Joe Biden

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

May 01, 2024

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

12:57 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon, everybody.

Q: Good afternoon.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just have a couple things at the top, and then we'll get going.

On May 7th, the President will travel to Capitol Hill to deliver the keynote address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony.

During the Days of Remembrance, we remember and mourn the 6 million Jews who were systematically murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War Two.

The President will also discuss our moral duty to combat the rising scourge of antisemitism and the Biden-Harris administration's work to implementing the first-ever National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism to make real the promise of never, never again.

Today, Florida's extreme six-week abortion ban takes effect. That's before many women even know they're pregnant.

We should all be concerned that this extreme abortion ban will put desperately needed medical care even further out of reach for millions of women in Florida and across the South.

But it's not just Florida, and it's not just abortion under -- care under attack here. We are seeing the devastating impacts on women's reproductive freedom since Roe was overturned. In states across the country, women's health and lives now hang in the balance.

Twenty-one states have abortion bans in effect. In nearly all of these states, doctors can be charged with a fenaly -- a felony for simply doing their jobs.

One in three women in America now live in states with extreme abortion bans.

Over 380 bills restricting access to abortion care were introduced in states houses just last year.

At the federal level, congressional Republicans have proposed three -- three national abortion bans. IVF is under attack. Contraception is under attack. And women and families are fearful that their deeply personal medical data could be used against them.

All of this chaos and devastation was made possible by the former President, who worked very hard and got it done to overturn Roe v. Wade.

President Biden and Vice President Harris stand with the vast majority of Americans who believe that the right to choose is fundamental and that healthcare decisions should be made by a woman with the help of her doctor, not politicians.

They will continue to call on Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade into federal law, the only way to ensure every woman can access the care she needs regardless of what state she lives in.

The reason we started early -- I know a lot of people are asking -- is because I -- I have a meeting with the President at about 1:30 or so, and so I'm going to try and get to everybody's questions, or as many questions as possible.

With that, Zeke.

Q: Let's stick with "everybody." (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know. I said it, and I was like, "Oh, darn."

Q: There's Rosen.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, darn. There's Rosen in the back. To wit -- Mr. To Wit in the back. (Laughter.)

Q: Hi. Thank you, Karine --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Zeke.

Q: Starting overseas real quick. I understand -- we understand Secretary Blinken is in -- in the region right now, but has the President, has the White House gotten any -- any indications for how Hamas might respond to this -- the ceasefire proposal? And how can -- what is the level of concern within the administration --


Q: -- that Hamas could respond in the negative?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, our position remains -- and we are going to be very consistent of what we've been saying -- is that we believe that there should be a ceasefire as part of this hostage -- hostage deal, and it should happen immediately --immediately. And there has not yet been a response from Hamas, as you know.

We believe that all efforts need -- need to be brought to bear to convince Hamas to accept that -- the proposal -- immediately and have made that clear to our partners in the region.

As you just stated, Secretary Blinken is in the region meeting with our -- with our regional partners. He is going to be holding an on-the-record presser in the one o'clock hour where he's going to be talking about the humanitarian aid that we've been able to get into -- get into Gaza for the people of Gaza, the all-important humanitarian aid. As you know, that -- it's a -- it's a dire situation there. So he'll speak to that.

And sh- -- and Hamas should just not continue to get in the way of much-needed relief for the people of Gaza. They need to move forward and -- and move forward with this deal. And that is going to be -- this deal is also going to, obviously, create an opportunity to get more of that humanitarian aid.

And let's not forget the innocent people who they took hostage -- over 200 -- and that includes Americans. They need to come home to the -- to their -- to their families, their loved ones. And we have, also, American hostages that are part of that -- part of that -- were part of that 200, as you all know.

So, Hamas needs to -- there's a deal at the table -- on the table: Hamas needs to take it.

Q: And then, here at home, there's been some dramatic images, really, across the country over the last 24 to 48 hours, especially at the Columbia; UCLA, last night; University of Madison, Wisconsin; other campuses. Has the President been monitoring this?

And why have we not heard directly from the President about these protests that have taken over instit- -- institutions of higher learning across the country, the police responses, instances of violence? Why have we not heard directly from the President?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a -- just a -- a couple of things. The President is -- is being kept regularly updated on -- on what's happening, as you just stated, across the country. He is monitoring the situation closely, so is his team.

