Joe Biden

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

April 25, 2024

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Syracuse, New York

12:20 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (In progress.) …a delayed start this morning. I apologize. Just going to talk a little bit about the trip and then I'll hand it over to the Admiral, who has some stuff on -- on the Middle East and some other stuff -- some other foreign policy stuff. So, we'll get going.

So, we're on our way to Syracuse, where President Biden will announce -- oh -- oh, it's very loud back there. Okay.

Q: Hey, guys --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Sorry, guys. Thank you. Appreciate you all.

We're on our way to Syracuse, where President Biden will announce that the Department of Commerce has reached a preliminary agreement with Micron to provide up to $6 billion in direct funding under the CHIPS and Science Act. This investment will support the construction of two fabs in Clay, New York, and one fab in Boise, Idaho, unleashing $50 billion in private investment by 2030.

For these projects, Micron established two project labor agreements at the New York and Idaho sites for construction of new fabrication facilities. These agreements will ensure that projects are completed efficiently and on time, while also supporting high-quality jobs.

Micron has affirmed it respects workers' rights to organize, to share feedback without fear of rep- -- reprisal, and to collectively bargain. Since President Biden took office through March -- through March 2024, companies have announced over $825 billion in private-sector investments, in manufacturing and clean energy, and over 50,000 infrastructure and clean energy projects are underway.

This announcement is part of the President's broader commitment to build an economy from the middle out and bottom up, not the top down, and invest in all of America.

With that, the Admiral is here.

MR. KIRBY: Hi. I just -- thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No problem.

MR. KIRBY: (Laughs.) Just real quickly, on Haiti. We join the international community in commending all Haitian participants in their process to establish a transitional presidential council. We welcome the swearing in of those nine TPC members today. Our ambassador to Haiti was present for the ceremony.

In addition to that, today marks a critical step towards free and fair elections, and, of course, we were able to deliver the first shipment of U.S. government nonlethal equipment to the Haitian National Police to bolster their capabilities. Renewed access to the airport after a month of closure and steps made today toward inclusive governance should give us all hope for the future of Haiti.

As we've said numerous times, the United States remains committed to supporting Haitian-led efforts to restore security and the rule of law to pave the way to democratic governance.

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

Q: Any update --

Q: Can you --

Q: I'm sorry. Go ahead.

Q: Thank you. Can you give us just any updates on the flow of aid into Ukraine? I know the President said within hours yesterday. What has been able to get in place?

MR. KIRBY: I'll refer you to the Pentagon for updates. I mean, there is -- there are some things on that list that can get there in very short order, in a matter of days. As you know, we have quite a bit of inventory there in Poland. Other things will take longer to get there, but, really, the Pentagon should speak to timing.

Q: John, how can the U.S. ensure that that equipment gets to where it needs to go in Haiti, to the actual National Police, just given the situation in Port-au-Prince and also a history where, at times, U.S. weapons, U.S. equipment does get into the wrong hands?

MR. KIRBY: Yeah, I want to make clear a couple things. This is nonlethal stuff, like body armor and that kind of thing. And we're working with partners on the ground to make sure that it gets to the HNP and that they use it appropriately. We are not present there. We're not going to have an inspection regime there on the ground to do that. But we're comfortable that we can work through the embassy, through the ambassador, and partners on the ground.

Q: Admiral, a question on Turkey. In two weeks' time, President Erdo?an is expected at the White House for a visit. Last Saturday, he hosted the Hamas leader. Will that be, you know, subject -- topic of conversation, or would that compromise the visit?

MR. KIRBY: There's nothing on the schedule to speak to in terms of a specific visit by President Erdo?an. So, I don't really have a comment on that.

Q: And on him hosting the Hamas leader?

MR. KIRBY: Again, I'll let President Erdo?an speak to the meetings that he's having. We've been very clear about our position on Hamas and who they are and what they represent. I'll leave it at that.

Q: U.S. officials, UK officials, Arab leaders are going to Saudi Arabia next week. Any idea -- can you give us some preview of what to expect from that?

MR. KIRBY: No, sorry. I don't have anything on that.

Q: On U- -- on Ukraine, John, can you say: Is the U.S. considering sending another Patriot battery to Ukraine?

MR. KIRBY: When we send additional items and we can speak to it, we'll certainly let you know. You all saw what is in this first package. These are critical capabilities for them. But clearly, air defense is going to remain something that's a high priority for -- for the Ukrainians. And as we can contribute to that air defense across a range of different capabilities -- long, medium, and short range -- we'll do


Q: And on -- on the meeting in Saudi Arabia, can you say which U.S. officials will be attending that?

MR. KIRBY: I just don't want -- I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'll take the question, though, and go back to the team and see if we have more detail on that.

Q: Does the President have any comment today on the arguments before the Supreme Court questioning whether the President should have a --

Q: Can we actually --

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

Q: Can we get -- can we get one more with --


MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I'll get to that in a second.


Q: John, a top Han- -- Hamas political official told the AP that the -- the group is willing to agree to a truce of five years or more in exchange for a Palestinian state being established. Do you guys consider that particularly credible starting of a negotiat- -- negotiating point from Hamas?

