During the briefing today, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced that, “President Biden’s executive order on competition called on the FDA to make hearing aids over the counter without a prescription; that is now a reality.” 

She stated that Americans will be able to buy hearing aids over the counter beginning this week. CNN is applauding the news while, as far as I can tell, Fox isn’t reporting it at all. Hearing aids are life changing for people with hearing loss and, on the surface, it appears that this EO may encourage innovation, competition, and accessibility without government subsidies. 

That said, the actual language from the EO fact sheet is:

“Today’s historic Executive Order established a whole-of-government effort to promote competition in the American economy. The Order includes 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to promptly tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across our economy.”

I am happy about the hearing aids but terrified about what comes next. For example, “Prevent ISPs [internet service providers] from making deals with landlords that limit tenants’ choices.” 

Look behind you for the slippery slope. 

Big Ol’ Bigots

President Trump is being accused of antisemitism (again) this week, following the whole-of-world condemnation of Ye West last week. 

Q: “I wanted to start by asking: Is the President aware of the comments that Donald Trump made yesterday about American Jews — basically saying that they’re ‘ungrateful’ and they better ‘get their act together…appreciate what they have…before it’s too late’?  …would the White House denounce these antisemitic comments by the former President as well?”

KJP:  So, Donald Trump’s comments were antisemitic, as you all know, and insulting both to Jews and to our Israeli allies.  But let’s be clear: For years — for years now, Donald Trump has aligned with extremist and antisemitic figures…So we need to root out antisemitism everywhere it rears its ugly head.  We need to call this out.”

A follow up question reveals the totalitarian tendencies in the briefing room:

Q: “Kanye West wants to buy…Parler…Is the White House or the President concerned…that it would it give him another venue for antisemitic comments, hateful comments with no — you know, no gatekeeper, no one to say that’s wrong or anything like that?” (emphasis added)

Is the White House concerned that Ye West is still going to be allowed to speak? Is the old white president who once eulogized a KKK member concerned that this powerful, wealthy black man may be able to continue speaking without some sort of gatekeeper?

I legitimately found this line of questioning about Ye offensive. 

Quick Related Racist Rabbit Hole

Reuters has one of my favorite fact checks of all time on the topic of Joe Biden and Robert Byrd:

“Social media users have been sharing content online that claims Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden eulogized Robert Byrd, asserting he was the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). This claim is partly false. Though various prominent politicians eulogized Byrd at his funeral, the senator was never the grand wizard of the KKK and he has acknowledged and apologized for his membership during his youth.”

Reportedly, he wasn’t the Grand Wizard, he was the Exalted Cyclops. Notice how they leave that part out when they say “partly false.” Also, it’s interesting that imply he was only a member “during his youth, since he was 27 years old in 1944 when he wrote in a letter to Senator Theodore Bilbo: 

"I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side ... Rather I should die a thousand times and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds." 

Twenty years later, at 47, Robert Byrd filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act for 14 hours. When Biden eulogized him, he said, “And Robert C. Byrd was the fierce -- most fierce defender of not only the state, but the way of life -- I think the most fierce defender that probably this state has ever known in its history.”

Defender of the way of life? Indeed. 

Why is Biden Hiding Again?

I think the reporters are in a bit of a bind. Their audiences are concerned about Biden’s mental state, but they and their employers want to carry water for the administration. That leads to a lot of dancing around the elephant in the briefing room. For example:

Q: “[President Biden] hasn’t attended any rallies or public-facing events with candidates in recent weeks.  What will his schedule look like in the coming weeks as the midterms get closer? 

KJP: “...it’s kind of a bizarre question to ask because he was very visible last — this weekend and last week.  He was out there…we’ve announced that he’s going to go to Pennsylvania…to Florida. He was just in Colorado, Oregon, and California. 

Q: “Karine, a lot of the places that you mentioned were private fundraisers or official events.  Will we be seeing him appear alongside candidates in public? Is that intentional to not have him do stumping with these candidates and supporting his party?”

KJP:  “...I will point you to Portland, Oregon; I will point you to LA, California, where he was out there with — with his — with fellow Democrats talking about how we have delivered in the past 19, 20 months.”

Q: “But will we see him in public with the candidate — the trips — upcoming trips that you’ve mentioned with John Fetterman, Charlie Christ when he’s in Florida?  Will cameras be allowed into his events?  Will we see him alongside these candidates?

KJP: “I’m not going to go into the details of what these events are going to look like. But we were very clear when we announced Pennsylvania this week that he is going to be with Lieutenant Governor Fetterman.”

I’m trying to imagine Biden and Fetterman having a conversation. Specifically, how would Fetterman’s assistive software pick up Biden’s nonsensical sentences. Inquiring minds. 

Q: "The President has called this the most significant election…he’s spending this weekend at his vacation home...I wonder if you can talk about the calculus there, 16 days before the election, especially during a year when you guys have said Biden would be getting out into the country more, touting the gains that you guys have made."

She got defensive here and the way she says “in the country” in the next couple statements was almost contemptuous. 

