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Press Conference: Karine Jean-Pierre Holds a Press Briefing at The White House - May 17, 2024

  • Karine Jean-Pierre
    Person
  • John Kirby
    Person
  • Question
    Person
  • Aide
    Person
Very Positive

Karine Jean-Pierre

Positive
00:00:00-00:00:07 (8 sec)
It's always fun to hang out with a bunch of Gen Zers before coming out to the podium. I'll just leave it there. [Laughs] 1

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:07-00:00:08 (1 sec)
How are you guys doing? 2

Question

Positive
00:00:08-00:00:09 ( sec)
Good. 3

Question

Very Positive
00:00:09-00:00:09 (1 sec)
Great. 4

Karine Jean-Pierre

Positive
00:00:09-00:00:14 (5 sec)
All right. Good afternoon, everybody. 5

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:14-00:00:23 (9 sec)
So, I'll be -- going to preview the President's schedule for next week. And so, then -- I think some of you are following some of this stuff, but just to put it all in one. 6

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:00:23-00:00:44 (21 sec)
On Monday, the President will host a reception to commemorate Jewish American Heritage Month. The President, the Vice President, and the Second Gentleman will celebrate the immeasurable impact of Jewish values, contributions, and culture in our country, while also honoring their resilience in the face of a long and painful history of persecution. 7

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:00:44-00:00:54 (10 sec)
On Tuesday, the President will travel to New Hampshire. After, he will travel to Boston, Massachusetts. I don't have additional details to share of these trips at this time, but please stay tuned. 8

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:00:54-00:01:11 (17 sec)
On Thursday, the President and the First Lady will host President William Ruto and the First Lady, Rachel Ruto, of the Republic of Kenya for a state visit. The Vice President and Second Gemen- -- Second Gentleman will also, obviously, join as well. 9

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:01:11-00:01:37 (26 sec)
The visit will strengthen our shared commitment to advance peace, security; expand our economic ties; and deepen democratic institutions. The visit will re- -- will affirm our strategic partnership with Kenya and further the vision set forth at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit that African leadership is essential to addressing global priorities. The Vice President will also host a state luncheon on Friday at the State Department. 10

Karine Jean-Pierre

Positive
00:01:37-00:01:52 (15 sec)
On Saturday, the President will deliver the commencement address at the United States Military Academy's graduation ceremony. He previously deli- -- delivered the commencement address at West Point in 2012 and also 2016 as vice president. 11

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:01:52-00:02:03 (11 sec)
This is a special honor, and the President looks forward to celebrating graduates and their families and thanking them for their selfless service and defense of our nation. 12

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Negative
00:02:03-00:02:18 (15 sec)
Today, we are also praying for four people who tragically lost their lives in Houston following the deadly storms that ripped through Texas yesterday. We are also thinking of those who were injured and the communities that were affected by this extreme weather. 13

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:02:18-00:02:28 (10 sec)
We are grateful for the first responders and rescue teams who have been working around the clock to protect the people -- to protect people and save lives. 14

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:02:28-00:02:35 (7 sec)
The White House is in touch with governor's office and the Houston mayor, and FEMA is in touch with their state and local counterparts. 15

Karine Jean-Pierre

Slightly Negative
00:02:35-00:02:55 (20 sec)
As always, we stand ready to provide federal assistance as needed. We continue to monitor the storm's path as it moves east, and more severe weather is likely across the Gulf Coast today. Residents in the affected area as well as those in the path of the storm should heed warnings from state and local officials. 16

Karine Jean-Pierre

Somewhat Positive
00:02:55-00:03:02 (6 sec)
And with that, I have -- we have the Admiral here today to talk about a update in the Middle East. 17

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:03:02-00:03:05 (3 sec)
Thank you, Karine. Good afternoon, everybody. 18

Question

Positive
00:03:05-00:03:06 (1 sec)
Good afternoon. 19

John Kirby

Unknown
00:03:06-00:03:18 (13 sec)
So, earlier today, I think you all know, the first shipments of humanitarian assistance arrived on the shores of Gaza through the multinational humanitarian maritime corridor that the President announced during his State of the Union Address. 20

John Kirby

Positive
00:03:18-00:03:42 (23 sec)
As we speak, additional aid from the United States and other countries is arriving in Cyprus, where it will be screened by Israeli authorities and loaded onto ships for delivery via the maritime corridor -- the temporary pier that we've been talking about. And here you can see trucks, just today -- these inc- -- the first truck includes palates from the UAE, as a matter of fact, heading across that causeway -- that temporary causeway onto the beach. 21

John Kirby

Positive
00:03:42-00:03:47 (5 sec)
And once in Gaza, once on the beach, the aid will be distributed to those in need by the United Nations. 22

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:03:47-00:04:08 (21 sec)
So, in less than two months, the United States was able to assemble a complex, multinational logistical mechanism to facilitate the delivery of lifesaving assistance in Gaza, to galvanize commitments from partners around the world, and to leverage the United Nations' logistical capabilities to facilitate the distribution of this aid inside the -- inside the -- Gaza. 23

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:04:08-00:04:23 (14 sec)
So, this is a humanitarian effort. And contrary to what we've been seeing out there in the information space, particularly in the region, it is designed solely -- only -- for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. There's no other purpose for this than humanitarian assistance. 24

John Kirby

Positive
00:04:23-00:04:31 (8 sec)
And we're obviously grateful for all the U.S. service members and our teams at USAID and the State Department for their tireless work over the past few weeks to get this going. 25

