Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre held a gaggle on Air Force One, en route to Vail, CO. I listened to the exchange as a Lockheed C130H called “Hercules” flew over my house, presumably indicating that AF1 was inside of Colorado airspace. I live just north of Colorado Springs so we see military planes all the time, but this was loud and low and distinct. It was very cool.
Then I watched Biden’s speech at Camp Hale, and the stupidity of it all sent me into a coma so I didn’t get this out yesterday. There is no live press briefing scheduled at whitehouse.gov today, so today I’ll give you the key moments from yesterday’s briefing and the news coming out of the White House since.
Joe Biden Forgets How Beau Biden Died, but Fondly Remembers Skiing
Going out of order, I’m going to begin with Biden’s speech at Camp Hale in Vail, Colorado. Biden proclaimed yesterday that Camp Hale and Tenmile Range are now known as, “Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument.”
“These reserved Federal lands and interests in lands encompass approximately 53,804 acres. As a result of the distribution of the objects across the landscape of the Camp Hale and Tenmile Range area of the continental divide, and additionally and independently, because the landscape itself is an object in need of protection, the boundaries described on the accompanying maps are confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects of historic or scientific interest identified above.”
This is a very long Proclamation. His remarks were long-winded and bumbly as usual, but a few key moments stuck with me:
“I taught my boys to ski here. I taught my family to ski here. I — it’s — and, by the way, as you all know, especially for us Easterners, we talk about that at dinner. We talk — no, I’m serious. All those memories — all those memories that you all understandably take for granted, they’re a big deal where I come from.”
Where Biden is concerned, the ability to form memories is something to take for granted, but most of us in Colorado cherish our memories of skiing because we can’t afford to do it anymore. Less than a month ago, Vail Resorts announced that they are “investing in the guest experience” by limiting capacity. Self-imposed scarcity because of covid and climate change is sure to make skiing more accessible, right?
Another bizarre moment came when Biden talked about his late son Beau. Talking about the of role Camp Hale in training the 10th Mountain Division in WWII, Biden said:
“American soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division scaled that 1,800-foot cliff at night, caught the Germans by surprise, captured key positions, and broke through the German defense line at a pivotal point in the war. Just imagine — I mean it sincerely — I say this as a father of a man who won the Bronze Star, the Conspicuous Service Medal, and lost his life in Iraq. Imagine the courage, the daring, and the genuine sacrifice — genuine sacrifice they all made.”
Beau Biden was in Iraq in 2008-2009 where he served as a military lawyer in a Delaware National Guard brigade. He died in 2015, at the age of 46, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.
Does Joe Biden believe that Beau Biden died in Iraq? After the whole “Where’s Jackie?” debacle, no wonder there is no scheduled press gaggle today.
All the Inflation Means the Inflation Reduction Act is Working
Today, the White House released a statement from Biden in response to the disappointing Consumer Price Index update, which followed the disappointing Producer Price Index update earlier in the week.
“Today’s report shows some progress in the fight against higher prices, even as we have more work to do. Inflation over the last three months has averaged 2%, at an annualized rate. That’s down from 11% in the prior quarter.
But even with this progress, prices are still too high. Fighting the global inflation that is affecting countries around the world and working families here at home is my top priority.
Because of my economic plan, the United States is in a stronger position than any major economy to take on this challenge.”
Is this guy for real? Building Back Better is strangling the American people and, by all metrics, their economic plan is an unmitigated disaster.
“And my policies—that Democrats delivered—directly tackles price pressures we saw in today’s report, like health care. The Inflation Reduction Act locks in lower health care premiums for 13 million people, lowers seniors’ prescription drug prices, and caps their out of pocket expenses for prescription drugs at the pharmacy at $2,000 per year. The Inflation Reduction Act will also lower families’ energy costs in the months ahead.”
To be (very) clear, The Biden is saying that his Inflation Reduction Act is working in response to news of rising inflation.
He’s saying these things – written for him by those that developed and are executing this economic plan – because they know that they economy is the number one issue for voters and think you’re too stupid to understand the data.
Saudi Relations Still a Major Focus
Now to the briefing, yesterday’s monologue was mostly about Biden’s campaign events on the west coast this week, and the first question from reporters asked for expectations about today’s CPI numbers. She repeated the same nonsense that Biden said today, so we’re going to skip it.
