James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:52 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  We’ll wait for — for — I don’t want to call her out, but — (laughter) —

Q    Madam President.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Madam President, that’s right.  (Laughter.)  I was trying to be good, not call out people.

All right.  Good afternoon.

As President Biden said during his campaign, no one should be in jail for using or possessing marijuana.  That’s why in 2022, President Biden requested that DOJ and HHS review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.

Today, the administration is taking a major step toward reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug under federal law.

If finalized, marina- — marijuana will no longer hold the higher-level classification it currently holds over fentanyl and meth, drugs driving our nation’s overdose epidemic.  And it will remove burdensome, longstanding barriers to critical research.

This announcement builds on the work President Biden has already done to pardon a record number of federal offenses for simply possessing marijuana.  His categorical pardon for federal offenses of simple possession in October 2022 and December 2023 lifted barriers to housing, small business loans, and more for thousands of Americans.

The reality is, while white, Black, and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionately higher rates.

The President’s actions today further his commitment to reverse longstanding injustices and to right historic wrongs.

Next, I want to talk about a part — as part of our series of engagements this week, we are marking the 70th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education.  Today, President Biden met with plaintiffs and their family members at the White House.

Among those the President met with include Adrienne Jennings Bennett, a plaintiff in one of the original cases, Boiling v. Sharpe, that was argued alongside Brown v. Board, and Cheryl Brown Henderson, one of the daughters of the le- — of the lead plaintiff, Oli- — Oliver L. Brown, in the Brown v. Board.

The delegation represents litigants from the five cases that were combined under Brown v. Board of Education and heard before the Supreme Court, as well as the NAAC[P] President Derrick Johnson and other leaders of the NAACP who were critical in fighting for these and other hard-won freedoms for Black Americans.

The President was proud to participate in this meeting and honor the legacy of those who paved the way for progress and hard-fought rights for Black Americans while highlighting his vision for how we must continue to build on these freedoms.

Joining us today, as you can see from my right, to say more and make some news about this administration’s work to advance racial equity and opportunity for Black Americans is Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement, the former Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, Mayor Steve Benjamin.  Thank you so much for coming again.

MR. BENJAMIN:  All right.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  The podium is yours.

MR. BENJAMIN:  Thank you, Karine.  Thank you so much. 

Thank you, my friend.  I — I miss being mayor, y’all.  (Laughter.)  I — I think it was a much — a much simpler existence at times.

Today at the White House, as Karine mentioned, we’re recognizing — commemorating the 70th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Topeka, Kansas, Board of Education becoming the law of the land, upending decades of discrimination since ni- — 1896.

President Biden and Vice President Harris will continue their long- — longstanding effort to honor the legacy of those who paved the way for progress and hard-fought rights for African Americans.

This morning, he met with the plaintiffs and their families, as Karine mentioned, in the Oval Office.  During the meeting, he commended them for changing our nation for the better and committed to continue his fight to move us closer to the promise of America.

Families from each of the five different cases that were consolidated in Brown v. Board were present today.

Tomorrow, the President is going to deliver remarks at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. 

Here, he and the Vice President, a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, will also meet with leaders of the Divine Nine historically Black fraternities and sororities.

On Sunday, May 19th, the President is going to deliver the commencement address at the 140th Morehouse College commencement in Atlanta, Georgia, where today the faculty voted to confer upon the President an honorary degree.

President Biden and Vice President Harris — who also, as we all know, serves as the very first HBCU graduate, first to serve as Vice President of the Unites States — they know firsthand the value of HBCUs. 

And I’m proud and very pleased to announce today that the Biden-Harris administration has invested more than $16 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which is unprecedented — a record amount.

President Biden has also canceled $160 billion in student loans for over 4 million Americans, providing significant relief to all borrowers, with significant impact on Black borrowers; increased the amount of maximum Pell Grants, as well, by $900 — the largest increase in a decade — helping students from low- and middle-income backgrounds pursue their dreams of a post-secondary education — nearly 60 percent of African American students are federally — are federal financial aid recipients — with an average award of nearly $5,000 per student. 

This is only a snapshot of what this administration has delivered as President Biden and Vice President Harris have leveraged the full force of the federal government to advance racial justice and build economic opportunity since their first day in office.

As a result of their leadership, Black household family wealth is up 60 percent; more than 2.5 million jobs have been created for African Americans; and in 2023, we hit the lowest Black unemployment data on record.  And that remains consistently low, as we’ve seen, across the country — unemployment under 4 percent for the entire nation for 27 months running.

I’m very happy to be here with you.  More than happy to take your questions, I think.  (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Selina.

Q    Thank you so much for being here.  So, you recently met with students and faculty at Morehouse College.  Can you just talk to us about the concerns they shared and how you responded?

MR. BENJAMIN:  Sure.  And I — and I’ll do my best to be clear and transparent, because I also promised the students I would keep our conversation as closely as I possibly could.

But, you know, every day, as Director of — of Public Engagement here, we get out across the — the country and try to spend at least two days of every week on the road somewhere doing what — what my grandmother and other loved ones might say, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.  You listen twice as much as you talk.” 

And really wanted to lean in with these young leaders to hear what they wanted to hear on their very special commencement day.  Many of you know that four years ago, many of them were denied a commencement because of the pandemic — the greatest pandemic since 1918.  And wanted to make sure that the President’s goal to center these students and have a chance to discuss the real issues of the world that they might have to address as leaders going forward was important.

So, we sat there.  We talked about everything.  I mean, we — we talked about the status of the world.  Certainly, many of them wanted to talk about the Middle East and — and war.  We talked about reconnecting communities and — and the amazing $160 million going — going in just up the street, The Stitch project in Atlanta, working to — to undo some of the damage done by previous infrastructure investments and how it’s connect- — reconnecting in a very reparative and restorative way the Sweet Auburn community.

We talked about — about wealth creation.  Each and every one of these young men — who, I will say, were exceptional — five students, all graduating seniors, going off to do great things at fine institutions and great places to work, four faculty members, and two administrators shared, individually, one by one, the things that were important to them to try and hear.

