Joe Biden

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

May 29, 2024

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1:00 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hi, everybody. Going back to Philly. So exciting. Good afternoon.

So, we're going to go to Philly, obviously, where the President and the Vice President will participate in campaign events. And so, the campaign is going to have more information for all of you on today's events. And so, I -- I'm going to have to refer you to them on what the day's events -- what's going to unfold today.

But with that, I'm just going to go ahead and start taking questions.

Go ahead, Aamer.

Q: Okay, so, on -- on the pier.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: Does the President -- is he rethinking if this is still a good idea? It's become, it seems like, a bit of a boondoggle. Why spend -- continue to spend good money after bad when it's -- it seems to have very little impact on actually getting aid into Gaza?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple things. I know NSC spoke to this yesterday. I know DOD also spoke to this yesterday. And so, as you know, it's going to be temporarily moved to the Port of Ash- -- Ashdod.

Let me just give you a couple of things to show why it -- what it's done while it was running.

So, to date, over 1,000 metric tons have been delivered from the pier to the marshalling area for onward delivery by humanitarian organizations into the hands of Gazans -- 1,000 metric tons. That matters.

We remain committed to working with international community to get aid into Gaza as quickly as possible. That includes via land crossing. As you know, we've been working on that, and that has had some eff- -- some good effects in the sense of the President's diplomacy and having those conversations and -- including Kerem Shalom, where aid continues to flow into Ga- -- Gaza. And so, we'll provide, obviously, additional updates on this.

But, look, this is part of the President's commitment to make sure we're getting that important humanitarian aid into Gaza. We know how dire the situation there is for the -- the -- is for Palestinian people. And so, we're going to do everything by air, by land, by sea, obviously. And so, that is our focus.

And while the pier has been -- while it was functioning, obviously, it did get some humanitarian aid. I don't have any more on the pier beyond that. I would refer you to Department of Defense, obviously.

Q: Karine -- Karine, how -- how does the White House respond to Pope Francis's alleged use of a homophobic slur in a private meeting? And how does that affect his relationship with President Biden?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I mean -- I'll say -- I'll say this, which is, you know, I can speak -- I can speak for the President. I can't speak, obviously, directly for the Pope. I know the Vatican, in a statement, said that the Pope apologized and said it was [wasn't] his intention. So, he is -- it is for him to speak.

What I can say about the POTUS is that he's been -- he's been very clear that everyone, including LGBTQ+ persons, deserves dignity and should not be discriminated because of who they are, who they love.

And that is something that you have heard from this President for some time now, and, certainly, he stands by that. And you see that in his policies. And so, that's what -- I'll -- I'll leave it there.

Q: How much -- how much attention is the President paying to the Trump trial as they begin deliberations?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I have to be pretty honest with you, I have not talked to the President about that.

This is going to be an important day. Obviously, the campaign is going to have more to share.

The President -- and I said this yesterday a couple times when I was asked this question in various ways -- that the President is focused on the American people, delivering for the American people. You'll hear him talk about -- talk about, you know, some of that today. Again, the campaign will -- will speak to that, since it's a campaign event. That's his focus.

I just have not -- that is -- I've not focused --

Q: Do you think --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- asked him that question.

Q: Thank you. Do you think he'll make reference to it in his remarks today?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I think the President is going to be focused on the American people today.

Q: Was the President aware in advance that his campaign was going to give a press conference at the courthouse yesterday?

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

Q: But it was about the President's awareness.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I -- I can't -- I -- this is not a conversation -- I don't talk about the campaign with the President, so I would refer you to the campaign.

Q: Well, but you have spoken about how the jus- -- justice system is -- is functioning on its own, and the President doesn't get involved. And yet, when his campaign comes out in front of the courthouse and speaks, it cuts against that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, yesterday, when I was asked about the question, I said, "Hey, I'm not going to talk about a -- a political candidate. It's 2024." But I did talk about the importance of having a justice system that works for all and just really talked about it more broadly and what this president has been able to do. And that's what I talked about.

We announced our 200th nominee that has been able to get through, how diverse that is, and how it is really, truly important to have -- to have a justice system that represents America.

And that's as far as I can go. You're asking me specifically the President's thought about what the campaign did. I just can't speak to that.

Q: Karine, does there -- does the White House have any plan to make a statement or do anything once the verdict actually happens?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I'm going to be super mindful, not going to speak to it -- 2024, this is an election period. I'm just not going to speak to it. I do not speak and will not speak on any ongoing cases. Even -- even in -- in a hypothetical, speculative way, I'm just not going to speak to it.

Q: Two questions, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: Your office is in charge of setting up presidential interviews. President Biden has been president for about three and a half years. And --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Inaudible) remember that. It's good to know.

Q: -- to the best of my knowledge, he has not given a single interview to a print newspaper reporter, and I was wondering how you explain that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That -- that is -- look, he has given many interviews. I'm happy to share a list with you on folks he's interviewed. And I would say stay tuned. Stay tuned.

Q: (Inaudible.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It's been -- it's been -- as you just stated and marked on the calendar, it's been three and a half years. I'm sure you're not the only one tracking that, but I would say stay tuned.

And the President is always happy to talk to the press. You've seen him sit down with many different -- different mediums, platforms, because he wants to make sure his message gets directly to the American people. And I would say stay tuned.

Q: Why is that EO s- -- the -- sorry -- the border EO that the President is considering. Why is that still plan A? I ask specifically because, yesterday, Kirby mentioned the numbers are trending in the right direction. It seems you have a commitment, even post-election in Mexico, on this issue. Why is this necessary?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the President is going to do everything that he can -- right? -- to -- to deal with what we're -- been seeing: a broken immigration system. Right? I can't speak to the EO. What I can say is we look at all options, as we have done.

We've taken auction -- actions over the past more than two years now. And, as Steven said, we've been in office for three and a half years, and so we're always going to look at all of our options.

I got to sit down.

But what I will say is this is a system that has been broken for decades -- right? -- decades. And it's going to take continuously taking actions. It's going to take, honestly, legislative action to deal with a system that's been broken.

I have to sit down.

Q: One last thing. How much prep work for the D-Day trip is he going to be doing in Rehoboth this weekend?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, D-Day is going to be an important moment. Obviously, the President is going to -- to France to commemorate --

AIR FORCE ONE CREW MEMBER: I'm so sorry. (Inaudible.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know. I know. But -- I got to go.

I don't have anything to share on his particular schedule of what that's going to look like, but obviously he's going to meet with his senior staff.

AIR FORCE ONE CREW MEMBER: Sorry, guys. We're about to --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: He's going to meet with NSC --

AIR FORCE ONE CREW MEMBER: -- land. We're going to have to wrap this up. I'm so sorry.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. Thanks, guys.

Joseph R. Biden, Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/372493

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