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:04:31-00:05:05 (34 sec)
Through the humanitarian maritime corridor, USAID plans to provide initial contributions of more than 170 metric tons of nutrient-rich food bars to support 11,000 of the most vulnerable children and adults; ready-to-use therapeutic foods to treat more than 7,200 cases of severe wasting in children; and nearly 90 metric tons of critical supplies, such as plastic sheeting for shelter, jerry cans to hold clean water, and hygiene kits to support more than 33,000 people. And just today, as you're seeing here, we were able to get more the 300 pallets of some of that material in there. 26

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:05:05-00:05:22 (16 sec)
Now, today was just a start. It was the first day. There's still work that has to be done to reach what we call "initial operating capability." But we hope to be able to increase the number of pallets that get in over the coming days and keep that sustainable. And we'll keep you updated, of course. 27

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:05:22-00:05:38 (17 sec)
All of this assi- -- assistance is in addition to thousands of tons of food and other non-food items that are being provided by a number of international partners, including, as I said, the UAE, the United Kingdom, EU, to name a few, as well as resources to support the overall mission, including critical equipment to move that assistance. 28

John Kirby

Somewhat Positive
00:05:38-00:05:48 (10 sec)
We anticipate an increase in the flow of assistance from additional countries and organizations utilizing and steadily scaling up, as I said, the humanitarian maritime corridor every single day that goes by. 29

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:05:48-00:06:16 (27 sec)
In recent days, we've seen some progress in the number of trucks entering Gaza via the land crossings as well. Yesterday, more than 360 trucks moved into Gaza. Between April 5th and May 16th, an average of 176 trucks entered Gaza every single day. It's not enough. I recognize that. We all recognize that. But it's -- but it is -- it is ongoing, and we're hoping to get it increased. And, obviously, we're going to continue to work with Israel to that end. 30

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:06:16-00:06:35 (19 sec)
I do want to make one important point on this before I leave this topic. There is a robust security plan for this effort, and we remain vigilant to potential threats to a- -- to the -- our service members that are working on the pier and humanitarian aid organizations and workers helping with the distribution and the collection at the marshalling area on the -- on the ground. 31

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:06:35-00:06:42 (7 sec)
It remains a top priority. We're going to remain laser-focused on ensuring the safety of everybody involved in this effort. 32

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:06:42-00:06:54 (12 sec)
Now if I could, just quickly, shift to Ukraine. We're closely monitoring Russia's offensive in northeastern Ukraine and are working around the clock to get weapons and equipment into the hands of Ukrainian solders to help them repel these attacks. 33

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:06:54-00:07:12 (18 sec)
Soon after the President signed the national security supplemental last month, he authorized two military aid packages under the presidential drawdown authority. And late last month, the Department of Defense announced a $6 billion package through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which will be used to procure new equipment to strengthen Ukraine's defenses over the medium and long term. 34

John Kirby

Positive
00:07:12-00:07:31 (19 sec)
And then, of course, you saw Secretary Blinken, in Kyiv this past week, announced that the United States will provide an additional $2 billion aid package for Ukraine's defense under the Foreign Military Financing program. All of this will -- I'm sorry -- that aid for FMF will be used in four ways. 35

John Kirby

Neutral
00:07:31-00:07:35 (4 sec)
First, to help Ukraine procure weapons and equipment to repel Russia's invasion. 36

John Kirby

Leans Positive
00:07:35-00:07:38 (3 sec)
Second, to invest in Ukraine's defense industrial base. 37

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:07:38-00:07:43 (5 sec)
Third, to help Ukraine purchase military equipment from other countries in addition to the United States. 38

John Kirby

Positive
00:07:43-00:07:49 (6 sec)
And, finally, these funds may help other countries transition off Russian systems and incentivize donations to Ukraine. 39

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:07:49-00:08:11 (21 sec)
Now just one last program announcement, and then I promise I'll shut up. I can announce today that our National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, will travel to Saudi Arabia starting tomorrow. He'll be there to meet with Prime Minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss bilateral and regional matters, including the war in Gaza, of course, and ongoing efforts to achieve a lasting peace and security in the region. 40

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:08:11-00:08:32 (22 sec)
On Sunday, the next day, Mr. Sullivan will travel to Israel to meet with senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, to discuss, of course, the war in Gaza, including ongoing negotiations to secure the release of all the hostages, address the humanitarian crisis, and our shared objective for the enduring affeat -- enduring defeat of Hamas through both military pressure and a political plan. 41

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:08:32-00:08:33 (1 sec)
Go ahead, M.J. 42

Question

Very Positive
00:08:33-00:08:46 (13 sec)
Thanks, Karine. Thanks, Admiral. I wanted to ask you about the three hostages whose bodies were recovered in Gaza. Was the U.S. given any details, particularly about where they were recovered and how they were recovered? 43

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:08:46-00:09:06 (19 sec)
It's just horrible news. And our hearts go out to the families who -- who are having to deal with this terrible news. I don't have any information that we knew ahead of time or that we had any more -- we have had since the bodies have been recovered -- any additional information or context from the Israelis on this. 44

Question

Slightly Positive
00:09:06-00:09:10 (4 sec)
Okay. The five American hostages who are still unaccounted for -- 45

John Kirby

Unknown
00:09:10-00:09:11 (1 sec)
Correct. 46

Question

Positive
00:09:11-00:09:15 (4 sec)
-- is there any new intelligence about their whereabouts or their potential wellbeing? 47

