Biden Deputy Press Sec's Appalling Answer When Asked About Pressing China on Virus Origins

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Deputy White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre filled in for Jen Psaki today at the White House briefing. Jean-Pierre is believed to be one of the people under consideration to replace Psaki in the top spot when Psaki ultimately bows out sometime this year.

Media was all agog, claiming it was historic, claiming that she was the first black woman (in thirty years) to be behind the podium. But it’s the actual “first” who is historic, and that was Judy Smith, Deputy White House Press Secretary under George H.W. Bush in 1991. But apparently, Republicans making history don’t matter so much to the media now.

If they actually cared about appointing a black woman to the top position, they could have appointed Symone Sanders who actually earned that position in the campaign, who even put her body in the way of a person potentially coming at Joe Biden to protect him, and who is very competent at answering questions. She earned it but was skipped over for Psaki who has to circle back on basic questions. I likely don’t agree with Sanders on almost any policy position, but I can appreciate all the work that she, in fact, did do for Biden.

But Jean-Pierre got into trouble today with one answer that was just awful to a question about the origins of COVID-19. She was asked why did she think that China was going to cooperate with turning over information to the WHO? In other words, why is the Biden team relying upon the WHO to get answers? As we already noted here, here and here, this position is incredibly problematic, especially because the Biden team incredibly shut down a State Department investigation of the lab leak theory started under President Donald Trump.

“We’re just going to continue to work with the WHO and the WHO is going to continue to work with China on this [probe into the origin of covid],” Jean-Pierre said. The reporter responds, “Why do we think that China would cooperate?” “This is something that you have to ask the Chinese government,” Jean-Pierre replies.

No, it’s a question for Jean-Pierre, about why she and the other Biden people would think that China would be straight with us. Or, for that matter, why they would think that the WHO would be straight with us, given their track record. But she completely blows it off as though it isn’t a concern. She then says that she isn’t going to answer if Biden has pressed the Chinese himself for answers. Remember this is the guy who bragged about how close he was to China’s President Xi. Yet, the Biden team is refusing to say if he’s even brought up the issue with the Chinese. Jean-Pierre says that she isn’t going to reveal “private” conversations. Since when is it a “private” conversation? He works for us, he’s supposed to be representing us and providing us with answers. This response is just unconscionable.

If he’s not pressing Xi, if they aren’t holding China to account, is it because of Biden and his son’s closeness to China? Imagine how bad it is that we even have to raise that question. But when you don’t do your job and when you have such conflicts of interest, then that’s a real question. How is this not the number one priority in our dealings with the Chinese?