And I would just add that no president -- no president has spoken more forcefully about combating antisemitism than this president.

Let's not forget, in 2017, he was very clear -- what we saw -- the antisemitic bile that we saw in Charlottesville, on the streets of Charlottesville -- he called that out. He called that out.

And one of the reasons he stepped into the 2020 election is because of what he saw, is because he wanted to -- he wanted to speak out and speak against what we were seeing in this country at that time. Democracy was under attack. Our freedoms were -- were under attack. And we're still fighting for that today, obviously.

But it -- he hasn't just done that by speaking, as you heard from my topper, he's taken action. He's taken action by moving forward with the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. More than 100 new actions have -- were introduced, obviously, in that strategy, and that is how seriously this President takes it.

And I think what's important here is that he's taken action on this issue.

Q: And just quickly, does the President support those police clearing operations, like we saw in New York, like we've seen on other -- seen on other college campuses?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, we've been very clear on that. Americans have the right to peacefully protest. They have the right to peacefully protest as long as it's within the law and that it's peaceful.

Forceful- -- forcibly taking over a building is not peaceful. It's just not. Students have the right to feel safe. They have the right to learn. They have to ri- -- the right to do this without dis- -- disruption. And they have a right to feel safe on campus. As I just said, they have the right to attend their commencement without feeling -- feeling unsafe.

And what we're seeing is a small percentage of students. That's what we're seeing. They should not be able to disturb or disrupt the academic experience that students have.

So, look, that's what -- that's how we see things. It is important that students and communities feel safe here. And at the same time, we are going to be really forceful here and continue to underscore how antisemitism is hateful speech. It is wrong. It is abhorrent. And we're going to continue to call that out.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. To follow on that. Has anyone from the administration been in touch with administrators, leaders at Columbia or any of these universities that are seeing these protests?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don't have any calls to read out at this time. Obviously, we're closely monitoring the situation. We are getting regularly -- regular updates, and we're just going to -- I'm just going to keep it there. Just don't have anything to share as far as calls or readouts.

Q: On another topic. Has the White House received the recommendation from the DEA to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug? Can you comment on --


Q: -- and confirm that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, here is what I can say. I can say, as you know, last year -- I believe in early fall -- the President asked HHS and Department of Justice to look at reclassifying marijuana, to go -- to go through that process. They are -- that process continues.

D- -- DOJ is looking into that. I just want to be really mindful there. They're moving with that process.

I don't have anything more to say. And so, we'll just leave it there.

Q: But you can't confirm that it's now at (inaudible) --


Q: -- for the next phase of this?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I -- I cannot. All I can tell you is I would refer to DOJ. And what the President directed HHS and Department of Justice to do is to look at the classification of marijuana.

And let's not forget: This is something that the President talked about during his campaign. And he said no person, no American who possess marijuana -- only possesses marijuana should be -- go to jail.

It is affecting communities across the country, including communities of color. And so, this is why he -- he -- he asked HHS and Department of Justice to look into this. And that's what they're doing.

Q: You mentioned campaign. Is this something the White House thinks can help the President right now in an election?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I'm talking about the campaign in -- in --

Q: I know. (Laughter.) And I'm looking forward.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I -- I appreciate that. But I'm talking about the campaign and his cam- -- he -- this is a commitment, a promise that he made when he decided to run back in 2019. And he was very clear why it was important, he believed, to ask Department of Justice and HHS to review this. And that review continues, and so don't want to get ahead of what DOJ is -- how they're moving forward.

Go ahead, Weijia.

Q: Thanks, Karine. As the administration considers bringing Palestinians here to the U.S. as refugees, do you know how many people that the U.S. hopes to relocate?

And, secondly, given the challenges getting in and out of Gaza, will the U.S. assist in physically bringing Palestinians here?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, let me just first start saying that we just don't have anything to announce at this time. But I do want to lay out a little bit and take a step back of what -- what we've been able to do since the beginning of the conflict. Right? We have helped more than 1,800 American citizens and their families leave Gaza, many of whom have come to the United States, many of that 18,000 is here.

