KJP Declines Questions On Middle East Unrest, Israeli Strikes

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked to comment on the Biden administration’s response to the escalating tensions in the Middle East on Friday. However, she refused to give a comment.

Asked the question during a press briefing, Jean-Pierre said, “I know there’s a lot of interest in reports from the Middle East overnight. And we understand that, we get that. I’m going to see it now, though. I know you will all certainly ask me about it. That we do not have any comment on the reports at this time. Obviously, you all heard from Secretary Blinken earlier this morning.”

Jean-Pierre went on to say that President Joe Biden is kept up-to-date on the events regarding the Middle East.

The press secretary then reacted to the limited strike Israel carried out on Iran earlier that day in retaliation for the Islamic Republic’s attack on the Jewish state last Saturday.

Weighing in on the retaliatory attack, Jean-Pierre said, “We have been very, very clear from the beginning that we do not want to see this conflict escalate. We continue to consult with our allies and partners, including in the region, obviously, and to reduce further risk of escalation in the region. And that’s a sentiment that was expressed in the G-7 Foreign Ministry’s joint statement that went out this morning.”

“You heard that now, obviously, from Secretary Blinken, who was part of that meeting. I’m just going to be super mindful. I’m not going to speculate or speak to any of the reportings that are out there at this time,” she added.

Jean-Pierre also declined to reveal whether Israel informed the U.S. of its plan to launch the counter strike against Iran.

“I’m not going to speak to our diplomatic conversations,” she said.

Later during the briefing, Jean-Pierre was asked if the U.S. has leverage in the Middle East, a question she declined to answer.

“I know this is not going to be satisfying. I’m not going to speak to any of the reports out there. I’m just not going to do that, not going to speculate. I will say, you’ve heard this from my NSE colleagues, and you’ve heard this from many of us here at The White House. The president and the prime minister have a long-standing relationship that goes decades, decades,” she said.

“Because of that long-standing relationship, they are able to speak very honestly with each other and have difficult conversations when it’s necessary. That is the type of friendship that they have. I’m just not going to speak to any of the events that’s been reported,” she added.

Asked by a reporter why she did not have a comment on the Friday strike hours later, she emphasized that she was going to be “mindful” and not going to speculate or comment on the reports out there.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also refused to speak on the strike launched on Iran by Israel. “I’m not going to speak to that except to say that the United States has not been involved in any offensive operations,” he said on Friday morning of the attack which came less than a week after Iran launched a barrage of drone and missile attacks on Israel.

He, however, said that the U.S. is focused on its work to “de-escalate tensions, to de-escalate from any potential conflict.”

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