Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route White Plains, NY

Aboard Air Force One
En Route White Plains, New York

5:54 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Hi, everybody. 

All right.  I don’t have a topper, so who is —

Q    (Inaudible.)

Q    Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  (Laughs.)  (Inaudible.)  I’m so sorry.  Go ahead.

Q    Hi.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Hi.  How are you?

Q    So — I’m good.  How are you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m good.

Q    The President spent most of his day in Wilmington, and he left after the jury had been impaneled in his son’s case.  Will this case affect his ability to do his day job?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Absolutely not.  Obviously, the President is the President of the United States, and he always puts the American people first and is capable of doing his job. 

I will point you to the President’s statement.  I know many of you have seen the statement.  But I will just reiterate what the President put out — what we put out on behalf of the President today, which is: “I am the President, but I am also a dad.  Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today.  Hunter’s resilience in the face of adversity and the strength of — the strength he has brought to his recovery are inspiring to us.  A lot of families have loved ones who have overcome addiction and know — and know what we mean. 

As the President, I don’t and won’t comment on pending federal cases, but as a dad, I have boundless love for my son, confidence in him, and respect for his strength.  Our family has been through a lot together, and Jill and I are going to continue to be there for Hunter and our family with our love and support.”

Outside of the President’s statement, I don’t have anything else to share.

Q    And then on — on —

Q    Karine, just following up on that.  Did he watch the tr- — you know, you can’t watch the trial.  Did he get updates on it?  Did he speak with his son after the court proceedings ended?  How did he follow along?  Obviously, the First Lady was there today.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  And, Tyler, I appreciate the question, and I know it’s going to be asked a million different ways.  I just don’t have anything to share.  I — all I have to share with all of you is what we shared this morning — is the President’s statement.

Q    Can you share what he did today?  We didn’t see him all day.  There was no schedule of what he did.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have to share with you on — on — what I can say is the President — as you know, he made some calls.  He called — he called the newly elected Mexico president.  We put out a statement there.  And so — and so, what I can say that he certainly continues to work on behalf of the American people.  That’s something that he does day in, day out.  I just don’t have anything to say at th- — as it’s related to the event today. 

Q    Did President Biden — during his call with the new Mexican president today, did — did he, you know, brief her at all on his new border executive order?  And did she provide any reaction, if this came up?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, I don’t have anything to announce on all — all the reporting that’s out there about — about what you just asked me about an EO on immigration.  What I can say is we are constantly and will continuously look at all options to try and — and to try and really deal with the immi- — immigration system, a system that’s been broken for decades.

You’ve heard the President say this.  You heard the President take action.  You saw the President take action on the first day of his — of his tenure here as president when he put forward a comprehensive piece of legislation.  I do not have anything to announce.  And you saw this is a president who wants to fix this, who wants to deal with the — a broken immigration system. 

And last year, you s- — last year, pardon me — last week, you saw Republicans in the Senate vote against — against an opportunity to have the toughest, fairest piece of legislation that he wanted to sign into law to deal with a broken system.  So, they don’t want to fix the problem.  The President does. 

I just don’t have anything to share on any — any of the reporting that’s out there today.

Q    Earlier —


Q    He also spoke with the —

Q    Earlier this year —

Q    — Qatari Amir today.  Can you tell us — can you give us an update on the discussions about the ceasefire?  The President was pretty upbeat about getting this done, but we haven’t yet seen that from the region. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, what I can say is obviously you heard from the President on — on Friday speak to this.  I can say that Qatar transmitted the proposal to Hamas on Thursday night, hence the President speaking to this on Friday. 

The — the ball is in Hamas’s court.  And if it wants to — if it wants a ceasefire and relief for the Ga- — the people of Gaza, this is now in Hamas’s hand to — to make a decision on.  And so — and so, as you just stated, the President spoke to — spoke to the Qat- — the Qatari government today.  I just don’t have anything else to say outside of the readout that we’ll share — or if they — if it hasn’t been shared, will share.

Q    Has he spoken to Benjamin Netanyahu again since his —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t —

Q    — most recent call?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have anything to read out at this time.

Q    And does he have any comment or do you have any comment on — on the invitation and the now scheduled trip?  Netanyahu will be here in D.C. — or in D.C. while the President is in Italy.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have anything to confirm, any dates to speak to.  I would have to refer you to the Hill.

Q    Has the White House been told anything about what happened with the New York Stock Exchange today?  There seemed to be some technical issues this morning. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have anything to share from here.  That’s something for the Stock Exchange to speak to.

Q    Could you — could you explain at all or describe the President’s emotional state today?  A lot was going on.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  You heard from the President directly in his statement.  Outside of that, don’t have anything else.  The President and the First Lady love their son.  They support their son.  You’ve — you’ve heard them say that.  You’ve seen that many times in statements and certainly in the statement today.  I don’t have anything else beyond that.