And the President has said -- and as -- in his -- with his direction, we have also helped and will continue to help some particularly vulnerable individuals, such as children with serious health problems and children who were receiving treatment for cancer, get out of harm's way and receive care at nearby hospitals in the region.

And let's not forget, the Pre- -- the President, this -- this administration continues to be the largest contributor of humanitarian assistance. This is something that the Secretary is going to be talking about in this hour -- the Secretary assist- -- I'm sorry, the humanitarian assistance going into Gaza to address the conditions -- the humanitarian conditions in Gaza.

Obviously, as we know, they are very dire. And we are pressing hard to get more urgently needed aid in to more people as soon as possible. That's why this hostage deal is so critical besides, of course, getting the hostages home but also creating an opportunity to get that more additional humanitarian aid in and would lead to a ceasefire.

Now, in terms of the Refugee Admissions Program, which is what I believe you're asking me about, we are constantly evaluating policy proposals to further support Palestinians who are family members of American citizens and may want to come to the United States. So, we're evaluating it. I don't have anything to announce at this time.

Q: And then a quick one on communications with protests and people related to protests. Has the President spoken to Mayor Adams since the NYPD became involved in dealing with them?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No. Understand the question. Don't have anything to read out as far as a conversation with the mayor from the President. But I think we've been very, very clear about what we're seeing on the ground. I've been answering these questions for the past couple of days.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks. You said the President is monitoring the situation. Is he aware of the reports that a fair number of the people arrested on several campuses are not students?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, that is something for, obviously, local government to speak to, local govern- -- pardon me, local -- local police at -- and law enforcement to speak to and what they're seeing and what they're reporting.

That is something that I can't speak to at this time. I've heard that reporting. But that is something for them to speak to at this time.

Q: So, he's not aware of that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, he's getting regularly updated on the situation and what -- and monitoring. So, I assume that he's getting -- that's part of his update, but he is getting regularly updated on what's happening across the country and campuses.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. Because it's Federal Reserve decision day, I thought it'd be an opportunity to ask a for an updated view on the administration's view of central bank independence, but specifically because the President has, in recent months -- twice at least -- talked about the direction of interest rates.

I want to clarify: What is the administration's position on --


Q: -- that fine line between directing the Fed versus predicting their actions?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the President is very, very clear. We've been clear since the beginning of this administration. And we believe that the Federal Reserve is independent. It is important that they have their independence as they're making that very important monetary policies that they have to make. And so, the President believes in independence.

When the President has spoken about that -- and I think I've said this, whether in a gaggle or here at the podium -- he's reflected a public interpretation of recent data. That's what he's speaking to.

But as far as the independence of the Federal Reserve, we -- we are very much -- very clear on that. The independence is -- is good for -- the Federal Reserve's independence is good for economics. And it benefits workers. It benefits families. It benefits businesses. And so, that's what we want to continue to make sure -- that they have their independence so they can make those really important decisions.

Q: Okay. And a quick one, separately. I wanted to get the White House reaction to the news that Tesla has eliminated almost all of its Supercharger unit that was setting up the --


Q: -- EV battery plants across the U.S. How -- I mean, how do you think this impacts the goal of bringing 500,000 of those units to U.S. soil?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, so when it comes to any type of private company decisions, obviously, that's something that they have to make that decision on. What I will say broadly is that we -- you know, we brought together public and private sectors to build a convenient and reliable national charging network that everyone can use.

And so, since this President, since the Biden-Harris administration, more than 40 EV charging infrastructure companies have announced new or expanded manufacturing facilities in the U.S. And so, this is a evolving and competitive market where multiple companies are playing leading roles here. It's not just one company.

But -- so, want to be really careful on a -- on a private company's personnel decision or any type of de- -- decision that they have to make on behiv- -- of behalf of their business.

But we have -- believe that we have brought together both sides -- the public and -- and private sector -- to really deal -- to really speak to this and deal with this.

Go ahead, Gabe.

Q: Thanks, Karine. I wanted to follow up on a previous question that was asked.


Q: And, respectfully, you didn't quite answer it. The question was: Why hasn't the President been more forceful --


Q: -- in talking about the protests?


