1:50 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Hi.  Good afternoon, everyone.

Q    Hello.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  All right, I have a couple of things at the top.

So, I want to begin by sharing that Biden-Harris administration is announcing a signifi- — a significant new security assistance package for Ukraine as the United States continues to support Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion. 

This announcement is the seventh security assistance package that President Biden has authorized to help Ukraine since he signed the national security supplemental in April. 

It includes missiles for Ukraine’s air defense systems, ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, artillery rounds, and other critical capabilities that are being drawn down from U.S. stocks using presidential drawdown authorities. 

It also includes new funding that the Department of Defense will use to purchase interceptors for Patriot and NASAM air defense systems to help Ukraine defend its troops and its cities against Russia’s aerial attacks. 

The United States’ support over the last few months has been critical in helping Ukraine defend their territory against Russia’s advances.

Thanks to the bravery of the Ukrainian forces and weapons deliv- — deliveries from the United States and our allies and partners, it is increasingly clear the Russian offensive around Kharkiv has been a failure. 

And as President Biden has been clear, we are committed to continuing to stand with Ukraine until they prevail against Russian aggression.   

So, I want to share a bit of additional updates before — for all of you before we start.  I know some of all — some of you have been trying to confirm some of this information that I’m about to share, so I’ll do it — it right now at the podium.

The president has connected with Leader Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Representative Clyburn, former Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Coons. 

Today, President Biden taped two Black radio interviews that will air tomorrow morning.  One is with Earl Ingram on Civic Media Network, which airs across Wisconsin, and one with Andrea Lawful-Sanders on WURD’s The Source in Philadelphia. 

And, as Governor Walz of Minnesota announced today, the president will meet with more than 20 Democratic governors.  Now, as you know, these governors are some of our closest partners when it comes to creating jobs, building new roads and building bridges, and so much more.  And so, the president certainly looks forward to meeting with them.

And with that, I am happy to take your questions.

Seung Min.

Q    Thank you.  Last night at the fundraiser, the president blamed jet lag for his debate performance, but he was back stateside for well over a week.  So, does he really need more than a week and a half to recover from — from traveling in Europe?  And did he really — is that really what he thinks caused his poor debate performance?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, yeah, just a couple of things.  And I do appreciate the question because you — you know, the president has certainly spoken to this many, many times about the debate.  And so, he had an opportunity to do that in front of supporters. 

And I jus- — as you just stated, he did that.  He — he talked about, he owned that the debate was not his best night.  And it — and he said himself, it’s not an excuse, but it’s an explanation.  I was standing here yesterday, and many people were asking why and what’s the explanation.  And that’s what you heard from him.

Look, the two — I think, in addition to the two major trips, he was also doing — continued to do his presidential duties.  He worked late in doing that, and he also prepared for the debate.  And on top of that, there was, obviously, the jet lag, as you just asked — asked about, and also, he had a cold.  And you all heard directly — you heard — you heard from him during the debate.  He had a hoarse voice. 

Many of you reached out to me and my team and some other members of the White House asking what was going on.  We confirmed that he had a cold.  And so, I think those two things — continuing, obviously, to do his duties as commander in chief, as the president.

And so, I think some of you here in this room can certainly relate to, you know, what — what could happen when you’re having an important moment and you’re not feeling well.  And, yeah — and also you wish you could have done better.  And so, he took ownership.  I think that’s important. 

And he’s going to continue to make a strong case for his agenda, and that’s what you’re going to see.

And he was giving an explanation.  And that’s what he wanted to do.  He wanted to get that out there and for people to hear directly from him, as he has been doing since — since Friday of last week.

Q    It just seems like there — I know you’re calling it an explanation, not an excuse.


Q    But it does seem like there are new excuses since the debate of what —


Q    — went wrong there.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — I would say, I don’t think it’s a new excuse.

I think some of you, some of your colleagues reached out to us about the schedule.  They — some of your colleagues asked if the — if the schedule was too strenuous or was it because of the jet lag.  And so — and so, we — we are laying out and explaining exactly what happened.  You heard from the president. You’ve heard from me. 

And it was, you know, indeed, a — a schedule where, you know, the president traveled six time zones forward to G7 and Italy, nine time zones back to L.A., and three time zones forward again to — to D.C.  That’s something that when — the print pooler on that day laid out for — for all of you and — and those who — who rea- — who read the pool notes.  And — and on top of that, he did have a cold. 

So, it is an explanation.  I don’t think it is an addition.  I don’t think it’s — we — we certainly don’t want to explain this away. 

But you all asked me for an explanation yesterday; the president gave that directly yesterday to his supporters.  He wanted to make sure, knowing that all of you would get that information as he’s speaking to his support- — his supporters last night.

Q    And one more quick one, if I may.


Q    You mentioned all the calls that he has made in your topper.  Why wasn’t he doing that on Friday?  And why wasn’t he doing this sort of damage control?  Why was he waiting on doing that — waiting to do that until middle of this week?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, look, I — I was asked a similar question by one of your colleagues yesterday.  And — and, look, you know, the president obviously — right after the debate, he visited four states in two and a half days, gave a couple of remarks.  He met with supporters, whether at the Waffle House or in Atlanta at watch party or in North Carolina where there were hundreds of supporters there in — in Raleigh.  And so, he was busy dealing with — you know, dealing with his schedule and also speaking directly and engaging with his supporters. And then, spend time with his family. 

I think what’s important is that he has done this outreach, he’s having these conversations.  It is important to him to do so. 

And the folks that I laid out that he spoke to are — or some of them have been his colleagues.  Some of them have been elected officials that he’s known for some time.  Obviously, you know, Leader Jeffries is a new relationship that he has — someone that he obviously respects.

And — and so, you know, it is — I think it is important to note that they were strong conversations.  That’s something that the president told me and my team directly moments ago.  He’s — he was walking around, and we happened to see the president, and he said they were strong conversation. 

And, by the way, he looks great.  The vice president is great.  And they are ready to continue working on beh- — on behalf of the American people. 

Go ahead.  S- —

Q    Thank you, Karine. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Weijia.

Q    Hi.  Is President Biden considering stepping down —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Absolut- —

Q    — from the race?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Absolutely not.  And you heard, I thi- — I believe, directly from the campaign as well. 

