James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
3:28 P.M. EST
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon, everyone. Apologies for being late. I had a — my meeting with the President in the Oval went long, so I apologize.
Q Is there any chance we can go straight to questions? (Inaudible.)
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, I have a — I was just about to say — just give me a second, Darlene — I have a super, super short thing at the top.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And then we can get straight to questions.
Q Thank you.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, today, marks the first day of National Flu Vaccine week. As flu and COVID-19 continue increasing in circulation, we have two safe and effective vaccines that are — are our best way to stay protected this winter.
The simple message from our health and medical experts is this: To be protected this winter, get your flu and COVID shots.
Today, Dr. Walensky held a briefing with the American Medical Association to tic- — to kick off a week where she and doctors across the country will be blitzing the airwaves about the importance of getting your COVID and flu shots.
And, with that, Darlene, go for it.
Q Thank you. Can you give us a rundown on what is being done at the federal level to speed up the restoration of electrical power to the folks in North Carolina?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as you know, the White House is monitoring — has been monitoring the situation and is in contact with local officials. Local law enforcement is receiving federal support on the investigation. We will continue to let that investigation play out.
President Biden has made, as you all know, critical infrastructure secure and resilience to all hazards, both natural and manmade, a priority since the first day of his administration.
While we still have a long way to go, through initiatives like the bipartisan infrastructure bill and also the infer- — the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden-Harris administration is already flowing through on its prom- — following through on its promise to deliver those results to protect against the limit — and the limit of the impacts of incidents like this.
We’ve closely worked with private sector to strengthen resilience against this — the full spectrum of potential threats, including through utilizing new technologies and improving how government communicates and shares threat information with the private sector, which owns the majority of our nation’s critical infrastructure.
Department of Energy, Department of Justice, including the FBI, are — will be your best place to get more specific information.
But, again, we’re going to let — we’re going to continue — let the investigation play out.
Q But on the issue of restoring power, authorities there are saying it could be until Thursday before power is restored. And so —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Understood. We have been — we have been in touch with local officials, and we are — we’re going to provide any assistance needed to help them on the ground.
Q Thank you.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.
Q Yeah, thanks, Karine. On Friday, you said there were no plans of going to Congress for any legislative changes to the IRA for France and Europe. Over the weekend, there were some French officials who said that one way of making tweaks that President Biden proposed to the IRA was through executive orders. And we’re wondering if the administration has already started working on, you know, certain EOs or if you’re planning to work on them going forward. Can you offer any specifics?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, there’s two things. The first thing is, the President was clear that there are ways that we can address Europe’s concerns — right? — the concerns that they actually have. This is a matter we are working through a substantive consultation with Europe — our European count- — counterparts. We don’t want to get ahead of that process, but we’re going to have those conversations and find ways to, again, address their concerns.
I was speaking to specifically, like, glitches that might be — that we have talked — that we have heard about in particular — in this particular piece of — this law now. And so, what I was saying — no, there are no — there are — there — we don’t have plans to go back to Congress on that — on that.
But when it comes to their concerns, of course we’re going to have conversations with our European allies.
Q And specifically on that, I mean, the administration did say during the French President’s visit that — you know, that it had worked on overcoming French objections to whatever it is that they were talking about in — with respect to the IRA.
But the administration has, again, of course, not released any specifics on that. And I know you’re talking about, you know, having future conversations with them, but could you talk about the work that has gone in so far?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m not going to get into specifics. Again, we want to have this conversation. There’s a process that’s happening. Don’t want to get ahead of that.
But I also just want to say, and you’ve heard us say this many times — look, the Inflation Reduction Act was a historic piece of legislation. It’s going to help Americans — millions of Americans across the country, as we talk about lowering costs, as we talk about really attacking one of — the number-one priority when you think about the economy for the President, which is lowering costs on healthcare, lowering costs on energy, doing that — doing that historic investment on fighting climate change.
So, this is something that the President is very proud of. And it’s going to really, truly change lives.
When it comes to the concerns of our European partners and allies, certainly we’re going to do our best to have those conversations, but I’m just not going to get ahead of the process that’s currently happening.
Q And a quick one on Russian — on the oil price gap. Obviously, Russia has said that, you know, they’re not going to abide by it, even if that means cutting production. Ukraine is saying $60 is way too much. You know, Russian oil blends is selling in Asian markets at $79 a barrel, which is like $20 higher per barrel and which kind of shows that there’s willingness to buy oil from Russia at that price.
I mean, given all the work that is going in, how confident are you that this is going to actually have any impact at all on Moscow and President Putin’s oil revenue?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things. You — you just asked me a couple questions all at once — or made a couple of statements all at once. So, when it comes to Russia’s reprom- — response, look, we’re not surprised by that. We’re not surprised by what their reaction of — their reaction has been, and what they’re saying.