Q    Karine, do you have any updates in terms of the discussions on the proposals that President Biden made in the State of the Union Address?  One of those measures is to provide credits — tax credits for people — first-time house — homebuyers.  You know, do — are you optimistic that that will find any kind of, you know, support in this very bifurcated Congress? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, look, as you know, from very early on in his administration, the President wanted to deal and has found ways to deal with home- — homeownership and rent –people renting homes as well.  That’s why the American Rescue Plan is so important.  He put together a task force to deal with this.  You — as you stated, from his State of the Union Address, he made an announcement on how to move forward to give Americans a little bit more relief.

Look, we’re just going to continue to talk to Congress, continue to encourage Congress to do more, to join the Pra- — President in a bipartisan way.  These are issues — when you think about housing, these are issues that is — one of the most important issues for the American people, is housing, is the — is costs and lowering costs. 

And that’s why the President — when it comes to the economy, that is at the center of his economic policy, is to deal with continuing to find ways to lower costs for the American people.

I don’t have any news to share on that.  But certainly, that is a priority for the President.

Q    Do you have any comment — do —

Q    Do you intend to nominate someone to replace Marcia Fudge?  Sorry.  Just on the housing, do — do you intend to nominate somebody before the end of the year, or —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No — no new annou- — new announcement on that personnel announcement.  As you know, the Deputy of — of HUD is now Acting Secretary.  The President has full confidence in the leadership of — the senior leadership at HUD.  Want to continue to do the great job that we have been doing over the past three years.  I don’t have any personnel announcement.

Go ahead, Eugene. 

Q    Do you have any comment on the criticisms that President Biden isn’t going to this peace summit on Ukraine in Switzerland and instead is — you know, I know the Vice President and — and Jake Sullivan are going, but a lot of other nations are sending their heads of state.  And he’ll be in California at the fundraiser.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look — I mean, look, I know my colleagues at NSC has talked about this.  And I’ll just say, like, no one has been a stronger — obviously a stronger champion for Ukraine than President Biden.  We have actively participated in each of the previous Ukraine peace summits and strongly support President Zelenskyy’s proposal to reach a just and lasting peace in Ukraine.

As you just stated, Eugene, the Vice President is going to go.  The National Security Advisor is going.  They are both going to (inaudible).  And that shows how serious we take this and continue to take this.  It’s a high level of pre- — representation, obviously, from the Biden-Harris administration.

Ukraine will continue to have no stronger friend and support than the United States under this president — under President Biden.  And you see that.  You see that through making sure we got this national security supplemental and getting that through, continuing to get that support.

And so, the President is — is that — that — that support for Ukraine is — is unwavering and continues to stand.

Q    One more question on —


Q    — on immigration. 


Q    The White House has made clear that there’s going to be some sort of executive action, and earlier this year, President Biden said he had exhausted all of his presidential powers.  What has changed now?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’ve always said — look, I don’t have anything to announce at this time on any action that — that this administration has taken.  So, no announcement at this time.  But what I will say — and we have said this many times — we continue to look at all options on the table and continue to find ways to deal with an immigration that has been broken — a system that has been broken for decades to deal with the challenges at the border, which is something that majority of Americans care about.

And we have said that we are going to continue to find all ways to do just that.  And we’re on board.  We want to make sure that we get to a place where we deal with the broken immigration system.  Senate Republicans decided something else.  They decided to — to vote — to pick, you know, partisan politics instead of picking the majority of American people and where they stand.  This is not this president. 

As far as anything to announce on immigration, I don’t have anything at this time.


Q    I might have missed it, but why isn’t the President going to the Ukraine peace conference?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, as you know, and I just stated in my answer to — to Eugene, is that we have always had representation at these summit — these peace summits in the past.  It continues.  And I have said as — as — in answering the question, this President has shown his strong support for the people of Ukraine as they’re fighting against Russia’s aggression. 

We have shown that for more than two years, making sure we get that support, making sure that they get the security assistance that they need.  The President went to Kyiv, as you all know, a warzone, to show how much he supports Ukraine and what they’re trying to do in fighting for their freedom. 

He got NATO together.  He got more than 50 countries to stand behind Ukraine.  I don’t think there is any other leader that has shown their support for Ukraine and the people of Ukraine and what they’re fighting for, which is their freedom and democracy. 

You have the Vice President going.  You have the National Security Advisor going.  That shows a high level of engagement for a peace summit, again, that we have — consistently have been a part of.  And that — that’s not going to change.

Q    Did the President engage in any debate prep over the weekend?  How has he been —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have anything to share on that.  I would refer you to the campaign on anything that’s related to the debate.

All right, guys.  Thanks, everybody.  I’ll see you on the ground. 

6:04 P.M. EDT

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