LIVE: White Residence holds press briefing | NBC Knowledge


I mean I'm open I have a slot happy the question is do you want to be my valentine I don't know about that all right I do have to give credit to Robbie he's the one who got the cookies so thank you Robbie he's he comes in for the cookies turkey day whatever Thanksgiving day he got cookies anyway um good afternoon everybody.

Uh Happy Valentine's day happy galentine's day happy anti-valentine's day however you celebrate we appreciate you and we welcome you so as many of you saw the Super Bowl was a great game while the first lady and I were rooting for Jalen hurts and the Eagles as you all know I do want to congratulate Kansas City on their big.

Win and a bet is a bet I'm not sure if any of you are following this I did get into a a bet with uh Representatives David's and Cleaver so they have some Philly cheesesteaks coming their way from me but please don't tell the first lady don't let her know that I'm sending them a Philly cheesecake but on a more solemn note I did wanna we did want to.

Address a couple of things the day today uh yes it's Valentine's Day but it's also a day that we commemorate what happened five years ago and also what we saw transpired last night so this morning the president addressed the epidemic of gun violence that continues to devastate American communities today marks five.

Years since a gunman took the lives of 14 students and 3 three Educators at the majority Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida and once again our country is mourning three Michigan State University students who were killed in a shooting last night today the president and the first lady are praying for these young victims and.

Their families the broader East Lansing and Lansing communities and all Americans across the country grieving as the result of gun violence once again we are especially thinking of all of the injured victims who are fighting for their lives today as well as the survivors of the shooting during a lengthy active shooting.

Situation they feared for their lives they will carry that experience with them through the years ahead and as the President says said today is enough enough the president has taken action to combat the epidemic of gun violence in America including a historic number of executive action but he believes more work needs.

To be done last year the president signed the first significant gun safety law in nearly 30 years the bipartisan safer communities act today the U.S justice department is taking another important step to implement that law awarding more than 231 million dollars for 49 states and territories to create and Implement Crisis Intervention.

Projects like red flag programs mental health and substance use treatment court courts and Veterans treatment courts as well this funding will reduce gun violence and save lives the president has long championed red flag laws which could potentially have stopped Shooters in Parkland and other tragedies these laws allow family members Health Care.

Providers school officials and Law Enforcement Officers to seek a court determined nation that a person is a danger to themselves or others and then temporarily prevent that person from accessing a firearm recognizing the importance of ensuring that these red flag laws are used effectively today's announcement also gives States funding.

And to educate the public about extreme risk protection orders and to train law enforcement and other officials about this intervention the President also continues to call on Congress to act Common Sense gun law for forms including requiring background checks on all gun sales Banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and eliminating.

Immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons on the war of War on our streets we owe it all to those we've lost and to all those Left Behind to grieve to continue to continue to act now you've often heard the president talk about giving families a breathing room he said that today at the Mako.

Legislative uh conference that you all just heard him speak at and some of you may have been there and today we have some progress on what we can be what can be one of the most financially sophisticating things families face medical debt and high high health care costs today cfpb has released a new report that shows that the number of.

Americans with medical debt on their credit card reports fell by 8.2 million dollar million from the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2022 the actions our Administration has taken including strengthening the Affordable Care Act to expand health insurance coverage to Millions more Americans and enacting new consumer protections played.

A critical role in reducing the burden of medical debt for millions of American families with that Josh I say this all the time it's good to see you good to see you it feels like it's been forever too long too long all right the floor is yours let's get to the two subjects one is the Perpetual hot item as of late the US shot down three objects from the sky.

That are now deemed to be benign Louisiana Senator John Kennedy says they can't find the pieces should you guys have waited before shooting and what are the protocols going to be going forward so I'm going to take your last question first as you know the president has asked Jake Sullivan to uh to oversee a stand a a.

Interagency a team that that is that was stand that is that was uh uh created so that we can figure out the protocols on how to move forward uh when uh when and if this occurs again and so I believe my colleague from national uh Security Council the Admiral spoke to this moments ago at 10 o'clock during his Gaggle and talked about how we have.

We'll we'll have more protocols to share later uh later this week so there is again a interagency team that's going to look at this process look how we track look how we decide to take action and see if there's anything else that needs to be done so there will be uh updated protocols if you will by the end of this week so that's that question the first.

One and look you know and again I you've heard from secretary Austin on this you've heard from DOD on this you've heard from my National Security Council colleagues again as you all know the the objects that were shot down were in the uh civilian airspace uh kind of flying low at low elevation and so it was shot down they were shot down uh because of.