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:09:15-00:09:28 (13 sec)
Sadly, no. We don't have any information that -- that leads us to a conclusion that they're -- that they're no longer alive. But we just don't have any additional context whatsoever. 48

Question

Positive
00:09:28-00:09:37 (8 sec)
And just on a separate topic very quickly. What was your reaction to seeing Russian President Putin and Chinese President Xi exchanging hugs? 49

John Kirby

Positive
00:09:37-00:09:38 (1 sec)
Exchanging hugs? 50

Question

Unknown
00:09:38-00:09:38 ( sec)
Mm-hmm. 51

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:09:38-00:09:40 (1 sec)
Well, that's nice for them. 52

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:09:40-00:10:03 (23 sec)
Look, you have two countries here -- leaders of two countries that -- that clearly are acting in various ways around the world inimical to our national security interests, to the interests of many of our allies and partners. No surprise that these two leaders continue to try to develop this burgeoning relationship. 53

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:10:03-00:10:14 (11 sec)
But -- but they're also two leaders that don't have a long history of working together, and officials in both governments that -- that aren't necessarily all that trustful of the other. 54

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:10:14-00:10:42 (28 sec)
What they have in common is a comm- -- is a desire to -- to challenge the international rules-based order, challenge the network of alliances and partnerships that United States enjoys and which President Biden has strengthened in his time in office, and -- and to try to look for ways to bolster each other's national security interests as well. 55

John Kirby

Leans Negative
00:10:42-00:10:54 (13 sec)
So, we didn't see anything coming out of this meeting that we weren't necessarily surprised by. I wouldn't go so far as to say we weren't concerned about -- about this relationship and where it's going. Of course we are, and we're watching it closely. But I'd leave it at that. 56

Question

Unknown
00:10:54-00:11:01 (7 sec)
Do you think that was a purposeful show of public display to send any kind of message to the U.S. or otherwise? 57

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:11:01-00:11:12 (11 sec)
Oh, man, I'm not good at talking about personal human bodily affection one way or the other, so I -- I think I'll leave it to these two gents to talk about why they thought it was good to hug one another. [Laughter] 58

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:11:12-00:11:28 (16 sec)
I'll just tell you that -- that we take seriously th- -- the challenges that both countries that represent, and we take seriously this burgeoning relationship between the two of them. 59

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:11:28-00:11:52 (24 sec)
That said, in Ukraine specifically, we haven't seen President Xi rush to the effort to assist the Russian Armed Forces and provide lethal capabilities. We are deeply concerned and have said so. I think Karine mentioned it yesterday, about some of these Chinese companies that are providing microelectronics and components for Russia's defensive sy- -- or weapons systems. That's -- that's a problem, and we've -- and we've raised that with the Ch- -- with the Chinese as well. 60

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:11:52-00:11:53 (1 sec)
Go ahead, Darlene. 61

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:11:53-00:11:59 (6 sec)
Thank you. So, what is the status of the aid on that first truck that went in? Is it being distributed, or is it still waiting --- 62

John Kirby

Unknown
00:11:59-00:12:00 (1 sec)
I was told -- 63

Question

Unknown
00:12:00-00:12:01 (1 sec)
-- to be distributed? 64

John Kirby

Positive
00:12:01-00:12:17 (16 sec)
-- right before coming out here that the U.N. has now taken possession of these first -- these first pallets and are getting them ready for distribution inside Gaza. So, look, I mean, hopefully, by the time we're done here, I mean, some of that stuff will actually be in -- in the mouths of some hungry people, but we'll see. 65

Question

Very Negative
00:12:17-00:12:28 (11 sec)
And then one other question on Russia and Ukraine. Russia is pounding the Kharkiv region. Is it time for the U.S. to revisit the prohibition on Ukraine against using American weapons in an offensive manner? 66

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:12:28-00:12:38 (10 sec)
We do not encourage nor do we enable attacks using U.S.-supplied weapons systems inside Russian territory. That's the policy. That has not changed. 67

Question

Positive
00:12:38-00:12:39 (1 sec)
Thanks. 68

Question

Very Positive
00:12:39-00:12:59 (20 sec)
Thank you, Karine. And thank you, Admiral. You just spoke about the importance of protecting humanitarian aid workers. And it's been a month and a half since the IDF released a report about the World Central Kitchen. Has the U.S. finished reviewing that report? And what did it conclude? 69

John Kirby

Unknown
00:12:59-00:13:09 (10 sec)
I'm not aware that we have some sort of final conclusion on that. But I'll tell you, I'll take the question, and we'll go back and I'll check with my State Department colleagues. But I'm not aware that we've come to some dif- --different or final conclusion about it. 70

Question

Unknown
00:13:09-00:13:16 (7 sec)
When we asked you several times in the past, you said, "We're still reviewing the report. It takes a long time to go through all the facts and figures." So -- 71

John Kirby

Unknown
00:13:16-00:13:18 (2 sec)
I just don't have an update for you. 72

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:13:18-00:13:25 (7 sec)
Okay. Last night, Israel's Defense Minister said that the IDF would send more troops into Rafah. Do you have a response to that? 73

John Kirby

Unknown
00:13:25-00:13:34 (10 sec)
I -- I think we've addressed this one already. As always, I'll let the Israelis talk about their military operations and where they put their troops. Point one. 74

John Kirby

Unknown
00:13:34-00:13:47 (13 sec)
Point two, they have a right and a responsibility to go after Hamas, including in Rafah. And as I just mentioned, Jake's going to raise this issue when he goes to -- to Israel on Sunday. They have a right and responsibility to do that. 75

