Joe Biden

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor John Kirby

July 08, 2024

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

2:19 P.M. EDT

Q: Good afternoon.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon, everybody. Hello. Happy Monday.

It's going to be a great week. I have -- I have very long things -- l- -- long toppers at the top. Just warning you all. No falling asleep, please.

Okay. So, we've gotten more strong economic news in recent days.

On Friday, our economy created more than 200,000 jobs last month. Under President Biden's leadership, we have now created a total of 15.7 million jobs over the last three and a half years.

Yesterday, a record 3 million travelers were screened at airports -- a sign that our economy is strong and Americans are back on the road for the summer in record numbers.

Speaking of which, last week, we sold 1 million barrels of gasoline to help lower gas prices ahead of the Fourth of July, which saw the lowest gas prices in three years.

And today, a new report from the Economic Innovation Group highlighted what the New York Times called a -- quote, "a remarkable comeback" under President Biden.

That report found that communities that have been lifted [left] behind struggled under the last -- last administration -- what the Times called "a particularly grim stretch under Donald Trump." But those communities are coming back under President Biden, with jobs growing more than four times faster than in the previous four years.

Investments spurred by the president's Investing in America agenda are benefiting previously left behind communities.

That's just some of the economic progress happening under President Biden. Watch out for more news in the coming days. Exciting.

And next, I want to share highlights from the president's recent schedule, as well as looking ahead to the next two weeks.

So, over the last 10 days, President Biden has been hitting the road and meeting directly with the American people, as well as continuing his job as leader of the country.

In the two days after the debate, he met with supporters in Atlanta, Raleigh, New York, and New Jersey.

Last week, he delivered remarks on the Supreme Court, visited the D.C. Emergency Operations Center for a briefing on extreme weather events, hosted a Medal of Honor ceremony, and joined the First Lady for a Fourth of July barbecue with active- duty military service members and their families.

Throughout the week, the president also spoke with leaders of the UK -- United Kingdom -- Israel and the Republic of South Africa.

On Friday, the president traveled to Madison, Wisconsin, for a campaign rally.

On Sunday, just yesterday, he held numerous events across Pennsylvania with elected officials, including Governor Shapiro, Senator Fetterman, and Congresswoman Madeleine Dean.

He participated in interviews, including joining "Morning Joe" just this morning.

And throughout, the president has engaged with elected leaders, including members of Congress, governors, and local officials.

This week, President Biden will speak to National Labor leaders of AFL-CIO; host the NATO Summit to show the unprecedented strength of our alliance; hold a press conference -- a "big boy" press conference, according to Justin Sink from Bloomberg -- (laughter) -- who's not here. But, Josh, you are here. I see you.

Q: Hi, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.) So, that will happen on Thursday. And travel to Michigan on Friday for a campaign event.

And next week, he will travel to Texas and Las Vegas.

On July 15th, he will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. He will highlight the Biden-Harris administration's progress advancing civil rights and his vision to bring America together.

On July 16th, he will address the 115th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, emphasizing the Biden-Harris administration's commitment to advancing racial justice and e- -- equity for all Americans, including Black Americans.

On July 17th, he will speak to the UnidosU- -- Unidos Annual Conference where he will underline the Biden-Harris administration's historic accomplishments, including lowering prescription drug costs for America's seniors, lowering the Latino uninsured rate, and creating a Latino small-business boom.

And finally, I just mentioned the U.S. is going to be hosting the 75th summit -- the NATO Summit right here in the United States, obviously, in Washington, D.C., this week. NATO is the most powerful and capable alliance in the world. And President Biden is proud -- very proud to have worked to strengthen it and also expand it.

So, with that, the admiral from the National Security Council is here to take your questions on that.

MR. KIRBY: Thanks, Karine. Appreciate it.

I, too, have a few things to get through, so I ask you to bear with me.

As Karine mentioned, the president is looking forward to hosting the leaders from 38 different countries this week in Washington for a historic summit to mark the 75th anniversary of the NATO Summit. This will obviously include the leaders of all our NATO Allies, as well as NATO partners, including Ukraine, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea.

Before we discuss the schedule, I just want to take a minute to discuss the context in which NATO leaders will be gathering this week.

For 75 years, NATO has served a vital role in protecting the American people and in making the world a less dangerous place.

NATO is the strongest defensive alliance in history. And today, it is bigger, stronger, better resourced, and more united than ever before, in large part due to President Biden's leadership over the past three years.

He's worked hard to expand the Alliance by welcoming two new members, Sweden and Finland, and we'll officially welcome in Sweden this week. He has spent countless hours rallying the Alliance in 2021 and 2022 to build a global coalition to respond to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and provide indispensable support to that country. And I'll get that -- more on that in just a second.

The president has also strongly encouraged greater partnerships between the NATO Alliance and friendly nations around the world, particularly in the Indo-Pacific, as you will see. And the president knows that the global threats and challenges that we all face, including from authoritarian actors and terrorist organizations are inextrictab- -- inextricably linked.

He has also encouraged our NATO Allies to join him in making significant investments in our mutual defense and deterrence capabilities.

And when the Biden and -- Biden-Harris administration took office, only nine NATO Allies were spending at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense. Two percent was the Wales pledge. That was the goal that every member of the Alliance had -- had swore that they would get to.

Today, a record 23 NATO Allies are at or above the minimum level of 2 percent of GDP on defense spending -- more than twice as many as in 2020 and nearly eight times higher than when the Allies first set that 2 percent benchmark a decade ago.

Now, just quickly turning to the schedule. Tomorrow evening, President Biden will welcome NATO leaders, and he and Dr. Biden will host the 75th anniversary commemoration event at the Mellon Auditorium. That is the site, I think you all know, when the NATO Treaty was formally signed in 1949.

On Wednesday, the president will hold his first bilateral meeting with the new prime minister of the United Kingdom, Keir Starmer, here at the White House. The president will also meet with the 32 members of the Alliance at the Convention Center. And then later that evening, he and Dr. Biden will host NATO leaders for a dinner, again, here at the White House.

On Thursday morning, NATO will hold a meeting with the EU and with NATO's Indo-Pacific partners -- that's Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand -- to deepen our cooperation. And then on Thursday afternoon, there'll be a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council, after which the president will host an event with President Zelenskyy and nearly two dozen of our allies and partners who have signed bilateral security agreements with Ukraine, just as the president did, as you saw, in Italy a week or so ago.

After that, the president will hold a press conference -- I guess a "big boy" press conference --


MR. KIRBY: -- is what we're calling it -- and take some questions from y'all.

Now, we're working to also set up some additional meetings -- bilateral meetings. Ri- -- the only two that I can speak to right now are with the UK prime minister and President Zelenskyy. But I have no doubt there will be ad- -- additional bilats. And as we get more fidelity on those, we'll let you know.

Finally, as customary for -- as customary for summits the United States hosts, there will be a leaders' spouses and partners program hosted by Dr. Biden.

Now, if I could just quickly turn to Ukraine, because back to the context for what this meeting is all about, I think it's important to just do a quick update here what -- what the situation is on the ground.

Since the passage of the supplemental in April, the president has authorized seven security packages to help Ukraine, including five drawdowns of munitions and equipment. The resumption of that U.S. aid has made a significant impact on the battlefield.

Instead of the nightmare scenar- -- scenarios that were predicted several months ago about what we could see heading into the NATO Summit, we've seen the situation stabilize. Ukrainian forces have successfully stopped Russia's attack north of Kharkiv, denying Russia the ability to take that city and limiting Russian gains to areas just across the border.

The Ukrainians have held the line in Chasiv Yar. They've held fast east of Pokrovsk, hardening their defenses and ensuring that Russia will not break through. And they've halted Russian attacks in Zaporizhzhia.

Throughout these last three months, the Russians have attacked relentlessly across all those fronts, and the price that they have paid for the few meters that they have gained here and there has been extensive: heavy casualties, destroyed equipment, disrupted supply lines, degraded morale.

The people of Ukraine have yet again demonstrated that when supplied and when supported by the international community and the United States, they can hold off the largest -- though certainly not, I think is clearly evident, the most capable -- army in Europe.