Look, the goal of the price cap has always been to ensure that discounted Russian oil continues to flow onto global markets, and — even as we limit the energy revenue that Russia is using to fund its illegal war in Ukraine.
And so we — we believe — we believe that the cap at this level maintains clear incentives for Russia to continue exporting. Not doing so would have serious repercussions for Russia. And so, that’s how we see this process moving forward.
I know you were mentioning, “Why 30 and not 60?” And I know that there’s been some comments out there. And so, look, the price — the price will lock in a discount on Russian oil, especially in light of the $100 per barrel they earned just a few months ago, and it can be adjusted over time to prevent Russia from further profiting from its war.
And so, this is — we believe this is an — you know, this is an unprecedented action that we’re seeing right now. And it demonstrates the unity that United States and our allies and partners have. And I think this is — we think this is an important step forward.
Q Thanks, Karine. In your meeting with the President, did he indicate that he’d made any headway in his lunch with Senators Leahy and Shelby about reaching an agreement on the topline for the omnibus?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So don’t have a — don’t have any readout for you on the President’s — the President’s lunch. As you just mentioned — just first, for folks who may not be aware — the President had lunch today with Senators Leahy and Shelby of the Senate Appropriations Committee to toast their long careers but also, to your point, Phil, to discuss the funding bill.
Look, the President believes that Congress needs to and has to reach a deal, a bipartisan deal. This is something that they were able to do just last year around this time in a bipartisan way, and he believes that they should be able to do this again. This should not be about partisanship. We are talking about critical, critical funding.
When you think about public — public education; when you think about our national security; when you think about — you know, about health, these are important things that are im- — that are critical to the American people. So, he believes that we should — that Congress should move forward in getting this done.
But more broadly speaking, and I said all this last week, when it comes to our efforts and — and the funding, we — and how we’re moving forward, we believe that process is in good hands with our OMB director, Shalanda Young. She knows how to get this done. She knows how to get a bipartisan deal — get that done.
And also, you know, we have our Office of Leg Affairs, who is working on this as well. They have been — we’ve had, you know, multiple conversations with members of Congress. And we’re continuing to make calls. We continue to do briefings.
But, again, this is something that the President believes needs to get done. It was done last year in a — in a bipartisan way; we should be able to do that this year.
Q Just one follow-up on that. Is the President — has he shown any openness to the idea of dropping the parity between defense spending and non-defense domestic spending, which is currently the Republican proposal on the table?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I’ll say this: You know, I’m not going to get ahead of any discussions that are currently happening right now. And so, I know the Congress is moving forward, having those discussions. I’m certainly not going to be negotiating from here — from the podium.
Q Thanks, Karine. Two topics, if I can. The Supreme Court heard arguments today about a graphic designer who objected to designing websites for gay couples. The justices seem to be sympathetic toward her in today’s — on the Court today.
We’ve heard the White House talk about the potential ripple effects after the Dobbs ruling. Do you have a comment on this specific case? And any concerns from the administration about the potential wider implications of this particular case?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I want to be very careful here. Don’t want to weigh in or pre-judge the Supreme Court — the Supreme Court’s outcome. You know, that’s something I’m [not] going to do here at the podium.
But to your point, more broadly speaking — and we’ve talked about this — we recognize the — the right to free speech, and we support ensuring that no one is discriminated against or refused services because of who they love and who they are.
And so, as you know, we’ve been very clear about that. The administration believes that every person — no matter their sex, race, religion, or who they love — should have the equal access to society, including access to products and services on the same terms as other members of public.
Look, the Department of Justice said in its brief that, for decades, non-discrimination public accommodations laws have coexisted with the First Amendment. Courts have recognized that we can recognize — that we can require businesses open to public — to service people, regardless of their backgrounds, even when that means businesses must incidentally engage in speech which they are — which they disagree upon.
So this is no reason to upend this balance right now. As the — as the Department of Justice just laid out — as I just laid out what their — what they said in their brief. But, again, I don’t want to weigh in. I don’t want to get ahead of what the Supreme Court’s decision will be on this.
Q And then on the yearend wish list and to-do list: Is there a push right now by the White House to renew the expanded Child Tax Credit?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything new to share on that particular piece of legislation — or piece of a plan that — that’s incredibly important to the President. As you know, he included it in the American Rescue Plan, and it was — it was able to cut child pov- — child poverty in a historic way.
So, again, an important issue for this President. Don’t have anything to share — to share further on — on that particular plan moving forward.
Q Thanks, Karine. I wonder if you could give more detail about the Wednesday event about the rise of antisemitism that’s hosted by the First Gen- —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The Second Gentleman.
Q The Second Gentleman. I messed that up.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Were you going to call him the First Gentleman?