Uh they were taking abundance of caution we wanted to make sure Americans were safe we wanted to make sure that the civilian aircraft flying uh above in in our airspace were safe and that's why they were taken down the three objects as you all know they are now being recovered the weather conditions have prevented uh for uh for the Pentagon to.

Go out there and and get those objects but we're going to continue to try we're going to continue to be uh Vigilant on getting these uh getting the debris but in the meantime as you you just mentioned the benign statement the intelligence community did say that they are considering or looking this at this to be potentially benign but of course.

We want to make sure that we get the object so we can actually or the debris from the objects just to be more clear so we can get a sense of what uh what uh what the objects were for certain and then secondly on CPI numbers came out today they show monthly decline in real wages as well as an annual decline in real.

Administration officials have said growing real wages is an important marker for the economy how do you view the setback in today's numbers so a couple of things I do want to say that uh what we have said many times is that we believe that the president's the president's economic plan is indeed working and it's giving people a little.

Breathing Room you heard me say this at the top how the how we have seen uh um you know how we have seen the plan actually working we see we're seeing inflation moderate uh just a bit as we've seen the last couple of months and that is important and the way that we see things moving forward we believe that it is uh that is important to.

Continue to work the Finish to finish the work that the president has started and that's what you heard from him very explicitly uh just uh just a couple of days ago when just last week when he talked about the state of the union and how he sees every how he sees the economy and the progress moving forward so two things on the wages as you're.

Asking me specifically on those pieces as it relates to the data real rages are indeed up over the last seven months which is important since Trends are always more useful than one month's data as you know I know this is something that you follow closely Josh and the second thing is real weekly earnings are up over the last month so we continue to.

Make progress fighting inflation as the president said earlier today his unwavering focus is on continuing to lower costs for families and that's going to be our Focus we're going to continue to do that that's why the inflation reduction Act is so critical it's so important and and we're going to continue to fight for the American.

People and meet them where they are okay thanks Kareem going back to the intelligence community's conclusion what led them to conclude that these objects could very well be benign so not going to get into um into the uh kind of the intelligence Community process what I can say is that they are considering uh there's strong.

Consideration that these objects are indeed benign but just not going to get ahead of ahead of uh their process here Senator after Senator at this uh all Senators briefing this morning I wanted to know when the president is going to come forward and speak to the American people I mean the U.S does not shoot objects out of the sky every day why.

Hasn't the president come forward and spoken to the American people about this so I know your colleague asked my colleague this earlier today during his Gaggle and look the president is taking this very seriously and he's receiving briefings regularly from his National Security advisors and he's going to continue to do that we are sharing as.

Much information as we can as as possible and but we do want to make sure that the Americans American people understand that there's no need to panic the president took this action as I mentioned earlier because of the objects were indeed flying at low lower elevation and they were in civilian airspace and we wanted to make sure that.

We protected uh that airspace but again you know we want to also make sure that the Americans are not uh do not panic during this time a question about the process can the Pentagon shoot down an object without presidential approval or does he need to give his okay first I can tell you this process and what occurred during the the uh the three.

Objects and also as you know the Chinese surveillance balloon the president was indeed very involved and the president listened to the recommendations clearly that he got from the Pentagon and he took action as commander-in-chief I I don't have anything further beyond that on any other protocols or how it's uh how it's uh normally done but I can say.

We also the standing up of this interagency team is going to help provide us give us some additional protocols on how how to move forward on this on these issues just a question about the Salvage operation I know that the the teams haven't been able to get to the debris yet have the salvaged teams been able to.

Locate the debris that's a really good question I would have to refer you to the Pentagon on this on on the specifics if they've been able to locate it what we know is the weather conditions have indeed prevented them in these three locations to actually retrieve the debris but again there's intensive operation underway we want to.

Make sure that we get the debris from the object we believe that it's important for us to do that the president believes it's important to do that just don't have anything further on that okay not to belabor this point but on the criticism of uh coming from the lawmakers that the president hasn't spoken out more on this uh should we.

Expect to hear from at some point or is part of the reason that we're not hearing from him because as you said people shouldn't be panicking right I don't have it I don't have any um any announcement or anything to preview on a potential um you know remarks by the president uh what we're trying to do here is provide.

As much information as we can the president clearly has been briefed on a regular basis on this on a daily basis on what has occurred in the last 10 days or so but I just don't have anything to preview as to if the president's going to be speaking on this in the upcoming days and on another issue on gun violence in this country you know the.

President again today is calling for Congress to pass an assault weapons ban we heard him make that same argument rather passionately during his State of the Union Address Beyond using his bully pulpit what is the president or this White House doing behind the scenes especially since the State of Union have there been meetings with stakeholders.

Calls with lawmakers I think Americans you know want to know if there's more to this Beyond just sort of talk and and keeping it up publicly so look the president's not going to give up on this right he's going to keep at it uh he's going to make sure that we keep the American people American families American Community safe now if you.

