Skip to content
Fact
ba
.
se

Press Gaggle: Karine Jean-Pierre Holds a Press Briefing on Air Force One - May 9, 2024

  • Karine Jean-Pierre
    Person
  • Question
    Person
  • Aide
    Person
Unknown

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:00-00:00:02 (3 sec)
Hello. I have nothing. 1

Question

Unknown
00:00:02-00:00:06 (3 sec)
This is kind of late, isn't it? 2

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:06-00:00:07 (1 sec)
The gaggle or -- 3

Question

Very Positive
00:00:07-00:00:09 (2 sec)
Yeah, yeah. 4

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:09-00:00:10 (2 sec)
We just got on -- didn't we just get on the plane? 5

Question

Unknown
00:00:10-00:00:12 (2 sec)
But it's almost seven o'clock. 6

Question

Unknown
00:00:12-00:00:13 (1 sec)
Late in general. 7

Question

Unknown
00:00:13-00:00:15 (2 sec)
Late in general. 8

Aide

Unknown
00:00:15-00:00:17 (2 sec)
We said 6:30 tentatively, and it's only 6:40. So -- 9

Question

Negative
00:00:17-00:00:20 (3 sec)
No, no, no, I'm not talking about that. I mean, just in general. Like the scheme of the day. 10

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:20-00:00:21 ( sec)
In life? 11

Question

Positive
00:00:21-00:00:21 ( sec)
Yes. 12

Question

Unknown
00:00:21-00:00:24 (3 sec)
The flight is late in the day. 13

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:24-00:00:30 (6 sec)
It's -- I don't know. I was going to say something, but it's inappropriate, so I won't say it. 14

Question

Unknown
00:00:30-00:00:30 (1 sec)
Go ahead. 15

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:30-00:00:32 (2 sec)
Nope. Nope. Nope. [Laughter] 16

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:00:32-00:00:34 (2 sec)
Have at it. [Laughs] 17

Question

Very Negative
00:00:34-00:00:44 (10 sec)
How is the White House responding to the pushback that you all have been getting from the President's comments yesterday that he's not going to give Israel the offensive weapons it needs to go into Rafah? 18

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:00:44-00:00:57 (13 sec)
So, as you know, my colleagues over at -- my colleague over at the State Department had a briefing today and I think did a really good job laying that out. Admiral Kirby did a gaggle this morning also discussing -- discussing all of this as well. 19

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:00:57-00:01:17 (20 sec)
Here's what I'll say and just kind of give a li- -- little bit of a laydown, as they did. So, as you all know, obviously, last night, the President outlined what has been our policy on Rafah, that his support for Israel's defense is ironclad, and -- and Israel has every right to go after Hamas and those responsible for October 7th massacres. 20

Karine Jean-Pierre

Somewhat Positive
00:01:17-00:01:38 (21 sec)
What we do not support is a major ground operation in Rafah, a city now sheltering over 1 million people, since we believe there are better alternative ways to go after Hamas. The President has said that publicly and has communicated that repeatedly and directly to the Prime Minister. 21

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:01:38-00:02:00 (22 sec)
What the President made clear on CNN is that we do not want to provide materiel support to such an operation, describing how we have held a shipment of high-payload, unguided munition as we discuss with Israel our concerns about their use in dense urban environments. For him, this is straightforward. 22

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Negative
00:02:00-00:02:15 (14 sec)
We will continue to provide Israel with all of capabilities it needs to defend itself, but he does not want certain categories of American weapons used in a particular type of operation in a particular place. 23

Karine Jean-Pierre

Negative
00:02:15-00:02:32 (17 sec)
More broadly, the President has -- has directed his team with continuing to work with Israel to refine their strategy to inf- -- to inflict an enduring defeat on Hamas. Smashing into Rafah, in his view, will not advance that objective. 24