Q    Given the groundswell of concern from fellow Democrats, from donors, from supporters, doesn’t he owe it to the American public to reflect on whether he should step down?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, look, i- — very much — and to Seung Min’s question and my answer to her question where he had an opportunity to talk to supporters — he’s done it a couple times at this point — and laid out what happened on that night — talked about how he understands and it was not his best night.  He understands that it is fair for people to ask that question. 

But we cannot forget his record and what he’s been able to do.  We cannot forget how he’s been able to deliver for the American people for almost four years.  That matters too.

And he has the most historic record administration — the most in modern politics, and that should matter.  And he wants to continue to do that work. 

And, you know, a lot of his — what’s on his agenda is very much popular with majority of the American people, whether it’s continuing to build a strong rec- — economic — economic — kind of economic policies, he’s done that.  Creating new jobs, he’s done that — 15 million jobs.  He wants to work on that and continue to do that. 

And so, he wants to continue to deliver — expanding health care, all of these things he believes is important.  The majority of Americans believe it’s important.  And his record — he wants to make sure that people do not forget about the record that he’s been able to lay out on behalf of the American people. 

Q    Is there anything, Karine, that would change his mind?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, I cannot lay out something that would change the president’s mind.  He has been very clear.  And he’s going to continue to build on the unprecedented record that he’s been able to lay out for the American people.  That’s his focus right now. 

Q    Thank you. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Jacqui.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  What does the president do outside the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, you heard him speak to supporters yesterday outside of 4:00 — 4:00 p.m.  You’ve hear- — you saw the president land in North Carolina in the middle of the night at two o’clock.  What was he doing?  He was greeting supporters — hundreds of supporters that showed up to — to cheer him on after the debate. 

You saw him speaking at nine o’clock or — at night in New York in front of supporters. 

So, he’s been pretty — pretty much out there after the hours of 4:00 p.m.  And before — before 10:00 a.m., for sure.  And so, that has been something he has consistently done over the past couple of days, for sure, for certain.

Q    Does he have an afternoon nap every day? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Let me be very clear about this.  This is a president that wakes up every morning and puts the American people first.  That’s what he does.  He does that every single day.  That is his focus. 

I am not going to speak to sources out there — unnamed sources out there.  That’s not what I’m going to speak to.  I’m going to speak to what I know: what this president does and how he is committed to the work of the president, of the commander in chief.  And his record clearly lays that that — lays that out and speaks to it. 

And that’s what he’s going to continue to do: the American people first — the American people first and delivering for them. 

Q    Can you also clarify Seung Min’s question?


Q    I mean, how — how is it that the president was still tired 12 days after returning from Europe, had a cold but then went to the Waffle House, and then the following day stage such a huge comeback that he gave those North Carolina remarks?  Like, help us understand —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Have you had a cold before?

Q    Of course I’ve had a cold before. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Okay, so you probably —

Q    But —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Come on.  Come on, Jacqui.  Let’s be very —

Q    It was 12 days after he —


Q    — returned, though —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But you also —

Q    — and he claimed jet lag yesterday.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Hold on a second.  There is a cold, there is a jet lag — you combine that.  He continues to work on the — with — for the American people day in and day out around the clock. 

Things happen.  Things happen. 

And the cold thing is something that you all pointed out during his debate.  We didn’t even point that out.  You all pointed to that when you heard his — his voice being hoarse, because he knew he had to push through.  He knew he has to power through.  That’s what presidents do. 

If you care about this country and you don’t care about yourself, you care about the American people, you care about delivering for this country, you care about how you’re going to continue to work ev- — day in and day out, you push through. 

Q    He just got better overnight?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  We’ve all — we’ve all —

Q    The reason I ask is because —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — do that.

Q    — all these Democrats —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  We all do that.

Q    — who are saying they want to see him —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But — okay, but —

Q    — it speaks to that. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But we’re not — we’re not — we didn’t share that information ahead of time.  You all asked what was going on, and then we shared that information.  We didn’t use that — we didn’t use that before the debate.  You all asked, “Hey, is he under the weather?”  And we confirmed that he was under the weather. 

He pushed through.  That’s what this president does.  He is going to continue to fight for the American people.  So, he pushed through it. 

I think — I think anybody who does that, not just the president, should be commended. 

And he also said — you heard him say this on Friday, “When you get knocked down, you get back up.”  That’s what you saw.

Q    Is there any discussion that if the president were to suspend his campaign that he would also resign?  Is — are there any discussions —


Q    — about —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Absolutely not.

Q    — the vice president assuming his duties?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Absolutely not.

Go ahead, Kelly O.

Q    Does the president have a duty to review data, like polling information that’s coming in, donor information, the fears and concerns or anxieties expressed by Democrats?  Does he have a duty to review what’s happening now?  And —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  When you say “a duty,” ca- — can you say more about the “duty” piece?

Q    You’re saying that he’s absolutely running.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah.  Well, he’s saying that, and I’m sharing — I’m sharing with you his — his view. 

Q    And we would invite the president to come here and tell us —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Noted.  (Laughter.)

Q    — that directly.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Noted.  Noted, Kelly.

Q    But —

Q    If he’s awake.

Q    That’s inappropriate. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  As you heard from your colleague, the president of the WHCA, that’s inappropriate.

Thank you, Kelly. 

Q    The — my question is, information is coming in, an assessment is happening within the party, does he have a duty to review that?  Has he closed the door on reviewing the data?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I’m going to be really mindful that, obviously, you’re asking me about campaign numbers and data that’s coming in.  And, look, what I will — what I will note is that this is a president that looks at everything, takes in all the information.  It’s important to him to do so.

I don’t want to get into hypotheticals here.  That’s not what I’m here to do.  What I can say is: In this moment, we move forward on building on this unprecedented record that the president has been able to lay out for the American people.  And that’s going to be ou- — our focus.  I — I don’t want to get into hypotheticals.  I don’t want to get ahead — into any- — anything else.

Q    That doesn’t sound like closing the door to reviewing this over a period of time —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  What I can say is the president is moving forward.  He’s moving forward as being president.  He’s moving forward with his campaign, as his campaign has been very, very clear about that.  That’s what I can — that’s what I can speak to, and that’s what I can say.

And that is the president’s focus.  The president’s focus is how does he continue to do that work.  And anything else that we’re hearing or that’s being reported is absolutely false.

Q    Is the president telling people he’s evaluating the — the race?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Absolutely false.  That is absolutely false.  I saw that reporting.  We were not given enough time to get back to that reporting — just a couple of minutes.  And we asked the president.  The president responded directly when asked about this question, because we said that we would, and the president said it is no.  It is absolutely false.

