GMA Plays T-Ball With White House Communications Director

News & Politics

It’s not been a good couple of days for ABC’s reputation as a hard-hitting journalistic enterprise. On Friday, chief White House correspondent Mary Bruce played softball with Vice President Kamala Harris, only to be surpassed by Saturday’s Good Morning America co-host Janai Norman in the competition to see who could give the easiest interview as the latter welcomed White House communications director Ben LaBolt.

If Burce lobbed softballs, Norman put the ball on the tee, “Now, one day after the State of the Union, the president started taking his message on the road. What is the administration’s top priority right now?”

After running through President Joe Biden’s travel plans, LaBolt took the opportunity to give a truncated version of Biden’s State of the Union Address, “He’s focused on preserving democracy in this country after insurrectionists stormed the capitol and tried to overturn the fair and free election results, restore Roe v. Wade after Donald Trump appointed Supreme Court justices that overturned it, and keeping the greatest American comeback story going, 15 million jobs created, inflation down by two-thirds. Wages are up. The president outlined policies to keep lowering costs for the American people and to make sure that corporations and the wealthiest pay their fair share.”

Norman then put the ball back on the tee again, “Ben, real quick, before we let you go, the president heading to Georgia, that is where the incident with Laken Riley happened. Immigration is a top concern for so many voters. What is the administration’s response to the criticism that they haven’t done enough to stop the flood of migrants?”

An ”incident” is a rather poor way to describe a murder, but LaBolt still gladly took the opportunity to rattle off his talking points and blame Republicans, “The first bill that the president introduced was a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would have secured the border. Republicans in Congress didn’t move on it… The president worked out a bipartisan deal with Oklahoma Senator Lankford and Democrats in the Senate that the Senate was ready to move forward on. If the House allowed for a vote on that package, it would secure the border, provide more border patrol agents, and expedite those screenings.” 

A lot of words to simply say, “we failed, but it’s the party’s fault.” Not that Norman noticed.

Here is a transcript for the March 9 show:

ABC Good Morning America

3/9/2024

7:11 AM ET

JANAI NORMAN: Now, one day after the State of the Union, the president started taking his message on the road. What is the administration’s top priority right now? 

BEN LABOLT: Well, look, the president outlined those priorities in his State of the Union Address the other night. Twenty-eight million Americans tuned in, but he knows that Americans consume information differently than they did 10, 20 years ago. He’s taking his message on the road yesterday to Pennsylvania, today to Georgia. Next week to Wisconsin, Michigan, and New Hampshire. 

He’s focused on preserving democracy in this country after insurrectionists stormed the capitol and tried to overturn the fair and free election results, restore Roe v. Wade after Donald Trump appointed Supreme Court justices that overturned it, and keeping the greatest American comeback story going, 15 million jobs created, inflation down by two-thirds. Wages are up. The president outlined policies to keep lowering costs for the American people and to make sure that corporations and the wealthiest pay their fair share. 

NORMAN: Ben, real quick, before we let you go, the president heading to Georgia, that is where the incident with Laken Riley happened. Immigration is a top concern for so many voters. What is the administration’s response to the criticism that they haven’t done enough to stop the flood of migrants? 

LABOLT: The first bill that the president introduced was a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would have secured the border. Republicans in Congress didn’t move on it. The president sent two funding packages to Capitol Hill last year to fund 1,500 border patrol agents, to fund fentanyl screening technology at the border, to provide for asylum officers and immigration judges to make sure once you cross the border it doesn’t take five, six years to determine whether you can stay here or not. It should take six months or less.

The president worked out a bipartisan deal with Oklahoma Senator Lankford and Democrats in the Senate that the Senate was ready to move forward on. If the House allowed for a vote on that package, it would secure the border, provide more border patrol agents, and expedite those screenings. 

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