Their success is not just limited to the front. Ukraine has put U.S.-provided ATACMS -- the long-range strike missiles -- to good use in Crimea, destroying Russian surface-to-air missile systems, command nodes, airfields. They sunk the last cruise missile-capable warship in the port of Sevastopol. And the Russian Black Sea now -- Black Sea fleet has now fled Crimea in response.

While it has been heartening to see Ukraine hold on in this critical period, we should not forget the grim reality. Russia continues to bombard frontline towns with massive and low-accuracy glide bombs and sending missiles at Ukrainian cities, including over just the past weekend, where they hit a hospital -- a children's hospital. Russia has ramped up its campaign against Ukrainian electrical generation, depriving the civilian population of power and attempting set the conditions to punish them over the fall and the winter.

To strengthen Ukraine's air defenses and to help Ukraine protect its cities and its grid, the United States and several of our Allies will have several big announcements at this week's summit. And the NATO Alloance [Alliance] will announce significant new steps to strengthen its military and political partnership with Ukraine to help Ukraine continue to defend themselves today and to deter Russian aggression well into the future.

These elements, taken together with bilateral support, are part of a bridge to Ukraine's NATO membership. Together, the Washington Summit will send a strong signal to Mr. Putin that if he thinks he can outlast the coalition of countries that are supporting Ukraine, he's dead wrong again.

As President Biden has said himself, Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, Admiral. Let's go ahead. Go ahead, Zeke.

Q: Thanks, John. You mentioned the context of the summit this week. It's also the first time the president has interacted with these world leaders since that -- the disastrous debate against former President Trump 10 days or so ago, where the president struggled to confront the former president on all sorts of things.

What is the president's -- you know, does the president feel the -- how does he plan to reassure American allies in NATO that he is up for the job now when he couldn't confront Trump on stage then?

MR. KIRBY: I think your question presupposes the notion that they need to be reassured of American leadership and President Biden's commitment. And I don't believe that's the case.

We're not picking up any signs of that from our allies at all. Quite the contrary. The conversations that we're having with them in advance is they're -- they're excited about this summit. They're excited about the possibilities and the things that we're going to be doing together, s- -- specifically to help Ukraine.

Q: So, you've seen zero -- I mean, there have been stories, multiple outlets, from both sides of the Atlantic over the last several days with questions from European leaders about the president's capacity to le- -- to lead the United States. Are you just denying that?

MR. KIRBY: I'm not aware of any such conversations that have been had. Certainly none with us. And -- and here at the White House and with our staff, we're looking forward to it.

I want to, you know, go back to what I said at the beginning. In the last three years, rather than browbeating and insulting and demeaning allies, this president has invested in allies and partnerships.

And when he took office -- what I said -- nine -- only nine allies had reached the 2 percent level -- now 23. That's not by accident. That's because of leadership. That's because of constant stewardship of the Alliance and other partnerships around the world.

The president's record speaks for itself. And the Allies and the non-NATO al- -- friends and partners that are coming as well, they know that. They wouldn't be coming -- New Zealand, Japan, South Korea -- to a NATO Summit if they didn't believe in American leadership and how important it is and if they didn't believe that President Biden takes that responsibility extremely seriously.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: Admiral, good to see you. On the point about European countri- -- or NATO members boosting their defense spending, that was something, though, that was a big concern of the last president. It was part of the reason many of them were boosting their funding. (Inaudible.)

MR. KIRBY: And it was a concern of the president before the last president. As you recall, President Obama said the same thing. This -- this pledge goes back a decade or so.

But the numbers speak for themselves, Ed. And rather than browbeating and yelling and screaming and complaining and whining about it, President Biden invested in this Alliance. And he -- just the last three and a half years now, more than double the number of Allies have reached that 2 percent.

Q: Two questions on the fallout from the debate. Have you, in your meetings with him, ever seen him appear similarly to the way he did on debate night?

MR. KIRBY: Look, I'm a spokesman, and the last --

Q: And you're in a lot of meetings with him.

MR. KIRBY: I am. And the last thing I'm going to do is sit here and talk about every meeting I've had with the president.

What I can tell you is what I saw in that debate is not reflective of the man and the leader and the commander-in-chief that I have spent many, many hours with over the last two and a half years in terms of the -- the specificity of the way he probes, the questions he asked.

Heck, just this morning, he was asking me questions about the situation on the European continent that I couldn't answer, and I told him I had to get back to him.

Q: On ano- -- when he met with governors last week, he suggested he'd like to curtail events that begin after 8:00 p.m. at night just because he'd rather focus on resting and doesn't want to have a long day.

In your understanding of things, has the National Security Council ever withheld information from him he should have known late at night out of concern he might not be able to process it?


MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Mary.

Q: Thank you.

Q: Russia has bombed Ukraine's largest children's hospital, as you noted. Do you believe the timing of these strikes is meant to send a message to NATO ahead of this week's summit?

MR. KIRBY: It's hard to draw a line, Mary, to that. I mean, sadly, this is par for the course for Mr. Putin to hit civilian infrastructure. And he doesn't care whether he's hitting hospitals or residential buildings. I -- I can't draw the line that -- that this is some sort of message.

But, look, I mean, as I said, what you're going to see over the course of the week is a very set of -- of strong signals and messages to Mr. Putin that he can't wait NATO out, can't wait the United States out, that we're going to continue to support Ukraine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Andrea.

Q: I'm sorry --


Q: Oh, okay. I just wanted to ask about the air defenses and some of the sort of deliverables that are coming out of the NATO Summit. Can you walk us through what you think will be happening in terms of any additional commitments in -- in addition to the -- the funding packages that come? And can you say a few words about this project to sort of consolidate the way that weapons are going to Ukraine through the distribution center, the -- I think there's a -- an -- a center that will be set up in Vyspa and under NATO --

MR. KIRBY: Coordination center?

Q: Coordination center.

MR. KIRBY: Yeah, I mean, I don't -- the purpose for me to come today was just to kind of give you the laydown of the -- of the -- the summit ahead and not to get too far ahead of the leaders and the specific deliverables.

But -- so, without doing that and without getting fired, I'll just tell you that -- (laughs) -- you're going to see some announcements on air defense. You're going to see some announcements on deterrence capabilities, not just with respect to helping Ukraine but -- but boosting the Alliance.

You're going to see some announcements with respect to the defense industrial base and how to shore up that and make it more resilient and invest in it more, including in our own industrial base here in the United States.

And you're going to see, as I alluded to, some discussion about Ukraine's path to NATO and what that -- and what that can look like and a reaffirmation of what the president has long said, that -- that NATO is in Ukraine's future.

Q: Just to follow up on that. Can you say whether the word "irreversible" will be in the communiqué?

MR. KIRBY: I'm not going to get ahead of the specific language one way or the other.

Q: And then just on Israel and Gaza. Can you say anything about the Israeli response to the Hamas response to the ceasefire proposal? Lots of responses.

MR. KIRBY: Yeah. So, no surprise to you all. I'm not going to negotiate here from the podium or in public.

I would just tell you that there has been some back and forth. As you know, we have a team in Cairo right now that includes Brett McGurk and the director of the CIA. They're meeting with their Egyptian, Israeli, and Jordanian counterparts, and there'll be follow-on discussions after that over the next few days.

Look, we've been working this very, very hard. And there are still some gaps that remain in the two sides and the positions. But we wouldn't have sent a team over there if we didn't think that we had a shot here. And we're going to take every shot we can to see if we can't get this ceasefire deal in place.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, David.

Q: Within days?

MR. KIRBY: I couldn't give you a date certain.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, David.

Q: Thank you. John, thanks for doing this.

First, just to follow up on the communiqué, even if you can't get into "irreversible." The president's objection last year and Chancellor Scholz's objection, if I remember Vilnius correctly, was that neither one of them wanted a date set for fear, I assume, that the United States and its allies would be drawn into the ground war if -- if Ukraine was still at war while a NATO member.

