Aboard Air Force One
En Route Dallas, Texas

5:07 P.M. MST

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. I just have two things at the top, and then I’ll turn it over to the Admiral for his update.

Today, in Chandler, Arizona, President Biden announced a preliminary agreement with Intel for a CHIPS award for up to $8.5 billion. The investment will unlock over $100 billion in private investment by Intel and will create nearly 30,000 jobs, many of which are union jobs in construction and manufacturing across Arizona, Ohio, New Mexico, and Oregon.

In Arizona and Ohio, Intel investments are among the largest private-sector investment in each state’s history. Because of investments like the one President Biden announced today, semiconductor manufacturing is growing, semiconductor jobs are making a comeback.

Building off of the President’s State of the Union Address, this investment is in line with the President’s vision to build the economy from the middle out and bottom up, create good-paying jobs in America, strengthen U.S. supply chains, and protect national security.

One last thing. And as President Biden is presenting his economic vision today, so are House Republicans. President Biden warned in his State of the Union Address that many of his Republican friends in Congress want to put Social Security on the chopping block.

And as — as — and he was clear that “if anyone here tries to cut Social Security or Medicare,” he would stop them. That’s a quote from him in the State of the Union.

He’s already keeping that promise because, today, House Republicans are at it again. The Republican Study Committee, which represents about 80 percent of House Republicans and 100 percent of their leadership, just proposed yet another budget that cuts Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Cutting the Medicare and Social Security benefits and — that Americans paid to earn is wrong, and President Biden strongly opposes this latest House Republican plan to do it. The last thing we should do is raid Medicare and Social Security, while giving more giant tax cuts to the wealthy and big corporations.

President Biden has a di- — has a different vision for how we move into the future: make the big corporations, the wealthy, and special interests pay their fair share while strengthening Medicare and Social Security.

With that, the Admiral, I believe, has an update for you all.

MR. KIRBY: Thank you, Karine.

Two things: Ukraine and Haiti. Today, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan traveled to Kyiv to meet with President Zelenskyy and senior Ukrainian officials to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to supporting Ukraine as they continue to defend themselves.

Mr. Sullivan underscored the multiple lines of U.S. effort to Ukraine, following yesterday’s successful Ukraine Defense Contact Group that Secretary Austin hosted in Ramstein, which included a number of pledges from several co- — countries, including a significant contribution by Germany — more than 500 billion euros from Germany alone.

And, of course, he stressed the urgent need for the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the national security supplemental to meet Ukraine’s critical battlefield and humanitarian needs.

He emphasized how, two years into this war, the United States stands with the people of Ukraine, and he stressed that our commitment to doing so — our commitment to continue doing so every day.

Mr. Sullivan discussed ongoing efforts with allies and partners to hold Russia accountable for its aggression as we continue to impose severe sanctions and export controls on Russia and our efforts to mitigate the economic and humanitarian impacts of the war in Ukraine.

They also discussed progress on anticorruption and other key reforms needed to further Ukraine’s European — Euro- — Euro-Atlantic integration.

He did a press conference in Kyiv. The transcript has been posted. Some of you probably — may have already seen it.

If I could quickly turn to Haiti and some of the things we’re doing to help American citizens that are — that are there.

First, I think it’s important to note that we have had a “do not travel” notice and advisory alert to Haiti in place since 2020 precisely because of the ongoing instability caused by the gangs. And we’ve been stressing that the United States government cannot guarantee American citizens will all be evacuated given the treacherous situation on the ground.

That said, we have informed Americans who are registered with the State Department that we’re exploring various options to help them depart from Port-au-Prince and also from Cap-Haïtien.

On Sunday, we were able to evacuate a small group on a U.S. government-organized charter flight. They were American citizens that were ready to — to depart and were able to get to Cap-Haïtien on their own safely.

Earlier this afternoon, a U.S. government-organized helicopter with approximately 15 American citizens departed from Port-au-Prince and landed safely in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. And as circumstances permit, we’ll be able to repeat this. We hope to able to repeat this in coming days.

The United States government has no higher priority than the safety of Americans who are overseas. All of our contingency planning and assistance, however, must take into account the security environment, and that’s what we’ve been doing since the end of February.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q On Jake’s meeting today, did he glean any sort of new insight or new information on how dire the conditions are on the ground in Ukraine and what their capacity is, where their weapons levels are, and things like that?