Q I slipped up. (Laughter.) How long has it been in the works? And what do you hope Mr. — what does the White House hope Mr. Emhoff adds to the debate?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things, just to give you some insight of what’s going to be happening with that — with the roundtable talks — the antisemitism roundtable talks that the Second Gentleman will be — will be hosting.
So, first and foremost, President Biden has consistently spoken out — I just want to make sure that’s clear — against antisemitism — its rhetoric, it’s hate, and all of the vile language that we have been hearing, which is incredibly dangerous — these past couple of weeks.
And so, we’re going to continue condemning antisemitism and hate wherever it exists. It does not have — it should not have a place in our society. And so, you’ll — you’ll continue to hear that.
The President says, “Silence is complicit- — complicity.” And so, you know, that is something that we will make sure that we continue to condemn.
Now, as it relates to Wednesday, the Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff will convene a roundtable with Jewish leaders from across the country. The roundtable will include leaders of Jewish organizations fighting antisemitism that represents the wide range of Jewish community from students to seniors, and including Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox denominations.
And the Second Gentleman will be joined by Ambassador Susan Rice, White House Domestic Policy Advisor; Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism; and Keisha Lance Bottoms, Senior Advisor to the President for Public Engagement.
He felt it was important to host the roundtable given the rise, as I just was mentioning, of antisemitism that we have seen over the past several months and even longer.
This is something the Second Gentleman takes very personally. He is the first Jewish person in this role, the first Jewish individual married to a President or a Vice President. He has said himself that he is in pain and that this is something we cannot normalize. And that’s one of the reasons, as I just laid out, that he wanted to do this personally.
Q Just a — just to follow up. Is it something that he asked for or something that the President directed him to do?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I just laid out: The President has — has been very clear in condemning antisemitism, the hate that we have been seeing — racism, the increase of hatred that we’ve been seeing just the past several months.
So, this is something that his administration more broadly is going to continue to do when we talk about condemning that type of speech.
But, look, I just laid out: This is something, when it comes to this roundtable that the Second Gentleman is holding — it’s something that is very personal to him and important for him that he believed that he needed to do.
And clearly, you know, it’s part of the — our administration’s response. And certainly, we welcome — we’ll welcome it.
Q Thanks, Karine. To follow up a little bit on that — the week ahead. After Wednesday, there were no public events for the President. Is that so we can take a more hands-on approach to the spending deal if necessary? And can we expect him to drop by that antisemitism roundtable on Wednesday?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s a good question. I don’t have anything to preview at this time on — on if he will able to stop by. Clearly, we’re always working through the President’s schedule, as you know.
But just to lay out the President’s engagement on — on the — as we’re discussing the government funding bill. Look, as you know, he had the Big Four here last week — and leadership — to talk about — they talked about this. You saw it in the readout. He met with President Leahy — President — pardon me, Senators Leahy and Shelby to have the discussion about the omnibus bill.
And so, the President is going to continue to have those conversations. He’s going to continue to be involved. I don’t have anything to preview at this time on — on what the rest of his schedule is going to look like for the week.
Q And as it pertains to Wednesday also, could we expect remarks from him regardless of what happens in Georgia on Wednesday?
And then, lastly, the President, he didn’t end up going to Georgia during the campaign to campaign for Raphael Warnock. He hasn’t been during the runoff election. Why is that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I need to be careful — the Hatch Act — this is an ongoing, as you know, election with this particular — what we’re seeing — the runoff in — in Georgia, so I want to be really careful here.
But I have said many times before at this podium that the President will do anything that that he can do for Senator Warnock to be helpful to him.
As you all have seen on the President’s schedule, recently he’s done a high volume of fundraising; attended several political events, including phone banks and unions, and much and — with unions; and much more.
Look, the way that we see this, if you think about the midterms that just occurred: The President played a big role here. He set the narrative on how Democrats were going to move forward in the midterms, how they were going to talk about the successes that they had, how they — how they were going to talk about what was important to American families. Right?
They made that contrast with Republican electives, Republican officials who were talking about getting rid of Social Security, putting that on the chopping block, putting Medicare on the chopping block.
He talked about the freedoms of — the American people wanted, as it relates to Roe v. Wade and how we saw the Supreme Court get rid of Roe. And we talked about that and how Republicans wanted to put a national ban — they were pushing for a national ban. And it didn’t matter in which states, if you’re a red or a blue state. And this is the thing that the President talked about, and others followed.
So, the President played a big role in setting that narrative, setting that contrast. And let’s not forget: The successes that we have seen — his economic policy successes, as we talk about the Bipartisan Infrastructure legislation, the Infl- — Inflation Reduction Act — those are the things that the President was able to get done, and Democrats were able to run on it.