Does that remain today to be his primary object- -- objection? Is he willing to do wording that just is short of a date? Because even if you do the word "irreversible" or not, it doesn't really change the meaning very much of what you published in Vilnius.

And I have a second on just the level of --

MR. KIRBY: L- -- I'll -- I'll make this simple but unsatisfying. Again, I'm not going to get into the text and the discussions about what the draft is going to look like, David. I think you can understand that.

But I do think your question is important to -- to provide some context due. The -- the president still believes that NATO is in Ukraine's future. What that future looks like depends on an awful lot of factors. Right now, you've got a war going on inside Ukraine, and the focus, rightly, has got to be on helping them win that war, and we are, as I detailed in my opening statement.

Number two, for any country that wants to join NATO -- any country -- and it's -- and it's a -- and it's an alliance of democracies -- the democracies have to meet certain -- certain guidelines, particularly when it comes to governance. And we are and will continue to work with Ukraine on reforms that are necessary for any democracy that wants to be a member of NATO.

And then the third thing I'd say is, you know, it's a -- it's a unanimous vote. Everybody has to be on board with that, and that can take some time as well.

So, the focus is on making sure that they can win now and that we can continue to work with Ukraine so that there is a path to NATO.

The last thing I'd say is -- back to the bilateral security agreement that the president signed with President Zelenskyy at the G7 in Italy -- I mean, we're one of many other nations that have done that, too, because we know that whenever this war ends, however it ends, and whatever the border looks like, Ukraine is still going to have a long border with Russia that's going to need to be defended. And they're going to need the reassurance of being able to put forth a capable and competent defensive capability against Russian forces going forward. And that's why we're making sure that there are things in line to make sure that Ukraine can defend itself.

Q: And one follow-up on it. You mentioned that it was 10 years ago that the 2 percent GDP goal was set. Obviously, there was no war underway at that time. And so, the entire security situation looks radically different than it does -- than it did when that -- that was set.

MR. KIRBY: Well, I beg to differ. There was -- there was fighting in Afghanistan --

Q: There was -- there was Crimea in --

MR. KIRBY: -- and --

Q: -- in '24 --

MR. KIRBY: -- and Mr. Putin --

Q: -- in '14.

MR. KIRBY: -- invaded Ukraine in 2014.

Q: In '14, yeah. But I think the 2 percent may have been set --

MR. KIRBY: It was in Wales. It might have been set before the invasion.

Q: Before that.

MR. KIRBY: But nevertheless --

Q: Yeah.

MR. KIRBY: -- it was still a tense security environment.

Q: Right. We're in something mu- -- much different today. I think we're -- we're all in agreement, just given the amount of arms and so forth --

MR. KIRBY: No argument.

Q: -- going in.

So, is part of the president's message at this summit that 2 percent is in the rearview mirror, that the NATO Allies are going to have to be spending significantly more than that -- maybe double that for some countries, some larger economies? Or is he going to stay away from numbers? I know it's politically sensitive with all of them.

You also -- you mentioned the word "win." I was wondering how you're defining that.

MR. KIRBY: Okay. There's a lot there. The president is not going to set a new bar or a new level of GDP spending on defense here at this summit. The goal is 2 percent. It was a commitment everybody made 10 years ago. Not everybody's there. Most of the remaining nations that haven't reached 2 percent -- most of them, not all -- are working on it and are getting there.

And so, I think the president wants, you know, to focus on that -- wants to laude and commemorate those who have but also make it clear that those who haven't still has- -- they still have some work to do.

On "win," I -- I think we've been consistent about this. I mean, at least I think I have. I mean, we -- we want all of Ukraine's sovereign territory respected, which means we want no Russian forces in any part of Ukraine by the internationally recognized boundaries.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, April.

Q: John, you just said -- answering a question to Zeke -- you're not picking up on signs of Allies needing reassurances when it comes to President Biden. But the Allies also look for a secure United States. Have you heard any conversations from the Allies about issues of the elections process here, what they've been seeing, and the stability of the United States in the next few months, couple of years, et cetera?

MR. KIRBY: I'm not aware of any specific conversations with respect to our domestic political situation. But, look, April, we watch the domestic political situation of our allies and partners, of course, like we did with the UK and with France over the weekend, and we have no doubt that they're watching ours as well and that they'll be watching our election with -- you know, with a lot of keen interest. We -- we certainly would expect that.

But I'm not aware of any conversations that we've had at senior levels here, at the NSC or elsewhere at the White House, from Allies specifically about this -- this particular election.

Q: Not even members of the European Union who -- who gathered reporters a couple of years ago with concerns about democracy here?

MR. KIRBY: They -- they might be talking to you all, but I'm not aware of any specific conversations here.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Kelly O.

Q: Just want to circle back, Admiral, on Ed's question. So, you said broadly that the president, in your view, is not represented by what was on the debate stage. Then you gave us an anecdote about a meeting today where he was engaged and so forth.

Are you saying you have never encountered a situation where you thought that he was displaying any of those symptoms or affectations or, you know, something that would give pause? Or are you just declining to answer one way or another?

MR. KIRBY: Well, I'm a little uncomfortable a- -- answering these kinds of questions because, as a spokesman, my job is to be an adviser and counselor, and I don't think it's appropriate for a spokesman to --

Q: But you gave us a positive.

MR. KIRBY: Yeah, I did --

Q: You gave us a pos- --

MR. KIRBY: -- because I wanted to make it clear.

So, for -- yes, I'm uncomfortable with these kinds of questions. But to answer your -- to answer your specific question, in my experience the last two and a half years, I have not seen any reason whatsoever to question or doubt his lucidity, his grasp of context, his probing nature, and the degree to which he is completely in charge of facts and figures.

And if he isn't, what I've seen is -- because it happened to me this morning -- wh- -- when he isn't and when I can't be in command of those facts and figures, I -- I have to fess up and go get the information that he's asking for. And he asked me some questions this morning I didn't have answers for.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. Nadia.

Q: Thank you.

Q: Thank you, Karine. Two questions on the Middle East. Israel has conducted the largest seizure of land in the West Bank, which undermines the president's vision for a two-state solution. So, why the White House has been not -- mum on that and will the president --

MR. KIRBY: We have not -- it's not that we've been mum. There -- there was a -- there was --

Q: (Inaudible.)

MR. KIRBY: We have -- we -- there was a statement put out by the State Department about this call for settlements. We contin- -- nothing has changed about our view that settlements continue to be counterproductive to peace and stability and -- and the possibility of a two-state solution. We don't support that.

Q: Okay. And second, you mentioned about the Ukraine and Russia, in terms of the civilian casualties. The U.N. said today that actually half of the facilities of UNRWA has been hit and 520 people have been killed in addition to the aid workers. So, do you still believe that Israel is doing what it takes to protect civilian lives, including women and children?

MR. KIRBY: We certainly believe that they need to continue to do more to protect innocent civilian life.

Q: Yeah, but they're not doing much. I mean, we've been -- I've been asking this question for nine months.

MR. KIRBY: Your question wasn't about what they're doing or not doing. Your question was do we believe that they should do more. My answer is yes, they need to do more to protect civilian life. And we're going to continue to have conversations with them about how they're prosecuting these -- these operations.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: Thanks, John. Just sticking with the Middle East but connecting to the other big story. At the -- during the ABC News interview on Friday, George Stephanopoulos asked the president was he, quote, "the same man today that you were when you took office three and a half years ago?" And the president's reply began, "In terms of successes, yes. I was also the guy who put together a peace plan for the Middle East that may be coming to fruition."

Now, it may or may not be coming to fruition; we don't know. We do know 38,000 people have been killed in Gaza, almost 2 million displaced. And according to UNICEF, one in three children under the age of two is suffering from acute malnutrition. Does the president consider his Gaza policy a success?

MR. KIRBY: The president believes wholeheartedly that this ceasefire proposal that we are trying to get done will make a big difference in terms of not only temporarily ci- -- ceasing hostilities but potentially giving us an opening to end this conflict.