Q    What steps —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  That’s coming directly from him.

Q    What steps would the president be taking or would you as a team plan to try to prevent another episode in public that would be deemed worrisome?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I would not call it an episode.  I would call it we had a — a bad night.  Right?  It was not his best night.  He had a cold.  He was jet lagged.  You heard directly from the president about this.  And when we get back — when we get knocked down, when he gets knocked down, he gets right back up.  And that’s what I would — I — that’s what I would focus on: the president continuing to be very steady and continuing to work on — for the American people.

Go ahead.

Q    Just a follow-up on —


Q    — Kelly O’s question.  Do you think the president feels like these coming days are very critical for him, as he — you know, you laid out all these events that he’s going to be doing.


Q    Did — are these — are these events very important for him to show to the American people that he still has the ability to be —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean —

Q    — the nominee?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — I would say that this moment is critical, regardless of the debate or not.  We are living in an important moment right now.  Everything is at stake.  And I got to be mindful because this is all connected to what’s happening in November. 

And I think any — any leader would say they always have to prove to themselves to — you know, to their constituents, right?  It’s — it is a day-in and day-out work.

And, yes, the president is going to have engagement.  He’s going to be out there speaking to the American people.  Obviously, we mentioned Wisconsin.  He’s going to do an interview in Wisconsin as well.  We talked about Pennsylvania.  But the president was also out last week — Atlanta, North Carolina, New York — where he saw supporters. 

This is a president that has been consistently out there talking directly to the American people.  He understands — as you all ask me about the economy and what people are feeling — he understands that they have to hear directly from him and he has to continue to do that so that he can lay out his agenda, he can lay out what he wants to continue to do.

It’s always going to be part of, you know, the calculation — right? — to continue to prove to the American people that he can continue to do the work and deliver for the — for him on behalf — on — on — deliver on behalf of the American people.

Q    And — and Jeff had the — the staff meeting today.


Q    Can you just give us a rundown of, really, what he tried to get across?


Q    And is there a morale issue in the White House right now?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah.  It’s a fair question.  And I do have a couple of things I want to say. 

As you just said, the chief of staff, Jeff Zients, did have an all-staff call.  He wanted to gather the team across the building and acknowledge what the president has said himself — right? — that the last few days have been challenging.  We’ve been very, very clear in acknowledging — acknowledging that.

But we have had an extraordinary record to be proud of.  And we know we have more work to do.  The president says that all the time.  He confey- — conveyed the importance of executing on our mission.  He talked about the importance of coming together as a team and also having each other’s backs. 

And so, look, he also said — which I think was really important and I think every staff wants to hear — that the chief of staff door is open and is open to hearing directly from them any questions or any concerns.  And, you know, I think that’s what you do as a leader.

Go ahead.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  If there are so many questions right now about whether President Biden can do this job, why are we not seeing the president out there every single day in an unscripted way without teleprompters?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, you’re go- — you’re go- — you’re going to see him today certainly.  And I know you’re asking about the teleprompter.  You’re going to see him tomorrow — right? — Fourth of July.  He’ll have an opportunity to welcome active-du- — -duty military and their families and certainly their loved ones here on the South Lawn, as he does every year.  And I think that’s going to be important.  He’ll be able to engage with them and thank them directly.

And you’ll see him in Wisconsin.  And you’re continue to see him, obviously, in the upcoming weeks.

Look, it is not unusual for a president to use a teleprompter.  It isn’t.  It is not unusual.  That is something that presidents have done in the past. 

I think what we also have to remember — and I’ll keep saying this, because I think it’s important to not forget — that he has the strongest economic recovery in modern — in modern history.  He has led a historic midterm win when everybody was talking about a red wave, and he was — been able to defy that and deliver by leading — by being a leader — right? — obviously, do- — during the midterms as a Democratic leader. 

And he’s going to continue to work to get lower — lower costs.  And I think that matters.  I think his record certainly matters.

And you are going to see him — continue to see him, you know, having interviews.  He’s going to do ABC, as you know, with George Stephanopoulos — one of your colleagues.  That’s not scripted.  And he has done more than 40 interviews that have not been scripted — interviews do not have a script — this year alone.

So, you’ll see him out there connecting with the — engaging with the American people.  And I think that’s important.

Q    But, again, we’re now almost a week after the debate.  Why doesn’t the president just come here right now and answer for himself in this briefing room all of the questions that we have?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well — well, you — you asked me a couple of things.  You asked when — when is he going to be unscripted.  He has been.  When he went to visit a — a diner in — a couple of days ago, at the Waffle House, when he met with — met with some of the supporters in Atlanta; North Carolina, where hundreds of supporters showed up.  He’s certainly had an opportunity to engage. 

On Friday, he’s going to be taking some questions from one of your colleagues.  I think that’s going to be important.  And we’re going to continue to engage with all of you.  We’re going to — certainly, looking forward to doing that. 

He’ll have a press conference next week at NATO — press conference, a “big boy” press conference, as Justin from Bloomberg stated yesterday.  And so, we’ll — we’ll do that.  And he’s looking forward to it.

Q    And, Karine, President Biden —


Q    — has always promised to tell the American people the truth.


Q    So, can you be straight with us —


Q    — and the American people: Is the President clear-eyed about what it takes to stay in the race and what it would take for him to drop out?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  The President is clear-eyed, and he is staying in the race.  I don’t have anything else beyond that. 

He is staying — he is staying in the race.  That is what the president has promised to do.  That is what he wants: to continue to work on the successes that he’s had, his record, his unpre- — unprecedented record.  And that is what the president is focused on: continuing to deliver for the American people.  And he looks forward to doing that.

Go ahead.  Go ahead.

Q    The NATO Summit is coming up next week.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yes, ma’am.

Q    Is the president frustrated that this debate over the presidential election could cast a shadow over your goals for the NATO Summit?  Has he made any effort to reach out to the NATO leaders that will be coming to sort of assure them that this isn’t going to derail that agenda?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, as you stated, next week, the president is going to host the NATO Summit here in Washington, D.C.  It is also the 70- — 75th year anniversary of NATO.  And let’s not forget NATO has become stronger and has gained to more countries because of this president’s leadership.  And all very much important.  And — and doing so was very much important in stopping and in helping to stop Putin’s aggression as Ukraine continues to fight, certainly, for their freedom and democracy. 