Remember if you look at the last two years this is a president that deserves a lot of credit we've gotten a lot of things done if you think about the executive actions that he took more executive action than any president at this time that's because he took this seriously and he's changed the conversation the landscape on how we.

Talk about gun violence and this is not just the last couple of years this has been since he was Senator we talked about the assault weapons ban he did that in in partnership with Senator Feinstein and let's not forget when that got passed we saw gun violence go down significantly so all of that matters and I would just announced for what the.

Funding from DOD J when as it relates to red flags and as we know when that is enacted with more than 231 million dollars in Grants is going to help cities and states across the country because when you enact the red red flag laws we hear from lawmakers we hear from State officials that it actually can save lives it actually can work and so.

All of these steps are crucial uh they're important this is a president hat that has been a long a long time Champion when it comes on fighting gun violence and so look it's not we're not going to to stop we're going to continue but I would argue happily argue and I think many others would agree with me and agree with us that this is a.

President that has done more on this issue than many other elected officials obviously it was a very different political environment when the assault weapons ban was passed many years ago when you say the president's you know you're keeping at it what does that look like because in reality I think we all know you know an assault weapons ban.

Doesn't really seem realistic right now well as you know I mentioned at the top there was a bipartisan as you know the the community safety act that was passed many people didn't said that wouldn't happen and 30 years later after 30 years we were able to get that done so he's going to reach out we're all we're going to reach out to those uh very uh members.

Those Congressional members uh in Congress and see how what's the next step that we can take but again we have the votes on our side the Democrats have the voice of votes on our side to get this done so Republicans have to to meet us at the table and get this done but the timeline in terms of the interagency group uh kind of agreeing on.

Protocols or having a better idea and protocols what is that exactly and will those be published will be public will they be talked about or presented you'll definitely hear from us uh when those when those Protocols are are um are completed or laid and we'll lay those out I believe my colleague mentioned later this week you'll hear what those.

Protocols look like from this uh from this interagency team and so we'll have more to share by the end of the week and then if these objects are benign is there any concern that there was an overreaction in terms of shooting them down so I'm not gonna I'm not gonna get ahead uh I'm not going to get ahead of um of what we you know what is actually.

The final word on this what we know is the intelligence Community is considering as a legal leading explanation that these could be tied to commercial or research entities and benign that is something that the intelligence community is has looked into but again we got to get we got to get the these the debris from the.

Objects that we're trying to uh you know and they uh we're trying to to get out of the locations uh again because due to the weather condition it's been very difficult uh but clearly that is a priority as well there's one last one on CPI um it's the seventh straight month of the deceleration but the trend line.

Moderated a little bit uh the overall cooling is there any concern that this is uh a month or this is a print that raises some alarm that maybe some progress you guys thought was on a steady pathway Isn't So a couple of things that I do want to sometimes that I want to read out the annual inflation fell for seven seven straight months.

Inflation came down for groceries and food at home last month gas prices are down about 160 from their peak real wages are up as I mentioned moments ago over the last seven months for Working Families even as unemployment remains at its lowest level since 1969 and job growth remains resilient with more than 500 000 created last month and we have.

To remember what fed the Fed chair Powell said just last week labor market is strong because the economy is strong and that is important uh piece to note look there's still more work to do you hear us say that often and uh and uh and there's more work to do as we try to get to a transition of more stable and steady growth and there are going there.

Are going to be set setbacks along the way we we realize that but there are some good data points here that we feel that it's important to point out as I just laid out before you but again and I and I've mentioned this before the president's one of the president's priorities it comes to the economy is to do everything that he can to lower a.

Cost for families which is why when you talk about junk fees you've heard the president talk about junk fees recently that is important to Americans in order to make sure that they are getting lower costs right you think about inflation reduction if you think about creating manufacturing jobs you think about what he's done to lower the deficit by 1.7.

Trillion dollars and we've talked he talked about just last week in the State of the Union that his budget that he's going to put forth on March 9th is going to show how he's going to continue to lower the deficit with by another two trillion dollars not going to get ahead of the budget but that is something that the president is very much top of mind.

Is how to be fiscally responsible Korean um happy Valentine's Day Happy Valentine's cookies have any private companies or research institutes contacted the U.S government in any form to say that one of their flying objects is missing no we have not yet been contacted the U.S done anything to reach out to companies that could operate.

Similar sized flying objects either here in the US or elsewhere I don't have anything to review a report on that that I guess there's the sense that you know if this belongs to somebody if it is benign obviously it remains a possibility you'll know more when you find this in the Yukon and elsewhere but for those who may fear legal liability.

