, a Taiwanese company making a major investment to manufacture cutting-edge chips in Phoenix, and discuss how this — his economic plan is leading to a manufacturing boom, rebuilding supply chains, and creating good-paying jobs in Arizona and across the country.
We will have more additional information of the rest of the week and how the President’s — the President’s engagement.
With that, Zeke, you want to kick us off?
Q Thanks, Karine. The President (inaudible) a tweet a couple of hours ago condemning antisemitism and calling on people to — saying silence was complicit — complicity. Who was he talking about? Who was that tweet addressed to and referring to? Because he didn’t name — name names.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, as we have seen an increase in — in hate speech — in antisemitism, in particular, to your question — and, you know, the President has always — stands against that. He is standing with the Jewish community.
The President, for years, including after the hateful march in Charlottesville that drove him to run — his father had sai- — had said — had said silence is complicit — complicity. And as President of the United States, he feels that it’s important for him to be very clear.
And like you’ve also heard him say, the common theme of all forms of bigotry is that hate doesn’t go away, it only hides. The — the grotesque poison of anti- — antisemitism is not hiding.
And just yesterday, he and President Macron recognized the hundreds of thousands of Americans who gave their lives to overcome the horror of Nazism and keep us free.
And so he believes, as President, it is important to speak up. But again, we’ve all seen it — you guys have asked me this multiple times — the increased hate speech that we have seen on — on —
Q But who in particular?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I think — I don’t think it matters who in particular. I think what the President is trying to say is being silent is complicit. And when we see this type of hatred, when we see this type of antisemitism, we need to call it out.
Q Who is being silent?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We need to be — we need to be very, very clear and — and condemn that. And that’s what you’re going to continue to hear from this President. That’s what you’re going to continue to hear from the administration.
Akayla, go ahead.
Q Yes. So, yesterday, the President said that he was going to go back and get paid leave not just for rail workers, but for all workers. I guess, if you could just give us an idea of what that looks like: Is that new legislation? Is that more negotiations with unions?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as you guys know, the President has supported paid sick leave for all Americans, not just the rail industry, and his fight for the critical benefit will continue.
And he’s — I mean, I’ll just point you to his words yesterday in the press conference. He’s also fought for and secured paid sick leave for additional workers during his presidency.
For example, his American Rescue Plan included a tax credit to help small- and medium-sized businesses providing sick leave to their employees. And he’ll continue forcefully advocating for Congress and employers to extend paid sick leave to all workers.
And so that’s what’s important. He con- — he’s going to continue to fight to secure paid leave, again, for all Americans.
And as — as you can tell from his remarks this afternoon, the President’s focus remains, again, on getting Congress to act. And that’s — and that’s how he’s going to focus on this.
And just — oh, sorry — and one more on layoffs that we’ve been seeing recently. We saw, you know, a few — a few months ago with tech companies and now with media companies this week. Does the White House see this potentially as a sign of a recession?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we’ve also clearly have seen these reports, and we’re watching closely anytime there are reports of Americans losing their jobs.
President Biden knows firsthand the impact of losing a job and how that can have on an entire family. I don’t have a comment on specific moves or announcements by any particular companies here.
But broadly speaking, this week’s jobs opening data showed layoff remains near record lows. And so, that’s important to point out. Similarly, today’s jobs and this week’s GDP revision show the U.S. economy continues to grow and add jobs.
Again, I’m not going to speak to any actions by a company. But again, you know, the jobs report — you saw that today. And we’re headed in the right direction.
Q A follow-up from the President’s — the President’s remarks yesterday about speaking to President Putin. Does that willingness reflect any kind of a shift in his thinking about Ukraine and diplomacy about Ukraine with or without Ukraine?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, no, that does not change — that thinking. He has been very clear. He’s written it in op-eds. You’ve heard him saying in speech, “Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.”
Look, the President has said he has no plans to speak with Mr. Putin since Mr. Putin has shown no signs that he’s willing to end the brutal war against the people of Ukraine.
In fact, he has done the opposite, as you all have seen for yourselves and reported, as Russia has attempted to destroy Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and deprive the Ukrainian people of heat, power, and other critical services as winter approaches, causing suffering for millions of people.
But President Biden has been clear: We will continue to provide support to Ukraine for as long as it takes as they defend their country against Russian aggression.
I know we don’t have that much time.
Q Do you also have any updates on what you’re doing to help potentially have exemptions on the interna- — on the Inflation Reduction Act for France or Europe, as discussed in the state visit yesterday?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You’re talking about the — with — during the press conference what the President said?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look — and you’re talking about the glitches, in particular, the comment that he —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, no, to — to your question. No, we don’t have any plans to go back to Congress for legislative changes to the Inflation this time.
For any historic legislation — for — for any historic legislation like IRA, there is a complex implementation and process, which is actively underway at federal agencies. But we don’t have anything — we’re not going to be addressing any glitches.