But the common thread was they wanted to make sure we were centering the young people and that the President did that on — on Sunday.  So — but we talked on — on any range of issues.

I have a college-aged daughter who also attends an HBCU and — and a 17-year-old, as of today — happy birthday, Jordan Grace Benjamin — (laughter) — who is plotting world domination and takeover as we speak.  (Laughter.)  She’s the real politician in the family.  But — but their concerns and interest areas were not dissimilar from the two teenagers who live in our household.

Q    And do you or the President have any concerns about the President’s address overshadowing the commencement, as we’ve heard from some students publicly?

MR. BENJAMIN:  Sure.  No, obviously, I think what — what’s going to be most important are — are the words that the President articulates.  And I know that he — he feels very deeply about what this means to these young men. 

And — and I say “young men.”  Many of you know that Morehouse is a unique institution.  Some of you who are familiar with — with the legacy of the great school is it’s probably the only place in the country, if not the world right now, where that many amazingly talented young men are being trained for leadership in — in the world at one time — young Black men.

No, the — the goal will be to make sure that we use this as an opportunity to continue to elevate the amazing work that’s been done at Morehouse over the last century and a half.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead. 

Q    Yeah.  I — I — Mayor Benjamin, hey.  I do wonder what kind of reception do you, having been there, expect the President to receive at Morehouse. 

Also, does he plan to have any direct engagement with — with students or faculty there?  A lot of them that I’ve talked to have said, you know, “We don’t just want a campaign speech or speech at us, but we want to be able to talk policy or talk about their issues.” 

MR. BENJAMIN:  Sure.  I’m — I’m sure the President will have a chance to engage with faculty, staff, and students while he’s there.  And I know that he looks forward to it.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Nancy.

MR. BENJAMIN:  Did I answer that question? 

Q    Yeah.  Well, the–


Q    — the first one.  What kind of — having talked to students at Morehouse, what kind of reception do you expect him to receive?

MR. BENJAMIN:  Sure.  You know — you know, it’s so important to realize that no community is monolithic.  Even some of the — the range of — of opinions that we received last Friday and that I’ve heard from speaking with literally dozens and dozens of folk with just about — about this speech over the last several days, people have different thoughts about what they might want to hear. 

I do know that the President, again, is — is very focused on centering these young men and — and what this — this transition in life means to them.  So, we listen very closely.  We received those messages, and we shared those with the President and — and his speechwriting team.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Nancy. 

Q    Thank you, Mr. Mayor.  And happy birthday to your daughter.

MR. BENJAMIN:  Thank you.

Q    Does the President share the president of Morehouse College’s belief that the graduation ceremony should be halted if there are protests or disruptions? 

MR. BENJAMIN:  You know, I’m going to let Morehouse handle Morehouse and let Dr. Thomas, who’s — who’s been wonderful to work with as we prepare for the commencement — I’ll let him speak for Morehouse College. 

The President has been very clear.  I mean, we live in a — an amazing country where you have three estates of government.  And you have a fourth estate that personifies the importance of — of the right to free speech.  You — you — and you do it well.  That right to free speech extends to — to even those who — who wish to protest.  And he respects that, and he makes it a point to lean in when there are protesters in the very same space. 

So, we’ll respect that.  I think, as long as there are peaceful protests that don’t disrupt the — the amazing moment that is for each of those graduates there today, I think we’ll all consider this a success. 

Q    Did the White House ever consider canceling the speech once you learned that there likely would be protests?

MR. BENJAMIN:  No, not that I know of.  But I’ll — I’ll defer that to someone else.  No — no, ma’am.

Q    Hi, Mr. Mayor.  Thank you.  Recent polls have Joe Biden and Donald Trump neck and neck among Black voters.  I’m hoping — hoping to stay away from the Hatch Act.  But do you think that the President’s message is resonating with Black voters?

MR. BENJAMIN:  Well, you have no responsibility to stay away from the Hatch Act, but I do. 

Q    Yeah.  (Laughter.)

MR. BENJAMIN:  So, I appreciate that.

I — as I mentioned, I spend a great deal of time on the road.  I mean, the — this is a wonderful citadel of democracy.  There are — D.C., the heart of the Republic.  But getting out and listening to people and hearing the impact of President Biden’s and Vice President Harris’s policies on helping change their lives inform my opinion as to where just everyday Americans stand.  We’re not going to talk politics. 

And I’ve had the chance to be, gosh, in Arizona, Nevada, Illinois, South Carolina, Georgia, New York, New Mexico, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia the — just in the last several months — and listened to people talk about the impact of — of amazing things, like the criminal justice reforms and social reforms the President has led on and on how, in fact, while creating access to capital and — and creating economic opportunity, leading to not just these precipitously low unemployment rates but the greatest increase in number of Black-owned businesses in 30 years; how we’re not just talking about history, like we are do- — doing today with — with the — with the Brown and related-case defendants but how, indeed, the President is making history every single day. 

That’s the feedback I get from people.  And I think that we’re going to — we’re going to focus — continue on making history on this side of the — of — of the table by just leading through good government and the leadership of the President and the Vice President.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Kelly.

Q  Thank you.  Is there a connection between the investments that you talked about today in the HB[C]U community and the things you’ve been hearing from your travels, some of the concerns that have been expressed by students and communities across the country, especially in the last several months of the Israel-Hamas war?  Is there a link between the investments and what you’ve been learning?

MR. BENJAMIN:  Sure.  No.  The $16 billion number that we’re releasing today is new.  It’s an updated number.  But I mean, if you may remember that the previous total shared publicly was $7 billion, which is also a record, long before the — the last several months. 

This is consistent with the President’s very clear commitment from day one of his administration to making sure that — that not only do we declare that equity and — and — is a central theme sacrosanct to this — the core of this administration, but that we actually put in place real ladders to opportunity as he seeks to build an economy from the middle — middle out and bottom up.  I mean, so, this is — this is nothing new.  This is entirely consistent with the work that the President has been doing in day one — a whole-of-government approach, a whole-of-society approach that — that’s yielding fruit.