Let's say that they were flying in civilian airspace or or the like what do you say to anybody out there who's watching this conversation and may be hesitant to come forward to the US government to say it's our object that is missing it's a good question again I don't want to get ahead of the military or the intelligence Community as they're.

Trying to really figure out what these objects are again what what I said before is that the intelligence Community is considering as a leading as a leading explanation which is the commercial or research entities and it being benign but again it's a leading it's a leading thinking that's coming out of the intelligence Community I just.

Don't want to get ahead of them so to be clear today you can't say to the cameras if you had an unknown object out there and it's missing we're asking you to come forward it's just not something that I'm going to do from here but I appreciate the question let me ask this one final epic and then about Dianne Feinstein she just announced after 30.

Years that she's going to be retiring at the end of this time uh her time in the Senate serving California first if you have any comment on that and separately acknowledge the responsibilities you're having you're standing behind that Podium your thoughts on the three Californians that have already announced their expect their intention to run for.

Her seat so I'll take the first question first uh which is look the president looks forward to uh to congratulating Senator Feinstein on her historic and remarkable career I just mentioned earlier about the assault assault weapons ban and that they work together just 30 years ago so clearly the presidencies the senator as a friend and.

As a colleague that he's been able to get big things done and I think that's incredibly important he sees her as a long time friend and he deeply respects all of the collaboration that they have been able to do on historic legislations over the years as I mentioned uh the the federal the federal legislation on Banning assault weapons uh assault.

Assault assault weapons pardon me uh look look we respect all of The Talented officials in California who who are expressing interest in running for the seat and again as you know as you stated from at the top of your question I am I am prohibited first from saying anything more on any upcoming races but again these are these are.

These are elected officials that we've worked very closely with over the past couple of years and the president has gotten to know I'm just not going to comment on their particular um you know wanting interest in and running for uh for that sentencing in a speech to the County's last hour the president uh suggested that he would.

Like to see a reform of laws related to the tech industry he specifically said uh we've got to change the way the internet works and the way people are able to use our children was that a specific reference to the social media companies and is there anything more you can tell us about the presidents I think the president has been always very clear.

About reforming 230 we've been very very clear about that uh reforming the section 230 and so that's been something that we've said from the last two years uh and I don't have anything more to add to it I haven't spoken to the president about what he commented on but it's not it's not um you know it's not different than things that he said before when it.

Comes to tech companies the new Chief staff here had formerly served for some time on the board of Facebook if there is going to be a discussion here about social media reform will Jeff science be a part of that process or will he remove himself look I don't have any conversation or any planning or policy to put forth uh before you and and kind.

Of lay out on what we're going to do on any Tech uh tech company so I'm just not going to get ahead of myself or really speak to a hypothetical what I can speak to is what the president said it is not uncommon it is not unusual usually he has said it for the last two years and I'll just leave it there on the train derailment in Ohio could.

You give us an update has the administration received receive Quests for federal assistance and then also is the administration is the White House competent in the way that the authorities in Ohio are handling it and the way the railroad is handling it so I'll say this um I'll take your last question first which is.

Uh EPA is working hand in glove with the state of Ohio and we think that's really important the Administration has been in close touch with local officials to ensure that they have what they need and that their needs are being met so that's that last that second question that you're asked I have a couple of things that I do want to share about what EPA.

Has been doing on the ground they've been on the ground on site since February 4th they are clearly closely monitoring the situation in East Palestine and our top priority is of course Health the health and safety of the community and since February 4th EPA has been leading air quality testing and supporting Ohio EPA with surface and.

Groundwater testing the national Transportation Security Board has also been on site for over a week to to leave the investigation into the cause of the derailment uh and the EPA will continue to conduct 24 7 air quality monitoring throughout East Palestine Community in the days to come EPA is making information available via their agency.

Website and on the water I know there's been question about the water EPA will continue to support Ohio EPA surface and groundwater sampling efforts to ensure drinking water is indeed safe again work the EPA is closely monitoring this and trying to do their best to uh to meet the community where to meet the needs I should say of the community no concerns.

At this point about the way it's being handled again we are working hand in glove right at this moment with the state of Ohio the Administration has been in close touch with local effects electives on the ground to make sure that their concerns are being met this might seem like a silly question but does debris actually exist is the.

U.S government confident that there is debris from these objects or were they like destroyed in the process of being taken down from what I understand in the Department of Defense and the Pentagon clearly would know more specifics on this there is debris out there and we're trying to have an intensive operation to get that debris from the objects but I.

Would I would refer you directly to the Pentagon when the interagency review is done um will Jake Sullivan come here to brief calling Jake um I I don't have anything to to read out to you on who will be joining if that were to occur later this week and we we're saying that we'll have.