Q: You talked about how he's talked about antisemitism. But specifically on the protests --


Q: -- why hasn't the President been more --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well -- no --

Q: -- forceful on that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I hear that the question, Gabe, but, respectfully, the President has been one -- the -- no other president has spoken about antisemitism than this President.

Q: But that's not -- that's not the question.


Q: It's the protest.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I'm -- but I'm answering it in the way that I believe is the best way to answer your question, which is the President has been very, very clear. He's been clear about this. He's taken action. He put forth a -- a strategic plan to deal -- to counter antisemitism -- more than 100 new actions. And not just taking actions, but it is actions that -- across the administration. This is a whole-of-government process. Right?

We have the Department of Homeland Security that's involved. We have the Department of Education that's involved. We want to make sure that we're dealing with this -- not just words, not just speaking out, but taking action.

And so, look, the President is going to continue to monitor this. Obviously, he's going to continue to get regularly updated on this. We have spoken from this administration. You've heard from the Vice President; you've heard from the Second Gentleman. You've also heard from this President, who has taken questions on this.

And what we believe -- and we're very clear on this -- is that peacefully protesting within the law is something that every American should have the right to do. And we are also going to call out any type of antisemitism that we are hearing, that we are seeing -- the hate. That's something that we have done -- not just throughout this administration -- this President has done that throughout his -- his political career. And he's going to -- we're going to certainly continue to do that.

And so, look, that's ki- -- that's where we stand. I think that is a very forceful place to be when we say we have taken action. We have taken action here.

Q: You -- you mentioned that the President has taken questions on this. Again, respectfully --


Q: -- he -- he hasn't. He did take a question where he said he condemns those who don't understand what's going on with the Palestinians. I know you've been asked about that.


Q: But since you brought up Charlottesville, what do you say to those critics who say that he is trying to have it both ways -- that he's essentially, you know, trying to talk about both antisemitism and what's going on with the Palestinians?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I would say to those critics is -- no, he's not doing a both-sides scenario here. When you think about Charlottesville, you think about the -- the vile antisemitism that we heard on the streets of Charlottesville -- right here -- in Virginia -- right? -- not far from here -- the President and many of us wanted to make sure that was called out.

Somebody died. A young woman lost her life. And when the President saw that, it put him in a situation where he believed it was the right thing to speak against that. He wrote an op-ed that was in The Atlantic, because about that -- about that. He decided to run because of what he saw in Charlottesville. And that was just vile, nasty rhetoric.

And you had, you know, a former president talk about both sides. There was no "both sides" here. None. Absolutely none.

As it relates to the Palestinians, he was talking about the humanitarian -- a dire humanitarian situation that we're currently seeing. I just mentioned the Secretary -- Secretary Blinken is going to be talking about the humanitarian aid that we are trying to get into Gaza for the people of Gaza. We're trying to get this hostage deal done so that we can get hostages home and create an environment to get humanitarian aid that would lead -- also, the hostage- -- it would lead to a ceasefire.

Those things are not the same. They're just not the same -- fundamentally not the same. And it is in bad faith -- it is in bad faith to say that.

Go ahead, Anne. Oh --

Q: Oh, ac- -- no, no, no.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.)

Q: It's fine. I have a -- I do -- had a similar question. But I believe you addressed it. I am also just curious: What are you meeting with POTUS about? You mentioned you were meeting.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.) Fair enough.

Well, as you know, the President is going to go to North Carolina tomorrow. So, that's going to be an important trip. And so, we'll be discussing that.

Okay. Go ahead. Yeah.

Q: Oh, great. Okay. (Laughs.) These protests that have been going on on college campuses, we're hearing that some of them are starting to wane a little bit. But they're not just a one-day protest; this has been going on for quite some time. Is there some concern within the Biden administration that this may be eroding public view -- if the court of public opinion may be turning against what the President is standing for and that maybe they're not hearing the antisemitism message?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, we have been very consistent from this administration about antisemitism, calling out hateful speech. Antisemitism is hateful speech. Calling out hateful rhetoric, violent rhetoric, that is something -- when it pops up, when we hear about it, from this administration, we've been pretty consistent on calling that out. That should not be -- we should not be seeing this on campuses, in communities. It should not be part of the political discourse.