Q This has, of course, been a harsh season for respiratory illnesses in children. There continue to be anecdotal reports that some drugs are in short supply in certain places, like children’s Tylenol, ibuprofen, amoxicillin. The supply chain is clearly under duress, and some Americans are struggling to find the drugs they need. What’s the administration doing about it, and how big of an issue do you believe it is?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, first, I would refer you to the FDA who is keeping a close eye on this, and they will share more on any details about supplies as it relates to concerns on drugs, which you’re laying out to me, Ben.
But what I’ll say more broadly on this is — for context — is that drug shortages are not uncommon, and it’s something the administration is regularly monitoring.
The FDA is always tracking shortages at the national level and works closely with manufacturers to understand their production and supply.
And while FDA does not manufacture drugs and cannot require a pharmaceutical company to make — to make a drug — make more of a drug or change the distribution of a drug, FDA is in touch with the various manufacturers and stand ready to provide support with — where possible.
Again, this is something that we are monitoring. I would refer you to the FDA on any specifics.
Q Are you considering stepping in and working with companies in any way, similar to how you all did with the baby formula shortage?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything more to share on — on any type of outreach. But, again, FDA would be the best place for you to get more details on how they’re moving forward with this.
Go ahead, Weijia.
Q Thank you, Karine. Has the administration decided whether to appeal the court ruling the ends Title 42, because the deadline is this week?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’ve been asked this question a couple of times in the briefing room. This is something that –because it’s a legal matter, it’s something that the Department of Justice will decide on, and I would leave it to them.
Q We understand that the administration is considering a proposal that would bar certain migrants from receiving asylum here in the U.S. if they don’t seek asylum in other countries first. Is that a proposal that you’re moving forward with? Or are there any other alternative measures to Title 42 on the table?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we are committed to continuing to secure our borders while maintaining safe, orderly, and humane process- — processing of migrants. That is something that we are committed to under this administration.
This will remain the case with Title 42 — when Title 42 is lifted. Any suggestions that we might be changing a policy or looking at a different policy is inaccurate at this time. I know there’s been conversations about that. We haven’t made any — no such decisions have been made yet. But, again, we are committed to securing our border.
Q And I have a couple questions on this Chinese hack by the group APT41. The Secret Service says that this state-sponsored group of cyber criminals stole at least $20 million in COVID relief, including Small Business Administration loans —
(A cellphone rings.)
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know that ring. (Laughter.)
Q — unemployment, insurance funds. What safeguards are in place to prevent this sort of fraud? And why did they fail? — is my first question.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we — we don’t comment on specific law enforcement cases. So, clearly, not going to do that from the podium. But the President has continually embraced and called for strong oversight and enforcement against potential fraud.
The President made clear that, in the State of the Union — in his State of Union just earlier this year, and when he announced the Justice Department’s appointment of a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud as part of the interagency COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
So, for more on any specifics on this or any more details — like, again, this is a legal enforcement matter — this is something that the Department of Justice would speak to.
Q Will China face any consequences?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, this is something that the Department of Justice would be dealing with, as it is an ongoing law enforcement matter.
Q Thanks, Karine. On the trip tomorrow, President Biden has visited a lot of semiconductor plants. What — can you just talk about what makes this one special? Is it, you know, based on that it’s run by Taiwan — a Taiwan company? Is it advanced chips? What’s kind of differentiates this trip?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, it’s a very good question. We are going to be having a background call this evening at 6:30, which is going to be led by Brian Deese. And so, I would encourage all of you to join that background call and you’ll have more specifics.
Q You’re sure it’s on background, because —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m sorry — a backgrounder. Backgrounder. Yes. It’s a backgrounder. And it’ll — as you know, it’s usually lifted the next morning. So, yes, it is a background call with Brian Deese that’ll happen at 6:30. So, again, I’ll encourage all of you to join.
But, look, you know, as you know, he’s going to be going to Phoenix, Arizona, to be discussing American manufacturing. Under this President, we have seen manu — American manufacturing coming back to the U.S., and a lot of that is because of the President’s economic policies.
We’ve seen more than 700,000 manufacturing jobs created under this President. And he is going to continue to talk about that, talk about the CHIPS and Science Act, and that historic piece of legislation that was, as you all know, a bipartisan piece of legislation that is going to continue making sure that we have manufacturing jobs right here in the U.S.
So, again, you’ll get more details on that. Don’t want to get ahead of that conversation that will be had by Brian Deese at 7:30. It’s a background call. I, again, encourage all of you to join.
Q Thanks, Karine. Two questions for you. First, on the North Carolina power outage, the local authorities have said they believe it’s an intentional attack. Is the White House aware of any motive that might have been behind that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, I’m just not going to get ahead of the process. It is being looked at, investigated currently. Not go- — I’m going to let that investigation play out.