MR. KIRBY: Absolutely not. There's not going to be a Palestinian state with Hamas in control. It's a terrorist organization.

We support a two-state solution. You've heard the President talk about that a lot. But it's got to be done through direct negotiations between the parties: Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Now, look, it seems like Hamas just keeps wanting to move the goalposts. They could end the war now, and if they really believed in a state for the Palestinian people, they wouldn't have violated the -- the ceasefire that was in effect on the 6th of October, they'd lay down their arms, they'd let the hostages go.

Q: I know you've said that you're in a dialogue with Israeli officials over the reports of mass graves. Have you received any clarity on those reports or --

MR. KIRBY: I have nothing new on that today. I mean, obviously, we are talking to our Israeli counterparts. You heard Ja- -- Jake talk about this yesterday. We'd like to see this investigated. We'd like to get more information about it.

Q: (Inaudible.)

Q: He asked it already.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, Admiral.

Q: Thanks, John.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Appreciate it.

Okay. I'll -- your question was about?

Q: Does the President have any thoughts on the argument before the Supreme Court today made by the former President that presidents should face immunity from any actions taken in office?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Nothing to say about that.

Q: Can I ask about campus protests? Speaker Johnson visited Columbia yesterday, I believe. He also talked about the possibility of bringing National Guard troops. One, is that a conversation he's had with the President? And, more broadly, does the President think that's necessary and something he could potentially support?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, on the National Guards, that is something that is under the governors, right? That is something for the governors to decide. As you know, Governor Hochul visited Columbia University recently. And so, she spoke to that. So, I would just refer you to her comments. That is something for governors to decide, so I -- I don't have anything beyond that.

But I want to be really clear here. The President put out a statement, as you know -- and I mentioned this -- I've mentioned this a couple times this week -- when he talked about Pa- -- Passover, as Jewish Americans were celebrating Passover. And he said that antisemitism basically is wrong and that we should call out -- call that out. And there is no place -- no place for -- for hate or hateful rhetoric or any type of violence, obviously.

And that's -- that is sometime -- something that we continue to condemn. And we've been very consistent about that throughout our term -- throughout his term.

And so, don't have anything else be- -- beyond that. But the National Guard, that is something for Governor Hochul.

Q: And then --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And governors, in general, they are -- that is something for them to decide on.

Q: Johnson seemed to suggest that he was going to have a conversation with the President about this issue. Has that conversation happened?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don't have a conversation to read out. Yeah.

Q: On the U.S. economy. The economy is slowing. The expectation was it was going to be 2.5 percent in the first quarter, and it was 1.6. And we saw your -- the statement from the President talking about how it's been 3 percent over the last year. But was 1.6 about what the White House had projected?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, what we -- and you saw this in the statement, so I'm not -- I'm just going to reiterate just a little bit here what the GDP report showed. We be- -- the economy remains strong. And we've been talking about the steady and stable growth, and that's what we see from that report today.

And as you know, the economy has grown more under President Biden than, at this point, in any presidential term in the last 25 years. And you mentioned the 3 percent growth over the last year. Consumer spending and business investment, the core of GDP growth, are strong.

But, look, we're always going to be very clear: There's more work to do. The President has said this -- at the center of his economic plan is going to be lowering costs for the American people, and we're going to continue to do that. Fighting inflation, we're going to continue to do that.

But we believe we're -- we're going toward that slow and steady growth. And I think that's what the GDP report --

Q: So, can you say if the White House projected that 1.6 or --

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

Q: Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You know, that's for the economic experts to -- to speak to. I don't have anything to -- to share about what was our expectations. But what we see from the report is actually what we believe is -- is the economy continuing to remain strong.

Q: And it sounds like Kim Kardashian is at the White House today. Did the President speak with her?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, that's a good question. I -- as you can imagine, we're now on this trip. So, I don't have a -- I don't have a readout for you on a conversation with Kim Kardashian.

But, look, this is part of -- this is part of what we announced very recently --

(Addressing an Air Force One crew member.) Oh, okay.

-- the pardons yesterday.

Getting a look here.

So, as you know, this afternoon, the Vice President will convene par- -- pardon recipients and criminal justice reform advocate Kim Kardashian for a roundtable discussion to highlight the administration's Second Chance policies during Second Chance Month.

So, the four pardon recipients participating in the discussion are among the 16 individuals who received clemency from the President just yesterday. And to date, the President has commu- -- commuted the sentences of 122 individuals and granted pardons to 20 individuals who committed nonviolent drug offense.

And so, obviously the Vice President is going to speak to this. And so, I will let her remarks kind of lay out the -- the importance of today.


Q: Does the White House have a reaction to Meadows, Giuliani, and others being charged in Arizona for the fake election scheme?


Q: What about the Weinstein conviction getting overturned?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No comment on that.

Q: Can you say what the President is doing tomorrow in New York?

AIR FORCE ONE CREW MEMBER: So sorry. We're landing in four.


Go ahead.

Q: Can you say what the President is doing tomorrow in New York?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We'll have more to share later today.

All right. Thanks, everybody.

12:30 P.M. EDT

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

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