MR. KIRBY: He did have a chance to talk to Andriy Yermak, Zelenskyy’s national security advisor, and, quite frankly, the president himself about the situation on the battlefield and got an update — particularly, the — the difficulty that they’re having in the Donbas, in particular. That is where the Russians are really trying to push west out of Avdiivka.

And the Ukrainians have formed about three defensive lines. That first defensive line, just a few kilometers to the west of Avdiivka, is the one that’s under the most stress and pressure right now.

Now, the Russians have been bragging quite a bit. Mr. Putin was bragging a little bit about some of the towns and villages that they’ve taken. None of these have any strategic value. It’s really just an effort, particularly in the wake of his election, to prove that they’re sort of making progress.

And, look, I’m not going to dispute, they are making progress. They are going — they are pushing west, and the Ukrainian commanders are having to make some really difficult decisions about what they’ll spend and what they won’t spend to try to defend that territory.

Q And I know Jake ment- — was asked about this at the press conference, but did the issue of a loan rather than an aid actually come up in his meetings with Ukraini- — Ukrainian officials?

MR. KIRBY: I don’t have that level of detail, that — in what capacity they talked about the continued support, but Jake did make it clear that — that he believes it’s really important for the House of Representatives to move on this supplemental.

And you’ll see it in his transcript. He got asked a little bit about our level of optimism. And he — he said on the record that he felt sure that we were going to get there.

Q Can you give us an update on the peace talks and the possibility of a six-week ceasefire? Would you say that it’s getting closer, is imminent, or still quite a ways away?

MR. KIRBY: I don’t really have an update for you, Jeff. The discussions are ongoing. You know, Secretary Blinken is in the region as we speak. He’s in Saudi Arabia today. He’s got a — he’s going to Cairo, and then he’ll wrap up his trip in Israel. And this will be a key focus of him, getting a sense from our counterparts there of how the discussions are going.

Q Also on Israel. Canada is the first Western nation to stop supplying arms to Israel. What does the White House think of this decision? And has the administration communicated at all with any Can- — Canadian officials about this?

MR. KIRBY: I’m not aware of any conversations that we’ve had with Canada about this. This is their decision to make — sovereign country, we certainly respect that.

What we’re focused on is what I just talked about in terms of Jake’s visit: making sure that we can get that supplemental from Congress, making sure we can continue to find ways to — to support Ukraine.

It gets — it gets kind of buried a little bit because we do them so often, but these Ukraine Contact Defense Groups are really important meetings — more than 50 countries. And, as I said, Germany really stepped up in a big way after the most recent one. So, our allies and partners are also doing everything they can.

Q Also on Israel. Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu was speaking to Senate Republicans after Senator Schumer called for new elections in Israel. Schumer declined to have him speak to Senate Republicans. Did Schumer consult with the White House on this decision? And what does the White House think of this decision not to have Netanyahu speak to Democrats?

MR. KIRBY: I’m not aware of any consultation with the — with Leader Schumer. And I’m happy to go back and ask that question. But I’m not aware that there was any coordination on that. We respect the — the Leader’s prerogatives here in terms of — of not accepting that invitation.

Look, I mean, the prime minister can decide for himself, of course, who he wants to — to talk to and how he wants to handle that. But I do think it’s important to remember that support for Israel, for Israel’s sovereignty, for Israel’s security, for the Israeli people has been a longstanding bipartisan issue in this country going back multiple, multiple administrations. I mean, heck, back to Harry Truman.

And — and it’s indicative, I think, of the broad support that the Israeli people know they can count on from the American people. And it’s important that that support stay bipartisan.

Q John, in the press conference, Jake, as you said, expressed confidence that the aid package would pass and also said that he didn’t see a reason to move on from plan A, the supplemental that you’ve offered. Is that sort of the hopeful thinking that we’ve heard from Jake for the last three or four months? Or does that suggest that now that the funding deal has gotten wrapped up on Capitol Hill, some sort of breakthrough with Speaker Johnson on — on moving forward with that package?

MR. KIRBY: I think — again, I think it speaks to — to Jake’s sense of where we’re at and — and how the discussions are going, and I can’t really improve upon it th- — than what Jake said.

Also important to remember as we’re talking about bipartisan support for Israel: There is bipartisan and bicameral support for Ukraine. That’s clearly obvious. And you’ve heard Kar- — from Karine many, many times: If it — if it came to the floor, it would get voted on.