Q    And when you talk about this kind of investment and you’re meeting with groups of students who feel frustration, does it make a difference?

MR. BENJAMIN:  I — you know, so I will cross the line, maybe get back to the first question just briefly.  As — as we went through — it’s always important, again, if you — if you’re going to listen, you have to listen.  You — you can’t come in talking.  And — and you listen and you receive where people are, and you get into real public narrative — you know, the story of — the story of you, the story of me and kind of where we go from here.

And when you see opportunities to share these successes — and I’m not going to sit and go through it a tick list — but in every single corner of American society, when you think about the President’s leadership — the greatest pandemic since 1918; the greatest economic disruption many of us expected maybe since 1929; the greatest social unrest, we saw after the — the murder of George Floyd, since 1968 — all wrapped up into a moment that that — that, post-Charlottesville, propelled this genuinely good man to decide he wanted to help lead his country. 

That’s all part of what has become the Biden-Harris agenda, and they’ve been leading from the front.  As I go through those issues — and I did it last Friday with those amazing young leaders — heads were nodding.  People were very much appreciative of — of receiving the information.  And I know we’re planning to go out and share with others.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Jeff.

Q    Mr. Mayor, I just wanted to circle back to the meeting today in the Oval Office.  The people who were there with President Biden came out and spoke with us briefly afterwards, and a few of them mentioned the work that still needs to be done and how schools are still in many parts of the country, still, effectively, segregated.  Did the President have anything to say about that in terms of continuing work?  And did he respond to — you know, a parent asked that a holiday be made out of the anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education —

MR. BENJAMIN:  So, that — that request came up in our meeting before the meeting as well, from one of the families of the litigants. 

I mean, it’s important to note that the first major national holiday established in decades is Juneteenth.  The President — that’s his legislation.  The establishment of the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Memorial in Illinois and Mississippi — also because of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s leadership — the passing of the Emmett Till Antilynching bill.

Even some of the tough things left to do.  Hopefully, the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act someday.  Each of the elements of the — in those bills are part of the President’s executive order as relates to federal law enforcement agencies.

In his conversation, and I’m not sure if — one of the speakers, they may have mentioned, the President also talked to her mother — a 103-year-old litigant as well, by phone.

There’s an acknowledgement every day with our president that we’re — we’re not where we ought to be, but we’re certainly not where we used to be.  And every once — every — every moment you have to celebrate the successes we’ve had, celebrating the diversity of this country and how we move forward together is a moment to celebrate. 

Still a lot of work to be done, but it’s only going to happen with truly inspired leadership like we’re getting from President Biden and Vice President Harris. 

Q    Thank you.  And thank you, Mayor Benjamin. The Morehouse commencement ceremony has been described as solemn, steeped in tradition.  You just described it as “unique.”  And I’m wondering how the nature of the ceremony factored into the White House’s decision to have President Biden speak there at a time when there’s volatility on campuses nationwide. 

MR. BENJAMIN:  Sure, Morehouse and all the other HBCU — I served as a trustee at Benedict College, another proud, historically Black college in Columbia, South Carolina.  Again, my daughter also attends — she — she’ll tell you that she wears Spelman on her chest all day, every day.  She is a Spelman woman. 

More- — Morehouse is unique, but I dare say that every institution of higher learning is unique.  And HBCUs are — yes, are solemn places — most, almost every one of them, but most of them birth after one of the darkest periods in world history and certainly the darkest period in — in American history.  So, when you step onto those grounds, you’re always stepping into someplace special.

The President was invited to come to Morehouse, voted on by the faculty today to indeed receive an honorary doctorate, which we conferred on Sunday.  And I think, yeah, it’s a special place and having a chance to speak very directly to this very unique group of talented young men and women who — young men and their families, who are going to go out and help change the world — yeah, I’m sure it did factor in his decision to make — to make the move down there.

Q    The President of the United States receives multiple invitations to speak at multiple universities every single year.  And I’m — I’m wondering if you think that — even with the possibility of protests, that there’s an expectation of, potentially, a calmer reception at Morehouse than elsewhere?

MR. BENJAMIN:  Well, I’ll tell you, Morehouse is an amazingly special and dignified place.  Yes, he does receive a lot of invitations.  But this President has also been very intentional over the course of his career and certainly his presidency, to always make sure he makes time to go to HBCUs. 

He — he delivered the commencement address at Howard last year, and he’s been at SC State’s commencement address.  He’s obviously spoke to the president of Delaware State, where — where President Biden will tell you that he got his political start decades ago — spoke to Dr. Allen today.  And, obviously, it’s special to him. 

And he realizes that not only a speech but, more importantly, the $16 billion in resources to support this amazing — amazingly talented group of young leaders — that he doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Okay.  We’re going to start wrapping it up.  Go ahead.

Q    A question on — a question on the Oval Office meeting, and then wanted to follow up on something else you said.  Had the President met with the families involved in the Delaware case prior to today’s Oval Office meeting?  Or was this his first time meeting them?

MR. BENJAMIN:  You know, it was interesting — and, obviously, this is my first time in the same space with each of them — he spent a significant amount of time with the Delaware families.  One of the ladies, a gran- — a daughter of one of the litigants indicated that the President had spent several moments on their couch over the course of — of his career.  So, he was very familiar with the case.  He kno- — he knows the case.  But he had engaged with the families in the past. 

Q    And then, on the question of enthusiasm for the President in the African American community, what do you chalk that lethargy up to?

MR. BENJAMIN:  You know, I will tell you — again, I can only speak, Francesca, to my — to my experience.  And when I get out there and we talk to people about the amazing successes of the administration and the leadership of the President and Vice President, people are psyched.  I mean, they’re — they’re happy about these meaningful developments that are helping change the lives of people all across this country. 

We got to make sure not — and that’s — that’s a campaign job.  Our job here is making sure we share the news and hopefully, in partnership with each and every one of you, that the news gets out to all the places in this very different world in which we live in which people receive their news. 