It's important to remember how this started. And you talked about our Gaza policy, our -- I'll -- I'll state it for you again. We want to make sure Israel has a right to defend itself from the kinds of attacks it suffered on the 7th of October, which I know is easy for people to forget -- 1,200 people slaughtered, most at a music festival

Number two, that Israel is doing everything they can to protect innocent civilian life. Is it enough? No, they need to continue to do more.

And that we are doing everything we can to get humani- -- humanitarian assistance in to the people of Gaza.

That's our Gaza policy. And as the president has also said, we would be and will still continue to be willing to adjust the policies that we -- that we are executing with respect to Gaza as we see things unfold on the ground.

Q: But the broader question was: Does he consider his policy to have been successful?

MR. KIRBY: Israel is defending itself against a terrorist attack, so we can check that off.

Humanitarian assistance continues to flow. In fact, if it wasn't for the United States, I daresay that not -- not a fraction of the humanitarian assistance that ge- -- is getting into Gaza would get in. Is it enough? No.

And the Israelis have taken some steps to be more precise, more discriminant, and more careful in their operations. Is it enough? No.

So, we're going to keep at it. We're going to keep working on this.

Q: You keep saying "Is it enough? No." The president described Israel as bombing -- in- -- indiscriminate bombing in December. Seven months have passed, and you've paused one arm shipment, as I understand it. Is that fair?

MR. KIRBY: That's right.

Q: (Inaudible.)

MR. KIRBY: What's your -- is there a question here?

Q: Do you think that that's an effective response to indiscriminate bombing of a civilian population?

MR. KIRBY: It's never right to be conducting indiscriminate bombing of a civilian population. That's why we continue to work with the Israelis to be more precise, to be more careful.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Just a couple more. Go ahead, Michael. Go ahead.

Q: Sorry, Karine. Sorry.

Hi, Admiral. Can I just start with the Middle East as well? Hamas has accused Netanyahu of putting obstacles in the way of the ceasefire deal that is being talked about now. Does the U.S. think that Netanyahu's government is doing everything it can to secure the ceasefire deal?

MR. KIRBY: We're working hard to get that ceasefire deal in place. I'm not going to negotiate here from public -- in public or talk about who's saying what and who's doing what.

We have seen both sides now -- as Andrea rightly asked in her question -- we've seen both sides come out with some public statements with respect to the text. The last thing I'm going to do is -- is get into bartering here.

We're trying to close those gaps as best we can. We wouldn't have sent the CIA director or Brett McGurk to Cairo if we didn't believe it was worth a shot and worth a chance.

I would also add that on both sides, you see public comments that aren't necessarily fully reflective of the conversations that we're having with -- privately with them or their interlocutors.

Q: And secondly, just on Ukraine. There was a bit of an information bustle over the weekend. The Russians said that they've destroyed two Ukrainian Patriot missile systems. The Ukrainians said that they were decoys. Does the U.S. have its own independent evaluation of what happened during that strike? And what is the state of Ukraine's air defense system when it comes to Patriot missile systems?

MR. KIRBY: Yes, we do. I'm not going to talk about it. And I think you're going to hear more here this week about what the Allies and the United States are going to do to continue to bolster Ukrainian air defense.

Look, I know we get hung up on the Patriots. And I get that. There has been contributions of Patriot systems by other nations. You talked -- we talked about how we're resequenc- -- resequencing some of our -- our deliveries of Patriot interceptors from some countries, now diverting them to Ukraine. We're doing that. Other nations are also trying to contribute Patriots.

But let's not get caught up on just one system. There's short-range, there's medium-range, and there's long-range air defense, and Ukraine needs all of it. And, again, I think you're going to see this week the Allies really stepping up and showing that they're willing to continue to provide those kinds of capabilities.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Josh.

Q: Thank you. John, Viktor Orbán is visiting China right now on the heels of a visit to Russia. I'm wondering whether the U.S. has any views on that and what impact it might have on the situation in Ukraine?

MR. KIRBY: Yeah, we're concerned about it. It certainly doesn't seem to be productive in terms of trying to get things done in Ukraine and trying to move forward to an -- to achieve this just peace that President Zelenskyy continues to work hard and we continue to try to -- to operationalize.

But, yeah, it's -- it's concerning.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead --

Q: And was there any advanced notification given to the U.S. of either trip -- Russia or (inaudible)?

MR. KIRBY: None that I'm aware of.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Anita.

Q: And can I a- -- can I try one more time on "irreversible"? Does the U.S. have a position --

MR. KIRBY: Yes, you can try. (Laughs.)

Q: Hey, it's worth a shot. Does the U.S. have a position on the u- -- on the inclusion of that word?

MR. KIRBY: Our position is that NATO is going to be in Ukraine's future. There's a lot of work that needs to be done to get to that point. And the president is looking forward to talking to President Zelenskyy and our NATO Allies about that path -- that bridge to NATO.


Q: Thank you so much, John. A question on Ukraine and one on Iran. Starting with Ukraine and this Russian rocket attack that killed 30 people at the largest children's hospital. Does this shift the U.S.'s position on not allowing Ukraine to strike directly at Russian airfields that originated these attacks?

MR. KIRBY: Shift the position?

Q: Yeah. Does this make you change your mind about not allowing that? And how do you justify not giving Ukraine permission to attack?

MR. KIRBY: There's been no change in our -- our policy. You saw that the president several weeks ago gave guidance to Ukraine that they can use U.S.-supplied weapons to strike targets just over the border. That's still the case.

Q: On Iran. We've heard the U.S. say that this election -- this presidential election is not free and fair, that they have doubts that this is going to change anything meaningfully. But we've also heard the U.S. say that they will negotiate or do diplomacy with Iran when it serves our national interests. So, is the U.S. now ready to resume nuclear talks, other talks, or make any diplomatic moves with Iran in light of this new president?


MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. Aurelia --

Q: Wa- -- I'm sorry. "No"? Can you --

MR. KIRBY: Well --

Q: Can you elaborate, please?

MR. KIRBY: Well, your -- it seemed like a pretty easy question to answer. No, we're -- we're not in a position where we're willing to get back to the negotiating table with Iran just based on the fact that they've elected a new president.

They're still supporting terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. They're still supporting the Houthis as the Houthis attack ships in the Red Sea. They're still attacking shipping as well.

And they're still supplying drones and drone technology and drone expertise to the Russians so that the Russians can continue to kill innocent Ukrainians like they did over the weekend.

So, no. No.

Q: This guy seems a bit more moderate. Do you see any opening?

MR. KIRBY: We'll -- look, we'll see what "this guy" wants to get done --

Q: The president.

MR. KIRBY: -- but we are not expecting any changes in Iranian behavior, sadly.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We got to wr- -- Aurelia, go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Thank you so much. John, this morning, the president said that France rejected extremism during the latest parliamentary election and expressed his confidence that the United States would also do so. So, France has a very different electoral system, as you know. So, why this optimism from the president?

And more broadly, was there a sense of relief in the administration that the election turned out the way it did?

MR. KIRBY: I -- I think it's pretty clear from the election that the -- the far right didn't find the purchase that it wanted to find and that -- that the compromise in a democracy is going to have to still be the watchword in France as it is here in the United States.

And it's not going to change our strong relationship with France. It's not going to change the fact that France is a valued NATO Ally. And the president is looking forward to continuing to work with President Macron and the entire team.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Last question. Go ahead.

Q: Thank you, Karine. Thank you, Admiral. I was just wondering, with the renewed spotlight and scrutiny on President Biden in public settings this week, how he's preparing for the NATO Summit --

MR. KIRBY: Yeah.

Q: -- how you guys are deciding how many questions to take in the press conference, what -- (laughter) --

MR. KIRBY: You got to ask --

Q: -- what his curfew is --

MR. KIRBY: You got to ask the press secretary that one.

Q: But you're the one -- you're the one who's prepping him for a lot of this on matters of national security --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, so --

Q: -- and foreign policy.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- so -- so am I. (Laughs.) It's a team --

MR. KIRBY: Yeah, exactly.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It's a team effort.

MR. KIRBY: Yeah, I -- I will let Karine talk about the press conference -- the "big boy" press conference --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.)