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:02:32-00:02:43 (11 sec)
So, that's the laydown of how we see things. That's a laydown how the President laid -- spoke to last night, obviously, on CNN. And that's how we see it moving forward. 25

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:02:43-00:03:12 (29 sec)
But, look, when it comes to Rafah operations, we have been very clear on this. We've talked to all of you publicly. Obviously, the President, as I just stated, has said this privately, not just to, obviously, the Prime Minister but also to our Israeli counterparts. As you know, we had two, we thought, very concrete, important virtual -- virtual meetings that were led by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in the past several weeks laying out our concerns. 26

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:03:12-00:03:42 (30 sec)
We've been very public and private about our concerns about a -- a ma- -- a major operation going into Rafah. We're talking about 1.5 million civilians, Gazans, who are in a densely populated area of Rafah -- areas of Rafah, and we want to make sure that there is a plan that protects them, there is a plan that makes sure that, you know, we are protecting the lives of these innocent civilians who are seeking refuge in Rafah. 27

Karine Jean-Pierre

Slightly Positive
00:03:42-00:03:58 (17 sec)
So, we've been very clear about that. And that's what you heard from the President. Again, he put a pause on a particular type of weaponry because he is concerned about -- about how Israel potentially could move forward into Rafah. 28

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:03:58-00:04:09 (10 sec)
But, look, we have not seen any -- any movement. But we want to be very, very clear on this. We have to make sure that we protect those 1.5 million civilian lives. 29

Question

Unknown
00:04:09-00:04:11 (2 sec)
Prime Minister Netanyahu said that -- 30

Karine Jean-Pierre

Slightly Positive
00:04:11-00:04:11 ( sec)
Yeah. 31

Question

Slightly Negative
00:04:11-00:04:26 (16 sec)
-- reportedly said that they would fight to -- fight by their fingernails, if they had to. That doesn't sound like they're responding very well to the -- the President's -- you know, that they're responding very well to any sort of pause in arma- -- in armaments or anything. 32

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:04:26-00:04:33 (6 sec)
So, look, I mean, all you have to look at is the Pr- -- what the President has done since October 7th. 33

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:04:33-00:05:03 (31 sec)
The President has committed to Israel being able to defend itself. Israel's -- Israel's security is ironclad. You've heard us say that over and over again, as -- as recently as a couple of weeks ago, as you know, when we saw Iran send hundreds of missiles and drones into -- into Israel. We stepped in and helped defend -- Israel defend itself. And you saw others -- partners and allies -- step in as well to help Israel defend itself. 34

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:05:03-00:05:15 (11 sec)
That is our commitment here. And with the national security supplemental, we pushed for that to get through so that Israel can also get the -- get the security assistance needed to defend themselves. 35

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:05:15-00:05:30 (15 sec)
What we are talking about is a particular operation -- the Rafah operation. Again, 1.5 million people living in -- in -- not l- -- seeking refuge, to be more exact, in Rafah. And we want to make sure that they are protected. 36

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:05:30-00:05:41 (11 sec)
But we will be committed -- we are committed, the President is committed to Israel's -- Israel's security and able to defend itself, and that is ironclad. That has not changed. That has not changed. 37

Question

Unknown
00:05:41-00:05:43 (2 sec)
Will Netanyahu listen? 38

Karine Jean-Pierre

Somewhat Positive
00:05:43-00:06:01 (17 sec)
Look, that is for the Prime Minister to speak to. As you know, the President spoke to the Prime Minister on Monday. They talked about humanitarian aid, obviously, as we mentioned, and making sure that one of the crossings are open so that we can get more trucks in. He also talked to him about Rafah operations. 39

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:06:01-00:06:26 (26 sec)
We've been very clear about this. We've been very consistent. Our -- again, our commitment to Israel's security is ironclad. But we want to make sure -- as it relates to this Rafah operation, we want to make sure that there is a comprehensive plan on how we would -- on how -- how Israel would deal with the innocent civilians -- the 1.5 innocent civilians in Rafah. We want to make sure that they are protected. 40

