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The White House was again put on the defensive by President Biden on Wednesday after the president’s search for deceased Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., — whose death he had previously mourned — baffled viewers and reporters .
“The president speaks directly and candidly — straight off the shoulder, as he often says,” White House spokeswoman Robyn Patterson told Fox News Digital in a statement when asked about the long track record. of the president by saying things that his aides later corrected.
“It’s been critical to his success in everything from rallying the world in support of Ukraine to empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices,” Patterson added. “And when he feels the need to add context to something he’s said, or ask his staff to do it — as every president has done — he doesn’t hesitate to do so.”
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The White House comments came after press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struggled to explain her latest gaffe. At the White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health on Wednesday, Biden appeared looking for Walorski, who died in a car accident last month.
“I want to thank you all here, including bipartisan elected officials like…Senator Braun, Senator Booker, Rep….Jackie, Jackie are you here?” Biden said, looking for the late congresswoman. “I think she was going to be there to help make this a reality.”
A video tribute to the late Republican congresswoman was scheduled to air at the event, but did not air while the president and the White House press pool were present at the event.
After the bizarre episode, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden was “naming congressional champions on this issue and acknowledging his incredible work.”
“He had already planned to welcome the congresswoman’s family to the White House on Friday, there will be a bill signing in her honor next Friday,” Jean-Pierre said. “So, of course, she was on his mind. She was top of the list for the president.”
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Jean-Pierre doubled down on the White House’s cleanup of Biden’s fumble when pressed by reporters.
“The pandemic is over”
Earlier this month, the White House was also forced to backtrack on comments Biden made to CBS News at the Detroit Auto Show about the pandemic.
“The pandemic is over,” the president said during an interview with “60 Minutes” anchor Scott Pelley at the Detroit auto show. “We still have a problem with Covid. We’re still working on it a lot…but the pandemic is over. If you notice, nobody’s wearing a mask. Everyone seems to be in pretty good shape.”
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Jean-Pierre later explained that Biden only made those comments because he was “looking around” at the auto show. She noted that the auto show hadn’t been held for three years.
“What he really meant was that the very serious stage of the pandemic of having … 3,000 deaths a day – that stage is no longer present,” said Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser of the White House, to Politico. “People shouldn’t be cavalier that we’re out of the woods.”
On several occasions during his presidency, Biden has apparently confused US policy regarding Taiwan.
“Yes, if in fact there had been an unprecedented attack,” Biden said when Pelley asked if the United States would intervene if China invaded Taiwan during the interview this month.
Under the federal government’s “one China” policy created in 1979, the United States does not recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. However, the United States recognizes the Chinese government’s position that Taiwan is part of China and has never explicitly stated that it will defend the nation against attack.
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“When the President of the United States wants to announce a policy change, he will. He hasn’t,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said after the CBS interview. News, returning to Biden’s comments.
The president made similar comments on at least three other occasions that also sparked pushbacks at the White House.
Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Biden also made a series of comments that earned corrections or clarifications from his White House and administration officials.
In May, after Biden said sanctions imposed on Russia before the invasion were never intended to deter military action, the US ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said that the penalties were “obviously” intended to deter.
Additionally, the White House backtracked on several comments the president made during his mid-war trip to Europe in April. Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘can’t stay in power’, apparently hinting at regime change, called Putin a war criminal deviating from administration policy, suggested troops Americans would be deployed in Ukraine and said the United States would respond “in kind” if Russia used chemical weapons.
“The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not talking about Putin’s power in Russia, or about regime change,” an official said. the White House to Fox News Digital after comments about Putin.
“The president has been clear that we are not sending US troops to Ukraine and there is no change in that position,” a spokesperson said of the potential troop deployment.
And Sullivan explained that Biden meant the United States would “respond accordingly” to any use of chemical weapons.
In March, former White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained that Biden was “just speaking from the heart” when he called Putin a “war criminal,” but said the Department of State had not yet made an official decision.
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Masking on planes
In April, Psaki also returned to Biden’s remarks about masking on planes. The president said the decision to mask on planes was “up to” the Americans following a court ruling overturning the federal mandate.
“The president was literally answering the question,” Psaki told reporters.
“They always recommend people wear masks on planes; on Air Force One — which, of course, is a federal plane and not private,” she continued, referring to advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We all wore masks on the plane when we flew into New Hampshire yesterday.”
Legitimacy of the 2022 elections
In January, Biden hinted that the upcoming midterm elections would be illegitimate if Congress did not pass voting rights legislation, prompting further clarification from Psaki. The Senate ultimately failed to garner enough votes to pass the bill.
“Well, it all depends on whether or not we can make the case to the American people that some of this is being put in place to try to change the outcome of the election,” Biden told a conference. Press.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be legitimate, because the increased prospect of being illegitimate is a direct proportion to our failure to push through these reforms,” he added.
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In response, PSAki said Biden was not questioning the election, but was actually doing the opposite.
” Let’s be clear : [Biden] did not question the legitimacy of the 2022 elections,” Psaki tweeted. “He was making the opposite point: In 2020, a record number of voters turned out in the face of a pandemic, and election officials made sure they could vote and have those votes counted.”
Biden said “he’s been there before” when asked why he didn’t visit the US-Mexico border amid a wave of migrants during a CNN town hall in October 2021.
PSAKI said the president was referring to a trip he made to the border 14 years ago.
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“He drove across the border when he was campaigning in 2008,” she told reporters. “And he’s certainly aware of the fact – and it stuck with him – that in El Paso the border runs through downtown.”
Activation of the National Guard
During the same CNN town hall, Biden said he would consider activating the National Guard to help address supply chain issues facing the country.
However, PSAki went on to say that the White House was “not actively pursuing the use of the National Guard at the federal level.”
“It’s something that any president would have the ability to do, the authority to do, but it’s not something that’s being actively considered,” she said.
Fox News Digital reporters Nikolas Lanum and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.