So, I think Jake is talking — I mean, he’s speaking from the realities here, that we — that we know there’s strong bipartisan support for Ukraine, and — and we’re hopeful that they’ll — they’ll be able to get this done.

Q Hong Kong passed a new security law. I was wondering if you guys had a reaction on it both generally — because, obviously, it’s been a flashpoint over the last few years there — and then if there were specific concerns about how this might impact Americans or American companies that are in Hong Kong.

MR. KIRBY: I think it’s a little early to know exactly how it’s going to affect American companies. But we certainly saw the reports and we’re — and we’re concerned about what this could do to the open society that Hong Kong was so famous for and so rightly respected for.

Q Admiral, on Haiti. Governor DeSantis of Florida had brought back some Florida citizens who were there. Did you guys have a heads-up on that, and did you offer any support?

And then, also, as you said, your priority is to protect Americans. Are you thinking U.S. boots will end up on the ground there?

MR. KIRBY: In Haiti?

Q Yeah, in Haiti.

MR. KIRBY: On your first question, no conversations with the governor that I’m aware of, and we were not involved.

The focus right now for Haiti is not only supporting the political process, and that’s moving forward — and Secretary Blinken was a key part of those discussions back in Jamaica last week — and then continuing to work with Kenya on a Kenyan-led multinational security support mission that — that they’re still working on — on putting together.

But no — no decisions one way or another right now about — about any kind of American military support.

Q John, also on Haiti. Are there any plans at this point if the number of folks seeking asylum or migrants coming out of Haiti were leaving the country — is there a concern that there would be an increase in Haitians coming towards the U.S.? And is there, at this point, a contingency plan or any plans to — to try and —

MR. KIRBY: Yeah, sure. Look, I mean, the — we’ve — we’re watching this very, very closely. And we are certainly working across the interagency — and that includes with U.S. Southern Command down in Miami — to make sure that we’re prepared should there be a mass migration movement out of Haiti.

Now, I’ll tell you, we’re just not seeing that right now. We’re watching it real close, but we’re just not seeing it.

But absolutely. And we are a — as an interagency — a planning organization, and we’re certainly working through what the contingencies and the capabilities that might be required.

But, again, we’re not — we’re just not seeing it in those numbers.

Q John, on Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu says he has already approved the operational plan for Rafah. Has the White House seen those plans yet?

MR. KIRBY: I am not aware that we have actually seen the — the plans.

Now, as you know, we’re looking forward to having a discussion hopefully next week with an Israeli delegation here in Wa- — or in Washington to — to offer some viable options for them to think about as they think about going into Rafah.

Again, we do not support a major ground offensive into Rafah — you heard Jake talk about that the other day — certainly not without due consideration for the 1.5 million people that are seeking refuge down there.

Q Admiral, has the President spoken to the Irish Taoiseach since he said he was going to resign? And did that come up at all when the Taoiseach was here? What was the President’s reaction?

MR. KIRBY: He has not spoken to the Taoiseach since the news broke today. And I — I won’t go beyond the readouts of the conversations.




Okay. What you guys got?

Q A couple of topics. One, House Oversight Chairman Jamie Comer is now mo- — more and more talking about doing criminal referrals as it relates to his committee’s investigation since impeachment seems to not be going very well for them. Is the — what is the White House —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Inaudible.) (Laughs.)

Q What is the White House’s reaction to that?


Q And — actually, first of all, what’s the White House’s reaction to Comer floating that option out there?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. And I’m glad you said that it’s not going well for them at — at all. And just want to reiterate that.

Let me just say something about today’s hearing. And I’ll say this: It’s just the latest example, and it kind of answers your question as well, of how House Republicans’ impeachment stunt has dragged on for months and months, yet has uncovered zero evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden.

It’s obviously time to move on. That’s what we believe. You saw the letter from the White House Counsel’s — White — the President’s White House Counsel last week.

And so, Republicans need to drop this stunt and join the President in focusing on real issues that matter to the American people.

And so, that’s kind of what we believe. It’s time to move on. We need to focus on the American people. This is something that has just not gone well for House Republicans.

Let’s focus on issues, on matters that really, really are important, like the national security supplemental that would pass, as we’ve stated over and over again, in a bipartisan fashion if the Speaker were to put that on the floor; like the — the bipartisan agreement that came together in the Senate to deal with a real issue on the border and immigration. That would actually make — that would actually meet the — some of the things — a few things that meet what we need as — for the American people.