Information I just don't have anything else to share beyond that that's right two questions uh do you do you know anything about the timing of the report from the physician after the president completes his uh his um physical and the other question is uh do you have any information on what other foreign leaders he might meet in Poland.

Beyond the Eastern flank leaders and uh and president yeah so as as you just mentioned president Duda he'll be meeting with him we'll have more to share as we get closer uh to to the trip I just don't have anything anything specific to share about additional meetings uh but you know we can't we kind of laid out where what we were.

Expecting on the front end I just don't have anything uh on the front end of the announcement I don't have anything more to share but of course as you know as we normally do we will share more as we get closer to the day so I know many people were asking if the physical was still happening because we didn't have it in the week ahead we don't normally put as.

You know when we did it in 2021 it was not uh it was not on the week ahead or on the schedule so that's why it wasn't there the physical is indeed going to happen under Thursday there have been no changes and you can expect a memo from The Physician will be released publicly in the same manner as it was in 2021 so we will do our best to get that all to.

You again we want to be transparent we want to make sure you have the information and it will be coming from The Physician so it'll be the same the same way we did it in 2021 we'll do it in this the same way this time around okay thank you the president spoke with Prime Minister Modi earlier today.

Could you tell what they talked about and has the president invited the prime minister to the White House this summer and on a lighter note is the president celebrating the Valentine's Day okay so I'll take uh I'll take the easy question uh I have a readout of Modi call uh uh so as you mentioned uh the president.

Spoke with the prime minister of India earlier today they discussed the historic agreement for Air India to purchase over 200 American made aircraft from Boeing president Bai noted how the sale will support over 1 million American jobs across 44 States and help Air India meet growing demands of for air transportation in India they also.

Discussed the importance of the Strategic technology Partners between India and the United States and the two leaders reaffirmed the strength of the U.S India relationship and committed to continue working together and in groups like The Quad to advance economic growth for our two countries and expand cooperation on their shared priorities I.

Do not have a um a trip or a meeting to announce at this time and so I'll just leave it there but they had a very good discussion design things uh historic piece of legislation it made it into law anti-lynching the first time ever in this nation for anti-lynching Bill to be signed into law 67 years after Emmett.

Till was killed lynched in Mississippi but the issue is the mother of Emmett Till sought for justice all of her life she never received it and the family of Emmett Till last week filed a lawsuit demanding that a Mississippi Sheriff served the arrest warrant for the woman who accused Emmett's health of whistling at her what.

Does the White House say about that as signed this historical into law and then also you're having the screening this week so as you know when it comes to lawsuit or any anything that involves uh you know an investigation or something being looked into I'm just not going to comment from here so just not going to get ahead of of what's occurring uh with.

That lawsuit so just want to be very careful to not get involved in that but I think it is Black History Month as you know I think the fact that the president is screening till the movie incredibly Powerful movie that tells the life of this young man that was clearly murdered that we've heard the story of over the past many many decades who helped which.

His um his life the murder of his of his life helped start the Civil Rights Movement help ignite it was one of the many things that helped ignite the Civil Rights Movement I think that's important that we're doing this at the White House one of the only we haven't we haven't actually screen many movies so the fact.

That we're doing this in this month I think sends a strong message from the president and from this White House from the first lady how important we think it is uh to uh to lift this movie up and to make sure that his story his story continues to be told and not forgotten and I think in line with him with the president signing the lynching bill into.

Law I think also shows the commitment that this president has when he walked into this Administration you've heard me say this many times one of the four crises that he talked about was a racial inequality and making sure that we do everything that we can to deal with that to deal with that trauma to deal with that devastating fact there's still a.

Lot more work to be done the work is not done but the president's going to do everything that he can in his power at in the federal government in this White House to make sure that we address issues like this I got to go to Chicago though in Chicago oh what's what Emmett Till came from Chicago do you mind taking a seat please.

We just just so that we're following you know we're following the protocol within if you could take a seat within within here I'm just pointing all over the place yeah so we've heard some CPI questions that CPI when can Americans see prices significantly decrease so look what we have been seeing and I.

Laid this out we have seen inflation starting to moderate over the last seven months and that's important that's important because again the president's economic plan is indeed working and he's taken some historic steps I talked we talk often about the gas prices going down uh by going down to about 160 160 per gallon that's because the president.

Took historic steps to see that happening the last time the last time we saw a peak in gas prices was this this past summer uh and so again the president's going to do everything that he can to do to to to make sure that we're lowering costs inflation reduction act we just saw in January how insulin from the because of the inflation.