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:13:47-00:14:00 (13 sec)
How they do that matters, and that's part of the conversations that we also want to have and Jake will have about going after that terrorist capability in Rafah in a way that's targeted, precise, and, quite frankly, effective. 76

John Kirby

Negative
00:14:00-00:14:11 (10 sec)
We don't believe -- still don't believe that the way to do it is to smash into Rafah with a large body of armed forces on the ground in an -- in an indiscriminate and reckless manner. 77

John Kirby

Positive
00:14:11-00:14:18 (8 sec)
So, I can't -- I don't -- I'm not dodging the question. I don't know the context with which Minister Gallant said that. 78

John Kirby

Neutral
00:14:18-00:14:29 (11 sec)
I can just tell you that nothing has changed about our view, that we don't support a major ground operation or a large operation in Rafah that would put -- now it's about a million people -- at -- at greater risk. 79

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:14:29-00:14:31 (2 sec)
Thank you. 80

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:14:31-00:14:32 (1 sec)
Go ahead. 81

Question

Very Positive
00:14:32-00:14:53 (20 sec)
Thank you. As you know, President has focused a lot on democracy -- promoting democracy globally in his three and a half years. What is the President's thoughts on the election that are happening in India right now? Around 900 million voters going out to 1 million polling booths to elect 545 member of parliament from thousands of candidates [inaudible] registered political parties. 82

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:14:53-00:15:10 (17 sec)
There's not too many more vibrant democracies in the world than India. And we applaud the Indian people for -- for exercising, you know, their ability to vote and to have a voice in their -- in their future government. And we wish them well throughout the process, of course. 83

Question

Unknown
00:15:10-00:15:20 (10 sec)
And, secondly, Prime Minister Modi is going for his third term -- seeking his third term from the people of India. How do you see India-U.S. relations in the 10 years of his government? 84

John Kirby

Neutral
00:15:20-00:15:22 (2 sec)
How do I see -- I'm sorry. 85

Question

Unknown
00:15:22-00:15:25 (3 sec)
How do you see India-U.S. relationship in the 10 years of his administration? 86

John Kirby

Unknown
00:15:25-00:15:27 (2 sec)
How do I see it over the last 10 years? 87

Question

Slightly Positive
00:15:27-00:15:27 ( sec)
Yeah. 88

Karine Jean-Pierre

Slightly Positive
00:15:27-00:15:28 (1 sec)
Yeah. 89

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:15:28-00:15:36 (8 sec)
Oh, I -- I'll speak to the last three, if that's okay, because that's kind of where -- where I'm allowed to go. But you -- you -- 90

Question

Unknown
00:15:36-00:15:39 (3 sec)
The first three years were also -- vice president. 91

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:15:39-00:15:43 (4 sec)
Yeah, I'm going to stick to the last three years, if you don't mind. 92

John Kirby

Leans Positive
00:15:43-00:16:07 (24 sec)
Look, our relationship with India is extremely close and getting closer. You saw it in our state visit. I mean, we launched all kinds of new initiatives: working on critical emerging technologies together and bolstering and ex- -- expanding the relevance of the Indo-Pacific Quad, of course, which India is a part of. And then just the people-to-people exchanges and the military -- military cooperation that -- that we share with India. 93

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:16:07-00:16:14 (7 sec)
So, I mean, it's a -- it's a very vibrant, very active partnership. And -- and we're grateful for Prime Minister Modi's leadership. 94

Question

Unknown
00:16:14-00:16:21 (7 sec)
One final one. You spoke about Quad. Does the President really believes that two of his Quad partners, India and Japan, are "xenophobic"? 95

John Kirby

Leans Positive
00:16:21-00:16:36 (15 sec)
No. I mean, look, Karine already dealt with this one. I mean, the President was making a broader point here about the vibrancy of our own democracy here in the United States and how inclusive and particip- -- par- -- participatory it is. 96

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:16:36-00:16:36 ( sec)
Thank you. 97

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:16:36-00:16:39 (3 sec)
Go ahead, Danny. 98

John Kirby

Leans Negative
00:16:39-00:16:41 (1 sec)
That was not easy to say. 99

Question

Very Positive
00:16:41-00:16:54 (13 sec)
Thanks, Admiral. You mentioned that the aid coming through the pier was going to be screened by Israeli authorities. How confident are you that that's not going to cause sort of delays in terms of the aid being held up? 100

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:16:54-00:16:54 ( sec)
Yeah. 101

Question

Very Positive
00:16:54-00:16:59 (5 sec)
And also, if I may, how confident are you that there's not going to be delays at the other end when -- at the pier end as well? 102

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:16:59-00:17:10 (11 sec)
Look, I mean, it's day one. And as I just said, we got indications here just before I came on out here that some of that aid was already moving into Gaza. That's pretty impressive for day one -- just day one. 103

John Kirby

Leans Positive
00:17:10-00:17:29 (19 sec)
The inspections are actually happening in Cyprus. And that's -- that's a really important component of this modular system that we've constructed here. So, the inspections are happening before the ships even leave Cyprus and move on down to the eastern coast -- I'm sorry, the Eastern Med, off the coast of Gaza. 104

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:17:29-00:17:35 (6 sec)
So, right now, it -- it seems like a very good system in place. But, again, it's day one, so we'll take a look and see how it goes. 105