Look, foreign leaders have seen the president close up.  They have.  And — and, you know — and close up and in — and personally for the past three years, and I think that’s important to know.  They know who they are dealing with and how effective he has been. 

I just talked about how NATO has expanded because of his leadership, how NATO is stronger because of his leadership.  And I think that’s important to note as well. 

And so, look, you’re going to see the president, you know, being a leader in front of the — in front of these world leaders.  You’re going to see the president continue to bring these world leaders together. 

And as it relates to what’s happening currently, you heard directly from this president.  He understands the criticism.  He gets the criticism.  He has owned up to it.  But he also wants to move forward in continuing to deliver on really critical, important issues that the American people care about. 

When you think about NATO, you think about foreign policy, it is important to continue our world leadership on that, being leaders and strengthening our national security as well.  And that is how the president thinks about this day in — day in and day out.

Q    I just want to follow up on the — 


Q    — kind of questions about the outreach from the White House. 


Q    Does the president intend to make any other calls other than the ones that he’s made to today to the congressional leadership? 

And then, you know, Representative Doggett said he reached out to the White House before he —


Q    — made his comments and did not hear back.


Q    He said he wanted to speak to President Biden personally about his concerns. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, I — look, I — I can’t speak to the outreach that he made.  I have not spoken to the Office of Leg Affairs, so I can’t speak to that. 

What I can say is the president has — certainly has looked forward to working with Democratic leaders and congressional members over the past three years.  I keep talking about his record — certainly, his record when it comes to legislation and getting things done.  He couldn’t have done it without Democrats like Doggett and appreciates his — obviously, his support and his partnership. 

I can’t speak to outreach.  It’s not something that I’ve talk — spoken to the Office of Leg Affairs about. 

And look, the president —

(A cellphone rings.)

Q    Sorry.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  It’s okay.  You want to take that? 

Q    Might be — it might be Doggett.  (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I know, maybe.  He’s like, “You just brought me up in the briefing room.  I have something to say.”

I would also note that — you know, look, I don’t have any additional calls to read out or to lay out.  One of the reasons that I mentioned it at the top is I knew some of you were trying to confirm and wanted to make sure that we — we got to you — got back to you — all of you about that. 

And as you know, he’s going to meet with Democratic governors, as I just stated at the top.  So, he’s going to continue to do engagement.  It is important.  Some of — again, some of these leaders, he could not have delivered on this record — on this record accomplishment that he’s been able to — to get done without them. 

And so, I’ll just leave it there for now.

Q    I think the — I think the question that we’re all asking —


Q    — in different ways, from different — is: Has the president and has the White House, have you sort of missed the boat in terms of responding quickly enough?  I mean, I spoke to someone today who said it was “too little, too late.”

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Quickly enough on — on what specifically?

Q    Just in — in explaining and discussing what happened at the debate —


Q    — and — and —


Q    — reassuring donors and — and other people —


Q    — that, you know, he intends —


Q    — to keep running.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, as it relates to donors or anything political like that, obviously, that’s something that the campaign should — should respond to. 

But I — I would remind you that the day after, in North Carolina, the president spoke to his debate performance.  He did.  He talked about it.  He gave, you know, his thoughts.  He also stated that, “Look, I’m not as young.  I’m not a young man.”  He said that.  “I’m not as — a smooth talker as I — as I used to be.  I don’t walk easily as I used to be.  And I don’t — I don’t debate as well as I used to.”  He said this.  And so, he owned up to it in — on Friday, the day after the debate, that afternoon.  And so, we didn’t wait. 

Now, as far as engagement, look, that is something certainly the campaign can speak to more.  But the president, in front of hundreds of supporters in North Carolina, talked about his debate performance.  So —

Go ahead, M.J.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  Just wanted to clarify one thing.  I know you got a lot of questions about this issue —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Sure.  Sure.

Q    — yesterday.  Has the president had any medical exams since his last annual physical in February?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  And got — and we were able to talk to the — to his doctor about that, and that is a no.

Q    He hasn’t had any kind of medical exam?


Q    So, the White House has said no to releasing the full results of that annual, said no to making Dr. O’Connor available for questions from us, no to releasing any other information that would shed some more light on the president’s health.  I guess I’m just wondering: If now is not the time for full transparency, when is?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I would say, M.J., to your question, that what we have released over the past three years, every year since he’s been in office, has been transparent and it has been comprehensive.  It has been one of the most transparent — we have been one of the most transparent administration when it comes to medical records.  That is — that is what — what we’ve been able to do. 

And I would add that it is not — it is not the norm to bring the doctor to the podium.  That — that is not the norm.

And we have owned up.  This president directly has owned up to what happened at the debate last Thursday.  He’s talked about it multiple times, and — and directly to supporters, directly to the American people.  And what we want to do is continue to certainly deliver on the — you know, the record accomplishments that’s we’ve been able to do.

Q    I understand that you feel like the White House has been thorough in the medical rec- — records that you all have released.  But obviously you’re getting these questions in large part because of what we saw for 90 minutes on Thursday night and people’s responses to what they saw — right? — a lot of people expressing shock.  So, why not release more information?  What would be the downside?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, what I can tell you is that we have been transparent.  We’ll continue to be transparent.  And that’s what I can — that’s what I can share with all of you at this time. 

Q    And I did want to follow up on —


Q    — what Seung Min brought up and, I think, others as well.  You did get numerous questions yesterday —


Q    — about the president’s debate performance.  You didn’t mention the travel, the jet lag, the foreign trip.  So, I think you can understand why it was a little bit puzzling to hear the president mentioning that as his explanation —


Q    — for the first time last night.  I’m just —


Q    Can you clarify whether — when you took the podium yesterday —


Q    — did you not know that that was a major factor?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  And I — and I want to say that is my bad.  That is part of — that is part of — definitely part of the explanation of what had occurred.  I ju- — I did know that.  I did know that. 

Q    You did — did know that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I did.  I did know that. 

Q    Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But we were so focused — I was so focused on the col- — on the cold.  And that’s what I kind of leaned into and talked about. 

But, yes, his schedule did have something to do with it.  It was the schedule and the cold.  And I did — I was aware of that yesterday. 

Q    Can I just ask —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, sure. 