MR. KIRBY: -- I think you all are planning to have.

But he has already had discussions with his national security team in the leadup to the summit, as you might expect that he would. He's reviewing material. He's -- he's doing his homework and getting ready.

He's got the first major set of remarks tomorrow night at the Mellon Auditorium. He's working his way through those remarks, as you would expect him to do, and he's getting ready for the -- at least the two bilateral meetings that we know he's going to have specifically with the new prime minister of the UK and with President Zelenskyy later in the week.

So, what I have seen from my perch is the normal amount of preparatory work that he does before a major international conference and no different than how he prepared for the G7 or for the events in Normandy or -- or previous international fora. So, it's pretty typical from what I've seen.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right.

Q: And do you expect Vice President Harris to play a role in the events this week or to take any meetings during the time that she'll be in Washington?

MR. KIRBY: I can't speak for the vice president's staff and team, but I can have them get back to you about what her schedule is going to look like.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you so much, Admiral.

MR. KIRBY: Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Appreciate it.

MR. KIRBY: Thank you, guys.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you so much.

MR. KIRBY: See you guys.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you, Admiral.

Okay. Well, all the debate questions have been answered -- (laughter) -- press conference answers. Let me close -- let me close my book and get out of here.

Hi, Zeke.

Q: Thanks, Karine. My first to you is on the credibility of this White House when it comes to talking about the president's health.


Q: When you were here last Tuesday, you were asked if the president had had any medical examinations --


Q: -- since his physical in February or -- and that included the time period after the debate.


Q: You said flatly "no."


Q: Three days later, you admitted that the president had a, quote, "short check-in" with the medical team --


Q: -- thereafter. I mean, those are -- those are two very different answers.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no, no, no, no. I actually -- actually, if you -- if you were to listen to the -- I think I did a 30-minute gaggle on Friday -- 30 minutes with a -- I think was an -- with -- with the pool. And -- and I said he did not have a medi- -- I cleared it up. You're right. You're correct. I said he didn't -- I still stand by he didn't have a medical exam. I said that in the gaggle. And you're right, I said that in the briefing.

He had a check-in with -- and he had -- he said this on -- on Friday. He had a check-in with his -- with his medical doctor, which is something that he does a couple times a week, as you know, and I say -- I stated this as well.

He has -- for -- for those who don't know -- obviously, outside of the briefing room, outside of the White House, ma- -- many Americans don't actually understand this, so let's take a step back. They -- they deal with their medical issues or physicals very, very differently. They are very -- you know, they are lucky if their -- get to see their -- their doctor once or twice a year, right? They have to get in a car; they have to either take public transportation in order to make that happen.

The president's medical unit is literally down on the other side of the Colonnade. It's just down the steps from the Residence. And so, a couple times a week, he does a check-in -- a verbal check-in with his doctor while he's exercising. That is something that happens often.

Matter of fact, he did a check-in today. Because I know folks were going to ask about if he was tested for COVID, he was not. We are following CDC guidance. He was not tested for COVID, just to let you guys know about that one. And if he has any symptoms, obviously, we would test him. But --

Q: Is that in context of the second gentleman's diagnosis or --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, yes --

Q: -- is he not feeling well?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- which is why -- no, no, no, it's -- it's in context of the second gentleman.

But to answer your point, he did not have me- -- a medical exam. He did not have a physical. He did do, like, a verbal check-in with his doctor a couple days after the debate.

And it was very quick. It was a couple of words that were spoken to each other. And that's how we were able to -- to -- we were able to give you that answer. But he did not have a medical exam. He did not have a physical.

Q: But so, when you say no, though, last Tuesday --


Q: -- was -- did you know about that verbal check-in, or --


Q: -- did we just don't ask enough -- a precise enough question?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So -- so, the line of questions that I was getting that day was in -- the way that I was hearing the question was about the medical exam. I answered M.J.'s question when she asked me, "Medical exam?" And I answered and said -- I said, "No physical." And then somebody else asked me, "Was there a check-in?"

I did not mean to steer anybody wrong. I was still thinking about the medical exam. I was still thinking about the physical. That's how I answered the question.

And then when it became -- when the president actually spoke to it, we actually -- I went back, asked the -- asked the -- asked the -- the medical doctor, and he said they had a verbal check-in. That's what he said.

But in answering the question, I was talking about the medical exam; I was talking about the physical.

Q: And then two quick ones. There's a lot of reporting in the last 24 hours --


Q: -- about a Parkinson's expert who's come to visit the White House almost a dozen times over the last year or so, including a mee- -- at least one meeting with the president's ph- -- physician.

Could you state, like, very clearly yes or no: Was that expert here to participate in anything surrounding the care of the president of the United States?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, let me just say a couple of things. We have had a comprehensive -- and I just want to take another step back -- comprehensive physical examination. The president has had that. We've given a comprehensive report. We've shared that the past three years.

Every year that he has -- every year that he has had this -- this exam, he sees a neurologist. And just to give you a quote from that -- from the report most recently in February: "An extremely detailed neurological exam was again reassuring in that there were no findings which would be consistent with any cerebella- -- cerebellar or other central neurological disorders such as a stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, or ascending lateral sclerosis," end quote. So, that came directly from -- in February, in that comprehensive report that was provided by the president's doctor to me that I shared with all of you. So, anyone who is watching can certainly go to our website.

Q: That's not an answer to the question, though, which was this --


Q: -- was this expert's visits to -- were his multiple visits to the White House --


Q: -- pertaining at all to the president's care?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, here's the thing. I have -- I have said he's -- he has had three -- he has thr- -- had three -- three physicals. In those three physicals, that's when he has seen a specialist -- a neurolo- -- a neurological specialist.

Q: Was this the specialist that the president saw?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I have to be super mindful here. And this is why -- and I'll -- and I'll explain this to you in a second. There are thousands of military personnel who come onto this White House. Many of them get the care from the White House Medical Unit. And so, need to be super careful.

There are -- you know, the medical unit hosts a wide range of specialists, from dermatologist to a neurologist, and so I cannot speak to every person because there are act- -- there's actually a security reasons to protect their privacy. We respect in protecting people's privacy. So, do not want to share -- I'm not going to share people's names from here.

But the president, I can tell you, has seen a neurologist three times, as it's connected to the -- to the physical that he gets every year that we provide to all of you.


Q: But, Karine, you're not answering the question. It's a very basic, direct question.

Q: Karine --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

Q: Did Dr. Kevin Cannard --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hold on, hold on. Wait, wait.

Q: -- come to the White House to --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Wait. Wait a second.

Q: -- eight times --


Q: -- or at least once, in regards to --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just --

Q: -- the president specifically?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Wait. Hold on a second.

Q: That much you should be answer by this point --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Wait -- no, no, no, no, no, no.

Q: -- after four days of reporting about it.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, wait a minute. Calm -- Ed, please. A little respect here, please.

So, every year, around the president's physical examination, he sees a neurologist. That's three times. Right? So, I am telling you that he has seen a neurologist three times while he has been in this presidency. That's what I'm saying.

Q: Here at the White House or at Walter Reed?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I am telling you that he has seen them three times. That is what I'm sharing with you. Right? So, every time he has a physical, he has had to see a neurologist. So, that is answering that question.

Q: No, it's not.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, it is. It is.

Q: Did --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You're asking me --

Q: -- Dr. Kevin Cannard come to the White House --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I cannot -- but I just ans- --

Q: -- specifically about the president's conditions?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I also said to you -- Ed, I also said to you: For security reasons, we cannot share names. We cannot share names. We have to pro- -- we have to --

Q: You cannot share names of others he would have met with --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We cannot --

Q: -- but you can share names in regards to --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no, no, no. We --

Q: -- if someone came here in regards to the president.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, we cannot share -- we cannot share names of specialists broadly. From a dermatologist to a neurologist, we cannot share names. There are security reasons we have to --

Q: They're in the White House visitor log.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We have to prot- --

Q: Yeah, it's public.

Q: It's public.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I understand that.