Saudi Arabia was a major focus for reporters yesterday:
Q: "Can you give any updates on the President’s thinking and the White House’s thinking about recalibrating the relationship with Saudi Arabia?"
KJP: "Look, I know folks have been asking about a timeline."
No one asked about a timeline. They asked about Biden’s thinking – or lack of – when it comes to picking a fight with Saudi Arabia. They’re asking if the US is going to reevaluate their arms dealing with the Kingdom.
KJP: "Look, as he said last night, as he said this morning, when the — when the House and the Senate get back, we’ll discuss and make decisions in a deliberate way. But he was very clear: There will be consequences.”
Reporters rightfully saw this as buying time and said as much:
Q: "Can you — in this era of telephones and email and text messaging – does he really have to wait for Congress to get back into town or could conversations be starting now, and are they? Has he spoken to Bob Menendez or others?"
KJP: "So, we’re — look, we’re going to — we’re going to — we’re going to review where we are. We’ll be watching closely over the coming weeks — right? …There’s going to be consultation with Congress. And decisions will be made in a deliberate way. We want to be very deliberate about this, and that is going to take some time. I don’t — again, I don’t have a timeline for you.”
Next, KJP got a brief reprieve when asked about the LA City Council racism scandal, and she again talked about Republicans being racist instead of addressing the substance of the question. Per KJP, Biden is in LA today though the only official remarks released were a quick exchange at a taco shop.
The next question brought us back to Saudi Arabia:
Q: "If the July trip wasn’t about oil, why are there consequences for Saudi cutting oil? Does that also mean there’ll be consequences for the other GCC members that are members of OPEC+ as well?"
KJP: "So, I don’t — look, we’re going to review where we are and we’ll have more to share once we have gone into that review…and you’re right, the OPEC+ decision is multiple members. Clearly, Saudi Arabia is the chair of OPEC+.”
I wonder if the reporters have figured out yet that she cannot dialogue with them. She’s neither allowed nor capable. It’s talking points only, and she just keeps repeating them. I almost miss Psaki.
The final question on Saudi Arabia was more political:
Q: "Yesterday, you said that the move made it seem that they are siding with Russia. Do you — does the President see this as an indication that they are siding, potentially, with Republicans in sort of intervening in U.S. politics in a way, given that they obviously know the timing of the elections and the potential impact on gas prices and on Democrats politically?"
KJP: "Look, I — I can’t speak for their intentions. That is — you know, or their timing. That’s not something that I can speak from — of. But what I can speak about is their decision…And so they will have consequences, as the President said last night. And it was, again, a mistake.”
Mother Russia Continues to Be a Naughty Girl
The most contentious part of yesterday’s briefing came about Biden’s CNN interview with Jake Tapper this week, and his comments that Putin is a “rational actor who has miscalculated significantly.”
Q: "The President’s assessment or evaluation that President Putin is a rational actor who made a bad strategic decision — that term carries weight in the nuclear context. What — what’s that based on — the idea that he’s still a rational actor in the broader context of things? Is that an intelligence assessment, the President’s opinion — how do we view that?"
KJP: "Well, as you know, the President, when it comes to foreign policy and when it comes to his relationship with leaders, he was a senator for 36 years and he was a Vice President for 8 years. This is a place that — an arena, if you will, that he knows very well.”
Biden’s foreign policy experience is a strength, according to KJP. At least we all agree that he has significant experience in Ukraine, though we disagree about that activity’s level of criminality here, at home, in America.
KJP: "What — the President was very clear. What he said was Putin was a rational actor who — who badly miscalculated. And we’ve talked about why he badly miscalculated. If you look at how strong the NATO Alliance is — Putin thought he would break that up."
Q: "Karine, just one follow-up…I guess what we would like to get clarity on is why the President thinks Vladimir Putin is a rational actor."
KJP: "I mean, I’m going to just let his words stand. He’s a ra- — he said — the President’s words — he’s a rational actor who badly miscalculated. He miscalculated what his aggression, what his war that he created against Ukraine would lead to. And — and we’ve seen that, you know? Putin has become a pariah —"
Q: "We know what he said. We’re just curious why he thinks he’s a rational actor."
KJP: "Again, I’m going to just let the President’s word stand for itself. He said he’s a rational actor that’s miscalculated."