Question

Positive
00:17:35-00:17:40 (4 sec)
Are those inspections being done in tandem with anyone else, such as the United States or -- 106

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:17:40-00:17:45 (6 sec)
The IDF is responsible for the inspection regime in Cyprus. And as I said, on this first day, it worked well. 107

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:17:45-00:17:46 ( sec)
Go ahead. 108

Question

Slightly Positive
00:17:46-00:17:56 (10 sec)
On Jake Sullivan's travel this weekend. Did the U.S. government receive any assurances from Israel that it wouldn't expand its Rafah operation while he's there? 109

John Kirby

Somewhat Positive
00:17:56-00:18:18 (22 sec)
I'll just say, without getting into our diplomatic conversations -- we've said this before -- that we're going to continue to talk to the Israelis about alternatives to major ground operations in Rafah. That is not what they're conducting right now. And they have assured us that they are willing to continue to have those discussions with us before they make any major decisions. And I'll leave it at that. 110

Question

Slightly Positive
00:18:18-00:18:27 (9 sec)
Can you share an update on the American doctors in Gaza who are trying to get out of there and what your understanding is, what the U.S. government assessment is of the holdup? 111

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:18:27-00:18:28 (1 sec)
There's no holdup. They're out. 112

John Kirby

Positive
00:18:28-00:18:43 (15 sec)
Twe- -- there was 20 American doctors; 17 are out now -- came out today. And all 17 of the -- they wanted to -- they wanted to leave. I won't speak for the other three, but just -- but I can assure you that any of them that wanted to leave are out now. 113

Question

Very Negative
00:18:43-00:18:57 (14 sec)
And then, just finally, you referenced the security plan for the port and the pier. Secretary Austin, a couple of weeks ago, before it was operational, said his understanding was that if U.S. troops were fired upon that they may fire back. Is that still your understanding of what would happen here? 114

John Kirby

Unknown
00:18:57-00:18:59 (1 sec)
100 percent. 115

Question

Very Positive
00:18:59-00:19:11 (12 sec)
Thank you, Karine. Thank you, Admiral. When it comes to those bodies that were recovered, the three hostages, what impact does that have on the current ceasefire negotiations? Does it set those talks back? 116

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:19:11-00:19:30 (19 sec)
I don't think we can say that right now. First of all, our focus -- and I'm sure our Israeli counterparts' focus, too -- is on the -- on the families who are getting this horrible news. As you know, the talks didn't go anywhere last week. Unfortunately, we just didn't get to a successful conclusion. 117

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:19:30-00:19:58 (28 sec)
One of the things that Jake wants to cover when he goes over -- back to the region is to see what we can do to keep those talks going and get -- get some kind of resolution here. But I don't think -- it's difficult to see how this grim news today is going to have a major effect on -- on the -- on the hostage deal negotiations. We really want to get this done so that we can get six weeks of a ceasefire that can maybe lead to something more enduring. 118

Question

Very Positive
00:19:58-00:20:08 (10 sec)
And part of that ceasefire deal is the release of hostages. I know you've said you don't know how many Americans are still alive. But is there a broad assessment of how many hostages overall are still alive? 119

John Kirby

Positive
00:20:08-00:20:20 (12 sec)
I would refer you to the Israelis for an exact number. I know it's -- it's north of 100. I've seen estimates of maybe 130 total. Not all of them -- we don't believe all of them are alive. We don't know exactly what the breakdown is. 120

Question

Unknown
00:20:20-00:20:35 (15 sec)
And, of course, Rafah is going to be a big point of discussion when Sullivan is in the region. Can you just talk about the impact that the President's withholding of those 2,000-pound bombs have had on the relationship and Israeli decision-making when it comes to what we're seeing in Rafah right now? 121

John Kirby

Positive
00:20:35-00:21:05 (30 sec)
It was not a withholding. Just -- there was a pause put in place on a -- on a shipment of 2,000-pound bombs, and that pause is still in place. I would remind you that other aid, other weapons and capabilities from the United States continues to flow to Israel. They are not left defenseless. And they also have -- without getting into specifics, they have inventories of existing -- like similar capabilities that they already had available to them. 122

John Kirby

Somewhat Negative
00:21:05-00:21:14 (9 sec)
I won't speak to their operations, but I think you can just disc- -- discern from news coverage alone that they continue to conduct operations in Rafah and elsewhere in Gaza. 123

Question

Unknown
00:21:14-00:21:16 (2 sec)
So, you're saying they already have inventories of the 2,000- -- 124

John Kirby

Unknown
00:21:16-00:21:17 ( sec)
I'm just saying they have -- 125

Question

Unknown
00:21:17-00:21:17 (1 sec)
-- pound bombs? 126

John Kirby

Somewhat Positive
00:21:17-00:21:24 (7 sec)
-- existing inventories of capabilities, and more capabilities continue to go. I won't get into the details of that for their own operational security. 127

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:21:24-00:21:42 (18 sec)
But I did- -- I guess I didn't really answer your question, though, on decision-making. I think -- well, I don't think -- we know that they know what our concerns are with respect to Rafah and how they go into Rafah and what that looks like. And, again, Jake is going to go over this weekend, and he'll reiterate those same points. 128

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:21:42-00:21:43 (1 sec)
Go ahead. 129

Question

Very Negative
00:21:43-00:22:02 (19 sec)
John, you had the assassination attempt of the Slovakian leader this week. What is the level of concern that this could be an indicator of instability in Europe? You have European Union elections coming up in June. There have been some attacks on German politicians that we've seen. You know, how much is this a worry of the administration across the world? 130