Reduction on how insulin is going to be capped at seniors for seniors for at 35 bucks that's because of the inflation reduction act that's what the president signed into law this past summer we're going to continue to take the actions to lower medical medical costs again from the inflation reduction act very important here so the president's going.

To continue to take action we're always going to look at the data points as they come out from CPI or any other piece of data and we know we know it's going to distill more work to be done to get it to that steady and stable growth as you hear a talk talk about and sometimes there may be setbacks but that's not going to prevent the president from.

Doing everything that he can to lower cost and we have seen that we have seen that I want to ask about the phase one uh China trade deal three years ago today that phase one trade deal went into effect and China's basically ignored that deal since President Biden has gotten to office is the president going to enact an enforcement mechanisms.

That were in written into that deal well look I mean let's you said China has ignored that deal but we have to be clear here that the previous administration's phase one deal it's their deal right let's not forget that it's not ours it's theirs uh did not uh did not meaningfully address our fundamental concerns with the prcs uh.

Trade Practices that is just a fact the PRC did not meet its commitment even in the first year of phase one deal going into effect during the Trump Administration again phase one is was under the Trump Administration so we are focused on defending American economic interests in ways that will work including in coordination with our.

Allies and partners through initiatives like the trade and Technology Council and the indo-pacific economic framework and by investing more at home through the bipartisan infrastructure act through the chips act and through the inflation reduction act those are all part of the present economic policies that has actually helped build an.

Economy from the bottom up middle out and also bring manufacturing jobs back home that's how we're addressing this because phase one did not work it did not have a meaningful purpose again it was started in the last Administration okay Michael two more balloon questions um the National Weather Service website.

Here said as that 900 the weather balloons are released around the world from 900 locations twice a day every single day of the year including 92 released by The National Weather Service in the U.S um that they fly for at least two hours a day drift as far as 125 miles and cover uh and rise up to a hundred.

Thousand feet above the ground um if if it turns out as it looks like that the that the president um and Mr Trudeau sent top gun Fighters to blow weather balloons out of the sky is the does the president regret that and is he embarrassed by that I'm not.

Going to get ahead of what um of any final decision we just don't know yet we actually just don't know uh and as I as I've said as my colleague has said from NSC uh it is it is in consideration that that could be the leading explanation here again I don't think the President should be embarrassed right by the fact that he.

Took action to make sure that our our airspace civilian airspace was safe uh I don't think that he should I'm sorry no but you're I'm answering the question I am I am answering the question right the president took action because we did see that these uh that these objects were in the airspace of Civilian airspace and so to protect the civilian airspace the.

President took action it is and he took he took recommendation by the Pentagon to take that action I don't want to get ahead of what this what will be the final analysis right of what the objects may have been or may not have been so don't want to get into uh into a hypothetical here uh but look this is the president does everything that he.

Can everything in his power right to defend 2 track and to protect our airspace and that's what you should that's what you should gleam from what the action the actions that this president took and then which is um there's a lot of equip there that that what has that what.

Really drove the president's decisions in the in the latter three um shootdowns was an overreaction a political overreaction to the criticism that he took on the Chinese spy balloon for waiting too long in other words that he he was criticized for waiting too long in the first balloon and so the reaction the overreaction the critics.

Would say is that he moved too quickly to shoot down the other ones before even knowing obviously what they were how do you guys respond to that I'll respond to it this way two different two different things right the Chinese surveillance balloon completely different operation if you will a complete different.

Um uh um you know situation if you will it was a a balloon as you all know that was a Chinese surveillance balloon we wanted the president's number one thing was to make sure that we kept American civilians safe he took recommendations from the Pentagon uh who told who who said that we should follow the path and he agreed they followed the path but he.

Also said the moment that they can to shoot it down and that's what occurred but let's remember what what happened while the while the balloon was on its path we were able to collect data from it we were able to protect our security data on the ground and learn from the Chinese surveillance balloon that's what we were able to do and when it got over.

An area where it was safe where we were able to collect because we are collecting the data that's on the the I should not the data but the um the debris right that's on the ocean floor and learning more about its capabilities and when we were able to do that they shot it down and so we're going to learn a lot more because of the action that.

The president took and because of the action that the Pentagon took right with the recommendation that they provided with the president so that's a different scenario it's not the same and as I just mentioned with the objects they were in civilian airspace so the president took action to protect our civilian airspace they were the elevation was a little bit.

Was lower and he took that action two different they were in the civilian airspace two two different dozen scores of balloons that are also like when the civilian airspace every day I I hear you um and I know that you just you just read me the whatever the national weather uh um uh data or numbers of balloons I get that I don't know those.

Numbers that's the first time that I'm hearing about them I appreciate you sharing it with all of us uh but what I'm telling you is what I can give you from our our Vantage Point how we move forward the Chinese surveillance balloon was very very different than what we saw with these three objects yeah Karen thanks green back to the.

