WASHINGTON, DC – With the departure of Jen Psaki as White House Press Secretary on Friday in favor of an on-air hosting position with MSNBC, her replacement – Karine Jean-Pierre – held her first press conference on Monday, touting her “diversity” and thanking her predecessors for the path they paved for her.
“I am obviously acutely aware that my presence at this podium represents a few firsts. I am a black, gay, immigrant woman, the first of all three of those to hold this position,” the French-born Jean-Pierre said. “I would not be here today if it were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me. I stand on their shoulders.”
She also expressed appreciation for Joe Biden, saying that he has assembled “the most diverse administration in history” full of “barrier-breaking women and men” because the President believes that “representation does matter.”
However, once she delved into the questions of the assembled White House reporters, Jean-Pierre initially gave ammunition to critics who have questioned if her abilities were up to the task of being the new White House Press Secretary.
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While fielding a question from Fox News’ Peter Doocy – who had previously enjoyed a love/hate relationship with Jen Psaki during press briefings – Jean-Pierre proceeded to give an incoherent answer when he asked how raising taxes on the rich would bring down inflation, something that Biden had tweeted about last week.
“We have talked about this this past year, about making sure that the wealthiest among us are paying their fair share. Um, that is important to do, that is something that the President has been working on every day when we’re talking about inflation and lowering costs,” she said. And so it’s very important, as we’re seeing costs rise, as we’re talking about how to…you know, build an America that’s safe, that’s equal for everyone and doesn’t leave anyone behind, that is an important part of that as well.”
Jean-Pierre, who had previously served as the White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary before being promoted to her new role, appeared to have been caught off-guard by the question, initially not even understanding which of Biden’s tweets that the Fox News reporter was referencing before giving what essentially amounted to a non-answer that forced Doocy to ask the same exact question again.
“How does raising taxes on corporations lower the cost of gas, lower the cost of used cars, lower the cot of food for everyday Americans?” he inquired.
Jean-Pierre proceeded to give a rambling, nonsensical, run-on reply while appearing to read from a prepared statement that – once again – that had little-to-nothing at all to do with Doocy’s question.
“So look, I think we encourage those who have done very well, alright, especially those who care about climate change, to support a fair tax code that doesn’t charge manufacturers, workers, cops, builders a higher percentage of their earnings that the most fortunate people in our nation, and not let that stand in the way of reducing energy costs and fighting this existential problem if you think of that as an example. And to support basic collective bargaining rights as well, right? That’s also important.”
“Look, without having a fair tax code, which is what I’m talking about…like, manufacturing workers, cops, it’s not fair for them to have to pay higher taxes than the folks who are not paying taxes at all,” Jean-Pierre concluded, no doubt leaving many reporters in the room scratching their heads.