Q    — one other broader question.  The president — and I know you will remember this —


Q    — back in 2020 referred to himself as a “transition candidate.”  He also said back then that he would be a “bridge to the next generation” of Democratic leaders.  Does he still believe that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yes.  I mean, I think his statement stands.  I mean, one of the reasons why he picked the vice president — president, Kamala Harris, is because she is indeed the future of the party.  And he’s very proud to have partnered with her and continue to partner with her in delivering an unprecedented record for the American people. 

And I think he’s going to continue, certainly, to do that.  They’re going to do that as partners. 

Like I said, I just saw them before walking into the briefing room.  We — they stopped by to talk to me and my team, and they’re ready to go.  They’re ready to — to continue. 

Q    So the transition would happen in eight years —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, I’m not going to —

Q    — in his mind, not four? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m not — I’m not going to get into speculation from here.  But you asked me if that — his remarks and statements still stands.  Yes, it still does. 

Go ahead, Michael.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  If President Biden was fatigued during the de- — debate because of overseas travel that was 12 days beforehand, like he said he was last night, doesn’t that raise questions about his ability to effectively serve another — a second term until he’s 86 years old?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, I mean — look, I think there’s multiple factors here to consider.  There was the travel, the travel led to a cold.  And I think that matters as well.  And I think we’ve all been there.  We’ve all been there.  It is not unusual. 

And what the President did is he pushed through.  He did.  He pushed forward, and he pushed through.  And that’s what you saw him do. 

And, look, you know, you heard me say this yesterday, and I’ll — and you heard directly from the president say this multiple times, “When you get knocked down, you get back up.” 

Joe Biden is someone who has faced, you know, tragedies, and he’s taken them on.  And when he does that, he gets right back up.  And that’s how we see that day. 

Q    And —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  That’s how we see that night. 

Q    And what was his message to congressional leaders today?  I mean, is he trying to instill confidence in them that — in them that he can run effectively for — for his reelection bid?  Is that — was that the purpose of the call?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, I’m not going to get into, certainly, private conversations.  He had — he shared with me those conversations were strong.  And I think that’s important to note.  I’m not going to go into details. 

But the president is going to, you know, continue to have those direct conversations with — with leaders, with supporters, and he believes that’s important to do.

Q    Were they united with him in the call?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  They continue to be united.  And some of them have spoken to this.  They’ve been very clear — have spoken, have gone on television, spoken to some of you in your reporting and said that very clearly. 

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you.  Thanks, Karine.  Can you share any details on President Biden’s and Vice President Harris’s lunch today?  Do you know if they discussed Vice President Harris potentially taking over?  Do you know if that came up today?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, I just stated that the president has — is not dropping out.  That’s something that the ca- — the campaign has shared.  So, I’m just repeating what the campaign has shared. 

They regularly have lunch.  And I’m not going to get into private — private conversation. 

And I would also say that the vice president spoke — spoke to CBS just yesterday, and you — you could see what she said herself.  And I think that’s important to note as well. 

Q    And I just want to also ask — you mentioned that President Biden got the cold because of traveling.  So, this cold is directly tied to him traveling or is it just he got the cold regularly?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  What I can tell you is he traveled, then he got a cold.  That’s what happened. 

Go ahead, Michael.

Q    And went to Waffle House.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  You mentioned a few times that the president is proud of his record.  He wants to continue his work and building on that record. 


Q    I’m trying to understand how — how that’s relevant to an assessment of self-reflection by him on whether or not he’s physically capable of continuing. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I think it’s — it is an assessment.  I think the fact that he’s able to work across the aisle, get really big bipartisan legislation done.  He’s been able to get us out of the pandemic, able to get the economy back on its feet.  I think that shows leadership.  And I think that’s important, right?

He — he is making these decisions on behalf of the American people.  And he’s able to do that because of his experience, because of his wisdom.  And I think that all — that’s all connected as well.  We can’t forget that.

Q    Just building on, you know, with Kelly and Ken’s question on — on self-reflection by the president.  You’ve mentioned as well that — that he understands the stakes in the election and that the data is showing that he may be leading the party toward, you know, electoral disaster.  Is there not going to be reflection on — 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look — look, right now I’ve got to be really mindful.  You’re asking about a campaign.  You’re asking about data that’s connected to the campaign.  I can- — I — I want to be really mindful here. 

And it’s also a hypothetical.  And so, I also want to be really mindful here. 

What I can say is right now and where the president is, he is continu- — he is continuing to fight for the American people, continue to build an economy that works for all, continue to create good-paying jobs, expand health care.  That is the president’s focus.  That is the president’s focus. 

Anything else related to the campaign, I would refer you to the campaign to speak to that directly.

As it relates to data, I — that is not something that I can — I can’t be a pundit from here. 

Go ahead, sir. 

Q    Karine —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, sir.  Yeah. 

Q    Yeah, thanks, Karine.  I have two questions from Bolivia.  First, former president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, and also Argentinian President Javier Milei have accused President Luis Arce of staging a self-coup last week.  Does the administration believe (inaudible) any evidence if this was the case?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, I want to be really mindful here.  We have seen the false allegations of U.S. involvement in the events of Bolivia on June 26th.  And I know that’s something that has come up a couple of times.  And so, want to make sure that it is clear that the U.S. had no involvement in that. 

Look, we certainly condemn — strongly condemn the deployment of army units in Bolivia in any attempt to subvert a constitutional order.  And we are going to continue — and I said this last week — we’re going to continue — or the week before — stand by democracy and the people of Bolivia.  And that is — that is where we’re going to continue to stand. 

Q    Great.  And can I have another one?


Q    With the U.S. government and the Venezuelan government resuming negotiations today, I wanted to get — if you can give us, like, a clearer picture of what entails and how far the U.S. government is willing to go. 

So, two questions on that.  Would the U.S. government be willing to alleviate sanctions?  And is there any plan for Maduro to step down from power without fear of continuing legal prosecution?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, to your com- — your question about the dialogue that’s happening, we certainly welcome that.  And if — in good faith — right? — the dialogue in good faith.  So, we welcome that.

We are clear-eyed that democratic change will not be easy and requires serious — serious commitment.  So, we remain committed to supporting the will of the people of Venezuela and a path toward democratic governance via competitive and also inclusive elections.

Any specific details about that, I — I don’t have any share — to share about the diplomatic engagement.  But we certainly welcome it in good faith.  And that’s what we want to see.

