WH Briefing EXPLODES When CBS’s O’Keefe Calls Out KJP for Dodging on Biden’s Health

News & Politics

Monday’s White House press briefing descended into chaos amid the third briefing where the ever-inept Karine Jean-Pierre refused to even acknowledge President Biden’s obvious cognitive decline and declined to answer why a neurologist had visited the White House nearly a dozen times, including once to the residence. Hours later, a letter was released from Biden’s stooge doctor insisting there was nothing to worry about.

Jean-Pierre never called on Fox’s Peter Doocy, so it was left to CBS’s Ed O’Keefe to grill the press secretary and, before her Q&A, national security spokesman John Kirby. In the latter case, Kirby insisted he’s never seen Biden like he was on debate night and said the National Security Council has never kept important information from Biden that arose past his bedtime.

O’Keefe uncorked his righteous outburst after Jean-Pierre dodged repeated questions from the AP’s Zeke Miller about how she wasn’t straight with reporters and the American people last week when asked whether Biden had been checked by doctors:

Jean-Pierre moments later she did know Biden was checked by a doctor, but thought reporters were asking if Biden had recently been subject to a more formal “medical exam”. In other words, it was a disagreement over what the definition of is is.

When Miller asked about the Parkinson’s Disease expert and Jean-Pierre refused to even acknowledge Dr. Kevin Cannard (even though his name appeared in White House visitor logs) out of some (false) concern over military personnel being doxxed, O’Keefe unloaded:

Ooof. Well, things got worse when Jean-Pierre declared she was “answering that question” and O’Keefe clapped back that she’s “not” and lambasted her for the hypocrisy of casually revealing guests at the White House to see the President, but not this one because of its sensitive nature.

Watch the video below to see more of the back-and-forth (and see the transcript here and here), including the part when O’Keefe and NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell both pointed out Cannard’s name is already out in the ether, so there’s nothing to, in fact, dox.

At one point the above video, O’Keefe shouted in disgust: “And you’re going to allow this to fester longer, Karine unless the White House answers the question.”

Jean-Pierre grew almost emotional as she hit back that “[t]here’s no reason to get back and — go back and forth and be this aggressive”, but O’Keefe countered “we’re miffed around here about how information’s been shared with the press corps around here.”

Eventually, O’Keefe ceded space to NPR’s Asma Khalid asking more gently to no avail and also whether Biden has been treated for “fluid buildup in the brain”.

ABC’s Mary Bruce, as the chief Biden apple polisher, was more gingerly in her questions by merely wanting to know “what…was that meeting” between Cannard and O’Connor about and if “can…tell us.”

Jean-Pierre couldn’t let O’Keefe going full Peter Doocy on her, so she used time during a back-and-forth with Reuters’s Andrea Shalal to slam his behavior as “not okay” to the point that, by the end, she sounded like she was about to cry (click “expand”):

I do want to — I just want to take a step back for a second because I do take offense to what Ed alluded to. You know, come out here every day there’s a press briefing. And we do our best to give you the information that we have at the time. That’s what we do and we understand that freedom of the press — we respect the freedom of the press. You heard me talk about this last week. We — I appreciate the back and forth that we all have. It is — I try to respect you and I hope you try to respect me and we literally do everything that we can — my team does everything that we can to make sure we get the answers to you. That’s what we do. And sometimes, we disagree. Sometimes, we are not in agreement. But you know what? That’s democracy. That is what is important — to have that healthy back-and-forth and so, to say that I’m holding information or allude to anything else is not unfair — is really, really unfair. I think people who are watching and have been watching this briefing for this past week could say that we are doing our best in this briefing to provide by the information that we have. And I will admit — I will be the first one to admit sometimes, I get it wrong. I at least I admit that. At least I admit that. And sometimes I don’t have the information and I will always, always admit that, but I do take offense to what was just happening at the beginning of this briefing. It’s not okay.