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:06:26-00:06:36 (10 sec)
But our -- our support for Israel's security has not changed. This is a pause. This is a pause that we're talking about on one particular shipment. It is a pause. 41

Question

Positive
00:06:36-00:06:44 (8 sec)
Is this threat, though, based on any intelligence or briefing that the Israelis gave to the administration on what they intend to do in Rafah? 42

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:06:44-00:06:58 (14 sec)
So, look, as you know, we've had a back-and-forth, as I just stated, with Isra- -- our Israeli counterparts. We -- I mentioned that the President spoke to Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. We read that out on Monday. I'm not going to go beyond what the readout has been. 43

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:06:58-00:07:27 (29 sec)
We have not seen any -- any operations moving forward in Rafah. But we want to be very clear of our concerns. And this is a pause. This is not a -- a stopping of weaponry so that they -- so that Israel can defend itself. This is a pause on -- on the -- on -- on, you know, a situation that we've been very clear and concerned about. We've shared our concern about the Rafah -- potential Rafah operations, but we have not seen anything. Just want to be very clear. 44

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:07:27-00:07:29 (2 sec)
Is there a time frame for the pause? Like, how long -- 45

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:07:29-00:07:29 ( sec)
I don't -- 46

Question

Unknown
00:07:29-00:07:32 (3 sec)
Is it until Rafah -- until Israel says, "We're done in Rafah"? Is it -- 47

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:07:32-00:07:41 (9 sec)
I don't have a timeline, but we are continuing those conversations with our Israeli counterparts. We are in ongoing communications. I just don't have anything else beyond that. 48

Question

Very Positive
00:07:41-00:08:02 (21 sec)
Karine, does the White House have a comment about the letter that was sent by a top Biden fundraiser, Mr. Saban, to Anita Dunn and other White House advisors about -- talking about there are more Jewish supporters than there are Palestinian supporters of the President? 49

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:08:02-00:08:06 (4 sec)
I -- I ha- -- I can't speak to that letter. Sounds like a campaign letter, so I -- I just can't speak to that. 50

Karine Jean-Pierre

Positive
00:08:06-00:08:16 (10 sec)
As it relates to supporters, potential donors, I just want to be really, really mindful. And I have not seen this letter, so I can't -- I don't have a direct comment to it. 51

Question

Negative
00:08:16-00:08:24 (7 sec)
Karine, can I ask this in a way that will try to -- [laughter] -- get around your Hatch Act violation concerns? 52

Karine Jean-Pierre

Slightly Positive
00:08:24-00:08:24 ( sec)
Yeah. 53

Question

Negative
00:08:24-00:08:45 (21 sec)
The President earlier was asked about debating and said -- responded by saying, "Set it up." Would -- would it be correct to interpret that as a glib, maybe insincere response to that question? Or would it be correct to say that the President is open to an earlier debate? 54

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:08:45-00:09:02 (17 sec)
Look, I think -- [laughs] -- I got to be mindful. Again, as you just stated in your question, in trying to ask me the question -- before you asked the question, in trying to ask me the question, I just want to be super careful. It's a debate. It's part of the campaign. I -- I want to be mindful and respect the Hatch Act. 55

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:09:02-00:09:12 (11 sec)
All I can do is -- is -- you know, is send you to the President's statement and also the President's campaign. I just -- I don't want to even step foot -- you know, dip my toe in that. I got to be super mindful. 56

Question

Unknown
00:09:12-00:09:26 (14 sec)
Karine, the President said that in addition to the 2,000-pound bombs you outlined, the U.S. will also not provide Israel with artillery shells to use in Rafah. Is that the case? And, if so, can you give a full accounting of what the U.S. will not provide Israel? 57