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:22:02-00:22:23 (21 sec)
You know, it's too soon to know whether you're seeing some kind of a trend here, a wave of violent activity or intent with respect to political stability in Europe. But obviously, we're watching this real closely. Certainly, we're glad to hear that the Prime Minister survived the attack and -- and is on the mend. We wish him a speedy recovery. 131

Question

Very Positive
00:22:23-00:22:30 (6 sec)
Thanks, Karine. Admiral, back to Ukraine. Does the President hope to attend the Ukraine peace conference next month [inaudible]? 132

John Kirby

Unknown
00:22:30-00:22:32 (3 sec)
I don't have anything on his schedule to speak to in that regard. 133

Question

Unknown
00:22:32-00:22:39 (7 sec)
I just wanted to ask you about the Strategic Consultant Group status, when the -- when they will be meeting. 134

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:22:39-00:22:41 (2 sec)
Well, you got the National Security Advisor -- 135

Question

Unknown
00:22:41-00:22:42 ( sec)
Is -- it will be next week? 136

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:22:42-00:23:00 (19 sec)
-- going over this weekend. That's -- that's a pretty good -- that's a pretty good level of meetings here. I don't have another one inside the SCG context to -- to speak to today. We've had a couple live ones. We've had some virtual ones. I think that they'll continue. But the next -- the next consultation, if you will, is Jake's trip this weekend. 137

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:23:00-00:23:02 (2 sec)
Go ahead, Nadia. 138

Question

Leans Positive
00:23:02-00:23:16 (15 sec)
John, just to follow up what you told me this morning. Were there any conditions that Israel has imposed on certain items in this aid that will get into Gaza? Because, in the past, they wouldn't allow scissors, for example, wheelchairs, other items. Or is it just purely food -- 139

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:23:16-00:23:28 (11 sec)
This is really focused -- these -- certainly today and I think in the coming days, it's really going to be focused on food, nutri- -- nutrition. That's really the focus. And there's been no restrictions placed by the Israelis on that. 140

Question

Slightly Positive
00:23:28-00:23:29 (1 sec)
Okay. And then -- 141

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:23:29-00:23:48 (19 sec)
And I would -- I've got one to add -- one -- one more point. You reminded me that -- that the Israelis and the IDF, in particular, have been enormously helpful and supportive of this effort, this temporary pier and their role in -- on the beach and on the ground in supporting it. They've been very, very helpful -- extremely cooperative. 142

Question

Unknown
00:23:48-00:24:01 (13 sec)
And the distribution, you just said that U- -- U.N. agency is going to be in charge. Is that -- does this include UNRWA? And second, will be any supervision by the IDF or in the steps of distribution, not just offloading of the pier? 143

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:24:01-00:24:13 (12 sec)
I want to be careful here because I don't want to violate operational security issues. As I said in my opening statement, the food will be distributed by the U.N. and other aid organizations. I'll let the U.N. speak to th- -- how they're going to do that. 144

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:24:13-00:24:35 (22 sec)
When you get the material ashore, it goes into what we would call a marshalling area. So, it's a part of the beach where it can be placed safely until it can be then head -- head out on trucks into Gaza. And there -- I would just say that there's an adequate security apparatus in place for that purpose. And I think I need to leave it at that. 145

Question

Neutral
00:24:35-00:24:41 (5 sec)
And finally, I just want to follow up on the hostages. 146

Question

Positive
00:24:41-00:24:42 (1 sec)
Thanks, Karine. 147

Question

Very Negative
00:24:42-00:24:49 (7 sec)
[Inaudible] that there are actually reports indicating that the -- the bodies that they recovered today, that the hostages were killed as far as December. It -- they were not killed recently. 148

John Kirby

Unknown
00:24:49-00:24:51 (2 sec)
I don't have that level of information. I don't know. 149

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:24:51-00:24:53 (2 sec)
Nandita, go ahead. 150

Question

Very Positive
00:24:53-00:25:00 (7 sec)
Thank you, Karine. Hi, Admiral. Just quickly to follow up on the military pier. Are U.S. troops guarding it on the ground? 151

John Kirby

Neutral
00:25:00-00:25:22 (22 sec)
There is a -- not on the ground. So, as I said in my opening statement, there are no U.S. servicemembers in Gaza. There is a small U.S. military component on the pier itself. And they're there really to do sort of two things. One is to provide a modicum of security for it but also to assist with the logistics. 152

John Kirby

Positive
00:25:22-00:25:39 (17 sec)
I mean, you're going to have ships pulling up to this pier -- not the big cargo ships. They'll -- they'll transport it to smaller ships off the coast of Gaza. Those smaller ships will bring the goods onto the pier, and you're going to need some logistical support to get it from the ships onto the trucks. 153

John Kirby

Unknown
00:25:39-00:25:44 (5 sec)
So, there's a small footprint of U.S. military on the pier, but they will not -- not go into Gaza. 154

Question

Unknown
00:25:44-00:25:46 (2 sec)
How -- how many, when you -- when you say "small"? 155

John Kirby

Unknown
00:25:46-00:25:53 (6 sec)
I think I'm going to let the Pentagon speak to the numbers. I don't want to -- I don't want to violate that. But it's not -- it's not a huge number. 156

Question

Very Positive
00:25:53-00:26:02 (9 sec)
And -- and why is the U.S. confident that Israel will not strike any of the vehicles that are taking aid in? I understand you said that they've been helpful. 157