Q: "It leaves a lot of open questions, what he said."
KJP: "I mean, I don’t think it, think it leaves to a lot of open questions. The President was very clear.”
This is insanity. It’s refreshing to see reporters finally pressuring the White House.
KJP: "You know, again, being in this foreign policy space for some time as a U.S. senator; as a Vice President, leading the foreign policy effort when he was Vice President in the — in the Obama-Biden administration; and now as President, you know, he has a sense of what he is seeing. He has an understanding of — of what — what has been occurring these last 19, 20 months.”
KJP is saying that we all need to trust Biden’s gut. That is the purpose of highlighting his foreign policy experience. The Biden Administration is actually suggesting that we should trust Biden’s gut when it comes to nuclear war.
But they refuse to answer questions about his mental state.
Are We Trusting Biden’s Gut with Brittney Griner’s Life?
The next, even more bizarre line of questioning seemed to imply that Brittney Griner, the WNBA player currently imprisoned in Russia on drug-related charges, is being used as some sort of bargaining chip by the Russians. But KJP’s answers imply that the US sees Griner that way as well:
Q: "On Brittney Griner, have you — has the White House talked — been in communication at all with Moscow over a potential meeting to discuss Brittney Griner at the G20? Is there any movement on that? Or can you say anything about it?"
KJP: "So, the President spoke about this a little bit this morning. And as he said, he has no intention of meeting with President Putin. And he strongly believes — you know, he strongly — he strongly believes that, you know, the Russians need to take this — the serious offer that we put forward on the table or make a serious counteroffer to negotiate, but in good faith. And so, again, he has no intention of meeting with Vladimir Putin."
Wait, what? She is asked about Brittney Griner and responds with Putin accepting their offer?
Q: "Do you guys have assurances that Ukraine and the Griner case are viewed as separate by Moscow? Or are there concerns that they’re interconnected in terms of the President saying, ‘I’m willing to meet with him on this, but not that’? Is that something that the Russians have said?"
KJP: "Can you say that over again? Like —"
Q: "The idea that this — Brittney Griner is not being held with any tie to seeking some type of concession related to Ukraine. Do you believe the Russians view the Griner case as separate and apart from what’s happening in Ukraine and U.S. efforts to bolster Ukraine in the war effort?"
Based on how KJP is answering the questions, it seems that Griner and Ukraine are also being conflated by the White House, not just Putin.
KJP: "So, look, I can’t speak to how Russia is perceiving this. I can’t speak to how they’re thinking through this. What I can speak to is what I just said, which is that we have put a substantial offer on the table, a serious offer on the table.”
See what I mean? She continues:
KJP: “We are communicating with Russia through various channels, as we have said before. And they — we believe, again, as I’ve said, that, you know, they should take — take this serious offer or make a counteroffer in good faith. And so, you know — and we’ve said this many, many times before: Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan are being wrongly detained, and we believe they should be released immediately. And that’s always been — that’s always been our stance.”
Is it very clear to you guys? Because I have questions.
Biden Ate a Chicken Quesadilla Today
Despite there being no press gaggle with KJP today, So-Called-Ruler-Of-The-US Biden spoke to reporters at “Tacos 1986” in Los Angeles. Thankfully Dr. Jill wasn’t there to compare LA residents to the menu. Still, the most substantive answer that he gave was his choice of entree.
Q: "What did you order, Mr. President?"
SCROTUS: "Chicken quesadilla."
Q: "The inflation report is out. Have you seen gas prices around here in LA? It’s seven bucks a gallon almost."
SCROTUS: "Well, that’s always been the case here. You know, it’s not — what — nationwide, they came down about $1.35, and they’re still down over a dollar. But we’re going to work on — housing is the big — is the most important thing we have to do in terms of that.”
Gas prices are up almost $2 in California YoY, according to AAA. Biden’s response that housing is the most important thing we need to do in terms of gas prices is nonsensical, so hopefully he is taking his meds with that quesadilla.
Q: "What is your message to Saudi Arabia about this?"
SCROTUS: "We’re — ‘We’re about to talk to you.’"
Q: "You’re about to talk to — ?"
SCROTUS: "We’re about to talk to them."
Q: "In what way, sir?"
Q: "What are you going to say to them?"
SCROTUS: "Stay tuned.”
Very clear indeed.