Train derailment after that incident the AFL-CIO sent the Federal Railroad Administration a letter requesting an industry-wide adoption of a confidential close call Reporting System they say that the workers need to be able to report near misses without a fear of Retribution in order to increase the overall safety but there are seven class.

One railroads that refuse to adopt it where does the White House stand on this that's a very good question I have not heard about the letter so I would need to check in with the team about the letter what it says and how we're going to potentially respond or how we feel about the comments or the requests that you just laid out I just don't want to.

Get ahead of the team and so we'd have to check in with them on this speaking the idea of a of a system like that would the administration think that that would have prevented an incident like again I wanna I I just want to be really careful here and not get ahead of whatever discussion or policy or or decisions that be might be considered uh.

From here and I would need to talk to the policy team again I want to make sure that just to get back to what I said before the EPA is uh is closely monitoring the situation that we that we see in in the community and our top priorities the health and safety of the community so don't just don't want to get ahead of what's currently happening.

Okay George in the back yeah I did two follow-up questions on the train derailment uh should the Obama area rail safety uh breaking rule the better braking technology ruled that the last Administration knocked out should that be reinstated and secondly Beyond EPA testing and so on uh what is the level of the president's concern about human.

Safety in Northeast Ohio and East Palestine uh now that animals there are dying from the toxic gas again I just want to be really mindful I know that um we're monitoring the situation I can tell you that the president has been briefed on this uh and I just don't want to get ahead of what's currently happening on the ground uh or you know.

The reports that we're hearing but again I just laid out what the what the EPA has been doing for about a week they've been on the ground testing the air quality they've been talking to locals on the ground trying to meet their needs at the moment I just don't want to get ahead of any specifics here because again we're monitoring mostly whether.

There's a sense of urgency or concern about human life so look we're always concerned about human life that's what I said at the top right I said that our number one priority is the hell health and the safety of the community that is our number one priority here that's what EPA is doing on the ground that's why we've been in working hand in glove with.

The state of Ohio on this issue and we want to make sure that their concerns are being met and that's what we're going to continue to do that that is how we see our role here in the federal government look I I can add a little bit more FEMA continues to monitor the emergency as an engage with State Emergency Operations Center and right.

Now there are no requests for federal assistance from FEMA so I can let you know that piece okay um okay um can you say if the White House has any reaction to the censorship um by the Indian Prime Minister of the documentary that was critical against.

Him say that one more time say if the White House has any reaction to the documentary that that um the Indian Prime Minister censored BBC documentary I don't I don't have a reaction to that for you from here okay yeah thanks okay okay um just real quickly when the interior agency effort uh come comes up with its.

Recommendations later on this week will you be releasing those to us or talking to us about them so we will definitely have more to share uh later this week on on that I don't have a vehicle or how it's going to be shared to all of you but clearly the president thought it was important to get this done that's why he asked for this to be stood up and that's.

Why he asked for Jake Sullivan uh to uh to run this process I just don't have anything else we will we will have more to share later later this week I just don't have like a vehicle on how that's going to occur is that part of what the president is waiting for and before he attacks to the American people about this no I just don't have anything to to.

Read out or to share about a a statement or remarks from the president again he takes this very seriously he's being uh kept kept up dated on a regular basis on this clearly but just don't have anything to share on the missile that missed every effort there was a congressman Chris Stewart on the Intel committee who.

Expressed some concern that there's highly classified information on those missiles even if it's been you know rendered not armed anymore I would refer you to the Pentagon good Chris um does the president agree with my former vice president Mike Pence's.

Decision to resist uh grand jury in the uh okay so so you're going to love my answer because this is a criminal investigation an ongoing investigation I would refer you to Department of Justice just not going to respond from here I hear your question the question I'm just not going to.

Respond from here all right thanks Karine um are there any plans for the president to address the country on gun violence given the latest Michigan State mass shooting so um you know I would go back to what I said earlier I don't have anything to read out on uh or to to speak to uh on any.

Remarks about uh the latest shooting uh the president and the first lady you saw a tweet from the president and the first lady their statement via tweet uh speaking about the horrific actions that we saw and loss of life yesterday at Michigan State University you saw that the president spoke to the governor of Michigan just last night as soon as he.

Was able to to connect with her and offered our any assistance that we could provide it there's been some FBI law enforcement on the on the ground helping in any way that we can and but I I do want to say and I've said this moments ago is that this is a president that has been a leader in on this issue and he's been a leader on this for years and.

Taking historic action to deal with a devastating a devastating gun uh gun situation that we're seeing across the country communities again I don't have any speech to speak to that might be coming up on on the most recent gun violence but this is something that the president takes very seriously that's why he took executive action this is.