John Kirby

Unknown
00:26:02-00:26:04 (3 sec)
They have been extraordinarily cooperative. 158

Question

Leans Negative
00:26:04-00:26:10 (6 sec)
But have they offered explicit assurances that they will not? I mean, because they attacked the World Food Kitchen cars that were carrying aid. 159

John Kirby

Negative
00:26:10-00:26:24 (14 sec)
And they investigated, and they fired people that they thought were at fault, and they apologized for the mistake. And they have tried to improve their deconfliction process. We are not worried about the Israelis striking the convoys of trucks that are coming off of that pier. 160

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:26:24-00:26:30 (6 sec)
They are actually participating in helping marshal that material ashore and then get it into Gaza. So, that's not a concern. 161

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:26:30-00:26:31 (1 sec)
Go ahead, Patsy. 162

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:26:31-00:26:41 (10 sec)
Thank you, Karine. So, just to clarify, John, the Israelis and the American soldiers -- the small footprint of American soldiers will be working together to marshal these shipments? 163

John Kirby

Leans Negative
00:26:41-00:26:46 (5 sec)
There is a small component of U.S. servicemembers on the pier. There are no Israeli Defense Forces on the pier. 164

Question

Unknown
00:26:46-00:26:56 (10 sec)
And so, is there anything more that you can preview on President Ruto's visit next week, especially in terms of shoring up partnership against China's influence in the continent? 165

John Kirby

Unknown
00:26:56-00:26:58 (2 sec)
We'll have more to say on the state visit as we get closer to it. 166

Question

Neutral
00:26:58-00:27:14 (16 sec)
Okay. And then just one more -- one more. And feel free if you want to take this one, Karine. Many of those protests and -- on campus have linked the Palestinian cause to activism of other global injustices, including ra- -- racism against African Americans. 167

Question

Very Negative
00:27:14-00:27:34 (20 sec)
And so, you both have said often that the President understands the emotions behind these protests. But I was wondering specifically: As -- as the President is ramping up his outreach to Black voters, is he aware of and sensitive towards the Black community and how they might see a common parallel of injustice between themselves and Palestinians? 168

Karine Jean-Pierre

Somewhat Positive
00:27:34-00:27:36 (2 sec)
Let me -- let take this. Let's let the Admiral finish what he came to do. 169

John Kirby

Unknown
00:27:36-00:27:37 (1 sec)
That -- that's a -- 170

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:27:37-00:27:38 (1 sec)
And then I'll take some -- 171

Question

Slightly Positive
00:27:38-00:27:38 ( sec)
Okay. 172

John Kirby

Positive
00:27:38-00:27:39 (1 sec)
That's definitely not a question for me. 173

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:27:39-00:27:42 (3 sec)
Go ahead. We'll take a couple more. Go ahead. 174

Question

Unknown
00:27:42-00:27:43 ( sec)
One is -- 175

Karine Jean-Pierre

Slightly Positive
00:27:43-00:27:45 (2 sec)
Oh, the young lady right here. Yeah. 176

Question

Very Positive
00:27:45-00:27:55 (10 sec)
Oh, thank you. John, I -- you mentioned the U.S. providing some security. I thought the IDF was going to be providing the security, but is there a small component of U.S. forces that are also there providing some security for the pier? 177

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:27:55-00:28:00 (5 sec)
There's a small component of U.S. servicemembers on the pier, as I said, that will be helping with force protection, of course. I mean -- 178

Question

Neutral
00:28:00-00:28:02 (1 sec)
But you can't speak to the number? 179

John Kirby

Neutral
00:28:02-00:28:04 (3 sec)
I'm not going to speak to the number. I'll let you -- the Pentagon do that. 180

Question

Unknown
00:28:04-00:28:09 (4 sec)
And then, there's still U.S. forces or U.S. troops offshore, in addition to those on the pier? 181

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:28:09-00:28:28 (19 sec)
There's a -- there's -- there's a Navy component -- there's a -- there's Navy assistance in getting the material onto smaller vessels out further away from the pier, well off the coast, so that those smaller vessels then can transload the material onto the pier. 182

John Kirby

Unknown
00:28:28-00:28:39 (11 sec)
I mean, you've seen the pictures of the pier. It's not practical to bring a big freight or cargo ship up against that thing. I mean, it's anchored to the seabed, but it's temporary. It's not -- you know, there's not concrete piles in there. 183

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:28:39-00:28:50 (11 sec)
So, what we do is we take the stuff off the bigger ships -- all well off the coast -- put it on smaller U.S. Navy vessels. Those smaller U.S. Navy vessels will bring it into the pier and offload it so it can get onto trucks. 184

Question

Very Negative
00:28:50-00:29:03 (13 sec)
And just overall, this -- this area has been targeted before by a mortar attack. What is the administration trying to do to prevent and deter an attack from happening again? And -- and what efforts are being done to -- 185

John Kirby

Unknown
00:29:03-00:29:03 (1 sec)
I mean -- 186

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:29:03-00:29:05 (2 sec)
-- protect those U.S. forces there? 187

Karine Jean-Pierre

Somewhat Positive
00:29:05-00:29:20 (15 sec)
-- part of my being up here today is a little bit of that to make it clear what this is and what it's not. There's been some bogus stuff out there in the information environment, particularly in the region, that this has some sort of military capacity or operational capacity for the IDF, and it just doesn't. It's nothing more than humanitarian assistance. 188

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:29:20-00:29:26 (6 sec)
And we've also passed that message back through the appropriate channels to Hamas so they understand exactly what this is. 189