Q: I looked it up before I came out here.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I under- -- I hear you. I --

Q: It's right there for anyone see.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Ed, I hear you. I cannot from here confirm any of that because we have to keep their privacy. I think they would appreciate that too. We have to give them --

Q: Who would? The patient or the doctor?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We have to keep their privacy.

Q: It's public. It is public.

Q: It's public information.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I -- I -- I hear you.

Q: It is listed that he went to the Residence clinic.

Q: And you're --


Q: -- going to allow this to fester longer, Karine --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Guys -- guys --

Q: -- unless the White House --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- guys -- guys --

Q: -- just answers the question.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hold on a second. There's no reason to get back -- go back and forth with me in this aggressive way.

Q: Well, we're a little miffed around here about how information has been shared with the press corps about him.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What are you -- what are you missed about? What are you missed about?

Q: Oh, everything he just asked about.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What are you -- and then every time I come back and I answer the question that you guys asked.

Q: And you answer it incorrectly and then have to come back and clean it up a few days later.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I never answered the question incorrectly. That is not true. I was asked about a medical exam. I was asked about a physical. That was in the line of question that I answered.

And I said, "No, he did not have a medical exam." And I still stand th- -- by that. Matter of fact, the president still stands by that. He had a verbal check-in. That is something that the president has a couple times a week -- a couple times a week.

Q: And now, in regards to Dr. Kevin Cannard?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I am telling you, right now, that I am not sharing, confirming names from here. It is a security reason. I am not going to do that, Ed. It doesn't matter how hard you push me. It doesn't matter how angry you get with me. I am not going to confirm a name. It doesn't matter if it's even in the log. I am not going to do that from here. That is not something I am going to do.

What I can share with you is that the president has seen a neurologist for his physical three times -- three times. And it is in the reporting that we share -- a comprehensive reporting. Matter -- matter of fact, it's more than what the last guy shared, and it is in line with what George -- George W. Bush did. It's in line with what Obama did.

And so, it is comprehensive. It is out there. I just read a quote from it.

But I am not -- I am not going to devolve [divulge] somebody's name and -- or confirm someone. I am not going to do that. That is as a -- privacy for that person. I'm not going to do that. It doesn't matter how hard you push me; it doesn't matter how angry you get with me from here. I'm just not going to do that. It is inappropriate. It is not acceptable. So, I'm not going to do it.

Q: Not about the name.

Q: Karine?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead. No, go ahead.

Q: Karine, if you cannot confirm the name --


Q: -- can you confirm whether or not the president has seen this Parkinson's specialist? And you mentioned three times that the visitor logs show a duration of eight visits over eight months. I think that is the crux of the question that we're asking.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: But I -- but I also said -- I also said there are thousands of military personnel that come to the White House, and they are under the care of the medical unit. They are.

Q: So, can you confirm that the Parkinson's visit --


Q: -- specialist visits were for the president or not?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I -- what I can tell you is that the president has seen a neurologist three times, and I read to you what the neurologist has said. And I read to you the last -- the last line. I could say it again: "No findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurologic- -- neurological disorders, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, or ascending lateral sclerosis."

That is from -- that is from February. That is coming from February. That is what the medical unit -- the m- -- the president's doctor shared.

And I shared -- I said to you it's happened three times. Each time there is a physical that occurs, and we put out a comprehensive report. That is when he has been able to see -- to see a specialist.

Q: Just one other follow-up --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, that's what I can share.

Q: -- question on -- on this. Has the president -- you mentioned Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, all of these things. One diagnosis that we have heard -- a potential diagnosis -- is hydrocephalus, which is fluid buildup in the brain. It's something we've never heard in any of the medical reports. Is that something that the president has been --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: If it's --

Q: -- evaluated for?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Le- -- if it's -- if it's not in the medical report, obviously, it's not -- it's not something that the president is dealing with. If --

Q: But has he been evaluated for hydrocephalus?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I can tell you this. Just going back to Parkinson's for a little bit. So, to give you some answers here: Has the president been treated for Parkinson's? No. Is he being treated for Parkinson's? No, he's not. Is he taking medication for Parkinson's? No.

So, those are the things that I can give you full-blown answers on. But I'm not going to dev- -- I'm not going to confirm a specialist -- a -- any specialist that comes to -- come -- comes to the White House out of privacy.

Q: One other question. Is -- will the president go to the Hill today? I know we saw his letter. Is he intending to have this conversation face to face with Democratic lawmakers?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the president -- obviously, this is someone who was a senator for 36 years; who was the president of the Senate as -- when he was vice president for eight years. And he respects -- truly respects the members of Congress and has always and will always do that, especially as a former senator.

And I will say -- and you heard -- you've heard us say this before -- or most recently is this is a president who's won -- won the primary -- right? -- by 14 million votes, 87 percent of those votes, certainly.

And, look, I don't have any engagements to read out, you know, outside of that. But I will say that the president was in Pennsylvania. I just mentioned at the top, he got -- he got to see Senator Fetterman, Senator Casey. He also got to see Cong- -- Congresswoman Dean. He spent some time with them. They traveled across Pennsylvania.

And I will say when the president gets knocked down, he gets back up. This is quintessential Joe Biden. And there are a long list of other congressional members who have shown their support for this president.

I don't have anything else to read out. You saw the letter. The p- -- letter was -- the letter was, I think, pretty, pretty clear on where the president stand. And I'll just leave it there.

Go ahead.

Q: Karine --


Q: You've noted that there are thousands within the Walter Reed system who may be treated by a specialist who visits --


Q: -- here at the White House. But this neurologist had a meeting with the president's physician -- with his doctor.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I understand that.

Q: You're refusing to say if he was here to evaluate the president --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I understand.

Q: -- or if he was consulting on the president's health. So, what, then, was that meeting about?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I will say that Dr. O'Connor leads the medical unit. He is literally --

Q: So, can he tell us?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- he's literally the -- he leads the medical unit.

No, because we will not confirm or -- or speak to names that are -- you're providing to me. It is out of security reason. It is out of protecting someone's privacy. We're just not going to do that.

But they are -- the reason that I mentioned that is because there are a thousand military members that do indeed use the -- use the White House Medical Unit. They do.

Q: But we're not talking about those other people.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: They get care from that.

Q: We're talking about the president of the United States.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know, but I'm try- -- but I -- guys, I'm trying to answer the question so you can connect the dot that there are multiple neurologists that come -- not neurologists -- specialists that come through here because there are a thou- -- like, more than a thousand medical -- medical -- military personnel here -- military personnel here.

Q: But you certainly could clear this all up just by saying what he was doing here and if it was connected to the president: yes or no?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I -- I am not going to confirm the -- a neur- -- a particular nar- -- neurologist, anybody. It doesn't matter if they're a derm- -- dermatologist or a neurologist. I'm just not going to do that.

I shared with all of you that the president has met -- has been with a neurologist three times as it relates to his physical. Three times.

So, you know --

Q: But we don't know if this neurologist.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I'm just not -- I'm -- guys, I'm just not going to do that out of security reasons, out of privacy. It is -- it is not something that I'm going to do. A measure of privacy we have to be able to give people from here.

Q: One other question. Again, the president -- the president's --

Q: We're just looking for clarification.


MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hold on. Hold on, guys. Come on. Come on, Kelly O.

Q: The president's doctor, you say, has seen no reason to evaluate him for Parkinson's since his physical in February. Is that based on these verbal check-ins that you've been describing, based on his public appearances?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Will you say that one more time?

Q: That -- you've said that the president's doctor has seen no reason to evaluate him or reevaluate him for Parkinson's since that physical in February. What is that based on? Is it these verbal check-ins?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, I never -- I never said that.

Q: That's what the White House has said.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, what I have said is -- what I have said is that he just had a physical just in February, and the physical was very clear. It was a comprehensive physical. It's -- we gave out a report on that.

And -- and, you know, as it relates to the check-ins, that is something that is common. The -- the president has a medical unit that is literally down the hall that he's able to check in with when necessary. They normally do it while he's exercising. That is not uncommon.