Karine Jean-Pierre

Neutral
00:09:26-00:09:52 (26 sec)
So, let me just give you -- just bear with me for a second. So, we have paused one shipment of weapons. It consists of 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs. We are especially focused on the end use of the 2000-pound bombs and the impact they could have in dense urban settings, as we have seen in other parts of Gaza. 58

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:09:52-00:10:08 (16 sec)
We have not made a final determination on how to proceed with this shipment. Not going to speak beyond that shipment. I want to be super mindful. I also emphasize the President spoke of a hypothetical: if Israel invades Rafah. That has not happened yet, as I've stated many times. 59

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Negative
00:10:08-00:10:32 (24 sec)
I would also note that the United States has surged billions of dollars in security assistance to Israel since the October 7th attacks; passed the largest-ever supplemental appropriation for emergency assistance to Israel; led an unprecedented coalition to defend Israel against Iran -- Iranian attacks, as I've mentioned already; and will continue to do what is necessary to ensure Israel can defend itself from the threat it faces. 60

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:10:32-00:10:57 (25 sec)
We are also committed to ensuring Israel gets every dollar appropriated in the supplemental. In addition, we just approved the latest tranche of foreign military financing, which is $827 million worth of weapons and equipment for Israel. So, we are very specific about -- particular about what we're concerned about. And I just don't want to go beyond -- beyond that. 61

Question

Unknown
00:10:57-00:11:00 (2 sec)
So, artillery shells will continue? 62

Karine Jean-Pierre

Neutral
00:11:00-00:11:01 (1 sec)
I don't want to go beyond what I just stated. 63

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:11:01-00:11:25 (24 sec)
But, look, I think the -- the bigger piece of this -- right? -- is that 1.5 million ci- -- civilians are living in Rafah in -- in a densely populated areas, right? And they are there seeking refuge, seeking shelter. And the President wants to make sure that their lives are protected. 64

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:11:25-00:11:43 (18 sec)
We understand, obviously, the importance of going after Hamas operatives. That is something that we certainly support Israel doing. But we want to see a comprehensive plan. And that's the conversations that we have been having back and forth. 65

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:11:43-00:11:56 (13 sec)
We have provided Israel with some alternatives -- I'm not going to get into that, obviously, from here -- on how to do that, how to be strategic in going after those Hamas operators. And so, those conversations are going to continue. 66

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:11:56-00:12:13 (17 sec)
And our commitment -- our commitment to Israel's security continues to be ironclad. As I just laid out, we are going to make sure every dollar of the appropriations that is coming out of the national security supplemental, indeed, gets to Israel. That is our commitment. 67

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:12:13-00:12:23 (11 sec)
But we believe we have to -- we have to make sure that those civilian lives -- more than 1 million -- is protected. And we've been pretty consistent about this over and over and over for the past several weeks. 68

Question

Unknown
00:12:23-00:12:24 (1 sec)
What do you mean by "alternatives"? 69

Karine Jean-Pierre

Neutral
00:12:24-00:12:48 (24 sec)
No, I -- and I said, I'm not going to get into the al- -- I'm -- what I was talking about is there's been back-and-forth, obviously -- right? -- with the -- our Is- -- Israeli counterpart that the National Security Advisor, Jake Sul- -- Sullivan, has been leading. And we've offered alternatives on how to move forward in getting those Hamas operatives that we believe -- we believe in Israel's goal in -- in doing that. 70

Karine Jean-Pierre

Somewhat Positive
00:12:48-00:12:56 (8 sec)
I'm not going to get into sp- -- specifics. But we've talked -- we've said this before. I think the National Security Advisor said this at the podium. I'm just not going to get into specifics from here. 71

Question

Very Negative
00:12:56-00:13:10 (14 sec)
Karine, as we were taking off, the FAA bill was being stalled in Congress over a fight over slots -- additional flights into DCA. Does the White House have an opinion on how lawmakers should handle that issue? 72

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:13:10-00:13:17 (7 sec)
So, I'm going to let that process play out. I'm not going to get ahead of that, but certainly will -- will let congressional members deal with that. 73