And let me just add: It is majority — as we — as I’m talking about the border — the border challenges, and a majority of Americans want that. It is something that would be important. We want them — see it move forward. And that’s what they should be focused on: real matter, real issues.

You heard me talk at the top about their — their budget. The President has said we got to protect Medicare; we got to protect Social Security. Those are the issues that the President wants to talk about, you know, not — not baseless — baseless — baseless issues that they’re bringing up or wanting to go after the President and his family. Let’s focus on the American family.

Q I guess, specifically on a criminal referral, is there any concern at the White House that if there is a second Trump administration, that a Trump Justice Department could actually do something with those criminal referrals targeting the President and his family?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not — I’m just not going to get into hypotheticals from here. Let’s focus on the here and now. There are real issues that the Pres- — the — we believe, that the President believes American families and Americans want us to focus on. You heard him talk about many of those issues as he talked about his vision in the State of the Union. That’s what we want to focus. I’m not going to get into hypotheticals.

Q (Inaudible.)

Q I was just going to ask a follow-up, if the President got briefed on the hearing today, or is it just out of his mind?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I got to tell you, the President was pretty busy today. If he was able to even catch a glimpse or really get any type of update, I’d be surprised. As you know, we — we’re leaving Arizona, where he was able to tour Intel. He made a major announcement for the people of Ar- — Arizona on chips — chips manufacturing, semiconductors — incredibly important; creating, you heard me say, 30,000 jobs –all important.

And so, he’s just really been busy. And so, I cannot imagine the President — (laughs) — had any chance to get an update. As you know, now, we are all going to Texas, and he’s going to do some campaign events, as you all know.

Q On another topic. There is now a Democratic senator on record opposing Adeel Mangi — Man- — Mangi for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. And Senator Cortez Masto mentioned his — his position on the advisory board for the Alliance of Families for Justice.

I’m wondering: One, what is the White House doing to get this nomination back on track? And, two, is that a fair reason for Senator Cortez Masto and potentially other Democrats to oppose his nomination?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m going to be careful. I’m not going to speak to or respond to specific members. I’ll say this, and I’ve said it before: The President is proud to have nominated Mr. Mangi, whose extraordinary qualifications and integrity are gaining him new backing each day, including from the seventh law enforcement organization to endorse his confirmation, as well as retired Circuit Judge Timothy Lewis, who was appointed by President George H.W. Bush.

Mr. Mangi, who has lived in the — who has lived the American Dream and proven his integrity, is being targeted by a malicious and debunked smear campaign solely because he would make history as the first Muslim to serve as a federal appellate judge. Senate Democrats should side with the qualities that make America exceptional, which Mr. Mangi embodies, not the hateful forces trying to force America into the past.

So, we are proud — the President is proud to have nominated him, and we’re doing everything that we can — working, talking to congressional members, congressional staff, obviously, on the Senate to move forward with his nomination process.

Q Given that we’re on the way to Texas, regarding the immigration enforcement law out of Texas. The Supreme Court said that it could go into effect. The lower court said that it could not go into effect. Do you believe that the overlapping orders from various courts is — are creating confusion? And how should local law enforcement navigate this uncertainty?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, let me just take a step back for a second. So, we’ve said from the beginning that SB 4 is an extreme, unconstitutional law that will burden law enforcement and make communities less safe. We dis- — we disagreed with the Supreme Court order yesterday letting — letting the law go into effect, and we welcome the Fifth Circuit overnight pausing implementation of it.

Ultimately, we need resolutions. You’ve heard me talk about that just in the past couple of minutes. Congress should pass the bipartisan border security agreement immediately — immediately. And that is where we are. That is where we stand. And we’ve been very clear — we’ve been very vocal about SB 4.

And so, Congress — this is — this is an opportunity for Congress, if they really care about what’s going on at the border, if — I’m speaking of House Republicans; Republicans more — more broadly — if they truly care about the border and what’s going on, the challenges, and — and truly dealing with immigration, they should move forward with a bipartisan agreement that came out of the Senate.

And I’ve said this many times. I’ll say it again. It got support from the Bor- — Border Patrol union. It got support from the — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Those things you don’t normally see.

And so, it is something that Americans care about. It’s — what we’re seeing with SB 4, it’s not going to protect communities. It’s just not. It is part of a — of a political stunt that we continue to see from the Governor of Texas. But we can fix this. We can fix this if Republicans would get out of their own way and move forward with this.

