ICYMI: Hamill Derails WH Briefing, Doocy Battles Inept KJP Over Her Alma Mater

Friday’s White House press briefing began with a distinct 2016 vibe as the Biden administration demanded it be taken seriously on the reelection front with Star Wars actor Mark Hamill surprising reporters ahead of May 4 (aka May the Fourth Be With You!) and a few dutifully complied by asking him questions despite the fact that, as we’d later learn, one hasn’t seen any of the movies.

Elsewhere, the ever-inept Karine Jean-Pierre faced her usual hardballs from the like of Fox colleagues Edward Lawrence on tax cuts and basic respect for laws on the books and then Peter Doocy on both-sides-ing anti-Semitism and Islamphobia, Jean-Pierre’s alma mater, and the now-famous UNC fraternity brothers.

Hamill led off with his surprise appearance and donning a pair of aviators to match the President before saying he “was honored to be asked to come to the White House to meet the President, the most legislatively successful president in my lifetime” and listing off standard party talking points.

He then opened it up to questions after thanking The New York Times’s Peter Baker in the second row for his most recent book which was, naturally, an anti-Trump tome with wife Susan Glasser.

ABC’s Selina Wang seized the opportunity: “Thank you, Mark Hamill, for being here. What did you ask? What did you talk about with the President?”

After Hamill replied this was his first time visiting a White House on his own in the Oval and thus more special (as opposed to going in a group), CBS’s Weijia Jiang had the other question: 

JIANG: Did President Biden bring up Star Wars to you, sir?

HAMILL: Well, you know, I called him Mr President. He said, you can call me Joe and I said, “can I call you Joe-Bi-Wan Kenobi?”

Jiang returned to this topic during her Q&A with a genuine question about why Hamill came to the White House, but Jean-Pierre didn’t like her tone and it quickly devolved into a mini-roast of the CBS correspondent for admitting she’s never watched the movies (click “expand”):

JIANG: And then just to close the loop. What was Mark Hamill doing here today?

JEAN-PIERRE: I think he said. He said he was meeting with — he was having a meeting. Did you not like having him in?

JIANG: No, I mean, that’s not — we all loved meeting him, but — 

JEAN-PIERRE: It sounded — it sounded — it sounded very kind of like, why? Why here? Um, he was no, He said it himself. I — we — we wanted to make sure that he provided — which is one of the reasons he spoke to — why he was here himself. He wanted to meet with the President. They had a meeting, and —

JIANG: About what?

JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, you guys asked him questions. Uh — uh — uh — uh, they had a meeting about — um — what the President has been able to do on behalf of the American people. Mark Hamill was in town. They met. I think it was — it was important as someone — you all — you all know Mark Hamill. He is someone who has who is very much invested in our country — very much invested in — um — in the direction of this country. And so — uh — they had a — you know, they had a meeting. It was — he — he went into that meeting, and I thought — we thought it would be fun for him to come out here and lighten up — and lighten up the room a little bit on a Friday. We also believe that you guys are — so — there are some Star Wars fans in here. Uh — but, you know, the President — I mean, the President meets with a lot of people. There’s a lot of people that come through the White House that the President has an opportunity to sit down and talk with. You just happen to — you just happen to see Mark Hamill today because we thought it would be a nice gesture to have him come out and say hello, but I wouldn’t put too much. I really wouldn’t put too much into it. He meets with a lot of people here. 

JIANG: Thank you.

JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. All right. Jeez. Weijia is not happy about Mark Hamill being here. [REPORTERS LAUGH] That’s okay. I’m not gonna tell him. He’s not watching probably. I won’t tell him.

REPORTER: Have you [inaudible]

JIANG: I don’t — I haven’t seen the movies.

JEAN-PIERRE: Do you — do you not like Star Wars? You have not seen Star Wars. What?

JIANG: I will now. I will now.

[REPORTERS BOO]

JEAN-PIERRE: That’s why that happened, folks. That’s why I got the question. Yeah.

JIANG: I’m gonna watch. I’m going to watch.

REPORTER: She’s not alone.

JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, there’s more. 

REPORTER: What?

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, All right. I’m gonna let that go.

Fast-forwarding to the back end of the briefing, Lawrence fact-checked the administration on tax cuts: “So, the President says that he wants to let the tax cuts — the Trump tax cuts expire. If that law expires, it does raise taxes on almost every American. So, does he still support that expiring without anything else in place?”