Question

Unknown
00:13:17-00:13:18 (1 sec)
Karine -- 74

Karine Jean-Pierre

Slightly Positive
00:13:18-00:13:19 (1 sec)
Yeah. 75

Question

Very Positive
00:13:19-00:13:25 (6 sec)
An Inspector General for the VA found that the Veterans Administration improperly awarded 11 million in bonuses. 76

Karine Jean-Pierre

Leans Negative
00:13:25-00:13:27 (2 sec)
Improperly? I'm sorry? 77

Question

Slightly Positive
00:13:27-00:13:28 (1 sec)
Yeah, improperly -- 78

Karine Jean-Pierre

Slightly Positive
00:13:28-00:13:28 ( sec)
Okay. 79

Question

Very Positive
00:13:28-00:13:36 (8 sec)
-- awarded 11 million in bonuses and has had a hard time paying it back. Does the President still have confidence in VA Administrator McDonough? 80

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:13:36-00:13:47 (11 sec)
He has confidence in VA Administrator McDonough. I -- I can't speak to that particular report, it sounds like, that you're laying out. I don't have any -- I don't have any insight in that. 81

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:13:47-00:14:08 (20 sec)
But I know that the President respects Secretary McDonough. As, obviously, you know, they worked together in the Obama administration when the Secretary was then Chief of Staff, and I know they have a -- a good relationship, a close relationship. And certainly, one of the reasons why he appointed him is because he respected his leadership. 82

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:14:08-00:14:10 (2 sec)
I can't speak to that particular report at this time. 83

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:14:10-00:14:12 (2 sec)
All right? 84

Question

Very Negative
00:14:12-00:14:27 (15 sec)
I have one other question. Do you know if the President is aware of the case in Florida -- the apparent -- a Black member of the military, an Air Force airman, was shot and killed by police in an apparent case of them going to the wrong apartment? 85

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:14:27-00:14:35 (8 sec)
Yeah, I heard -- I've read those reports. It happened, like, earlier this week. I haven't had a chance to speak to the President about that. So, I can't speak to his -- his knowledge of it. 86

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:14:35-00:14:36 (1 sec)
All right. 87

Question

Positive
00:14:36-00:14:41 (6 sec)
Can you talk to us a little bit about why we're on the airplane? Like, what's happening these next two days? If -- 88

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:14:41-00:14:43 (2 sec)
Why we're on -- I ca- -- [laughs] -- 89

Question

Unknown
00:14:43-00:14:44 (1 sec)
Is there any official -- 90

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:14:44-00:14:44 ( sec)
Matt. [Laughs] 91

Question

Unknown
00:14:44-00:14:46 (2 sec)
-- capacity, or is this all fundraisers? 92

Karine Jean-Pierre

Somewhat Positive
00:14:46-00:14:57 (11 sec)
I can say that the trip that we are -- obviously, we're headed to California, headed to Seattle. Those are campaign trips, and certainly, the campaign can speak specifically on what we'll be doing. 93

Karine Jean-Pierre

Unknown
00:14:57-00:14:59 (3 sec)
So, I can't -- can't say beyond that. 94

Question

Unknown
00:14:59-00:15:01 (2 sec)
So, there's nothing official that you -- 95

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Negative
00:15:01-00:15:04 (3 sec)
No, no, this is -- this is strictly on campaign. 96

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:15:04-00:15:07 (2 sec)
All right? Thanks, everybody. Appreciate you all. 97

Karine Jean-Pierre

Positive
00:15:07-00:15:07 (1 sec)
Enjoy dinner -- 98

Question

Somewhat Positive
00:15:07-00:15:08 ( sec)
Thank you. 99

Karine Jean-Pierre

Very Positive
00:15:08-00:15:14 (6 sec)
-- or whatever time it is. Yes, dinner. Thanks, everybody. 100