Q But he — but he indicated that they would go back and look at making some accommodations. Are you saying that that’s not true anymore?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m just saying that — we’re — we’re not going to be doing that. I just answered the question and said, “No, we’re not going to be doing that.”
And look, this is a historic piece of legislation. As you know, the Inflation Reduction Act is going to really help the American people when it comes to lowering costs, healthcare costs. And it’s also a — has a historic investment in dealing with climate change.
Q I’m not —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And the prob- — the President has — was very clear in that.
But to your question, the answer is no.
Q Yeah, no, I wasn’t saying you weren’t answering the question. I — my impression from what the President said yesterday was that there would be at least some looking at what they can do to address France’s concerns. Are you saying no to that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’ll say this —
Q Because that seems contradictory.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President was clear: There are ways we can address Europe’s concerns. Right?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay? If that’s what you’re asking me. That’s why I was asking at the beginning what exactly was the President’s comments you were asking about.
So, this is a matter —
Q Generally about the IRA.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay, got it. This is a matter we are working out through substantive consultations and European counterparts. We won’t get ahead of that process. I think that’s what you were asking me just now.
We are committed to an IRA implementation approach that moves quickly, that gets the tough questions right, and that has appropriate guardrails so that the American families and workers start seeing the benefits of lower energy costs, good-paying jobs, abundant clean energy, and increased resilience to climate change as quickly as possible.
But to the exceptions questions, again, we’re having — we’re having discussion and — to address Europe’s concerns.
Q Karine, Clyburn said today that he received a phone call from the President last night informing him of his decision to pick South Carolina first for the primary calendar, and that he was pleasantly surprised. I’m wondering if you can give us a sense of, you know, how the President arrived at his decision, who he consulted with, any timeline on that, and how he got to that.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as you know, we take the law very seriously here, and it — and it places strict limits on what I can — can say about the future elections and political party process.
So, here’s what I can say: As a candidate in 2020 and, as we have heard, the night — the night of the New — New Hampshire primary — you heard directly from the President — Joe Biden, at that time, made clear that, to him, respecting our diversity as a nation and breaking down barriers for all our people is a foun- — is a foundational principle.
He believes that what — that’s what Democrats in office stand for. And he has upheld the principle as President. He promised his administration would look like America, and it does. He has staffed the most diverse Cabinet in Whi- — in White House history, American history.
He promised to fight to ensure our judicial branch reflects America, and he has. He’s confirmed more Black women to appellate judgeships than all of his predecessors combined. And he fulfilled his promise to confirm the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.
He works — he works to honor the values in every way that he can as a leader.
I’m not going to get into specific conversations that he may have had with the — with the congressman. But again, I just laid out how the — the President thinks about this process.
Q To follow up on the jobs report, the report showed that wages are continuing to rise at a rapid pace. You know, how worried is the White House that that means inflation will stay higher for longer?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I mean, I just laid out how we’re seeing more jobs, and more jobs mean opportunities for American workers and more families that are able to put food on the table and pay the bills.
So, look, there are a couple of things — and you hear us tick this — take these data points out many times. The economy has created more than 260,000 jobs last month. That’s just looking at this current job report. We have 10.5 million jobs that have been created since the President Biden took office — again, looking at this job — the jobs report.
Recent inflation reports shows Americans are beginning to see much-needed break in inflation. So, we’re seeing a moderation in inflation.
Seven hundred fifty thousand — you hear us talk about this — manufacturing jobs that have been created under this President.
GDP increased. We saw that number. It was — it was from — we — the original estimate was 2.6 percent. We saw this week it was actually 2.9 percent in the last — in that third quarter.
And the unemployment rate is at a 50-year low. So, wages are up, and we think that’s also important — looking at this job report, looking at the data points over the last couple of months.
Q How do you factor that into inflation, though? I mean, is there more that the President should be doing to try to bring down inflation with wage gains —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, the President —
Q — going up?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President has been very clear, right? He said, when it comes to his economic plan, inflation — dealing with inflation, fighting inflation, lowering costs for American people — is his number one priority. And he has done that.
You’ve heard us talk about the gas prices and how that’s come down. That’s because of the President’s historic actions that he’s taken over the past several months.
All right, thanks, everybody.
Q Karine, has the President seen the Netflix documentary trailer for the “Harry & Meghan” documentary?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You know, I have not seen them yet — seen it yet. (Laughs.) I don’t know. I have no idea. He’s been pretty busy.
As you know, he’s been — he has been welcome — he welcomed the President of France and the First Lady of France. As you saw, that was a really positive visit. They were able to strengthen their — their friendship — our oldest ally. And you guys saw that for yourselves, starting from the welcoming ceremony yesterday morning to the state dinner.
Okay, thanks, everybody. We got to sit down.
2:14 P.M. EST