I would refer you to the Department of Energy, Department of Justice, FBI to get any more specific details on that.
Q And then, Democratic leaders in the House are discussing attaching Senator Manchin’s permitting bill to the annual defense policy bill, which is a must-pass. Is the White House urging that, too? And if so, how are you doing that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, yes, the President believes we should pass the defensive authorization bill and that the permitting bill should be included in that legislation. So that is something that we support from here.
Go ahead, Steven.
Q Other things on the to-do list: the antitrust tech bill. Does the President want to see action on that in the lame duck?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything more to say than what I shared last week. I refer you back to — I was asked about this a couple times last week, so I refer you back to those comments.
The Electoral Count Act reform. Is that something that —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That is something that is indeed important to the President, and he wants to see that move forward.
The — there was word today of an agreement in principle between Senators Tillis and Sinema on immigration reform. Is that something?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we haven’t seen all of the — kind of, the language on that particular bill, so don’t want to comment from here a- — don’t want to get too far ahead. I know there’s a drafted proposal.
But, look, the President has repeatedly called on Congress to permanently protect DREAMers, farmworkers, essential workers, and others and to provide them with the pathway to citizenship. Remember, the first day of his — his administration, he put forth a comprehensive immigration bill.
So, we are committed to working with members of Congress from both parties on real solutions to modernize and — our outdated immigration system.
So, that is certainly a priority for the President. But we haven’t seen the detailed proposal, so I can’t comment from — about that from here.
Q One last thing. Senator Shaheen has a statement. She’s apparently not coming to the ball tonight.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh. Okay.
Q She’s upset that the President endorsed a proposal to put South Carolina ahead of New Hampshire. And she says that New Hampshire is now vulnerable for her party, which — does the President have a response to that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we honor — we honor the Hatch Act, as I mentioned many times before, here, as we are talking about a potential election — a 2024 presidential election.
But, looking backward, it is the ultimate irony, you know, that the 2020 election was — was proven by the Trump administration’s Homeland — oh, sorry — I think I got ahead of myself there. (Laughs.)
We take the law very seriously here. And so, that’s the number one thing. And again, I want to be very careful because of 2024, and it places strict limits on what I can say, because of the Hatch Act, about future elections and, of course, political party processes.
I know I was asked this question many times before about the DNC. And so, I’ve always referred folks to go to the DNC.
But again, as a candidate in 2020 and, as we have heard the night of New Hampshire primary, Joe Biden was very clear that, to him, respecting our diversity as a nation and breaking down barriers for our people is a fundamental principle.
And — and so, he believes that what Democrats in office stand for — and he has upheld that principle as President.
And so, again, you’ve seen him do that throughout his almost two years in administration, making sure that we see the diversity within his administration that is represented clearly across — across the country. And he wants to honor those values.
And so, that’s as far as I’m going to get from here about the specific calendar. Again, don’t want to get into po- — politics as it relates to political parties.
Q Thanks, Karine. Can you talk about with Congress considering repealing the COVID vaccine mandate for service members in the NDAA?
John Kirby spoke earlier about President’s position, Secretary Austin’s position of wanting, obviously, to keep it. So, what is the White House prepared to do for that aspect of it? And is the President personally engaging with lawmakers on this?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, when — when the President met with the Big Four just last week, as you all know — as you know, Leader McCarthy raised eliminating the requirement that service members be vaccinated against COVID-19. So, clearly, they had a conversation, as you asked me about talking to members.
The President told him that he would consider it, but also made clear that he wanted to consult with the Pentagon. And since then, as we’ve all heard, the — the Secretary of Defense has recommended retaining the mandate.
That’s because the COVID vaccination requirement was put in place to keep our service members safe and healthy and prepared for service.
And I would remind, you know — remind all of you that the Pentagon has a range of vaccines it has long required, so this is nothing new. Again, this is — you know, there’s history here. There’s precedent.
So, with respect to NDAA, those discussions are ongoing. I don’t want to get ahead of it. But clearly, as I just mentioned, it was me- — it was brought up in their conversation that he had with the Big Four yes- — last week.
Q Has he had conversations about it since then?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything else to preview at this time for you on conversations specifically on the NDAA. I can tell — I can say that we’re just not going to get ahead of the process that’s currently happening in Congress.
Q And you’ve said from the podium that the White House isn’t going to respond to every single thing that former President Trump says or does.
But the White House also did put out some statements over the weekend about his calls to essentially overturn the 2020 Election and put aside the Constitution. So I’m wondering if you can elaborate on that and share more about — in response to his comments.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look — you know, and, again, he is a — he is a declared candidate, so I want to be very careful on how I respond to someone who has declared in 2024.