I think we've been very clear during -- throughout this administration, before this administration, throughout this President's career: We have to call that out.

I can't speak to polling. I can't speak to what is weighing in this poll. What I can speak to is what this President is going to continue to do, and what this administration is going to continue to do is call out -- call out this hateful speech, including antisemitism -- again, which is hateful speech. It is abhorrent. We got to call it out.

Go ahead.

Q: Karine, what's your currently assessment of the risk to the U.S. milk and meat supply from the bird flu epidemic in cattle?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yep. So, I know that the Department of Agriculture has been on top of this. I know that they are not seeing any -- any concerns to -- to milk or any of the cattle or the meat -- or meat that we are be- -- that we are consuming. Well, I don't consume any meat, but some of you all -- (laughter) -- you out there.

And so, obviously they are taking this very seriously. They are monitoring the situation. As far as -- as far as we understand it to be is that they believe that milk and -- and consuming meat is safe.

Q: And from an inflation standpoint, is there any concern that there might be supply disruptions in that area that might lead to higher prices?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, as you know, you know, what -- because of the pandemic, there was a supply chain disruption. The President took action -- the American Rescue Plan -- which only, obviously, Democrats voted for -- the President signed -- helped deal with supply chain.

There is a -- a task force that was created to deal -- to make sure that, during the pandemic, that supply chain was dealt with in a way so that we can get out of this pandemic, get our -- the economy -- get back on our feet with the economy.

Look, this is something we're going to monitor. I don't have anything to share on -- on the question of inflation. We're -- obviously, we're going to continue to closely monitor.

Q: And then, on another subject, the flooding in Kenya. I'm curious if there's any relief that's planned from the administration and whether it's affecting plans for the state visit later this month.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, a couple of things on that. So, obviously, we extend our deepest condolences to the families, loved ones, and communities who have been impacted by the catastrophic flooding in East Africa -- obviously not just Kenya -- over the past month.

The U.S. is supporting some response efforts, particularly through the U.S. Agency for International Development -- USAID -- Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance.

For example, in Kenya, US- -- USAID has provided $600,000 to Kenya Red Cross Society, the Government of Kenya's lead responder for emergency flood response. That's in addition to more than $40 million that USAID has provided to humanitarian organizations in Kenya, who also have flexibility to respond to the current floods this year.

So, we continue to offer our continued and -- and resolute support to all who have been impacted and are closely monitoring the situation.

We do not see this impacting the state visit, as you just mentioned, on May 23rd. But we're going to continue to offer our assi- -- our assistance and support.

Go ahead.

Q: Thank you, Karine. The President, in less than three weeks, is going to be delivering commencement addresses at both Morehouse and West Point. What sort of environment is the White House preparing for the President to encounter there?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, when you speak about environment, security, or anything like that, that's something for the Secret Service to speak to. I can't speak to that. What I can say is the President is very much looking forward to speaking to graduates --

Q: What mood does he expect to encounter on campus?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What mood?

Q: I know you can't talk about --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I -- I mean, look, I don't want to get into hypotheticals here. I -- you know, the President is hoping to encounter and deal -- and see family members and students who are thrilled and excited to be celebrating an important day. He's going to be celebrating that day with them, talking about their future, you know, hoping to deliver remarks that hit home for these graduates and -- and their families.

It's a special day. It's a special day. And so, he's looking forward to doing that. He did two -- two commencement speeches last year, two before then -- before that -- before -- before 2023, obviously. And so, this is something that he looks forward to doing.

I can't speak to the mood. I can't speak to security situation. I can't speak to that. I can't get into hypotheticals. I can speak to how important that moment is going to be. And the President certainly looks forward to it.

Q: But is it the White House's expectation that some of the -- the current frustration on campus will have subsided by that time?


Q: And if so, why?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, I don't have a crystal ball to look into and look into the future. I just don't. I -- I that is not something that I have the ability of doing.

What I can say is this is an important day. This is an important month -- important month, yes, graduation month -- but important day for these graduates. And he's -- you know, as the President tends to do when he speaks at graduation, he's going to meet the moment.