Karine Jean-Pierre

Slightly Negative
00:29:26-00:29:34 (8 sec)
And look, showing pictures -- you all can get online and see what it is. I mean, we're making no secret about what this thing is and what it's not. 190

Karine Jean-Pierre

Slightly Positive
00:29:34-00:29:36 (2 sec)
Okay. Just a couple more. Go ahead. 191

Question

Very Positive
00:29:36-00:29:41 (6 sec)
Thanks, Karine. Admiral, I know this is day one -- maybe closer to hour one of this pier initiative -- 192

John Kirby

Unknown
00:29:41-00:29:42 (1 sec)
But -- 193

Question

Unknown
00:29:42-00:29:48 (5 sec)
-- but -- [laughs] -- you know, even at full capacity, it'll only be a fraction of the amount of aid. Is -- 194

John Kirby

Unknown
00:29:48-00:29:48 ( sec)
Correct. 195

Question

Positive
00:29:48-00:29:55 (7 sec)
-- the United States working on or negotiating, figuring out other methods of getting additional aid in via other avenues? 196

John Kirby

Unknown
00:29:55-00:30:16 (21 sec)
Well, look, there's no better way to do it than the land crossings. There's just not. And before the war, there was 500 trucks going in a day over a course of different crossings, and we want to get back up to that level if we can. Now, that's a tall order; I get that. And we haven't been able to even get a sustainable 300-plus trucks in a day. But it's important that Rafah open immediately. 197

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:30:16-00:30:33 (17 sec)
Other -- other crossings are open, but there's been challenges with getting some of that aid through those crossings, particularly protest activity on the Israeli side. And those delays, those problems have got to be solved. 198

John Kirby

Somewhat Negative
00:30:33-00:30:37 (4 sec)
And I have no doubt that Mr. Sullivan will raise those issues as well when he's over there. 199

John Kirby

Slightly Negative
00:30:37-00:30:47 (10 sec)
But this is meant to be additive -- this temporary pier -- additive, not an alternative. There's just no alternative really to getting trucks in on the ground. 200

Karine Jean-Pierre

Slightly Positive
00:30:47-00:30:49 (1 sec)
Okay. Brian, you have the last one. 201

Question

Neutral
00:30:49-00:30:58 (10 sec)
Thanks a lot. Hey, Admiral. I have a question about the death toll in Gaza. Does President Biden have confidence in the casualty numbers coming out of Gaza? 202

John Kirby

Very Negative
00:30:58-00:31:12 (13 sec)
The President watches this very, very closely. And you've heard him talk about the more than 30,000 people that have been killed, and he said the majority are women and children. And he's also said that's unacceptable. 203

John Kirby

Slightly Positive
00:31:12-00:31:30 (18 sec)
And as we've maintained time and time again, the right number of civilian casualties ought to be zero. But in terms of, you know, what -- what specific number we're quoting or citing on any given day, I mean, we're doing the best we can working with the Israelis to -- to ascertain the scope of the civilian suffering, but it's obviously immense. 204

Question

Unknown
00:31:30-00:31:30 ( sec)
Has his -- 205

Karine Jean-Pierre

Somewhat Positive
00:31:30-00:31:30 ( sec)
Thank -- 206

Question

Very Positive
00:31:30-00:31:36 (6 sec)
Has his confidence in the numbers coming out of Gaza increased since late October, when he said he had "no confidence" in the numbers -- 207

John Kirby

Unknown
00:31:36-00:31:36 (1 sec)
You -- you've heard -- 208

Question

Unknown
00:31:36-00:31:37 ( sec)
-- [inaudible]? 209

John Kirby

Unknown
00:31:37-00:31:39 (3 sec)
-- the President talk about the numbers and talk about the concern. 210

Question

Unknown
00:31:39-00:31:39 ( sec)
[Inaudible] 211

John Kirby

Very Positive
00:31:39-00:31:51 (12 sec)
And the most important thing -- aside from, obviously, how tragic that is -- is what we're doing to alleviate and help improve conditions in Gaza, including through this temporary pier today. 212

John Kirby

Positive
00:31:51-00:31:52 (1 sec)
Thanks, everybody. 213

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:31:52-00:31:54 (2 sec)
All right, thanks, Admiral. 214

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:31:54-00:31:55 (1 sec)
Thank you. 215

Karine Jean-Pierre

Slightly Positive
00:31:55-00:31:58 (3 sec)
All right. Okay. Darlene, I don't have anything else. 216

Question

Very Positive
00:31:58-00:32:19 (21 sec)
Great. Thank you. Does the President, who is a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, agree with the current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that Justice Alito should recuse himself from 20 cases involving the 2020 Election or January 6th, because of the reporting of the upside-down flag flown outside of his house? 217

Karine Jean-Pierre

Neutral
00:32:19-00:32:26 (8 sec)
So, obviously, we've seen the reporting, and I -- I don't want to comment on the specific report of -- on that reporting. 218

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:32:26-00:32:48 (22 sec)
What I can say more broadly is that the President believes that the American flag is sacred -- you've heard him say that -- and is owed proper respect and honor of the brave men and women who have defended our -- our country for generations. And we should be respecting that flag. We should be making sure that it is respected in that way. It is sacred. 219

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:32:48-00:32:58 (10 sec)
As for anything else, the conduct or recusing himself, that is something for the court to decide. I just don't have anything else to add. 220

Karine Jean-Pierre

Positive