But, you know, this is what I was trying to say earlier — you know, as it relates to, you know, 2020 — 2020 and election conspiracy. Look, it’s an irony — right? — that the 2020 Election was — was — that he says this, because ultimately it was proven by the Trump administration’s Homeland Security officials to be the most secure of all time. And not just the Homeland Security officials, it was also upheld by Trump’s administration’s attorney general and by over 80 federal judges of whom were nominated by Donald Trump himself.
And so, in 2022, the American people came together — just the past midterms — and utterly rejected the dangerous conspiracy that we have been hearing — the Big Lie that we have been hearing from the former President but also many Republicans.
And so, look, they have been — American people have been very clear, they — they are — they oppose the way that Republicans have talked about this. They oppose the violent rhetoric that extreme MAGA officials have engaged in. And so, we should listen to what the American people had to say just a couple of weeks ago.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, and then I’ll go back.
Q Okay, thanks. Just on Arizona again, is there another side to this trip — a political side — and beyond the CHIPS aspect? Because he’s done a lot of similar speeches in future or current plants. Probably to a lot of Americans, Arizona, politically speaking, might sound like that place where they have a lot of election deniers. So it’s kind of a hot — a hotspot for politics.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m not going to get ahead of the background call that’s going to happen at 6:30. I’m going to let Brian Deese speak to why this trip is so important, why — what TS- — TSMC’s semiconductor material manufacturing facility is a big deal.
And so don’t — again, don’t want to get ahead of it. I will encourage you to join the call, and you’ll hear — you’ll hear more about the President’s trip tomorrow.
Q Okay. But I mean, I’m not talking on the CHIPS side, right? Just on —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know. You’re asking me if there’s — there’s —
Q — on the political side, is there a message, politically —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You’re asking me —
Q — he wants to send to folks in Arizona?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, because it’s in Arizona?
Q Yes. Yes, yes. Why — you know, because he’s been to a bunch of places that are, you know, relatively similar. Right?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — look, I put — no, I hear your question, but the President is —
Q It’s a very different part of the country.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, I — I hear your question. But the President has said this over and over again: He’s a President for — for everyone. Whether you live in a, you know, red state, blue state, purple state, this is about delivering for the American people. This is about keeping his promises as he moves forward with his economic policies.
Look, the CHIPS and Science Act is a historic piece of legislation that is going to bring — and we’re seeing this already — manufacturing back to the U.S. and has created hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs.
And so, that’s why this is a — this is an important — this is an important move forward that we’re seeing in this — with this particular facility in Arizona. And he wants to highlight that. He wants to lift that up.
And so, I don’t want to get ahead of what — what the announcements are going to be or what he’s going to talk specifically about — about what we’re going to see at this facility tomorrow.
But as you think about politics, as you’re asking me this question: Again, this is a President who has been very, very clear he’s going to deliver for all Americans.
Q Okay. And a very, very quick one about the medical. I think you’ve said previously that the part of the medical has been done already — the physical exam — but when will the rest of it be done? Like very roughly, is it by the end of the year or —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have any — any specific dates to layout or a timeline to lay out. I can say — I think I said this last week — it was going to be in the next few months. We will — we will release the President’s physical in the same fashion — in the same transparent fashion as we did last year.
Q Karine — thank you so much, Karine. This morning, the National Security Advisor met with the President-elect of Brazil, Lula, for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. What would you highlight from the meeting?
And also, Mr. Sullivan invited Lula to the White House before Lula’s inauguration January 1st. Is that visit happening? And why is the White House extending these very — not very common invitation to Lula even before he’s the president?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, to your first question, they — the two of them had a wide-ranging and productive conversation about how the United States and Brazil can continue to work together to address common challenges and deepen our strong bilateral relationship.
And we will have a fuller readout of the visit — his — the — Jake Sullivan’s visit to Brazil later today, and you’ll — you’ll have more details on that.
To your last question, look, we will have more to share on that soon, as — your question to a visit. Look, this is really important to — to the President. We have said before, we — we’ve been working with members of incoming Lula’s administration for a face-to-face engagement — that’s nothing new; we’ve talked about that — and we — at high levels so that we can hit the ground running once President-elect Lula becomes president in January.
So this is something that we have been very clear about, very transparent about. Again, as I just stated, we want to hit the ground running with that relationship, that important bilateral relationship that we have with Brazil.
Q And did the White House decide who are you guys sending to the inauguration? It’s going to be the Vice President —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The delegation — the U.S. delegation.
Q Yes. Who’s going to be leading the delegation?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’ll have — we’ll have more to share on what that’s going to — what that makeup of the delegation might look like. I don’t have anything to share for you at this time.
Q Thank you, Karine. Thank you. The administration said they’re going to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve under $70 a barrel. The Russian price cap went into effect today at $60 a barrel. Could — is the President considering putting Russian oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, because it’s been banned.