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you so much, Karine.  I just also wanted to follow up on the remarks the president made yesterday —


Q    — at a fundraiser.  He said that he didn’t listen to his staff.  So, what kind of advice did he get?  Because it gives the impression that his staff is asking him to, you know, slow down or maybe cancel some trips or have a lighter schedule. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, I didn’t get into the president specifically about what he meant by that.  So, I want to be really mindful.  I don’t want to get into that.

But I think what the president was trying to say is that he had a schedule that was rigorous — you know, the travel that he had to do — crossing multiple, obviously, you know — going — going — (laughs) — going from Italy, all the way to the West Coast.  And I think, as you know, that — that can be — that could — that could have a toll on anyone.  Whether you’re 20 or 80, that could have a toll on you.

And so, I think that’s what he was alluding to, speaking to.  I don’t want to go beyond that because I haven’t spoken to him on — on the other component of when he was speaking about his staff.  But as it relates to, certainly, the travel, it was rigorous.  He had a rigorous travel.

We talk about it sometimes — I think I’ve mentioned this to some of your — with some of your colleagues — that he has a — especially, when he travels abroad, it’s a pretty rigorous travel.  We get tired looking at him doing his meetings and traveling.  And so, I think that’s what he was speaking to.

And I don’t think it — it has a toll on if — regardless of what age you are, it has a toll on you, that type of travel.

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you.  Did — there’s no question that international travel can be rigorous.  I think the confusion is that he’s still suffering from the effects of that nearly two weeks later.  So, I — I — can you articulate a little bit about, like, do you guys usually have accommodations for him after he does a trip that he’s going to have jet lag for that long a period of time?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, can you — can you — when you say “two weeks later,” what do you mean?

Q    Well, the debate — he arrives back in the United States —


Q    — 12 or 13 days before the debate.  So, his explanation for a poor debate performance is jet lag.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, what I want to say is it’s — it’s the jet lag and also the cold, right?  It is the two things.  And that occurred. 

And you all heard it in his voice when he did the debate, right?  And it is not even something that we shared ahead of time.  You heard it in his voice, and we confirmed it.  And I think that’s important to note as well.  Like, it is the jet lag and the cold.

But I want to be really — I want to be really clear here.  This is not an excuse, right?  This is not an excuse.  You all ask for an explanation, and we get — we’re giving it an explanation.  It is not an excuse.  I don’t want that to be the leading piece of this. 

As for — the only reason we’re sharing this: because it was asked of me here and the president certainly wanted to give an explanation himself.  And that’s what he did yesterday.

We want to — we understand that it wasn’t his best night.  It wasn’t a great debate.  We understand that.  And we understand what supporters saw, what the American people saw, and what you all saw.  And so, we wanted to give an explanation.

So, I don’t want to get into this, “Oh, are you giving this excuse, not an excuse?”  We’re giving you what our explanation was.  We want to continue to make sure that we do everything that we can to deliver for the American people.  That’s what we’re going to continue to do.

Q    I also wanted to ask just about the schedule again.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, yeah.

Q    Because a lo- — a lot of high-level Democrats, I think, were concerned with the debate performance, but they’ve also been almost just as or more concerned about the response since then, that he hasn’t done more.  He spoke for four minutes in public on Monday evening on the Supreme Court decision, and he spoke for about 10 minutes in public yesterday with the emergency weather situation.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Mm-hmm.  And he’s going to speak today.

Q    I know —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  He’s going to go to Wisconsin.  He’s going to go Pennsylvania.  But — but —

Q    But if this truly is an emergency situation —


Q    — it’s taking almost a week for him to sort of address it.  When there’s natural disasters, when there’s other things happening —


Q    — he wants to get in front of the cameras and speak to it.  In this case, there seems to be —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, but I — I —

Q    — multiple days —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Matt, I would —

Q    — before that happens.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — disagree with you.  He did address it.  He addressed it on Friday in North Carolina in front of hundreds of supporters.  He addressed it.  And — and he talked about an issue that you all ask me about all the time: his age.  Like, he took it head-on — literally head-on.  He didn’t run away from it.  He didn’t hide from it.

He said, “I am not a young man, obviously.  I’m not as a good debater as I used to be.  I don’t talk as smooth — I don’t talk as — I don’t walk as easily as I used to.”  He said it himself to hundreds of supporters in North Carolina.

So, I would disagree that he didn’t take this head on.  He did.  He did.  He — he talked about it in front of supporters —

Q    From one —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — which — which, by the way, that —

Q    He’s had one instance with that —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But — but that — but —

Q    — and he’s called six people —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But — but —

Q    — by your count.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But, by the way, that matters.  Right?  Engaging with the American people and standing in front of them and being honest about that and talking about age — again, something that you all ask me about all the time.  He took that right on.

Now, he is talking and engaging with leaders.  That is something that he’s doing.  He’s having good conversations with them.  He’s going to meet with Democratic governors, people who — governors who he believes have been really strong partners with him in delivering on some of these historic accomplishments.

But, you know, I — I would s- — I would, you know, disagree on him not taking this head on — I mean, talking, going, being in North Carolina and taking that head on.  Obviously, that’s not the speech that he was going to give on Thursday — right? — before the debate.  So, he understood — right? — when he got to North Carolina that he needed to address it.  And he decided to do it in front of supporters.  And he talked about it. 

I’m going to go to the back.

Q    Can you come to the back —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m going to come —

Q    — for a question, please, Karine? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Ed. 

Q    Thanks.  Thanks, Karine.  I want to go back to the NATO meeting, if I could.


Q    Polling this week shows the president losing more ground in the American eyes over immigration, over economy, and foreign policy.  So, does that, with everything else, diminish the position of the president as these NATO leaders are coming in for those meetings?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, I don’t think so.  I don’t think so.  And I said this moments ago when I was answering a question of one of your colleagues.  These foreign leaders have seen the president personally, up close for the past three years.  They have talked about his leadership.  They have commended his leadership.  They have been proud to see him as the president of the United States after what they experienced in the last administration.  They have — some of them have been even quoted about what the president has been able to do during his past three years. 

German Chancellor Scholz: “I think that the — that Joe Biden is someone who is very clear, who knows exactly what he is doing and who is one of the most experienced politicians in the world, especially when it comes to international politics.”

The Prime Minister of Israel, Bibi Netanyahu: “I have had more than a dozen phone conversation — extended phone conversations with President Biden.”  He has also came — he “also came on a visit to Israel during wartime, which is an historic first.”  “I found him very clear and very focused.”

