White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre drew very evident frustration from during a press conference Wednesday, where she chose to outright evade a journalist’s questions on the escalating border crisis.
O’Keefe began his line of questioning by observing that President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order that reversed reforms under the Trump administration that restricted and limited the ability of illegal immigrants to request asylum and offered an immigration bill “that has gone nowhere.”
He asked Jean-Pierre,
“Our reporting … indicates the White House, through sources in the administration, is open to an authority that would allow it to suspend asylum processing when there is a spike in border crossings. Wouldn’t that be a major policy reversal and revert back to the previous four years?”
She quickly attempted to pivot and redirect, “I’m just not gonna go into sourcing from here. I’m not gonna get into specifics. There are negotiations happening. Not gonna negotiate from the podium. Gonna let the conversation happen. We have to find a bipartisan compromise. That’s what the president said. That’s what the president believes in order to deal with this issue — and you started off your question … laying out actually that the president did put forth, you laid that out in your question, a comprehensive immigration reform plan. He did that on day one and it is going on three years —”
O’Keefe attempted to interject, keeping her on topic.
“How much time since day one has he spent pushing that bill with Congress? Because he’s met with them on foreign policy, on fiscal cliffs, on budget and it’s never been about immigration…”
“I hear you, Ed, and we have regular conversations with congressional leaders and congressional staff about an array of issues, including this. I mean this is, you cannot send a bigger message to Congress and the American people when you say your first — when you put out, your first piece of legislation — is on this issue, is on reforming immigration right —”
But O’Keefe kept pushing quite admirably, “Doesn’t it land flat when you spend very little public time, as president, talking about the issue, meeting with congressional leaders on the issue specifically, or doing anything else other than having you come up here and say, ‘We issued a bill on day one,’”
“I disagree!” Jean-Pierre said raisinger her voice. “It’s not just issuing a bill. Not too long ago, back in the spring, we put forth policies on trying to make sure that because Congress didn’t help, trying to put forth policies that try to make the immigration system humane, right, humane and actually dealing with the issue we’re seeing at the border.”
Jean-Pierre then pivoted to touting Biden’s multitude of legally dubious executive “policy actions after policy actions” taken rather than meeting meaningfully with Congress as evidence of his “taking it very, very seriously,” saying “that’s what he did as president.”