O’Donnell — who can charitably be placed on the friendlier side of the ledger in the room for the regime — tried to turn the temperature down:

Jean-Pierre wasn’t having it and still blasted O’Keefe: “But the personal attacks is not okay. Just want to be very, very clear here.” Of course, O’Donnell did nothing to defend him.

Needless to say, her attempts to calm tensions didn’t work:

The Wall Street Journal’s Catherine Lucey brought up Biden’s softball phone interview on Morning Joe and whether he read from a script:

Another interesting exchange was CNN’s Kayla Tausche wondering if the White House is pressuring Democrats into reading their talking points (seemingly against their will) that Biden is mentally all there (click “expand”):

TAUSCHE: [T]here was an article a month ago in The Wall Street Journal that the White House universally panned because the on the record quotes criticizing the president’s age and acuity largely from Republicans.

JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

TAUSCHE: But I want to ask about the graphs in that story about Democrats. It said that the White House —

JEAN-PIERRE: From the same story?

TAUSCHE: — from that same story.

JEAN-PIERRE: Okay.

TAUSCHE: It said that the White House kept close tabs on The Journal’s interviews with Democratic lawmakers and after the offices of several Democrats shared with the White House either a reporting of an interview or details about what was asked, some of those lawmakers spoke to The Journal a second time and once again emphasized Biden’s strength. They quote Congressman Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat, saying, “they just, you know, said that I should give you a call back.” I’m wondering if you could characterize what the White House told Democrats to tell reporters about the President’s age and acuity?

JEAN-PIERRE: I think the Democrats spoke for themselves, uh, I think, you know, you know, how stories work. It — it — it — there is a there’s a lot of back and forth — uh — when you all come with a story from us and we want to make sure you hear from other voices, we — we make that available to you all and it is up to — to the reporters. They’re going to reach out or not to that particular person, but we expect and we anticipate and we understand that it doesn’t matter who — if it’s a congressperson or a governor or any elected official, they’re going to speak for themselves. They’re going to speak for themselves and I would say that Representative Greg Meeks has also been very supportive. If you fast forward to where we are today — uh — Representative Meeks has been very supportive of this President continuing moving forward, and we’ve heard from many others, many others, the CBC more — more broadly has been very supportive. We heard from the chair — Chairman Hoss — Horsford from the CBC, and so that is the type of support that we continue to see.

TAUSCHE: So, there hasn’t been outreach by the White House to Democrats who might have misgivings about the President’s age or acuity to have them say positive things about the President publicly?

JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not really — I don’t quite understand where you’re going with the question. I — I think I explained it. Sometimes when you all are working on stories and we want to hear, you want, we, and we were trying to provide supporters from the president. That is not unusual, and it is up to the reporter to reach out or not. Uh, and so that is something that we certainly do. That is something that — you know, that is not uncommon, and but what I would say more broadly, there are, there are congressional members, as we’re talking about what’s happening in Congress, as we’re talking about the President’s outreach, as we’re talking about, you know, how we move forward, there are congressional members out there who have been incredibly supportive. We have to remember there are hundreds of House members and — and so, you know, there are folks out there.

Others had mop-up duty with additional bites of the apple on questions Jean-Pierre wouldn’t answer (see those in the linked transcript. Credit should be doled out to usual partisan hack April Ryan of theGrio, who reminded the Briefing Room (and those watching) that Biden has had two brain aneurysms and thus wanted to know if his cognitive slippage was due to increased side affects:

Don’t worry, though! Ryan went back to her tool status with a softball about “how do you, as this White House, who stands behind this President, how do you work to do an image change or an image change to revamp him, to make them shinier and brighter” when Republicans will “be attacking him” during next week’s Republican National Committee.

Unfortunately, not one reporter asked about another media scandal from over the weekend as a black radio host in Philadelphia was fired from WURD for agreeing to interview Biden using pre-written questions sent by his handlers.

To see the relevant transcript from the July 8 briefing (including even more questions to both Jean-Pierre and Kirby), click here.

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