Q: And just to follow up on a question about some of the reports from police that the protesters that were arrested in New York were not students. Yesterday, John Kirby said that there was no intelligence to support the idea that there were bad actors involved in some of these protests. Does the intelligence still support that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I'm just going to be really mindful. I'm just not going to speak to that. There's local -- local enforcement -- local law enforcement on the ground. So I'll -- will -- I will speak to that.

I think what I can say, more broadly: This is a painful moment -- and we understand that -- for many communities, and we know that these kinds of charged moments pose challenges for law enforcement. And the President continues to believe, as I've said multiple times, that Americans have the right to peacefully protest within the law. That is their right. It is part of our freedoms here in America.

And at the same time, we are going to condemn anti- -- anti- -- antisemitism. We believe that is hate speech. We -- it is abhorrent. And we're going to continue to condemn that.

Q: Thank you.

Q: To -- what -- with that said, I mean, does the President believe New York Mayor Adams and leaders of Columbia University and City College of New York acted appropriately by having the protesters at those colleges as- -- colleges arrested and their encampments forcibly shut down?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That is a decision for colleges and universities to decide on.

The law enforcement, if you think about local law enforcement, they know what's going on on the ground. They have a better sense of what's going on on the ground. And, obviously, they have to make decisions.

We are talking about protecting students and making sure that they feel safe on campus. We're talking about a small group of students who are disrupting that ability for students to have that academic experience. That's what we're talking about here.

We believe, and I will continue to say this, Americans have the right to peacefully protest within the law. That is incredibly important. And we also have to condemn hate. We have to condemn antisemitism. That is something that this President believes.

We also understand, as I just stated to your colleague, that many communities -- this is a painful time and is a very charged -- charged environment, charged moments. When you see those type of charged moments, they do pose challenges for law enforcement. But that is their decision to make.

Q: But when we look nationwide, you know, all these protests erupting at college campuses, has the response, you know, been the appropriate response, or has it been, you know, too harsh?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So look, there's probab- -- there's going to be local investigations. There's going to be cases on this. And I don't want to get ahead of that. I can't go into every case here.

What I can say is, in these charged moments, we understand how difficult it is. We understand how -- how painful it is in this moment and how, because of that -- because of those -- of that -- those charged moments, it can be challenging for law enforcement.

At the same time, students have to be allowed, Americans have to be allowed to peacefully protest. That is important. That is part of our freedoms here in America. We got to make sure that we continue to say that. We believe, in this administration, that we have to continue to say that and call out any antisemitism that we see. It is dangerous. It is abhorrent. We got to call that out.

Q: Karine --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead. I'll (inaudible).

Q: Thanks, Karine. On a different topic. Would the President encouraged Democrats to help protect Speaker Johnson from being ousted from his role if Marjorie Taylor Greene were to make good on her threat to --


Q: -- move forward next week?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We've been very clear. When it comes to internal leadership discussions in Congress, we just do not get involved. That is for Democratic -- Democratic leadership to speak to. That's not something we get involved in.

Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, Karine. I'm wondering if the White House has any response to the reports of violent clashes on UCLA's campus last night that there were -- there was a group of counter-protesters that tried to forcibly dismantle the pro-Palestine encampment and the clash that resulted afterwards.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, what I can say more broadly: Any form of violence, we are going to denounce. We're going to call out violent rhetoric. Any type of -- of violence, we have to call out. That doesn't change anything. We're going to continue to do that.

Go ahead.

Q: Yeah, on that trip to North Carolina, does the President plan to visit the victims of Charlotte's mass shooting?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Don't have anything to share at this time. We'll have more later.

Go ahead, Jon.

Q: To wit. Just to -- just a follow-up --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Fair. Fair enough.

Q: -- a follow-up with that question with --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. Which one? North Carolina?

Q: North Carolina


Q: Yeah, North Carolina. So, already on the schedule is the visit to Wilmington, North Carolina. It's expected that the President will also travel to Charlotte as well. Has the President reached out to the families of those law enforcement --


Q: -- individuals who were killed in that tragic incident the --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, here --

Q: -- other day?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Here is what I will say: I don't have any -- any details to share with you at this time. But the President -- and you saw this in his statement yesterday -- he talked about the fou- -- four law enforcement officers. They were heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. That's what you see. When they put on the uniform and the badge every day, they are putting their lives on the line, and they made the ultimate sacrifice.