It is very different -- it is very different than any everyday American. They do not have that option. They do not have that access, because he's president of the United States. Every other president has had that access, and they are able to do that.

Q: So, wait. Just to be clear: Yes or no, has he -- has his physician seen a reason to reevaluate him for Parkinson's since the February physical?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No. The -- the comprehensive report that you all have stands.

There is -- we -- the president, obviously, will have another physical, and we'll wait for that physical.

Q: Karine --

Q: Karine --

Q: Is it --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead.

Q: So, the president has said twice that he's had neurological evaluations as part of his physicals, you know, in these various interviews --


Q: -- today and then in -- and also on ABC. But there have been a number of people who have said, "Listen, you know, why don't you have a cognitive test just to rule out that there are any issues?" Would the president -- you know, do you -- you know, would you -- would you counsel --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I hear you.

Q: -- to do that just to sort of put an end to these questions?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, Andrea, I hear you. The neurologists have said it is not warranted. The president himself -- he said it today; he said it mu- -- multiple times -- and the doctor has said this -- everything that he does day in and day out as it relates to delivering for the American people is a cognitive test. And that is what the medical doctor has said. That is what the specialist said.

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, I 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 -- the 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 okay -- it's 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 the information that we have.

And I will admit -- I will be the first one to admit: Sometimes I get it wrong. 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.

Go ahead.

Q: We are seeking clarity.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I understand that.

Q: And I think what we're trying to say is when a name is in a public record on a WAVES form --


Q: -- that it is in the public domain.


Q: The president could authorize that his medical records or additional medical information could be made public, because he could waive HIPAA. He could do those things.


Q: And if he chooses to do that, we would like to know more.


Q: Part of the reason we are pressing here is that we are not clear on what has happened.


Q: And therefore, the American people who -- to whom we report don't have a sense of it. So, that's what we're trying to do.


Q: And so --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: But the personal attacks is not okay.

Q: And -- and we want to have positive --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I just want to be very, very clear here. (Laughs.)

Q: -- professional exchange.

So, the question is -- one question is: After a debate that drew days and days and days of scrutiny, why hasn't the president had an in-person physical check-in -- maybe bloodwork, maybe other things?


Q: Because when he said he was seen, I certainly thought he had been physically seen --


Q: -- not a phone check-in.


Q: So, as -- and that's part of what we're saying about --


Q: -- how information comes out in WAVES --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I totally understand.

Q: -- and then we may have a different impression. So --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I totally understand that.

Q: -- this has dominated his presidency --


Q: -- for 10 days. And he could submit to another exam -- a full exam, a partial exam, whatever. He can waive his right to make things public. None of us are asking about the military members who might be seeing a physician here -- none of us. We are only asking --


Q: -- about the president's well-being.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Understood.

Q: And so, that's why we want to understand. When you see --


Q: -- on the public records that a physician with his specialty has come to the White House, gone to the residence clinic, and met with the president's physician, we feel like there is more to be said there. And that's what we're asking.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I understand that, Kelly O. And you know I respect you wholeheartedly and I've known you for some time.

We want to be also -- because we are sp- -- particular -- we are talking about someone who's na- -- who is out there. And I understand; I get it. It's in the log. I get that. It's in the log.

Q: What is the security concern?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We want to -- we want to respect that person and give them the measure of privacy that they deserve. The moment I say anything about any specialist, it becomes a thing from this podium.

So, what I can share -- and this is what I can share: He has seen a neurologist three times -- three times -- not more --

Q: Is that a Walter Reed or here?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Not -- not more than that.

Q: Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Not more than that. He has seen a neurologist three times, and that is connected to the physical -- the comprehensive physical that we have been able to share with you.

So, I think that gives you some information about how many times: three times.

And the reason why I am sharing that -- there are thousands of military personnel so you also have an understanding because there are thir- -- a thousand military personnel that comes here and that not just comes here but under the care of the medical unit. Right? They get -- they get care from the White House Medical Unit. They -- there tends to be dermatologist from -- or dermatologist to neurolog- -- neurologists who come through here -- who come through here because the White House Medical Unit is i- -- indeed caring for folks.

So, I have confirmed: three times. Three times. I just cannot get into details or confirm a name of a person. I cannot do that. There are security reasons. We have to give people a measure --

Q: Would you ask the president --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- of privacy.

Q: -- if he would waive some of his records and make those public?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I don't know how all of that works. I'm not going to pretend I -- I know how that -- that works. And what I will do is -- certainly, we'll share that information with the -- with the powers that be. I just don't want to get into a back-and-forth on that particular question.

Q: Thanks, Karine. I mean, to Kelly O's point --


Q: -- the president today, when he called into "Morning, Joe," he said that he had released all of his medical records. Should we take that as indication that he's going to do so?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, look, what I can say is that we have shared a comprehensive medical report that is pretty detailed, that is in line with other presidents -- certainly not the last one, but the ones -- the two before -- before the last president. And we have been pretty much in line with what they have been -- what they have done -- what -- to be more clear, George W. Bush and -- and also President Obama. So, we have been --

Q: The last one did let his doctors come to the briefing room to speak to us.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. And we know what that last president said from this briefing room. Okay? So -- (laughs) --

Q: Also, during a call today --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And only did three -- I think three or four paragraphs. Very different.

Q: During --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Very different approach.

Q: During the call today to MSNBC --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, sure.

Q: -- was the president reading off of a script?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I was in the room when the president called in to "Morning Joe." The president spoke from his heart. The president was very clear. There was no script at all. And he was very detailed. You heard him say, actually, during the call that he was reading some quotes. He said it. He shared that information. He was reading some quotes from -- from the debate. So, he shared that with you.

What you heard was a passionate interview. It was about 18 minutes. He talked about and laid out his vision for this country. He talked about how he wants to make sure we move forward. I want to be really careful because he also talked about the campaign, which I can't do from here. But he -- he -- you know, I think it was incredibly powerful.

Q: He was reading quotes but not from a script?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Nope. It was not a script.

Q: And in a "big boy" press conference --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I was in the room. It was not a script.

Q: -- how many questions should we expect that he is going to take?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, it is going to be a solo press conference. It is going to be certainly more than a two-plus-two. I'm not going to -- we're still working it out, so I'm not going to go into specifics from here. But you can expect a solo press conference from this president at the end of -- of the NATO Summit. He's looking forward to it. And he will be taking your questions. So, that'll be a good thing.

Q: Karine --


Q: Karine, something different.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know, I know, I know.

Q: Karine --

Q: Karine --

Q: Karine -- (laughter) --

Q: Karine, I have two questions.


Q: One, a follow-up on Dr. Cannard. And that is --


Q: -- can you explain what the role of Megan Nasworthy is? Does she oversee care for some of those military personnel that you were referencing as a group, or does she oversee care for the president?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I bel- -- again, want to be careful here. I know who you're speaking of. I don't have her full portfolio in front of me, so I would have -- my team and I will be happy to get back to you.

Q: Okay. And then on the president's and the White House's engagement with House Democrats --


Q: -- and Democrats more broadly. There 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 were largely from Republicans. But I want to ask about --


Q: -- the graphs in that story about Democrats. It said that the White House --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: From that same story?

Q: From that same story.


Q: 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 recording 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?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I think the Dem- -- Democrats spoke for themselves. I think -- you know, you know how stories work. If there is -- there's a lot of back-and-forth. 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. It is up to -- to the reporter if 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, Representative Meeks has very -- been very supportive of this president continuing, moving forward. And we've heard from many others -- many others. CBC more -- more broadly has been very supportive. We heard from the chair, Chairman Hosford -- Horsford from the CBC. And so, that is the type of support that we continue to see.

Q: 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?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I -- 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 to -- 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.

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.

So, we have to remember there are hundreds of House members. And -- and so, you know, there are folks out there --

Q: Can you talk a little about the president's outreach today and tomorrow --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, so --

Q: -- ahead of these --


Q: -- all-conference and all-caucus meetings?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, what I can say is that, as you all know, the president -- the president has done some outreach. He's tok- -- spoke about it himself. I can say, as of today, he has -- he has engaged with dozens of members, whether in person or on calls. We saw him engaging with congressional members over the weekend. We saw him doing that on several of the trips that he has done over the past 10 days -- have been about six states that he's been able to -- to stop over and -- and do -- and engage with supporters. So, he's been able to do that.

