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Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy clashed again with President Joe Biden’s press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, during a briefing Wednesday over the issue of China.
Doocy leveled accusations at Biden, claiming that he had not taken any steps to hold China responsible for creating COVID-19 and for flying a surveillance balloon across US airspace in February. Jean-Pierre countered by assuring that the administration had effectively neutralized the balloon, probed the virus’ origins, and prioritized the safety of Americans.
“Why is President Biden afraid of China?” Doocy asked.
“The president is not afraid of China,” she replied. “Did you see the president last week when we went to Ukraine, to Kyiv, this is not a president that’s afraid of anything. There was an historic trip that many of you said was brave, so clearly this is a president that is not afraid to go to a war zone, he’s not afraid to go there when there’s no military presence on the ground. So there is nothing this president fears.”
“China flew a spy craft over the U.S., the president didn’t really do anything to China, and according to the FBI director [Christopher Wray], China may have created something that has killed more than 1.1 million people in this country and President Biden is not punishing them,” Doocy responded.
DOOCY: "Why is President Biden afraid of China?"
JEAN-PIERRE: "This is a President that's not afraid to go to a war zone!"
DOOCY: "China created something that has killed more than 1.1 million people in this country, and…Biden is not punishing them." pic.twitter.com/oyauXchSlO
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 1, 2023
Jean-Pierre asserted that Biden had taken down the balloon in the safest possible manner and emphasized that Biden is committed to uncovering the source of COVID-19.
“We did it in a way that was smart, effective and also protecting the American people. That’s what the president is always going to put forth, is the safety of the American people,” Jean-Pierre said. “So that’s what this president did with that particular issue.”
“But with his campaign, it was all about shutting down the virus and how hard it is for families with an empty chair at the kitchen table because of Covid. If we now know, according to the FBI director, who was most likely responsible for all those empty chairs at all those kitchen tables, why not do more to try and hold them accountable?” Doocy countered.
Jean-Pierre attempted to shift the discussion to former President Donald Trump, resulting in a tense back-and-forth between the press secretary and the journalist.
“It was because of this president, that took action — by the way, the last administration did not. They did not have a comprehensive plan to actually —” Jean-Pierre said before Doocy interrupted and clarified that his question was specific to the virus’ origin.
“That’s responding to COVID, but where did COVID come from,” Doocy interjected.
“No, no, no, no. Peter, first of all, you can’t tell me how to answer the question. I’m going to answer it for you, right?” Jean-Pierre asserted.
“So just give me a second. So because he took those actions, he actually helped to save lives, because he took action to make sure that people got shots in arms and a comprehensive plan in front of the American people and put in the work, we were actually able to get to a place where COVID is not gone, but we are in a different place in the pandemic and that’s because of the president. And that’s because of his leadership.” she said, going further to not put much emphasis on the so-called “lab-leak theory” that Biden’s own administration has verified.
“As we know, we have seen many different conclusions from the intelligence community. Some of them have made a conclusion of one side, some of them have made conclusions on the other side. Some of them say they don’t have enough information,” the press secretary noted.
The lab-leak theory was floated a number of times during the Trump administration, often by the former president himself, but at the time, most corporate media outlets and social media platforms branded such talk a “conspiracy theory” and either failed to investigate the angle or censored the viewpoint online.