White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has not been doing well at her job. Add to that having to justify why her boss let a Chinese spy balloon fly over the country for a week before the military got around to shooting it down, and you have a real mess.
After it was shot down, the Biden administration tried to deflect blame by saying this had happened three times under President Donald Trump, albeit a much briefer incursion than the one that happened last week. That story kept evolving with them claiming the balloons weren’t detected and that this was from pieced-together intel from the intel community discovered after the Trump team left.
Then Gen. Glen VanHerck, Commander of NORAD, said it wasn’t detected by the military because they had a “domain awareness gap” they needed to figure out. I should say they do if that’s true, and if this isn’t all just gaslighting from the Biden team to cover their tracks. VanHerck also said something else that was jaw-dropping and more evolving from the Biden team’s original statements. He said, “I could not take immediate action because it was not demonstrating hostile act or hostile intent.”
Then he said that the balloon potentially had a huge payload and possible explosives to destroy the balloon on board. But they didn’t see any of that – an aircraft of a foreign power breaching our airspace – as “hostile intent”? Yikes. They had said they didn’t have time to take the shot near Alaska. Is that the reason, or is VanHerck’s answer the real reason? Lots of questions and Congress needs to get answers.
But when KJP was asked about the prior balloons during Monday’s briefing, it did not go well.
A reporter asked Jean-Pierre, “How is it possible that this administration discovered at least three previous balloons that flew over the U.S. under the previous administration, but Trump officials didn’t know it was happening?”
REPORTER: "How is it possible that this administration discovered at least three previous balloons that flew over the US under the previous administration, but Trump officials didn't know it was happening?"
KJP: "Yeah, so, look, I think that uh, and we have talked about this…" pic.twitter.com/QE3tQK0TAi
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 6, 2023
“Yeah, so, look, I think that — and we have talked about this before, about how the — when it — when the PRC government surveillance balloons transited the continental U.S. briefly at least three times, as you just mentioned, during the President’s — the prior administration and once that we know of the beginning of this administration’s,” KJP said. “But never for this duration of time, as we know.”
First, she was incoherent as she fumbled, then she told a big whopper, “This information was discovered prior to the administration left,” seeming to claim that the Trump information knew about it before they left, which no one, including her people, is claiming. She said they were prepared to “give briefings” to key Trump officials about the information. You can hear a reporter correct her, although it’s a little indistinct, then she clarifies by saying “post,” meaning after the Trump team left. Was she hoping to slip that one by? That one wasn’t going to happen.
However, Jean-Pierre is so locked into not being transparent, when she was asked if the balloon last week was the first one under this administration, she couldn’t keep that straight with her prepared notes that there had been a prior balloon under Biden.
"Is this the first Chinese [spy] balloon that the U.S. identified flying over U.S. airspace under this administration?"
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: I don't know pic.twitter.com/M7sc8y0nm8
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 6, 2023
“What I would say” is her “tell” for not wanting to go into the subject. But it was funny since she admitted it when she read from her notes. But she didn’t seem to absorb what she read or retain it from minute to minute.
Then there was also a moment where she didn’t understand how what she said would be taken. But that’s also supposed to be the job of the press secretary — to not make things worse or create unnecessary controversy by what she says. KJP said that the National Security Council sent out a “tick-tock” on the breakdown about the balloon.
WATCH: KJP says there was a TikTok from the National Security Council detailing the Chinese spy balloon
Okay then… pic.twitter.com/g4gXVpBeQw
— Karen Peck (@karpec9246) February 6, 2023
Now, given the nature of the subject, that immediately had people thinking she said, “TikTok” and wondering if she was mad. But a “tick-tock” refers to a chronological timeline of things in this context. Let’s call it a poor choice of words under the circumstances.
But that’s been part of her problem — poor choice of words — as well as the inability to answer any questions.