So, obviously, we pray for -- for them. We pray for their families and others who were -- who were injured as a result of this senseless violence -- senseless violence. And so, we're continuing -- we'll continue to keep them in their [our] prayers.

As it relates to North Carolina tomorrow, I just don't have anything to share at this time.

Go ahead.

Q: I have a question on Elon Musk's China visit. He concluded a surprise visit recently, meeting with senior Communist Party officials and made some deals with -- to work with the Chinese technology companies. Is the White House worried that the U.S. advanced electric vehicle technology will be in China's hands? And would the administration look into the deal if there is a national --


Q: -- security concern?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I'm going to be really careful. Elon Musk is a private citizen. I'm just not going to speak to his travels from here. I'm just not going to speak to it.

Go ahead. Go ahead, Adam.

Q: Hi. Thanks. I wanted to follow up once more on Gabe's question, because I think the way that --


Q: -- you responded leaves maybe the impression that the White House views antisemitism as synonymous with the protests as a whole. That's the only issue you're going to (inaudible) --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, I was -- I was very clear about --

Q: So --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: There's a small number of students who are causing the disruption, and I've been very clear about that. And we have to make sure that we create a safe environment -- a safe environment is created for students to -- to learn, for students to be able to go to graduation. I've been very clear: a small number of students.

Q: So, I -- so, maybe this specific question because --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, sure. Sure, sure.

Q: What -- what is the White House -- how do they -- how does the White House view the protests themselves, the causes behind them, the frustrations behind them? How do -- does White House view those as legitimate?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, topline here: Every -- every American has the right to peacefully protest within the law. That is something that we believe. Seizing buildings, taking over buildings is not peacefully protesting. I think we've been very, very clear about that. That is not peacefully protesting.

Students have the right to attend class and feel safe and feel like they are in a safe campus environment. That's what we want to see.

And I've also said over and over again, we believe that it is a small percentage of students who are causing this disrupt- -- disruption, and they're causing a disruption that -- that really takes away from students' academic experience -- might take away, for some, their commencement experience, which is supposed to be a really important day for many of these graduates.

And so, at the same time, we're going to continue to underscore that antisemitism should be called out. It is hate speech, and that should not be allowed -- not on college campuses, not in communities, not in the political discourse. And so, been very clear about that, and we're going to continue to do so.

Q: And in terms of, you know, the causes that are driving these protests -- the frustration --


Q: -- with the war in Gaza, the frustration with U.S. support for Israel and this offensive -- does the White House view the drivers of these protests as legitimate?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We believe and understand -- understand that this is a painful moment for many communities. We get that. I mean, we say that over and over again. That's why the President and senior White House officials here have had multiple conversations with members of that -- of those communities -- to hear from them, to listen to them.

And we also believe people have the right -- Americans have the right to peacefully protest. That is part of what -- freedoms here in America, that's what it all means. It is important to be able to peacefully protest within the law.

Hate speech should not be allowed. We should condemn that. That's what this administration has always been consistent about and clear about. And we're going to continue to do that.

Go ahead.

AIDE: Karine.


Q: Thank you, Karine. Some of these encampments, they had matching tents. We're being told that there are professional outside agitators involved. We don't know if they're being paid to sow chaos by domestic folks or foreign entities. Does President Biden want his administration to find out who is funding some of these protests?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I can say -- I -- you know, I cannot -- I cannot speak to the organizations that are being reported -- that -- that's on the ground. That is not something for me to speak to. That is obviously something that local governments -- local official -- I keep saying "local government" -- local officials are going to speak to. They'll have better information on that.

What we have said -- and I don't think I've iterated that yet from here -- is that the DOJ and FBI is going to continue to offer support to universities and colleges with -- in respect to federal laws. So, that is something that the DOJ and FBI is doing.

As far as local organizations and what is all being reported on the ground, that is something that I'm -- that local law enforcement certainly is looking into.

Q: And I understand that President Biden historically has spoken very forcefully about antisemitism, but this week he's not. He's MIA. Is he that worried about losing the youth vote with these protestors?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I'm going to be mindful. You're talking about "youth vote." You're talking about 2024.

Q: Support of young people.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no. I -- I have to say what I have to say and just give me a second. So, I'm not going to speak about --

(A cell phone rings.)