I mean, these are — these are leaders that he has had extensive engagement with over the past three years.  They have seen him up close and personal.  The president looks very — very much looks forward to — to hosting — hosting NATO next week — the NATO Summit.

Q    If I could ask you about the Supreme Court quickly.  So, the comments that the President made on Monday.  Does the president respect the authority of the Supreme Court?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Here’s what I will say: The president has spoken often, very powerfully about the events on — of January 6th — he has — and his views on what happened on that day. 

And what you heard from the president Monday night — he wasn’t supposed to speak; he came back, he saw — he — he felt so strongly about the decision from the Supreme Court that he came back early and wanted to speak directly to the American people.  And that’s what he did. 

It was that significant.  He believed, as president of the United States, to speak directly to the American people, and he said this is a “dangerous precedent.”  It is.  It’s a dangerous precedent. 

He also said and laid out that the Supreme Court has continued to take away long-established freedoms and norms, including a woman’s right to choose, and now threatening the fundamental American principle that no one is above the law.  And so, this is why the President came back.  And that’s what he spoke out about.  And he fears for our democracy.  And he knows we must do everything that we can to fight.

Q    But he can disagree with a ruling.  Does he respect the authority?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  He respects the authority of the Supreme Court.  And like you just said in your question, he disagrees with the ruling.  Absolutely.  It is unprecedented.  It is dangerous.  And that’s why the President wanted to make sure that the American people heard directly from him.

Q    In the back.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Raquel. 

Q    Thank you, Karine.  I wanted to do a follow-up about the lines that you were just reading on foreign leaders, because it seems like this perception has changed after the debate.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  You mean the quotes that I was — that I was laying out for all of you —

Q    Yes.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — from chancellor and —

Q    Yeah, exactly. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — the prime minister?

Q    Because talking to diplomats here in D.C, they’re telling me that they’re worried —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Diplomats or — or leaders of countries?

Q    Dip- — diplomats who work for these leaders.


Q    Because they were saying —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, I — I know.  I just wanted to make sure.

Q    Yeah, I mean, they’re representing —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, I was talking about the leaders.

Q    — their countries here. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, I hear you, but I’m talking about the leaders who have been on the record. 

Q    Yeah, but after the debate —


Q    — what they are saying that after the debate, allied countries are worried about the future of the U.S. and that it is a “scary, embarrassing time for the country” and that “the U.S. leadership is at stake.”  And one said, “Imagine the watch party in Beijing and Moscow.”  So, are they — are they —


Q    — right to be worried?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, there’s a lot at stake.  There is a lot of stake right now.  There is.  And I think that’s why the president fights day in and day out on behalf of the American people. 

I got to be careful, because you’re kind of — they’re — they’re worried about, I’m assuming, the election and what’s going to happen.  So, I don’t want to speak to that. 

But what I can say more broadly, there is a lot at stake.  And we see that.  We see that with Roe — Roe being overturned, the Dobbs decision.  We see that with what happened on January 6th.  Our democracy and freedoms are at stake. 

And not only do diplomats and world leaders care about that; Americans here at home care about that.  That is something that they worry about.  And that is something that the president is going to continue to fight for. 

Going to be careful.  I can’t, you know, get into hypotheticals — what will happen.  There’s an, obviously, and election going on. 

But there is indeed a lot of stake, and we talk about this all the time: democracy, freedoms, a woman’s right to choose.  That is important.  That is important to fight for.  And what Republicans are trying to do — extreme Republicans in Congress are trying to do, put three national bans on abortion.  That’s what — the type of legislation that they want to push forward. 

So, we disagree with that.  We’re going to stand with the majority of Americans. 

Go ahead, Paris.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  Two questions, one on NATO.  So, on next week’s summit, does the president schedule any important bilats with the — bilaterals with the leaders, especially including Turkish president, Erdoğan? 

And second question is: We know China has been causing a lot of conflicts in South China Sea, Taiwan Strait, and East Sea.  Yesterday, we saw the Chinese Coast Guard ship arrest Japanese ship near Senkaku Islands, also detained a Taiwanese fish boat in the Taiwan Strait.  What is White House reaction to those conflicts?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, on the fish boat, we’re obviously closely monitoring the — the incident.  So, we’re going to continue to do that. 

And as for any bilateral meetings, I don’t have anything to read out to you at this time.  I believe NSC is going to do a call on Friday to talk through what next week is going to look like with the NATO Summit being here in D.C.  So, I would say, you know, stay tuned, look out for that, and — and we’ll have more to share.  And obviously, when there is a bilateral meeting, we — we certainly will share that with all of you.  Just don’t have anything to preview at this time.

Q    Can I follow up?  Has the U.S. reached out to Japan and Taiwan to offer support over those incidents —


Q    — with China?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, I don’t have any calls, obviously, to — to speak to at this time, but we encourage both sides to maintain open lines of communication so they can get to a resolution here.  And that’s what we call — we call for. 

Go ahead.

Q    Karine. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead.

Q    Thanks, Karine.

Q    In the back? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, go ahead. 

Q    Thanks, Karine.  I just wanted to get to your answer to Raquel a few moments ago.


Q    You talked about there being a lot at stake, you know —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah.  Yeah —

Q    — which I think —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — I’m trying to be mindful — 

Q    I know.  And I’m also —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — so — but —

Q    — trying to phrase the question the way that you can —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  (Laughs.)  I appreciate that.  Thank you.

Q    But I think millions and millions of Americans would agree with that assessment that there’s a lot at stake. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yep.  And I — and I agree.  I agree.  That’s what I said.  It’s not just diplomats, but it’s also Americans here. 

Q    Right.  And — and the president and you and others in the administration have acknowledged he didn’t have a good night at the debate.


Q    Is — within his reaction to his own performance, does he think he let people down?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, this is certainly a president that I will say — and if you know Joe Biden, you know him as a senator and as — and as vice president — he’s very sensitive to how people feel.  Right?  And he’s very aware of that. 

I think he has that IQ that is certainly incredibly important as a president to be able to feel people’s pains, feel people’s concern, and be able to listen to them directly.  And you see that.  You see him do that on a da- — on a — anytime you see him engage with everyday people, Americans. 

And I think that’s what makes this president so unique.  And I think also, because he’s dealt with so much tragedy and knows what that feels like. 

And, you know, I have not asked him specifically that question, but he understands the concerns.  He understands what people saw.  And that’s why he’s spoken to it multiple times. 