Q Okay. What about the — in Arizona — I just want to ask you — he’s going to that chips factory. Any plans in Arizona to go to the border and see for — the situation for himself there?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I want to be very clear here. The President’s trip tomorrow is about the American manufacturing boom we’re seeing all across the country thanks to, again, his economic policies — again, more than we have seen in his — his, you know, almost two-year term; more than 700,000 jobs — manufacturing jobs that have been created just here alone in the United States.
So, he’ll be visiting at TSMC, a company making a major investment to manufacturing cutting-edge chips in Phoenix. This investment will bring new jobs and economic opportunity to Arizona — very important to the people in Arizona. And it’s in large part thanks to the CHIPS and Science Act the President signed into law — and a historic — let’s not forget — a bipartisan piece of legislation.
And, look, we should be able to reach a bipartisan — you know, a bipartisan agreement on immigration too. And that’s what we’re calling for. Right? We’re asking for Republican officials to come and work with us and let’s have a bipartisan agreement on immigration, instead of doing political stunts, instead of doing what they’re doing: going to the border, not actually coming up with any real ideas about that. That’s where I will leave it.
That’s what the President is doing tomorrow. He’s going to go to Arizona to talk about an important initiative that’s going to change Americans’ lives, specifically in Arizona.
Q Thank you, Karine. Just a follow-up on Edward’s question. If the President is not going to make time to visit the border during his trip tomorrow — during his trip tomorrow to a border state, will he do it in — in the new year?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I addressed this last week about the President visiting the border. I’m not going to go beyond what I just laid out.
I think and we believe the question, again, as I was just answering to your colleague in the back, is that: What are congressional Republicans going to do to actually deal with this issue instead of doing political stunts — many of them political stunts that hurt families, that hurt kids, that hurt children — right? — that hurt people who are — who are coming here to try to seek asylum — leaving a, you know, leaving a dictatorship?
Instead of going to the border and talking about — you know, about things that — not going to actually deliver and keep our borders safe, why don’t they work with us? Why don’t they actually do something? Why don’t they actually, you know, help the President get the funding that he requested — historic funding to — into homeland — into the Department of Homeland Security? That’s one way of doing that.
But again, they’re playing political games and doing political stunts.
Q But the reason I ask is just because the President had said previously that he hadn’t had a lot of time to get to the border. He’s going to a border state tomorrow, so you’d think maybe there would be time there. If there isn’t tomorrow, can you say, at this point, that he —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I’m saying is: Tomorrow, he’s going to actually focus on an issue — a bipartisan issue that was voted in Congress — the CHIPS and Science Act — something that is going to deliver for the people in Arizona, creating jobs and making people’s lives better, and making sure that we are bringing manufacturing back into the U.S. That is critically important.
Now, what I’m saying — the second part of that, to your question: If Republican officials truly, truly want to deal with immigration — if they truly want to deal with the border, then they would stop doing political stunts and actually work with us on the plan that we have put forward, which they are not.
And that’s what we want to make very loud and clear. There’s ways to deal with this. Again, they can come and actually do this in a bipartisan way, just like we did with the CHIPS and Science Act.
Q So the trip is obviously to Phoenix, not to the border, not to Georgia, which is sort of a pressing issue for Democrats, for the President. Have Democrats determined that a visit to Georgia would not help Senator Warnock’s reelection bid?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President actually — and I actually already answered this. And I’ll just repeat what I just said: The President — when — and I want to be very careful about talking about an election that’s happening tomorrow, because it’s an ongoing — it’s an election, and I’m have — I’m covered under the Hatch Act, so I’m not going to comment on that specifically.
But when I — when we look back on the President’s role during the midterm elections, he played a significant role for Democrats. It was because — again, I just answered this question — it was because of the way he made the contrast with Republican officials, again, who wanted to put — who talked about putting Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block because they were upset about the Inflation Reduction Act — which is a historic piece of legislation, is going to lower costs for American families — that’s what they were upset about; because we were saying we wanted to make sure big corporations pay their fair share and not put it on the little guy. And — and that’s what they put forward.
And the American people were very — spoke very loud and clear. That’s not what they want. They want us to continue to fight for their freedoms. They want us to continue to fight for democracy. And, you know, that red wave never happened.
Go ahead. Go ahead.
Q Real fast, Karine? Just real quick, on Twitter, because you guys said you’re keeping a close eye on Elon Musk’s ownership. And I’ve — this is the first time we’ve talked to you since he released the files a few days ago. Is it the White House view that decisions at Twitter were made appropriately in terms of decisions to censor this reporting ahead of the election?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Let me — you see — you mischaracterize, actually, what I — what I actually said, and took it out of context when you asked your question.
Look, when I answered the question — and I already — I actually already addressed this — about how the White House and the administration is seeing what’s happening on Twitter, we were — we follow also what’s going on just like you guys are reporting it, just like you guys are seeing.