Jean-Pierre deflected by claiming while Biden will “let the Trump tax cut expire….he will not raise taxes on anyone less than $400,000” and he’s “been very clear about that.”

Lawrence doubled down: “[T]he President can’t pick and choose which part of the law sunsets. The entire law will sunset and the Tax Foundation says that someone who’s married, two kids, making 85,000 would pay $1,700 more in taxes. That’s somebody under $400,000”.

Jean-Pierre didn’t budge on any of her talking points, including the irrelevant claim about Republicans “want[ing] to cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security”

Doocy Time began with this both-sidesism that, if it were done by a Republican president, would trigger liberal media-wide excoriations: “So, in the President’s remarks yesterday, he’s talking about Islamophobia on campuses. Lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of vile, anti-Semitic rhetoric on campuses. Does he think Islamophobia is just as big of a problem on campus as anti-Semitism?”

Jean-Pierre shamelessly wouldn’t fully rebut that and instead remained in neutral with a standard word salad about Bide being able “to call out all forms of hate, always” and opposing protests that aren’t “within the law”.

Doocy next used Jean-Pierre’s own words against her when noting no one had asked her about the fact that anti-Semitic protest hotbed Columbia University is Jean-Pierre’s alma mater.

Pathetically, Jean-Pierre mocked Doocy for having done “some research” (click “expand”):

DOOCY: Something else that it somehow slipped my mind.

JEAN-PIERRE: How is that —

DOOCY: — over the last couple of weeks.

JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, goodness.

DOOCY: You are an alumna of Columbia —

OTHER REPORTERS: Ooooo!

DOOCY: — University.

JEAN-PIERRE: Wow, that’s a shocker.

DOOCY: You, in all the talking about it —

JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

DOOCY: — you haven’t brought it up. Uh, you told Columbia students a few years back.

JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

DOOCY: “Don’t” —

JEAN-PIERRE: Oh!

DOOCY: — “lose the idealism that you have.” So what do you tell them now?

JEAN-PIERRE: You did — you did some research. Oh, my God!

DOOCY: All I do is research and just hope that you call me.

JEAN-PIERRE: [LAUGHS] You did some —”

DOOCY: But no! What do you tell, the —

JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look —“

DOOCY: — the students who are following in your footsteps?

JEAN-PIERRE: — look — I mean, look, going to be — oh, and that’s actually gonna be a great segue to — uh — to the student — student journalist that we have in the room, Danny — um — after I answer this question.

DOOCY: I do have one more, though.

[REPORTERS LAUGH]

JEAN-PIERRE: Ah!

DOOCY: Sorry, Danny.

JEAN-PIERRE: It’s okay. Uh — so, look — I’m not speaking on behalf of me. I’m not. I speak on behalf of this President. That’s my job, and I believe in this president. I believe in the work that we do. It is an honor and a privilege to stand at this lectern every day to speak to you and all your colleagues and to take your questions. It is not about me — uh — and really your question and what you’re asking me and — and what I have said to students is pretty much what the President has said. All Americans have the right to peacefully protest within the law. They have to — we have the right. That’s what makes this country so great, right? That’s what makes what — when we’re talking about our freedoms, our democracy. That’s what’s so important — to have the opportunity to agree and disagree and do it in a peaceful way in a peaceful way. That’s important, and the President also called out — if you’re — if you are breaking and entering and you are taking over buildings, that is not peacefully protesting, and the President was very clear about calling that out as well and also anti-Semitism and calling it what it is. It is hate speech.

Doocy closed by being the first reporter to bring up in the briefing the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill fraternity brothers who “saved an American flag from an angry mob of protesters” and there was “a GoFundMe where people can donate to throw them a rager.”

Amazingly, Doocy asked if Biden “would…donate” to which Jean-Pierre was incredulous: “You never disappoint, my friend.”

She then gave a standard answer about how ripping down the American flag as anti-Israel students was not an example of peaceful protest”. When Doocy asked if Biden would even give them a call, Jean-Pierre only said “protecting the American flag is admirable.”

To see the relevant transcript from the May 3 briefing (including a question from the left by the AP on anti-Semitic campus protests and a long back-and-forth with April Ryan directly lobbying for a pardon of former Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby), click here.

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