11:53 A.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Hey.  Hey, guys.  We sadly don’t have a lot of time.  So, let me just do this at the top really quickly, and then I’ll turn it off — turn it over.

So, we do have some news for you at the top.  On Monday, April 22nd, the President will travel to Virginia to celebrate Earth Day.  We will have more details, obviously, to share in the upcoming days.  But the President is looking forward to celebrating Earth Day next week.

I do want to give a qu- — a statement about what we saw in Arizona yesterday.

For the second time, Republican elected officials in Arizona have — have blocked efforts to repeal the state’s extreme and dangerous abortion ban from 1864.

This law, which includes no exceptions when a woman’s health is at risk or in tragic cases of rape or incest, threatens doctors with jail time and will put the health and lives of women in Arizona at risk.  It is outrageous.

After the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling paved the way for this Civil War-era ban to go into effect, Republican elected officials tried to dance — to distance themselves from their own extreme agenda to rip away women’s freedom.  But when Democratic elected officials in Arizona offered a bill to repeal this arcane law, Republicans said no twice.

The President and the Vice President stand with the vast majority of Americans who support a woman’s right to choose.  And the administration will continue to fight to protect access to reproductive healthcare and call on Congress to pass a law restoring the protections of Roe v. Wade for women in — in every state.

I know the Admiral doesn’t have a topper, but he’s happy —

MR. KIRBY:  No topper.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — to take any of your questions on the Middle East.

Q    So, John, we saw the Iran sanctions this morning.  Why were these targets not already sanctioned?  They were involved in Iran’s UAV industry, which has been helping Russia fight its war in Ukraine.  Why are there any targets that ha- — that —

MR. KIRBY:  Look, sanctions — sanctions — the whole sanctions process is an iterative process, and they can be cumulative too.

I would remind you that, over the last three years, we’ve done 600 sanctions across a wide range of entities and individuals and organizations and businesses across Iran.  These are specifically targeted at their drone capability.  And — and we’ll keep the option open for, you know, anymore that we need.

Q    Quickly, about the meeting today over Rafah — the virtual meeting. 

MR. KIRBY:  Yeah.

Q    Who is leading the talks from the U.S. side and —

MR. KIRBY:  Jake.

Q    And — and are you planning to discuss Israel’s plan to attack Iran?  I mean, to what extent is that getting discussed?

MR. KIRBY:  The meeting is going on right now, so we’ll give you a readout when it’s over.  I’m not going to get ahead of it.  The main purpose really is to talk about Rafah and to continue to have a conversation with the Israelis about their intentions and to also share our — our continued concerns over a major ground offensive there.

Q    And — and a quick one on — on, you know, the President’s decision to impose tariffs on China.  I mean, di- — had he mentioned that to President Xi when he spoke to him a few days ago on, you know, the decision to impose higher tariffs on steel?

MR. KIRBY:  I’ll just say that, broadly speaking, the President did talk to President Xi about unfair trade practices and — and the flooding in the global market of certain commodities that make it hard for American workers and families and businesses. 

Q    John —

Q    What was his response?

MR. KIRBY:  I’ll leave it at that.

Q    John, can you give an update on discussions regarding hostage negotiations — those Israeli hostage and American hostages that are being held in Israel? 

And also, as part of that, is there proof of life for — that’s been given to the Israelis as it relates to those who were abducted on October the 7th of last year?

MR. KIRBY:  Proof of life for all of them?  I wish we had more information, Jon.  We don’t.  That’s been the case since October 7th.  We just don’t have the ability to know the individual condition of any one hostage.  So, we’re — we’re obviously doing the best we can to try to g- — gain as much information as we can.  But we don’t.

As for the status of negotiations, as I said earlier, I mean, for us, this is still an active effort.  There’s still a proposal on the table.  We urge Hamas to take that proposal.  And we’re waiting to see what they do about it.

Q    Can I — can I just ask a follow-up?  If — if you don’t have any information regarding proof of life, how can the Israelis negotiate, you know, in — in fairness with —

MR. KIRBY:  They know who has been taken. 

Q    Okay.

MR. KIRBY:  They know who has been taken. 

Q    Right.

MR. KIRBY:  And — and we want them all back.

Sadly, if that means that not all of them come back alive, then they still need to be with their families.  We just don’t know the condition of each and every one of them.  You can’t count on Hamas to be perfectly honest about — about all their conditions.  But we want them all back regardless. 

Q    The U.N. Security Council vote tomorrow on recognizing statehood for the Palestinian territory.  What’s the U.S. thinking on that?  And are you prepared to use your veto?

MR. KIRBY:  We completely believe in the two-state solution and a state for the Palestinian people.  We believe the best and the most sustainable way to do that is through direct negotiations between the parties. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Sorry, guys.  We’re going to have to sit.  Thanks, everybody. 


Q    We didn’t address the cannibals.

Q    A couple of questions.


Q    Can we see the “cannibal” tab in your book?  (Laughter.) 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  There is no “cannibal” tab.  What are you talking about?  (Laughter.)  Is that what you — is that what you’re asking me about?

Q    I mean —

Q    Yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Okay.  Look, I’ll just — and I think we shared this with some of you, so I’m just going to kind of repeat.

Look, you saw the President.  He was incredibly proud of his uncle’s service in uniform.  You saw him at the war memorial.  It was incredibly emotional and important to him. 

You saw him respond to all of you when asked about the moment, yesterday, and his uncle who lost his life when the military aircraft he was on crashed in the Pacific after taking off near in New Guinea.  The President highlighted his uncle’s story as he made the case for honoring our sacred commitment to — to equip those we send to war and to take care of them and their families when they come home. 

And as he reiterated that the last thing American veterans are are “suckers” or “losers,” and he wanted to make that clear.  He wanted to make —

Q    By embellishing the story? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, look, I — I don’t have anything beyond — but what I just laid out.  But it was a really proud moment for him.  It was incredibly emotional.  I think some of your colleagues, as — as you know, Zeke, were there, and they got to witness the President pray at the — at the war memo- — war memorial, look for his uncle’s name, honor him. 

And I think we can’t — we can’t forget that moment.  And we cannot also forget what it means to be a commander-in-chief, what it means to lift up our service members, what it means to make sure that we respect their service.  And he made that contrast very clear as to what we saw from the former — former President. 


Sorry, guys.  Thank you. 

12:00 P.M. EDT

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