KJP: "So, last week, we spent four days — in the country, right? We left on Wednesday, came back Saturday night — to be more specific, 2:00 a.m. on Sunday.  Some of us walked into our house at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday. And the week before that, he spent four days out into the country… So, he’s been around. The President takes this very seriously.”

Variations on this line of questioning were asked by other reporters as well. The tone I sensed in general was, why isn’t Biden out in public? 

We all know the answer to that.

Are You Really Trying to Stand on that Record?

KJP talks often about not wanting to violate the Hatch Act, meaning she won’t engage in partisan politicking from the podium. Practically, it appears this just means candidate endorsements as she is as partisan as they come.

This is especially true when it comes to economic questions, and she constantly provides advertisements for democrats about the American Rescue Plan, the CHIPS Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act from the podium. 

If you listen to KJP, the American people are doing well and benefiting from all the actions of the democrat supermajority. The next line of questioning aimed to bring her back down to earth. 

Q: “Following up on something you said earlier: If President Biden’s top domestic priority is inflation, why doesn’t he have more to show for it?”

KJP: “So, the President understands — and we’ve talked about this many times — that inflation is an issue. High — high cost — cost is an issue for the American people. And so, he’s been very clear about making that his number-one economic priority. And he has done the work.”

She then went into another advertisement about the Democrats massive spending. 

KJP: “And he’s done the work with congressional Democrats…that is the work that congressional Democrats and the President has done. Republicans did not vote for that at all.”

Can someone out there explain to me how that statement isn’t a violation of the Hatch Act? Anyway, she is defending their spending so “why doesn’t he have more to show for it?” The reporter tried again:

Q: “But who exactly thinks the President is doing a good job on inflation?  Because we’ve got a new poll that finds he receives his lowest job ratings on inflation — net negative 38 points.”

KJP: “We understand that there are challenges...That is why the President has taken action to lower costs. Think about gas prices. You think about healthcare — healthcare premiums…When you think about all of these steps that he has taken to make sure that that is happening, Republicans — Republicans in Congress refuse — they refuse to be partners with us on this. They refuse to help us. If you think about the American Rescue Plan that has helped create an economy that is indeed resilient, that created jobs, they refused to help out.”

Q: “And to follow up on that, on the American Rescue Plan: Have the President’s economic advisors told him that the general consensus now is that the American Rescue Plan has contributed to inflation?”

KJP: “Look, Secretary Yellen — who is incredibly well respected… — has spoken to this.  So I will leave her words speak to that — to the statement that you just made… What the President has done, the issues that he has worked on…they are popular. They are popular with the American people. They understand — the American people understand, with these pieces of legislation that we have worked so hard to get across the line, that are now law, it’s going to change — change the lives of American people.”

Q: “When?”

KJP: “Now, is there work to be done? There’s always more work to be done…congressional Republicans, they are doing nothing — absolutely nothing.  They want to repeal. They want to take away the advances that we have made.”

Another reporter tried a different tack:

Q: “Thanks, Karine. You may have gotten into this in response to Peter’s question, but I want to approach it just somewhat differently. A CBS News poll that was out yesterday indicated that two thirds of voters believe that the administration is not doing all it can and could be doing more to curb inflation. What does the White House think? Does the White House think it’s — it’s doing all it can to curve inflation?

KJP: “What we understand is — you know, we understand that the American people are going through a difficult time. And we have said that. You’ve heard the President say that. And we understand how it is tough — it is a tough time for them.”

The American People are having a tough time. The government isn’t having a rough time because they keep printing money to spend while your dollars become less valuable at the same time your goods increase in price (because inflation affects producers and supply chains, too). Unmitigated disaster meant only to hurt the American People. 

Next she recapped the democrat advertisement again, before:

KJP: “We get it. We get it. We understand. But we’re going to continue to do the work.  It’s not going to stop us. And you have seen the results. You have seen the results from this administration.”

Yes, we have seen the results from this administration, Karine, and they’re not good. That’s why people are asking you to defend the messaging. 

You just keep saying, “very clear.”

It’s Worse Globally

On the foreign policy front, KJP was asked about the JCPOA – Iran Nuclear deal in light of Russia’s use of Iranian drones in their latest attacks on Ukraine as well as the Iranian regime’s treatment of peaceful protestors. She was noncommittal. 

KJP: “So, my colleague at the State Department spoke to this last week, and I’ll just reiterate what he laid out, which is: The door for diplomacy will always remain open.  But, as of now, we don’t see a deal coming together anytime soon.”

Q: “So are the nuclear talks dead? Is that what you’re telling us?”

KJP: “Again, we don’t see a deal coming together anytime soon…”

Finally, KJP was – again – asked for details on “recalibrating Saudi relations,” and again she had no new information for the public. 

Q: “The President has talked about there being consequences for Saudi Arabia after the OPEC production cut…What’s — what’s the next shoe to drop on Saudi Arabia?”

KJP: “So — so, I’m not going to get ahead of — of the President.”

To not be ahead of Biden, you’d have to stand still. 

Until tomorrow.