Somebody who takes it very seriously that's why he was able to sign a bipartisan piece of legislation on gun violence that hadn't been done in 30 years very seriously and we're going to continue to do that work a number of gun safety Advocates have been asking again for a National Emergency to be declared is there any.

Change there I don't have anything to update you on that can I ask about Iran and China Iran's president is visiting with President Xi Jinping today his delegation includes members of his um trade economy and oil Ministries does Washington see this as a failure of.

Sanctions against Iran and do you have any messages for Tehran in Beijing as they go into this meeting so look we're aware of President Rossi's visit to the People's Republic of China we aren't going to speculate on their conversation you you've heard me say that many times before it's not something that we're going to speak to we continue to engage.

With the PRC and other countries globally to encourage them to take steps to to counter Iran's destabilizing activities and so we'll continue to be vocal on that just don't have anything to speculate or to comment about their potential conversation um President Obama gave a national address from the Oval Office in 2010 to.

Discussed the oil spell of the oil spill of the Gulf of Mexico when fighter jets are shooting down unknown aerial objects over U.S territory Dustin also warrant a uh National address from the president uh again um don't have anything to to read out on the president's uh speaking to this what I can tell you is the president takes.

This very seriously he's been briefed multiple times right on a regular basis about uh uh about what about the objects and what is currently occurring and trying to get the debris and you know get a sense of the analysis and get the capabilities of not just the debris but also the Chinese surveillance balloon and he'll continue to be updated on.

Those matters I just don't have anything else to share okay thank you um I have two questions uh and one of the benefits of asking questions this late in the briefing is that you don't have to be concerned with advancing the story incrementally of the day you can just ask about sort of broader things so.

With that in mind first on the communications team uh and then on the cultural so-called culture wars um where the president's Communications are concerned and I'm asking you because you work on his Communications team you're a professional communicator there is obviously a variety of settings the.

President can employ set pieces impromptu remarks teleprompter no teleprompter etc etc is it the view of the president's Communications team that he is equally Adept in all settings in terms of communications or there's some that play to Greater strength somewhere he probably isn't as strong Etc I will tell you this the president is the.

Communicator that we have in the White House if you would I appreciate it sure um one of the most prominent themes that we hear from both elected Republicans and and candidates um has to do with uh what is called wokism um and we hear about an anti-woke agenda.

And this entire subject reminds me of what Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said about obscenity that he couldn't Define it but he knew it when he saw it uh and so we hear so much talk about will capitalism awoke military and so on and by way of trying to clarify this for the American people I wonder if we couldn't begin with a.

Threshold question to win is President Biden woke so let me tell you um what the president cares about and what's important to this president the president doesn't doesn't concern himself about what Republicans are trying to do in creating political.

Stunts in making an issue out of the things that they feel benefits them politically not the American people not what matters to the American people but what benefits them politically for their own uh for their own ability to move forward what the president cares about is exactly what I just talked about and what he talked about at the legislative.

Conference which is how we going to continue to deliver for the American people you heard him say that at the State of the Union you heard him talk about how the economy has grown the last two years the progress that we have made and guess what he wants to continue that progress he wants to continue to move forward to make sure that we lower the.

Deficit which he did the first two years by 1.7 trillion dollars and be fiscally responsible but he's but he's but he wants to work with Republicans on how we are going to continue to deliver how we are going to build on the economic progress that we're seeing that's not what they want to do what they want to do is they want to cut Social Security.

What they want to do is they want to cut Medicare and they want to take us back and not actually deal with issues that matter to the American people can you imagine can you imagine if you're an American out there and you hear your Congressional member talking about how they want to cut Social Security talking about how they want to cut Medicare.

Something that you have worked very hard for many many years and paid into so you can get those programs but yet that Republican senator who we've been talking about from Florida has continued to talk about how they want to Sunset these these uh these programs that's not what we're about we're about fighting for these uh for these programs and.

That's what you're going to see from the president and that's what he cares about go ahead hi thank you very very much I have a follow-up to April's questions about the Tilt screening because as you probably know this is very important and a signature issue for Chicago and I want to know then if you're going to have anybody from The Tell family or.

To tell orbit attend a screening I know that when the bill was signed it was almost a historic Gathering of people who were cousins relatives and others associated with till so we will have more to share on who will be attending that very important screening of till in just a day or two I think on Thursday I believe I just I don't have anything to.

Share at this time and we'll have more to share would I be safe in saying that you do intend or is it I just I actually just answered your question we will have more to share in the next day or two okay guys thank you so much all right have a great great day happy Valentine's Day thank you don't eat too much cookies.

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