Somebody's doorbell? Is that a doorbell? (Laughter.)


Q: An alarm.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: An alarm. Okay. All right.

And I'll speak more broadly. I can't speak to youth pe- -- youth and support and voters. That's not something I can do from here.

The President has taken a lot of policy actions here that he knows that young people care about. And a lot of those actions are popular with those young folks, whether it's giving a little bit of breathing room with student debt relief.

So- -- we made an announcement today, matter of fact, and we are going to continue to do that because we think it's important as families or as an American and you coming out of college and you want to build a family, buy a home, you have the opportunity to do that and not be crushed by student debt. The President understands how important it is to deal with that issue.

Climate change -- something that young people really, truly care about. One of the crises that the President said he came in to having to deal with was the climate change crisis. This is a president who has taken more -- have taken aggressive, aggressive action to deal with climate crisis.

Look, I can't speak to -- I can't speak to youth voters or their support. What we're going to do is continue to take actions that we believe helps all Americans in all communities.

Q: And you mentioned what he said in 2017, after Charlottesville. He said about Trump's response then, "Charlottesville, for me, was a moment where I thought silence would be complicity."


Q: So, how does he explain, how you explain --


Q: -- his silence this week?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President has not been silent on this issue when it comes to hate speech, antisemitism. He started --

Q: He -- he has.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Wait. He started -- he launched the first-ever antisemitism -- Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, something that no other president did. No other president

do --

Q: In the time since, a school building on a -- at an Ivy League campus got taken over.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I -- and we call that out. And we said: That is not peacefully protesting. Taking over a building at a university is -- or a college is not peacefully protesting.

And we've been very clear. We've been very clear -- taking more than a hundred new actions to deal with antisemitism in this administration, no one has ever done that before. Not any other administration has ever done that before.

Q: Does he think it's working? You're talking about 2017 --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We're going to continue -- we're going to continue --

Q: -- vile, antisemitic rhetoric (inaudible) --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We're going to continue to do the work. And it's not just here in the White House. We're talking about DOJ. We're talking about Homeland Security. Right? We're talking about Department of -- Department of Education, talking and working with campuses and colleges to deal with this issue.

We have seen a uptick in antisemitism in the last, certainly, several months and in the past year. And we have to call that out. And it is not okay. It is not okay.

Go ahead, Phil.

Q: Thank you. Two quick questions here. You've made the distinction between the President's support for peaceful protest and, say, less-than-peaceful protests. I'm curious, what is the President's view and what is the view of the White House on some of these college campuses where we've seen the U.S. flag torn down and the Palestinian flag replace it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I will say is this. Americans have the right to peacefully protest within the law -- within the law. And we have to re- -- we have to also respect that, you know, we cannot disturb campuses in the way of taking over buildings, in the way that we have seen. That is not peacefully protest. It's just not.

And, you know, look, we have seen some really vile, hateful -- hateful language used against the Jewish community -- Jewish Americans in this country. It is a dangerous time for that community. And we have been very clear about what we need to do to fight that hate but also condemn that hate.

And so, we're going to continue to do that. And as it relates to what's happening, obviously, the actions that colleges and universities are -- are taking, obviously, it's up to them. They're on the ground. But we're going to continue to call that out.

Q: And then zooming out just a little bit here. You know, not all of these protesters have expressed antisemitism, but some have. And I'm -- I'm curious: Does the President believe that at, perhaps, some of these universities that higher education has gone off the rails, that, you know, something more fundamental has gone wrong on these college campuses?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I wouldn't go that far. And I've been -- and you said it in your question to me. It is a small percentage of students who are causing this disruption. And students should be -- feel safe to go to school. They should be -- feel safe to be able to have that all-important academic experience. They should be able to have -- and have their commencement and be able to have their families and loved ones show up for them on that important day.

And I wouldn't go that far in your question because, as I stated and you stated, we believe it's a small number of students who are causing this disruption. And if they are going to protest, Americans have the right to do it in a peaceful way within the law. And we're going to continue to call out hateful speech as we have been.

Q: One more. One more, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, everybody. Thanks, everyone.

1:38 P.M. EDT

Joseph R. Biden, Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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