So, I’m looking over there.  (Inaudible) a third question, Francesca.  (Laughter.)

Q    No, I just wanted to ask: Are you saying that you distrust the polling that shows the President’s support among the African American community is lower than it was this time four years ago?

MR. BENJAMIN:  I can honestly tell you that I don’t follow the polls.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead.

Q    Hi, Mayor Benjamin.  Brown v. Board not only ended “separate but equal,” but it was a real preparation for the Civil Rights Movement.  Similarly, there’s a — a different movement happening after the Supreme Court ruling in Harvard vs. Students for Fair Admissions and — with affirmative action that has created this sort of — seemingly, this anti-DEI, anti-equity movement that impacted schools, businesses, and even this administration’s ability to implement some of these policies. 

Does the President believe that he has leaned in enough on this issue?  And how much can we expect him to speak to that in tomorrow’s speech?

MR. BENJAMIN:  Sure.  Well, he has one speech tomorrow at the — at the NAACP.  And then, obviously, he has several speeches this weekend.

The President is unapologetic about the — not only the principle of equity being a core value to him but also his administration, but he continues to make sure that, consistent with his very first executive order, that every piece of policy and — that comes out of the administration, as well as each of the cornerstone laws enacts — the infrastructure bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS bill, and — and also the American Rescue Plan — that each of those pillars have the same core of equity.  And it’s led to record amounts of contracting — I think $76 billion this past year for small, minority-owned businesses — record amounts in the Black community and the Latino community, as well.

So, he’s not stepping back on his commitment to equity and continues to lean in and expects his administration to do the same.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  All right.  Okay.  Go ahead, Ebony.  You got last question.

Q    Okay.  I want to follow up on just two comments.  One, you just mentioned the $76 in — $76 billion in contracts for minority businesses.  But can you talk about what that looks like for Black businesses specifically?

MR. BENJAMIN:  $12.1 billion.

Q    Wow.  $12.1 billion.  (Laughter.)

And then my — my second question is: Earlier, you were talking about that we aren’t where we want to be, but we — we’re not where we used to be, but we’re not where we want to be. 

Specifically, when the question was asked, what — what are the things — or — or are there any orders or policies and executive orders that we can see coming from the President that can address some of these inequities in education? 

When we were at — earlier, I was talking about how we are seeing resegregation in some of the schools.  How can the administration — or is it — what are — what could we see from the administration to reverse that?  Because there’s been a reversal in some — in many areas.

MR. BENJAMIN:  Yeah.  I’ll try to make the answer as concise as possible.  But as you can tell, I believe very much so in data and — and good data. 

You know, the — the challenge that we faced at the height of the pandemic, recognizing the — still the way that most of our education systems across the country are funded — property taxes, local resources, not necessarily dedicated at the level that they ought to receive, even in — sometimes in the same town or the — or the same state, can make things particularly a challenge.

The work that the President led on, along with the Vice President, to make sure that we’re investing not only in HBCUs — record amounts here today — but also, under the American Rescue Plan, Title One schools are receiving $130 billion in — in funding for maintenance of equity requirements, making sure we’re protecting high-poverty schools from reductions in state and local funding.

I mean, it’s — it’s what he does every day.  When I talk about not — not being where we used to be and also not being where we ought to be, there’s this idea — and he talks about it often; you’ve heard him say it a mil- — a million times — about the idea of — of America. 

The idea is that we all aspire to be a more perfect Union, which means that it — it’s — every once in a while, you get to take big strides, big leaps forward — Brown v. Board was a big leap forward; today’s announcement of $16 billion for HBCUs is a big leap forward — but the everyday struggles are — are — that’s the hard work.  That’s the hard work that — that this President has decided that he’s going to lean into every single day. 

Some days, we’ll take strides.  Every once in a while, you know, it’s a — it’s three and out.  Sometimes it’s inches.  But we’re making progress towards that more perfect Union.  And it takes intentional fortitude and leadership and vision of the fact that we’re stronger when we’re together, that diversity is — is our strength, and it’s something that the President and Vice President Harris are very proud of.

Thank you all for having me.  All right?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Thank you, Mayor.

MR. BENJAMIN:  All right.

Q    Thanks, Mr. Mayor.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Appreciate it.  Thank you so much.

Q    Thanks, Mayor.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Okay.  Seung Min. 

Oh, wait.  Let’s give him a second to — all right.

Q    Two topics, if I may.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, of course.

Q    First, President Biden decided to block the release of the audio of his interview with the special counsel.  And obviously, the letter from the White House Counsel laid out the reasons about the concerns it being used for political purposes.  But that seems to imply that the White House is concerned that these could be politically damaging.  So, why not just release them, especially with this White House’s —


Q    — commitment to transparency?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, one — for one, the transcripts, as you all know, is already out there.  I think the second piece of this, too, to note is that the Attorney General made it clear that law enforcement files like these need to be protected.  And so, the President made his determination at the request of the Attorney General.  So, just want to make that second point that I made really clear.

The Department of Justice and the White House Counsel’s Office have provided extensive written letters — as you all know; I’m sure some of you have read this — on this issue and, like I said, that you have seen.  And so — so, when it comes to anything further or any specifics, obviously, I would — I would refer you to my colleagues at the White House Counsel’s Office.

But those are the th- — just to make that — that second point, again, very clear: This was taken by determination — the President took the determination at the request of the — of the Attorney General and wanted to make sure — the Attorney General wanted to make sure that — that law enforcement files like these must be protected. 

Q    But does the White House feel that the — the recording, the audio, could be politically harmful since that point was also raised in the letter? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I can’t — I don’t want to get into — dive into the specific point that you’re making about the politics.  I would have to ser- — refer you to our Counsel’s Office on that.  But there were determination that the President took very seriously on behalf of the — obviously, at the request of the Attorney General.  And that’s how this decision was made.

Q    And on the — on the shooting of the Slovakian Prime Minister.  I know the President released a statement yesterday, but now that it — it looks more and more clear that it appears to have been a politically motivated attack, I was wondering if the — if the White House had more to say —


Q    — on that front, of those potential motivations.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, don’t want to go beyond what I said here at the — at the lectern yesterday.  Obviously, we wish — we wish him a speedy recovery.  I don’t want to get beyond that.  And I’m glad that he’s doing okay, he’s doing better. 