And there's a long list -- I'm trying to spare you the list here, but there is a long list: Senator Chris Coons, Senator John Fetterman, Senator Alex Padilla, Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Row- -- Raphael Warnock. It goes on and on: Representative Clyburn; Al Green; Horsford, as I mentioned already. There has been a long list of, we believe, incredibly supportive -- supportive congressional -- congressional members who have continued --

Q: We've seen many of those lists that have been provided to us --


Q: -- from the campaign too, but I'm wondering if the president --


Q: -- has spoken directly with Leader Schumer and Minority Leader Jeffries --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, we shared -- we shared that --

Q: -- in the last 24 hours and whether the president --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I think the president -- we --

Q: -- believes he has their support?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I hear you. We shared that just last week -- that the president spoke to the leadership, I -- obviously on the Democratic side.

Q: Has he spoken to them since yesterday?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don't have anything to read out to you as far as what we've shared with you last week. But the president has been in regular touch. And those conversations went very, very well.

I think you mentioned, in particular, Leader Jeffries, that went almost for an hour. The president said that himself. He said how much they had a -- a very, very good conversation. The president saw Congresswoman Dean, as I mentioned. He saw both senators of Pe- -- of Pennsylvania, as well, yesterday, traveled across the state and -- and had, really, two -- two big events with supporters, with Americans who go- -- got to hear directly from the president. And I think that's important.

Q: Karine --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Michael.

Q: Yeah, thanks, Karine. Were all three of President Biden's neurol- -- neurological exams that you've confirmed, were they all conducted at Walter Reed?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I don't have a -- I don't have anything to -- to state as to location. What I can say for sure: that he has seen a neurologist three times as it relates to the -- the exam that he takes every year. And I just don't have a location to speak to.

Q: Well, let me just try --


Q: -- a different way. I mean, has any neurologist -- I'm not --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And you know -- and you also know --

Q: Yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- that the president does go to Walter Reed --

Q: Yeah. So, I mean, it seemed like he --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- to do --

Q: -- those were taken at --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- to do -- right --

Q: -- at Walter Reed.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- to -- to do -- to do these -- to do this -- his physical exams.

Q: Well, has a neurologist -- I'm not talking about --


Q: -- anyone in particular -- regardless of the identity, name of that person, has any neurologist came to the White House to visit President Biden?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I can tell you during those exams that he -- that we have been able to do every year for the past three years, and these are comprehensive exams that we share -- a comprehensive report that we share with all of you -- he has seen a neurologist.

Q: And that's what I'm trying to clarify. It seems like those were taken at Walter Reed. And that's -- I -- and so, it's an important distinction on all of this, I feel.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You -- you all know that he does indeed go to Walter Reed as part of his physical exam. That is no secret. That is something that he does.

And I also confirmed that he sees a neurologist every time that he's done this -- these exams. I don't have anything beyond that.

Q: Okay. Thanks.

Q: Karine --

Q: Karine --


MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead --

Q: Why would -- why would a --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know. Go ahead, April

Q: Karine, as you're talking -- as everyone is talking about --


Q: -- neurological issues, this is different but kind of on that same page. The president has had two aneurysms. Okay? And there are complications from aneurysms to include impaired short-term memory, inability to concentrate, as well as speech difficulties. Have any neurologists worked with him or just tried to observe him, as he is a person who has suffered from two aneurysms that could have been fatal?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, April, in the -- in the comprehensive reporting that we share with all of you on a yearly basis, the neurological exam have been detailed -- extremely detailed. It is directly from the doctor. They talk about the specifics of that neurological exam.

And so, I would refer you to the six-page comprehensive memo, and that's where I would refer you to.

Q: But that is something that we know about, that he had two aneurysms.


Q: And -- and that is part -- all of those complications are part of a neurological exam. Have they tested for that at all? Do you know?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I can tell you is that the -- the exams have been detailed, they have been extensive, and that's what I can share with you. I would refer you to the -- to the --

Q: And --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- to the -- to the document -- to the report.

Q: And last question.


Q: We're just days away from the Republican convention. 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 him shinier and brighter, if you will?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I'm not going to speak to the Republican convention. That's something that I'm not going to do. But I am going to --

Q: But they will be attacking him.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Wait. Hold on. Wait. Hold on a second. Hold on. Give me a second.

Look, in the past 10 days, the president has gone to six states. He has. He's gone to North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Georgia, Pennsylvania. I know that's a commonwealth, but he's been to six.

And in that time, he has engaged directly -- directly with the American public. And you've seen the enthusiasm. You've seen the energy. He's been able to talk to them directly and talk about his goals for the future, talk about what he's done in the past three and a half years.

They have -- and they have heard specifically from him on even his health, even the debate. And I think that's important too.

So -- and -- and you just heard me lay out the next two weeks. So, the president is going to continue to go out there. He's going to continue to be present in the communities. He's going to continue to hear directly from the American people.

And that's the best way to do this. That's the best way to get out there. That's the best way to make sure that you have your finger on the pulse and that the American gets -- people get to see you for themselves.

Q: Since you won't speak to the Republican convention, what about the Democratic convention in August?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I can't speak to the Democratic convention either. I can't speak to that. That's for the --

Q: But, I mean, how do you --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I -- I -- no, but you're -- you're asking me to -- to speak to two things that I can't speak to from here. That is something that the campaign and the convention can speak to very, very --

Q: But how do you make him shiny and bright at the NAACP?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I -- April, you may not like my answer, but I'm telling you the president is going to continue to go out there. We just -- I just shared with you at the top a robust plan that the president has to be out there, whether it is in Vegas, whether it's in Texas. And let's not forget the other states that he's visited in the last 10 days -- in the last 10 days.

There's a stark difference from what we've been doing and what the other side is doing -- a stark difference.

And so, the president is committed. He's going to continue to do that. He wants to engage -- engage directly with the American people. Six hundred people at the church yesterday; 600 people at the event in Harrisburg -- that's a pretty good start. And that's just a continuation. That's actually not a start; that's a continuation.

Go ahead, Josh.

AIDE: We need to wrap up.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know. I -- I'm getting there.

Q: Is it -- is it still the administration's policy that physicals are done annually?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, that is -- that is -- just like every other president has done before this president, we're going to continue to -- to uphold that.

Q: So, it would be fair to as- -- to assume that, as of now, his next expected physical would be next year?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It would be next year. The last one was in February.

Q: Okay. And can you clarify for us -- forgive me, I might have missed it or by design.


Q: He will or he won't go to the Hill tomorrow?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Say that one more time.

Q: He will or he won't go to the Hill tomorrow?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, I don't have any engagement to share. As you know, NATO is front of mind.

Q: Yes.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That's what he's focused on. You saw that letter that came out from the president. He's going to be focusing on the more than 30 world leaders that are coming -- that are coming here for a 75th anniversary of NATO, continuing to show our -- the strength of our Alliance.

I think it is -- I think it is something that the president is very much looking forward to. And you'll certainly hear from the president on Thursday when he gives his press conference -- his "big boy" press conference --

Q: So, we --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- as your colleague Justin has -- has stated now many times.

Q: I'll -- I'll give him your regards.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, yeah. (Laughs.)

Q: We shouldn't expect, then, some sort of big outreach push to member- -- Democratic members of the House and Senate?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, I -- we have shared -- I just shared that he has done dozens of calls out -- not just calls, but also face to face, as he did in Pennsylvania.

His -- his team -- campaign side, they're going to do their thing. We're going to do our thing on our side. And he, you know, respects tremendously Congress. And so, we're -- he's in regular contact with them, and that's what you're going to continue to see.

Q: Is he going to visit the storm site?


MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Thanks, everybody.

Q: Karine -- Karine --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, everyone.

Q: You have time for one more, Karine. (Laughs.)

Q: Thank you.

3:33 P.M. EDT

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

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