White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not react well to a question about President Joe Biden’s mental and physical health on Tuesday after the president said he had a meeting recently with former French President François Mitterrand, who has been dead for decades.
During a campaign stop in Las Vegas on Sunday, Biden recalled a meeting he had with NATO leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, in June, 2021, during which the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021 was brought up.
While trying to say that Macron asked him a question about the Jan. 6, 2021 incident, he named Mitterrand instead, saying, “I sat down and I said, ‘America’s back’ and Mitterrand from Germany — I mean from France looked at me and said…, ‘You know why — how long you back for?’”
The president’s gaffe had led to widespread ridicule and concerns about his cognitive health, an issue Fox News’ reporter Peter Doocy attempted to ask Jean-Pierre about.
“And how is President Biden ever going to convince the three quarters of voters who are worried about his physical and mental health that he is okay even though in Las Vegas he told a story about recently talking to a French president who died in 1996?” Doocy asked.
However, Jean-Pierre was not having the question, as she angrily responded, “I’m not even gonna go down that rabbit hole with you, sir. We’re going to go ahead.”
“What is the rabbit hole? He said he talked to [former French President] Mitterrand and–” the reporter was saying, before she cut him off to say, “You saw the president in Vegas, in California. You’ve seen the President in South Carolina. You saw him in Michigan. I’ll just leave it there.”
She then moved on to take another question.
KJP refuses to explain Joe Biden's remarks that he recently met with a French president who died in 1996:
"I'm not going to even go down that rabbit hole." pic.twitter.com/cgcygLCbpw
— Conservative War Machine (@WarMachineRR) February 6, 2024
At another point in the interview, another reporter asked Jean-Pierre for her take on criticisms that Biden has not given nearly as many interviews during his time in office as much as his predecessors.
Pointing out the president’s refusal to grant a Super Bowl interview with CBS News, as has been the custom for U.S. presidents for years, and how no press conference was scheduled during his hosting of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the reporter stated, “It just seems, again, like we’re in one of these instances where the president is not communicating with the press.”
“Stay tuned. That is the answer for you,” Jean-Pierre responded.
When the reporter pressed her for a response, the press secretary stated that Biden communicates, albeit in “non-traditional ways.”
“The president will find many other ways to communicate with Americans, the millions of Americans out there. And we will find those ways to do it, where we think the time is right,” she concluded.