Q    Thanks, Karine.  Just to follow up on what Seung Min was asking for.  Speaker Mike Johnson said that President Biden is, quote, “apparently afraid” for citizens to hear his interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur.  How is the White House responding to that kind of criticism?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I would say the transcripts are already out there.  They’ve been out there.  They have been released to the public.  The public has an opportunity to hear directly from the President and what — or to read and — what exactly the President said.

The Attorney General made it clear that law enforcement files like these need to be protected.  And that’s the determination that was made.  Anything further, anything specifics, I would — certainly would refer you to my colleagues. 

But that was a determination that was made.  And, again, anything more to that, I would refer you to my colleagues.

Q    You talked about the transcripts being released. 


Q    But, as you know, hearing something and reading it is very different.  And if the transcript is already out there, why is it different to have the audio there?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Like I said, there were determinations that the President — that was made by the President at the request of the Attorney General.  And so, we took that very seriously.  The President took that very seriously.  And so, that’s what I would say to your question. 

Q    And just one more question —


Q    — on another topic with Xi Jinping meeting with Vladimir Putin.  At the summit in Beijing, they pledged to deepen their strategic partnership.  What is the U.S. assessment of the current Russia-China relationship?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I know that there was a statement, obviously, that was a joint statement that was put out.  Look, we don’t see anything new here.  I will reiterate what I said yesterday, which was we find it unacceptable that Chinese companies are helping Putin wage this war against Ukraine.  We’ve been very clear about that. 

And if China purports to support peace in Europe, it cannot continue to fuel the biggest threat of the European security.  And that’s not just coming from us.  It’s coming from NATO, the EU, the G7 partners — they put out statement about this as well. 

So, look, the statement is nothing new.  It’s more of the same.  And we’ve been very clear where we stand on this.

Go ahead, Jeff.

Q    I’d like to follow up on that, actually. 


Q    The — you said the statement is nothing new.  It was pretty anti-American.  I mean, if it’s — whether it’s new or not, is it concerning to the White House?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, it — we don’t see — again, we don’t see anything new with this.  We’ve seen this before.  I — I get the point that you’re making.  We’ve seen this type of bilateral statement from those two — from those two countries.  We have been very clear about this. 

And it’s not just us.  You’ve heard from the EU, you’ve heard from the G7 partners, you’ve hear- — heard from NATO. 

And, look, we have been — all — all of the — all of the allies and partners that I just mentioned, we’ve been very clear on making sure that we do everything that we can to give the brave people of Ukraine, who are fighting Putin’s aggression, the — the se- — the security assistance that they need.  And that’s why it was so important to get that national security supplemental.

You heard — you heard us announce $1 billion on the day that it became law — that national security supplemental — to get that funding out.  You — you heard from Secretary Blinken, who was just in Ukraine and talked abo- — talked about giving more of that security assistance. 

So, we’ve all been clear.  There — you know, these two — this two bilateral relationship, obviously, they stand out as a — two countries who will — who are, as I said, put out the statement. 

But, you know, that is not the position — not — not just the position of the U.S.  They heard it from G7, NATO, the EU.  We’ve been very, very clear about that.  And we’re going to continue to — to stand by Ukraine as they fight for their freedom, they fight for their democracy. 

Q    Does this White House/does the United States have any leverage to dissuade China from supporting Russia as much as it is?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, I mean, we’ve been very clear publicly.  We’ve been very clear privately.  And we’ll continue to do that. 

Q    But — but that — that doesn’t answer my question.  Like, saying you’ve been very clear — what — what kind of leverage do you have to — to change this?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, here’s what I say, Jeff.  When you have the EU, you have the G7, you have NATO all saying what we are saying right now, which is we’re going to protect — or continue to help Ukraine defend itself, you know, that says a lot.  We’re — we’re talking about partners and allies here who mount a pretty — a pretty strong — a pretty strong force here in saying that we’re going to continue to — to support Ukraine. 

I mean, I think that says — that says what you need to know.

Q    And there’s just nothing more you can do about China?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, look, I’m not going to talk about bilateral relationship.  I said this yesterday.  What I can speak is to what we’ve reiterated over and over again is that it is unacceptable for Chinese companies and how they’re helping Putin wage this — this — this war against Ukraine.  We’ve been pretty clear about that. 

But the fact that this is a President that has been able to make — bring NATO together — right? — been able to make NATO the more — more — you know, stronger than it’s ever been, that’s important.  The fact that he has been able to put — to bring more than 50 countries together in order to — in order to make sure that Ukraine has what its needs — it needs to fight against Putin’s war, that says a lot.  That says a lot about this President’s leadership, and that’s says — says a lot about where other countries are.  I mean, our partners and allies came together in support of Ukraine, and we’re going to continue to do so. 

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  Republican Senator Mitt Romney said in an interview overnight that he believes that President Biden should have pardoned his predecessor from federal charges.  And Romney argued that it’s now been a win-win for Trump in his campaign and in his public profile that he’s been able to use these charges to his benefit. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m not going to speak to pardons from here — I’m just not — especially for a candidate for the 2024 election.  I’m just not going to speak about it from here.

Q    But clemency is obviously a presidential power.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m just not going to speak about it from here. 

Go ahead.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  The Bureau of Labor statistics yesterday released, inadvertently, some CPI data —


Q    — 30 minutes before they were supposed to.  It came a month after it was demonstrated that an economist had been talking to Wall Street firms and a couple years after there was some suspicious trading activity.  So, I’m wondering what — what level of concern you guys have, how confident you are in the BLS leadership, and if you think that there should be an outside, sort of, investigation.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  And to your question, it was an inadvertent leak yesterday by BLS, and there was a statement that they put out.  BLS has alerted the Office of Management and Budget and DOL’s Office of the Inspector General of the incident.  BLS takes its data seriously and security, obviously, seriously and is conducting a full investigation into its procedures and controls to ensure the incident is not — is not repeated.