Q On — on SB 4. Does the President plan to address SB 4 in Texas? And, also, you know, if it does go into place, could there possibly be a federal government plan to train officers that are now going to have the added authority to arrest migrants?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, it’s a campaign — he’s doing campaign events, as you know, in Texas. I’m not going to get ahead of him. If you want specifics on what he’s going to be doing, I would refer you to the campaign.

I’m not going to get into hypotheticals and what — what could happen, what may happen. We know where we are legally today. What we are going to continue to do is be very clear and — you know, and say that Congress needs to move forward with a bipartisan agreement that came out of the Senate. It took multiple months to get that done. The President’s team worked on this. And we have to actually deal with an issue that’s affecting Americans and their families, an issue that majority of Americans care about.

This is — this is actually an easy one. It’s not hard. It’s not difficult. Pick up the bi- — pick up that proposal that they came together with, the bi- — the senators, Republicans and Democrats. Pick it up, look at it, take a look at it.

The former President, Donald Trump, is getting in the way here. He’s — he — and you’ve heard this President talk about it. From what we heard and you all reported, he picked up the phone — this is President — President Trump — and started lobbying Republicans in Congress to not support this bill because of his own political gain.

So, this is not who — this is not who we should be. This is not. We should actually meet the needs of the American people and move forward in a bipartisan way.

Q Karine, is the President and the White House tracking some of the issues that Boeing has been having? And what’s his level of concern about that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I don’t know if you all saw the interview. There was an interview on NBC with — hold on a second — with the FAA Administrator. So, obviously, he spoke to this. So, let — I would let whatever — you know, what — that interview stand for itself.

What we will say is we stand by the actions that the FAA is taking to increase its safety — its safety oversight of Boeing. And so, we want to make sure that, you know, that continues. Obviously, the safety of Americans is the number-one priority — not just for the FAA, obviously, for the President. And that’s what we — you know, we support the actions that they’re taking.

Q Separate —

Q Karine, really quick on Intel.

Q Small separate issue.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, sure.

Q The President yesterday in his remarks used the phrase “make America great again.” And it was not in reference to President Trump’s campaign slogan. Just wondering if that was an ad lib —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.)

Q — or what he meant by that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I think the President is always going to be focused on the American people. He’s always going to be focused on a vision on how to move us forward, whether it’s with the economy, whether it’s dealing with the climate change crisis, whether it’s abroad in our relationship with our partners and allies. And that’s always going to be where he is, like, zeroed in on.

And we would say, the last three years — and not speaking to, obviously, the campaign or anything like that. The last three years, the President has turned the economy around. He’s built an economy from the bottom up, middle out, making sure no communities are left behind. You saw him visit Latino communities and continue to speak to what he’s going to do not just for Latino communities, for all communities.

And so, that’s going to be his focus. And I’ll just — I’ll just leave it there for now.

Q Quickly on Intel. The Intel CEO said yesterday that — you know, this is obviously a very large investment that the administration made, but he says there’s more that still needs to be put into manufacturing semiconductors. And he called for a CHIPS Two —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.)

Q — like, a second act. Did he share that — that idea with the President? Does the President know that he — he’s already out there saying this? And does the White House agree that there does need to be a second round of this?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look — so, I’ll say this. I — I have not spoken to the President about those par- — that particular comment that you just presented with me. I’ll say this. The President is very proud of this bipartisan legislation — obviously, now law — the chips manufacturing act that was able to be done. It’s going to bring home manufacturing here — America — America made.

As we saw today just in Arizona, it’s a big deal. It is a big deal. Is the President always going to want to do more, making sure that we’re making — bringing manufacturing home, creating good-paying jobs, good union jobs? Some of those jobs, you don’t need a four-year college degree. You can make a — the folks can make 100k a year. That’s a big deal. That’s a big deal. It’s a big deal for the communities. It’s a big deal for job growth.

And so, the President is always going to want to make sure we continue that. I haven’t spoken to him directly. But chips manufacturing act is critical. It’s important. We saw that today in Arizona alone.

But the President has barnstormed the country where we’ve talked about manufacturing that’s coming back in that particular community and what that means to that community.

And so, I’m glad that — I’m glad that he’s excited about it — (laughs) — that he wants a CHIP Two.

All right, guys. Thank you.

Q Thank you.

Q Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’ll see you on the ground.

5:32 P.M. MST

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