Reporters roasted White House press sec. Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday after she tried to dodge questions about text messages allegedly showing President Joe Biden was involved with his son Hunter’s foreign business dealings.
IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley told members of Congress that Hunter Biden threatened Chinese business associate Henry Zhao by saying his father, Joe Biden, was sitting next to him and that Zhao would “regret not following my direction.”
Newsmax’s James Rosen pressed White House National Security Council John Kirby on the matter, reading the alleged message out loud and asking whether it undermines Biden’s previous claims that he knew nothing of Hunter’s business dealings. Kirby did not provide an answer before leaving the podium.
“Can I follow up on that? So Kirby wouldn’t answer James’ question though, are you gonna answer the question? It’s not an unreasonable question to ask when the president of the United States was involved, as this message seems to suggest, in some sort of coercive conversation for business dealings by his son, is that something, if he wasn’t maybe you should tell us,” The New York Times’ Peter Baker pressed.
“I appreciate the question, I believe my colleague at the White House counsel has answered this question,” Jean-Pierre said, referring reporters back to the Department of Justice and Kirby. Reporters immediately began hounding Jean-Pierre with questions about the messages, demanding she answer them. Jean-Pierre said she answered the question, which prompted the New York Post’s Steven Nelson to demand she answer.
“No, you didn’t [answer]: Yes or no, was the president involved in the shakedown attempt?” Nelson asked.
“Steven I just answered the question … It’s not up to you how I answer the question,” Jean-Pierre said, adding her answer was that her colleagues at the White House counsel have responded to the question.
Rosen then asked Jean-Pierre if she stands by her affirmation of Biden’s earlier denials that he had any knowledge of the foreign business dealings, to which Jean-Pierre simply said, “Nothing has changed.”
Nelson also tried to get a question in before Jean-Pierre shut him down.
“Steven, I’m calling on your colleague,” she said before CBS News’ Weijia Jiang asked the same question.
“To follow up on what my colleague saying in regard to this text message and what the president’s son was alleging: Was the president there or not?”
“I would refer to my colleagues at the White House counsel,” Jean-Pierre said.
“Karine, have you spoken to the president about this? Have you asked him whether he was there with his son on July 30th–” NBC News’ Monica Alba began.
“This is not a conversation I’ve had with the president and again, I’d refer you to the White House counsel.”
“Do you plan to have that conversation with the president?” Alba followed up.