BLS can obviously speak more into their investigation.  We have — the President — we have confident that this will — this will get done.

Go ahead.

Q    Hi, Karine.  Thank you.  Two topics, if I can.


Q    Briefly on what we’ve been talking about with Ukraine.  The U.S. today — the Treasury Department announced sanctions on Russian entities for facilitating weapo- — weapons transfers between North Korea and Russia.  Also today, the — the chair of the NATO Military Committee said that Russia was outstripping Western powers in increasing their defense industry capacity. 

How big an impact are these sanctions realistically likely to have?  And is the U.S. considering more sanctions that target the Russian defense industry more directly?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, starting with your first — or your last question first, I’m not going to preview sanctions from here.  That’s not what we do. 

But I can say that, to your point, today, the Department of Treasury designated five Russia-based individuals and entities connected to the transfer of military equipment and components from the Dom- — Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — DPRK — to Russia.  This action builds a several — builds on several sanctions designations over the past year, targeting the Russia-DPRK military relationship, most recently in February 2024, just couple months ago.

These designations highlight our resolution opp- — our resolute opposition to these continued arms transfer.  We condemn Russia’s veto of the U.N. Security Council resolution that would have extended the mandate of the U.N. 1718 Committee Panel of Experts, a body that documented violations of U.N. sanctions related to the DPRK. 

We will continue to examine all possibilities to counter the destabili- — destabilizing Russia-DPRK partnership, but I’m certainly not going to preview any sanctions from here. 

Q    Okay.  And one on Israel by extension.  The Hou- —


Q    The Houthis have threatened more actions against ships that they claim are heading for Israel and potentially even in the Mediterranean.  Will the U.S. continue operations against the Houthis if these attacks restart?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, obviously we condemn these Houthis — Houthis for these attacks and continue to take action to hold them accountable.  We’ve been pretty consistent in doing that for the past several months.  These reckless attacks by the Iran-ba- — Ira- — Iran-backed Houthis have not only disrupted global trade and commerce but also taken the lives of international seafarers simply doing their jobs. 

So, we have taken significant amount of Hou- — of Houthi weapons.  Our military is regularly destroying Houthi missiles when they’re being loaded and prepared to launch but before they can actually be fired at commercial ships as well. 

We will continue to act as needed to degrade the Houthi capabilities.  You have, again, seen us do this for the past several months, and so we are committed to doing that.

Go ahead, Karen.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  I want to ask you about a topic that’s getting a lot of attention.  The Kansas City Chiefs’ kicker, Harrison Butker, is facing criticism for his recent commencement address, where he told female graduates that the most important title a woman could hold is homemaker.  He was critical about surrogacy, IVF, and Pride Month, and he also criticized the President for being a Catholic who supports abortion rights.  Has the President seen those comments?  Does he have a reaction to them?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  You know, the President has been pretty busy today, so I haven’t had a chance to — to focus on this particular issue.  I think I’ve — I’ve heard some reports on it. 

Look, the President is not going to back away from supporting women and reproductive rights, reproductive healthcare.  It is important to do that.  It is important to fight for all of our freedoms, and that’s what you’re seeing the President do.  He’s not going to back away from that. 

And, look, I can’t speak to this specific thing because I haven’t re- — heard it in — in its entirety. 

But, look, you know, you have a former administration that — that had said — a former President that said over and over again that they were going to do everything that they can to get rid of Roe v. Wade, was successful in doing that by — by putting forward judges that made that happen — we saw the Dobbs decision in 2022 — and what that caused is chaos.  It caused women to — to have to do — you know, to have to, you know, be in a position to not get the healthcare that they need. 

I mean, that’s — should not be where we are as a country.  It should not be. 

And then you have extreme Republicans that continue to talk about — to talk about how they want to put a national abortion ban.  It’s causing chaos.  It’s causing chaos for women.  It’s causing chaos for families. 

When you’re saying that a family can’t make a decision on IVF, that’s not what this President is about.  He wants to make sure that women have the right to make these incredibly difficult decisions about their healthcare so families could make a decision about how they want to build and move forward with building a family. 

And so, can’t — I can’t speak to those direct comments, but what I can speak to is what the President is committed to, and he has shown that over and over again.  And you have a Vice President that has toured the country talking exactly about that: about how we have to protect our freedoms and — freedoms of — of, obviously, reproductive health, as — as we’re speaking right now. 

Q    And I know you said you can’t speak to the comments —


Q    — but as the President gets ready to give his own commencement address, does he think a message like that is appropriate at a commencement address?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  From — from this particular —

Q    Yeah.  Mm-hmm.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, again, I haven’t heard — I haven’t heard this in context.  I saw some reporting.  So, I want to be super mindful.

Look, the Pre- — the President sees commencement day as such an important moment for not just the students but for their families, obviously, their loved ones, to talk about the future, to talk about how — how they — how, in the world that we are in n- — in the world that we’re in now, how do we move forward?

And you’ll hear themes from this President on that particular message.  And he understands how critical and important and how those message — especially a message from the President of the United States, how much it matters. 

I don’t want to get ahead of the President.  He’s going to, obviously, lay out and speak to his commencement address on his own.  But he’s done this many times before.  He’s done — he’s done this when he’s given commencement address as a senator, has done it, obviously, as Vice President, and now President.  And this is an incredible, important, impactful — impactful moment.

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  Just — just now, one of your colleagues at the State Department said Israel needs to do more to prevent settlers from sacking trucks of humanitarian aid bound for Gaza.

The people who are doing this sort of thing are supporters of Prime Minister Netanyahu.  They’re part of the far-right parties.  They’re a part of his coalition. 

Is the President concerned that the Prime Minister’s domestic political needs could be preventing him from cracking down on what is essentially aiding a famine?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, a couple of things.  I do want to give an update on humanitarian aid that has gone into Gaza.  I think it’s important. 