And he’s spoken about his age, for example, multiple times, not just this past Friday.  And he gets it.  He gets it.  We get it. 

And so, what we’re going to do is continue — to continue to look forward, continue to work on behalf of the American people. 

And there is a record here.  There is a record here that we can speak to.  There is a record here that matters to majority of Americans.  We were able to turn some things around, whether it’s the pandemic, the economy, expanding health care — all of those things matter to the American people. 

And so, that’s going to be certainly our focus.  But, you know, the president gets it, guys.  He does.  He gets what people saw and how people felt. 

Q    And —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I get it.  I get it. 

I can’t —

Q    But — I know —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, but I can’t.

Q    I —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I really, really can’t.  I can’t — I got to — I got to continue taking questions from the back. 

And I’m already being — I’m already being pulled — go ahead, Phil — already being pulled.

Q    Thank you.  I wanted to ask you —


Q    — about some of the things the president said last week. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Last week or —

Q    Yes. 


Q    Obviously, the 13 U.S. service members died at Abbey Gate during the Afghanistan withdrawal.  And then, this year, three U.S. service members died in a drone attack in Jordan.  And yet, the President said, quote, he’s the “only president this century, this decade that doesn’t have any troops dying anywhere in the world like he did.”  End quote. 

I get having a bad night.  But how did the president get that so wrong?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I appreciate the question.  I really do.  And I was asked about this, I believe, in the gaggle on Friday, I believe.  And I said this, and I’ll just reiterate this now.  And, again, I appreciate the opportunity. 

Look, the president cares deeply about our service members — he does — and their families, their immense sacrifices that they’ve made to take on the pr- — and — and he takes on his responsibility as the commander in chief.  And that is something that certainly he will continue to do. 

I mentioned moments ago that tomorrow, on July 4th, he’s going to have active military members here and their families to thank them personally.  And obviously, they make sacri- — their families make sacrifices as well. 

And as you know, he attended the dignified transfer of the 13, as you just mentioned, brave service members who lost their lives in Afghanistan on August 26th, in 2021, and as well as the 3 who lost their lives in Jordan earlier this year.

I was there with the president.  And you can see how much it — it — how important he — he understood it was for him to be there for that moment, to be there for the families. 

And so, just want to — want to be really clear about that, because he has so much gratitude.  We know that as a country we can never repay them for their courage. 

But to your question, the president was making a comparison between how many service members have died under his leadership versus in previous years.  That’s what — the comparison that he was making.  And he is doing — doing — he was doing that because he cares so deeply — cares so deeply about them and their families and wants to keep troops safe.  And that’s what he certainly wants to continue to do. 

Let’s not forget that for some time he carried a — a card in his pocket about how many service members were wounded and killed in Iraq and in Afghanistan.  That’s how much — it was a reminder to him, you know, the times that we live in.

Q    I mean, this president said, “this century, this decade.”  But setting that aside, maybe on a different front here, what was the president trying to say when he said that he “beat Medicare”?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  He meant to say he beat Big Pharma.  I mean, that’s what he meant to say. 

Q    And then, finally, you have more interaction with the president than most folks.  You know him better than most anyone else.  Can you say — you know, do you believe that the president is as sharp today as he was when he took this job? 


Q    Have you seen any —


Q    — slowdowns?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  What I can say is this is a president who is strong and resolute in delivering for the American people.  That’s what I see.  I see a president — when I’m in — sitting in front of him, you know, going through the day or talking about what he’s doing next, he is someone that engages with us.  He wants to know — he pushes us.  He pro- — he, you know, probes us wanting to figure out, like, the bigger picture of whatever we’re trying to explain to him or even granular details. 

Q    So he’s as sharp as ever?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  He is as sharp as — as ever, as I have known him to be in my engagement, in my experience with him. 

And I know when I walk into the Oval Office or — or see him on Air Force One, I have to be on top of my game.  I do. 

Q    Thank you, ma’am.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, and that’s just kind of my engagement with him and how it’s been for the past couple of years. 

I know I have to wrap it up.  I know. 

Go ahead.  Go ahead, Emily.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  I just wanted to ask how is the president’s health today?  Does he still have his cold or is he feeling better?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — yeah.

Q    And then, to clarify on the medical exam, because you said he hasn’t had one since his last physical.  He was on the way to the debate, the doctor was with him, he had a cold, he’s 81.  Does he not get checked out by the doctor?  I’m just —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  What I can tell you —

Q    — curious how that works.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — he did not have — he did not get checked out by the doctor.  It’s a cold, guys.  It’s a cold. 

And I know that it affects everybody differently.  We have all had colds.  And so, no, he was not checked by the doctor.

What was your other question?

Q    How is his health today?  Does he still have the cold?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, I saw him today.  My team and I saw him today.  He looked great.  And he was with the vice president.  They both look great.

I know I was asked yesterday if he still had a cold.  I think that he still has a lingering cold.  And — but he — he’s ready to go.  He’s ready to go.

I kind of have to wrap it up, but go ahead.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  Sources have told ABC that the president recognizes how difficult his political predicament is.  So, how has his mood been as of late?


Q    Has he been down? 


Q    Has he been frustrated?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I just saw — I just — I’ve mentioned, I think, multiple times at this point that I got to see him.  My team and I got to see him and the vice president.  He — he’s great.  He’s, like, in a great mood, ready to get things going.  He’s going to do the Medal of Honor later today.  He’s going to meet with Democratic governors.  And that’s kind of what you want to see — right? — from your leader.

Q    Has he shared any frustrations with you all after the debate?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — what I can say —

Q    Is there —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  What I can say is that he wants to move forward.  That’s what he wants to do.  He wants to move forward.  Acknowledge — right? — acknowledge what happened, be very clear-eyed about it and very forthcoming and honest about what he’s — what — what you all saw.  But he also knows that he’s the president of the United States.  He has to continue to work and deliver on behalf of the American people.  That’s what he has to continue to do.  And that’s what he’s — that’s ho- — that’s how he’s going to move forward.

All right, everybody.  Thanks, everyone.

Q    (Inaudible) from the East Room today?


Q    K- — Karine, we just got some news that Hamas has given the proposal — that the Hamas answer has gone to mediator?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Did that just happen?

Q    Just happened.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — I can’t —

Q    Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have anything for you if it just happened.

Q    Okay.  Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  But certainly, reach out to us and we’ll — we’ll get you an answer.

Q    Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Thank you, guys.

2:50 P.M. EDT

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