Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Holds Press Briefing 2 May

The White House

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

12:57 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon, everybody.

Q Good afternoon.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just have a couple things at the top, and then we'll get going.

On May 7th, the President will travel to Capitol Hill to deliver the keynote address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony.

During the Days of Remembrance, we remember and mourn the 6 million Jews who were systematically murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War Two.

The President will also discuss our moral duty to combat the rising scourge of antisemitism and the Biden-Harris administration's work to implementing the first-ever National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism to make real the promise of never, never again.

Today, Florida's extreme six-week abortion ban takes effect. That's before many women even know they're pregnant.

We should all be concerned that this extreme abortion ban will put desperately needed medical care even further out of reach for millions of women in Florida and across the South.

But it's not just Florida, and it's not just abortion under — care under attack here. We are seeing the devastating impacts on women's reproductive freedom since Roe was overturned. In states across the country, women's health and lives now hang in the balance.

Twenty-one states have abortion bans in effect. In nearly all of these states, doctors can be charged with a fenaly — a felony for simply doing their jobs.

One in three women in America now live in states with extreme abortion bans.

Over 380 bills restricting access to abortion care were introduced in states houses just last year.

At the federal level, congressional Republicans have proposed three — three national abortion bans. IVF is under attack. Contraception is under attack. And women and families are fearful that their deeply personal medical data could be used against them.

All of this chaos and devastation was made possible by the former President, who worked very hard and got it done to overturn Roe v. Wade.

President Biden and Vice President Harris stand with the vast majority of Americans who believe that the right to choose is fundamental and that healthcare decisions should be made by a woman with the help of her doctor, not politicians.

They will continue to call on Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade into federal law, the only way to ensure every woman can access the care she needs regardless of what state she lives in.

The reason we started early — I know a lot of people are asking — is because I — I have a meeting with the President at about 1:30 or so, and so I'm going to try and get to everybody's questions, or as many questions as possible.

With that, Zeke.

Q Let's stick with "everybody." (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know. I said it, and I was like, "Oh, darn."

Q There's Rosen.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, darn. There's Rosen in the back. To wit — Mr. To Wit in the back. (Laughter.)

Q Hi. Thank you, Karine —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Zeke.

Q Starting overseas real quick. I understand — we understand Secretary Blinken is in — in the region right now, but has the President, has the White House gotten any — any indications for how Hamas might respond to this — the ceasefire proposal? And how can — what is the level of concern within the administration —


Q — that Hamas could respond in the negative?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, our position remains — and we are going to be very consistent of what we've been saying — is that we believe that there should be a ceasefire as part of this hostage — hostage deal, and it should happen immediately –immediately. And there has not yet been a response from Hamas, as you know.

We believe that all efforts need — need to be brought to bear to convince Hamas to accept that — the proposal — immediately and have made that clear to our partners in the region.

As you just stated, Secretary Blinken is in the region meeting with our — with our regional partners. He is going to be holding an on-the-record presser in the one o'clock hour where he's going to be talking about the humanitarian aid that we've been able to get into — get into Gaza for the people of Gaza, the all-important humanitarian aid. As you know, that — it's a — it's a dire situation there. So he'll speak to that.

And sh- — and Hamas should just not continue to get in the way of much-needed relief for the people of Gaza. They need to move forward and — and move forward with this deal. And that is going to be — this deal is also going to, obviously, create an opportunity to get more of that humanitarian aid.

And let's not forget the innocent people who they took hostage — over 200 — and that includes Americans. They need to come home to the — to their — to their families, their loved ones. And we have, also, American hostages that are part of that — part of that — were part of that 200, as you all know.

So, Hamas needs to — there's a deal at the table — on the table: Hamas needs to take it.

Q And then, here at home, there's been some dramatic images, really, across the country over the last 24 to 48 hours, especially at the Columbia; UCLA, last night; University of Madison, Wisconsin; other campuses. Has the President been monitoring this?

And why have we not heard directly from the President about these protests that have taken over instit- — institutions of higher learning across the country, the police responses, instances of violence? Why have we not heard directly from the President?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a — just a — a couple of things. The President is — is being kept regularly updated on — on what's happening, as you just stated, across the country. He is monitoring the situation closely, so is his team.

And I would just add that no president — no president has spoken more forcefully about combating antisemitism than this president.

Let's not forget, in 2017, he was very clear — what we saw — the antisemitic bile that we saw in Charlottesville, on the streets of Charlottesville — he called that out. He called that out.

And one of the reasons he stepped into the 2020 election is because of what he saw, is because he wanted to — he wanted to speak out and speak against what we were seeing in this country at that time. Democracy was under attack. Our freedoms were — were under attack. And we're still fighting for that today, obviously.

But it — he hasn't just done that by speaking, as you heard from my topper, he's taken action. He's taken action by moving forward with the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. More than 100 new actions have — were introduced, obviously, in that strategy, and that is how seriously this President takes it.

And I think what's important here is that he's taken action on this issue.

Q And just quickly, does the President support those police clearing operations, like we saw in New York, like we've seen on other — seen on other college campuses?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, we've been very clear on that. Americans have the right to peacefully protest. They have the right to peacefully protest as long as it's within the law and that it's peaceful.

Forceful- — forcibly taking over a building is not peaceful. It's just not. Students have the right to feel safe. They have the right to learn. They have to ri- — the right to do this without dis- — disruption. And they have a right to feel safe on campus. As I just said, they have the right to attend their commencement without feeling — feeling unsafe.

And what we're seeing is a small percentage of students. That's what we're seeing. They should not be able to disturb or disrupt the academic experience that students have.

So, look, that's what — that's how we see things. It is important that students and communities feel safe here. And at the same time, we are going to be really forceful here and continue to underscore how antisemitism is hateful speech. It is wrong. It is abhorrent. And we're going to continue to call that out.

Go ahead.

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