Since April 5th, more than 7,000 trucks have been moved into Gaza.  So, that is an update.  Yesterday, nearly 250 trucks moved into Gaza, both via Kerem Shalom — so, that is open, so that is important, as you all know, in southern Gaza — and a new crossing, Erez West, in northern Gaza. 

So, we have seen trucks go in.  And I think that’s important to note.  And that’s because of the President’s — President’s push and relationship with the Prime Minister and insisting and pushing and saying we need to get more aid into — into Gaza, because we know how dire the humanitarian situation is. 

However — however, with saying all of that, we remain concerned about ongoing limited operations at the Rafah boarding [border] crossing and also the Erez crossing — I know I just mentioned that’s a new crossing, but we want to get more in — as well as the ability of humanitarian partners to move within Gaza to deliver assistance and fuel to the vulnerable people who need it. 

So, this level of aid remains insufficient.  And we want to continue to press Israel to increase the level of assistant [assistance] moving into Gaza.

I cannot speak to the Prime Minister’s domestic politics.  That is for him to speak to.  What I can speak to is what we have been working on doing and how much we understand and the importance of getting that humanitarian aid in.  And that’s what we’ve been doing. 

Q    I understand that you can’t speak to the Prime Minister’s motivations.  What I asked you, as the spokesperson for the President —


Q    — is: Is the President concerned that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s domestic political situation may be —


Q    — imperiling ef- — U.S. efforts to get more aid into Gaza?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  What I’m saying is that we understand what I just laid out is not sufficient.  We want to get more in.  We are continuing to have those conversation with Israel, and we have seen some progress.  We need to get more in.  And so, the President is committed to that, and that’s what you have seen from this President.

That’s what I will speak to.

Go ahead, Nadia.  No, I know you have follow-ups.

Go ahead.

Q    Just want to follow up (inaudible) actually, on the humanitarian aid.


Q    But equally as important issue is the fuel.  So, now the U.N. agency are saying that no fuel — it’s impossible to get fuel to Gaza, and you know it’s vital for the hospitals.

So, is — what efforts are the White House is leading to push the Israelis to allow fuel in?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, as you know, the pier is in place, which is very important.  It will be operational in upcoming days.  So, that’s important.  And obviously, the Department of Defense will have more specifics on that.  And so, we’re confident that we’re going to be able to distribute this type of aid to get that in to Gaza. 

And so, we continue to have conversations with the U.N. and the Israelis and also NGOs to ensure — to ensure humanitarian workers are protected and we con- — we continue to get that aid in.

You heard from the National Security Advisor just mo- — days ago, speak from this lectern to say that we are trying to do everything that we can from air, sea, and land to get that humanitarian aid in.  It is — we understand how critical that is to get done. 

And so, this pier is now in place.  In the up- — next couple of days, very — you know, coming days, we’ll get that moving.  And that is one way, obviously, we’re going to get that fuel in, get the aid in. 

And obviously, we’re still working on the land crossings.  And as you just heard, I gave some updates on — on the trucks that have gone in to one of — a new crossing that just opened up and, obviously, Kerem Shalom. 

So, we are committed — this President is committed in getting that done.

Q    I have one more question.


Q    Yesterday, I did an interview with Senator Lindsey Graham.  And he said basically that a defense and security comprehensive package with Saudi Arabia, it could happen sooner than later.  And he suggests that, actually, it could be happening under a Democratic administration, and he is willing to help the President for delivery.

So, long —

Q    We know —


Q    — Jake is going to the region.  Can you just —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, I can’t confirm — I can’t confirm Jake’s travel.  But — but go ahead.  (Laughs.)

Q    All right.  Well, we can confirm it.  (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I cannot confirm it from here.  I appreciate that.

Q    But can you weave this in and basically tell us that — if the White House believes this deal could happen — (inaudible), obviously, to what happened in Gaza and the (inaudible)?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, you know, we’ve been — we’ve been very consistent about our long-term goal for more a peaceful, stable, prosperous, and integrated Middle East region.  And that remains a focus for us.  That remains a focus for this President.  That remains a focus for our U.S. foreign policy.  That is — will always be where we stand on that.

And we continue to have conversations on these issues in- — to include the need of a pathway to a Palestinian state, which is the only way to establish a sustainable peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  That continues to be — we’ve been, again, very consistent about that.

Our immediate focus remains to securing the release of hostages, to make sure that we get — also get to a ceasefire, get that humanitarian — create an environment where we’re getting more humanitarian aid in.  So, obviously, that’s our focus right now, because we understand how important it is to get those hostages home to their loved ones and to their families, to get that humanitarian aid in, and to get to a ceasefire.  We want to see that.  We want to get to a ceasefire.

Go ahead, Michael.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  The governor of Florida signed a bill today that effectively erases all references to climate change in Florida law.  Do you have a response?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  It’s pretty shameful.  And, you know, the President, as you know, has been the most progressive, has done more on climate change than any other president.  And — and so, we are committed — committed in dealing with this crisis and meeting our goals.  And you have heard from this president, and it is unfortunate.  It is unfortunate that there are climate deniers still out there.

There’s a lot more work that we need to do.  And so, we think that’s shameful.

Q    The administration also today organized a deportation flight of 100 Haitians to Haiti.  How does the administration at this point justify deportation flights to Haiti given the situation on the ground there? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, you’ve heard from us many times.  We are urgently trying to — urgently working with the international partners in Congress to expedite the deployment of — of the Kenyan-led multinational security support, MS- — MSS mission, as you’ve been hearing.  We’ve contributed $300 million to that mission, and we want to bolster the Haitian police, what’s going on — on that — on that front.

And we’ve also led — we’ve also led in humanitarian assistance with over $170 million since October 2022nd. We understand the situation is dire in Haiti.  We understand that.  And we are clear-eyed that the economic, political security and stability are key drivers for migrants around the world.

And obviously, as I — as you all know, you’ve been tracking what’s going on in Haiti.  So, we are closely monitoring the situation and the rou- — routes frequently used by migrants to reach our borders and would stress that, at this time, irregular migration flows through the Caribbean remain low. 

But that said, we are always planning for contingencies, and we believe that is important as well. 

