En Route Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

3:13 P.M. EST
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Good afternoon, everybody.  So, before we get started, I wanted to talk about the — the State of the Union last night. 
President Biden hit a grand slam, making a strong case to the American people about the future and his vision for an economy that’s centered on the middle class, for protecting our freedoms instead of taking — taking them away, and for making us more secure by acting on the bipartisan border deal and strengthening our alliances.
Not a dark di- — vision based on dragging American — American into — America into the past, on passing extreme abortion bans, on an economy by the rich for the rich, on taking revenge and bowing down to dictators.
His vision connected, as we keep seeing in front pages across the country and in the live reactions you all have captured.  Now — now we’re taking it on the road, as you can see. 
I want to share some of the reactions that stood out to us.  Presidential historian Michael Basch- — Beschloss — pardon me.  He said, “Biden hit the — hit the ball out of the park tonight.” 
Senator and Reverend Raphael Warnock: “That was a sermon tonight.”
Politico Playbook: “It’s hard to imagine how the State of the Union could have gone much better for Biden.”
Larry Sabato: “Yeah, it’s a homerun.”
Ian Bremmer: “A good night for American democracy.”
Newsweek: “Republicans Complain Joe Biden Had Too Much Energy at SOTU.” 
And coming out of the State of the Union, the President, his Cabinet, and senior administration officials will fan out across the country to speak directly to the American people, underscoring the historic progress we have made thanks to the President’s agenda, as well as the clear contrast between competing visions for the country. 
Today, the President and the First Lady are headed to the — to the Philadelphia area.  And tomorrow, we’ll be traveling to Atlanta for political events. 
On Monday, the President will travel to Manchester, New Hampshire, and share how his administration is lowering costs for American families, as well as — as participate in a political event.
On Tuesday, the President will be at the White House to host both the President and Prime Minister of Poland and discuss how we have strengthened the bilateral relationship between our two countries.
On Wednesday, the President will head back out on the road to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and then to Michigan on Thursday.
And on Friday, the President will host Taoiseach of Ilan- — of Ireland at the White House, which will be followed by a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at the White House on March 17. 
I also want to note that in addition to the President’s post-State-of-the-Union travel, the Vice President and the Cabinet are also traveling far and wide to highlight how the President is building on — an economy from the middle out and bottom up, investing in all of America to make sure the middle class has a fair shot and we leave no one behind.
They will al- — also underscore how the President’s investments are keeping communities safe, protecting and expanding access to healthcare, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, creating good-paying jobs, and delivering a future for the American people.
The Vice President is kicking her travel off in Phoenix, Arizona, today and will visit Las Vegas on Saturday.  And on Tuesday, March 12th, she will travel on to Denver, Colorado.
There is a lot of traveling happening.  And please hold on, because someone is going to fall.  (Laughter.)  But hold on.
All right.  What you got, Josh?
Q    From last night’s State of the Union, from the rostrum, the President had an exchange with Marjorie Taylor Greene about Laken Riley, and he used the word “illegal” and then later “legals.”  And I was wondering if you could clarify what he was trying to communicate in that exchange?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I think he was — he was obviously asked about this right before getting on — right before getting on Air Force One. 
There’s a couple things I do want to lay out, which I think is important when you look at the entirety of what he said yesterday in his remarks. 
The President spoke to the nation, obviously, last night very clearly about not demonizing immigrants.  He talked about the story of our country and families seeking safety and opportunity in a place of possibilities. 
President Biden believes in treating everyone humanely, which is — which is why he — he stopped his predecessor’s anti-immigration policies, as you know — all know and have covered back — back in the last administration.  That is really an important message that he wanted to make sure was sent during the State of the Union.
In response to what was hurled at him from the House floor, the President made clear that the murder of Laken Hope Riley was horrific and expressed sympathy for her family.  And he once again called on congressional Republicans to stop blocking the toughest, fairest bipartisan border security legislation in modern history. 
Again, he was responding to what was being hurled at him, as you all covered, and he was responding to that moment and that exchange.
Q    Karine, I just asked him about —
Q    — you know, whether he regrets using the word “illegal,” and he said, “Technically, he wasn’t supposed to be here.”  I’m just wondering if you’ve had a chance to sort of speak to him after his speech and whether he really regrets using the word.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I saw him a couple of times after that.  I saw him last night after his speech.  That is not what we focused on, obviously. 
Look, what we — I think the bottom line to this is that we should not be politiciz- —
(A landing alert sound on Air Force One.)  Are you kidding me?  (Laughter.)
It should not be pol- — pol- — making this a political football. 
Congressional Re- — Republicans need to move forward and not reject a bipartisan bill that came out of the Senate.  It is important to move forward with this bill.  We can’t politicize this.  That’s what we cannot do. 
It is important, as we move forward, to — to dealing with the border challenges, as we move forward in buil- — in fixing a broken immigration system. 
The President has sa- — said this.  We need to do this in a humane and dignified way.
Q    Any — any second guessing among staff about him using that word?
Q    I mean, because it upset a lot of Democrats.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, I — I understand.  I — I mean, I hear what you’re saying, but this is a president who also spent quite a bit of time on this topic and talked about the importance of doing it in a hu- — when we’re talking about immigration and dealing with immigration, dealing with migrants who are coming here, doing it in a humane way and a respectful way. 
He was responding to the engagement that he was having about a young woman who was murdered.  And that’s what was happening.  That’s what you saw.
Q    Karine, can I —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead.
Q    — follow on something that happened during the briefing the other day and you didn’t have a chance to respond?   Kyrsten Sinema’s announcement about her resignation.  Has the President spoken with her?  Did he speak with her before that announcement?  And what is their relationship?  Can you —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I — you know, I don’t have any conver- — a conversation or a call to read out to all of you.  Look, the President said — he congratulated Sinema on a career of service of — to the people of Arizona and the country.  He’s proud of the work that they were able to — to get together — to get done together. 
You heard him talk about the bipartisan negotiation that was able to happen that came out of the Senate.  She was one of the negotiators on that.  There’s been other bipartisan bills that the President was able to get through and with her assistance, and that’s now in law — into law.  That’s going to change Americans’ lives. 
So, there are ways that they were able to work together.  He appreciates that.  He congr- — congratulates her on her tenure as senator.
Q    Karine, has — there were several members of the Democratic Caucus last night, including Rashida Tlaib —
Q    — and several others who didn’t applaud at all during the President’s speech, who didn’t stand at any portion during the President’s speech.  What’s the President’s message to the members of his own party who are — they — they heard his message last night; he spoke about Gaza and the humanitarian crisis there — but who, at the end of the night, are still not satisfied with what the President is doing?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, look, I think you can see what the President has been trying to do over the past several weeks – this past several months on trying to get that hostage deal.  And what does that mean?  By — 
AIR FORCE ONE CREW MEMBER:  You cannot remain standing. 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  All right.  Sorry, guys.  I got to — we got to go.  (Laughs.)
Q    Has he met with Rashida Tlaib at all?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I can’t — I can’t —
Q    Has he met with Rashida Tlaib at all? 
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — I don’t have —
Q    Has he spoken to her?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have a meeting to read out. 
Sorry, guys.  We go to land. 
Q    (Inaudible) Nikki Haley?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, I don’t have anything to read out or — or say — to speak to on that.
Q    Thank you, Karine.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  You saw — you saw his text on that.  Sorry, guys. 
3:22 P.M. EST

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