And what I was commenting to is like, yes, we’re seeing what is happening, just like you all are seeing what’s happening with Twitter. So, just want to clear that up because you definitely mischaracterized what I said or put it out of context.
And so, can you ask your question again?
Q Yes. My question was that you had said, I think, six or so days ago that the White House was watching closely the situation at Twitter after Elon Musk’s ownership of it with respect to misinformation.
And because these files were released on the basis of, you know, hacked materials clause at Twitter, decisions were made to censor reporting leading up to the election. My question was: Is it the White House view that these decisions were made appropriately, in light of what has come out?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Which decisions? By whom?
Q By Twitter.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: By Twitter on — okay. So, look, we see this as a — an interesting or a coincidence, if I may, that he would so haphazardly — Twitter would so haphazardly push this distraction that is a — that is full of old news, if you think about it. And at the same time, Twitter is facing very real and very serious questions about the rising volume of anger, hate, and antisemitism on their platform, and how they’re letting it happen.
And, you know, the President said last week: More leaders need to speak out and reject this. And it’s very alarming and very dangerous.
And what our focus right now is helping the American families — I just talked about what the President is going to be doing in Arizona — talking about the CHIPS and Science Act; talking about how we’re bringing manufacturing jobs back here to the U.S.; talking about, under this administration, more than 700,000 jobs have been created in manufactur- — manufacturing jobs, to be more specific.
Look what is happening, it’s not — frankly, it’s not healthy. It won’t do anything to help a single American improve their lives. And so, look, this is a — we see this as interesting, you know, coincidence. And — and, you know, it’s a distraction.
Q Karine, just one more on the NDAA. Some members of Congress are talking about providing security assistance to Taiwan in the range of about $10 billion over five years. Does the White House have a position on that? And is there any concern that providing additional security assistance to Taiwan might act as an irritant in the relationship with China?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, not going to get ahead of the process as it relates to — in Congress or the NDAA.
I’ll say this more broadly: We continue to work with Congress on ways we can reinforce deterrence across the Taiwan Strait and build Taiwan’s resilience in meaningful ways, including the self-defense capabilities. But, again, I’m not going to get ahead of the process that we’re currently seeing in Congress at this time.
All right, everybody. Thanks, everybody.
Oh, what do I — what’s going on?
Q You have a visitor — Arizona.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, I — okay.
Q Karine, are you going to take a question on U.S. Africa Summit? There’s a (inaudible).
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay, I’ll take that. Let me just do this, and I’ll —
Q Thank you.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay, we have a guest. I forgot. (Laughs.) Okay, so we are pleased to have a local reporter from the Arizona Republic and Arizona Central join us in the briefing room today and — ahead of the President’s trip, as we’ve been talking about Arizona and the CHIPS and Science Act. His name is Ronald J. Henson. He is the paper’s national political reporter and has been a member of their team for about 15 years.
And, Ron, thank you for joining us. Hello.
Q Yeah. Hi, thanks, Karine. As you know, the TSMC plant was announced in 2020. So, I wanted to note a couple things. Number one, what should ordinary Americans expect that is attributable to the CHIPS Act? How soon should they be seeing the effects of that in Arizona or elsewhere?
And also, in the long run, should the government be playing any greater role in providing more water resources to a place like Arizona in light of this water-intensive industry?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, on your first question, Ronald, I would refer you to the Department of Commerce as timeline. They’re working on this and they’re playing point when it comes to the CHIPS and Science Act.
On your final question, it’s important that these facilities are built sustainably and in a way that doesn’t harm the environment of a region. We know that these chip fabs can be water intensive, but both TSMC and Intel have taken steps to reduce water usage at their facilities in Arizona.
In the case of TSMC, they have planned on a site in- — industrial water reclamation plant that will significant reduce — significantly reduce liquid discharge.
Within the Biden administration, it is an issue we take very seriously, as evidenced by funding for Arizona drought resiliency resources, including — included in the Inflation Reduction Act, as you know, Ronald.
And as these projects continue, state officials, local officials will need to take this issue seriously as they work with chipmakers and build in their region.
And so, there you go, Ronald. Thank you so much for joining us on —
I know there was a question on the summit.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We will have more — we will — we will have — we will have more to share in the next couple of days.
Yes, the U.S. Summit is incredibly important. We have invited 49 African heads of state to Washington, D.C., for a three-day summit to highlight how the U.S. and African nations are strengthening our partnerships to advance shared priorities.
The Summit reflects the U.S. strategy towards Sub-Saharan Africa, which emphasizes the critical importance of the region to meet this era’s defining challenges.
Again, we will have more to share on the upcoming days. I got to go guys. Thank you so much.
4:16 P.M. EST