I can’t speak to this particular — this particular incident.  I have not spoken to the team about this yet. 

But we get how dire it is there, and that’s why we’ve tried to move up our humanitarian assistant [assistance] here, leading the world in getting that humanitarian aid.  And we’re trying to get the M- — M- — MSS in place so that we can give the support to the Haitian National Police in dealing with the dire situation that’s happening.

AIDE:  Karine, time for one more.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Okay.  Go ahead.  Go ahead, Patsy.  And then I have to go.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant yesterday publicly questioned Prime Minister Netan- — Netanyahu on his strategic endgame of the war, calling out for an establishment of a governing alternative in Gaza that’s not Hamas but also not Israeli military’s role.  And to me, he is basically saying what Jake Sullivan and Secretary Blinken has been encouraging —


Q    — for the same things this week.  Even though this is the first time that Gallant is saying it publicly, this is something that we’ve known privately from Israeli defense — defense officials for some time now. 

I’m just wondering about the timing of this, how —


Q    — Jake and then Secretary Blinken and then Gallant are all saying —


Q    — the same things this week.  Was there any coordination of any sort?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So — so, I’m not going — I’m going to let others do an analysis of the speech.  That’s not something I’ll do from here. 

But we’ve been very clear that when it comes to the future of Gaza, we do not support an Israeli reoccupation.  We’ve been clear from this podium, from, obviously, behind this lectern.  And we obviously do not support Hamas governance in Gaza. 

So, that’s where we’ve been.  We’ll continue to be there.  The — that underscores the importance of having a clear and concrete plan for the day after the conflict at — in Gaza. 

As you just stated in your question to me, Jake Sullivan, our National Security Advisor, was very clear about this very recently.  And so, we have discussed this with the Israelis.  And so, we’ll continue to do that, to have that conversation.  But I’m not going to analyze his speech and talk — speak to —

Q    My question was about the timing, though.  Was there any coordination —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, but I’m not — I’m not going to speak to timing.  I’m not going to give an analysis on it.  We’re continuing to have those conversations with the Israelis, as we have been.  And we’ve made our point.  And we’ve made our — our — where — our stance pretty clear on that.  You heard that from the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan very recently at this lectern.

Q    And just more broadly, on the — on the ceasefire itself.  It appears to be in deadlock right now.  So, at this point, is the President still confident that his strategic end goal to end the violence in Gaza and then what happens the day after can align with that of Israel and Hamas?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, we have to continue to be hopeful.  This is a President that’s optimistic, that’s hopeful.  We’re going to continue to work around the clock to get this done. 

You know, this could all end today if Hamas would release the wounded, the women.  And — and we’ve said this over and over again — the elderly.  It could end today.  But we’re determined to get those hostages home.  We are determined to get — to get to a ceasefire, to get more humanitarian aid in.  And we have to be optimistic.  We have to be hopeful here. 

Go ahead, Aurelia.

Q    Thank you. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I know I have to go.

Q    Thank you.  Israel said today that additional troops will enter the Rafah area and that its operation there will intensify.  Do you have a comment on that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  What I will say is that we are continuing to monitor — just going to repeat what Jake Sullivan said from this podium.  Nothing has changed since he was here on Monday.  And we’re continuing to monitor.  We made our — our case very clear about a — a potential major military operation in Rafah.  We have our concerns about that.  We’ve made that clear to our Israeli counterparts.  We’ll continue to do that.

What we have been told by the Israelis and what we have seen is that these are targeted — what we’re seeing in Rafah — targeted operations.  And we’re going to continue to have those — those, we believe, constructive — these — these meetings that we’ve had have been constructive, and not just in those two virtual meetings, but on a daily basis, we certainly are talking with the Israeli government. 

All right.  You have the last one.

Q    Thank you.  The Deputy Director of ICE is telling us that two Jordanian nationals are in removal proceedings now after posing as Amazon delivery drivers to crash the gates at Quantico.  Does the White House think this might have been a failed terrorist attack? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, going to be really mindful.  These two Jordanians that you’re speaking of remain in ICE — ICE custody.  And given that it is an active law enforcement matter, so I would have to refer you to ICE. 

I just can’t dive into this because, again, the — there is a law enforcement ma- — this is a law enforcement matter. 

Q    Something totally different. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Oh, gosh.  (Laughter.)  Where is this going?

Q    Have you heard —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Oh, no.  (Laughter.)

Q    — that Vice President Harris is telling friends that she may go back to California and run for governor if the election does not go her way? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  (Laughs.)  That is news to me.  I — I would say this.  The Vice President has been a great partner to this President.  He is appreciative of the work that she has done.  It is impressive what she has been able to do on these tours that she has done on reproductive rights, her leadership on gun violence — to fight gun violence across the country — prevention, obviously, in leading the — in the first historic office coming out of the White House.

She has been an amazing partner, and the President appreciates her, appreciates her leadership.  And that’s all I’ll say to that. 

Q    And last one.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Oh, gosh.  (Laughs.)

Q    Why is President Biden celebrating today the Dow reaching 40,000 if his position, dating back to 2021, about the stock market is “that’s not how I judge whether or not we have economic growth.”

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, while we have long said that the stock market is not the economy — and we have said that, to your point — it’s clear that — what we’ll say is that the President — President Biden’s economic plan is working.  It’s growing the middle class, as you hear us talk about all the time; spurs investment in manufacturing — created almost 800,000 jobs in this administration alone — and infrastructure; and outperform other countries.

That’s what the President has been very focused on.  Record stock market highs under President Biden are good for retirement accounts and household wealth.  And that is just a fact.

And so, which we — which, you know, we would never root for a stock market crash or for Americans to lose their jobs.  It’s something that we would never root for from here.  But obviously, you know, the stock market, again, is not the economy.  But we believe that the President’s economic — President Biden’s economic plan is working — again, growing the middle class — and I think that’s a good thing.  I think we should be really grateful for that — for the American people.

Thanks, everybody.  I’ll see you tomorrow.

2:50 P.M. EDT

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