During the June 2, 2014 White House briefing, press secretary Jay Carney stood by comments from National Security Advisor Susan Rice that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction.”
During a back-and-forth with NBC’s Kristen Welker, Carney said the White House “would echo what Chairman Dempsey said, I would echo what National Security Advisor Rice said, I would note what the Department of Defense has done with regard to Sergeant Bergdahl.”
Rice made the remark initially while appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on June 1, 2014 with host George Stephanopoulos.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: I want to follow up on a question about Susan Rice’s comments about Sergeant Bergdhal serving with honor and distinction. You referred the question to the Defense Department, but she’s a White House official. So can you say why he —
JAY CARNEY: No, I referred the question about — the circumstances surrounding his initial detention by the Taliban —
WELKER: Well, would you say that he served with honor and distinction?
CARNEY: Again, this goes to — I would echo what Chairman Dempsey said, I would echo what National Security Advisor Rice said, I would note what the Department of Defense has done with regard to Sergeant Bergdahl. And I would note that the issue of all of the information surrounding his initial captivity or detention by the Taliban is something that the Defense Department is reviewing.
But I think that it is absolutely a fact that a member of the U.S. military, a uniformed member of the U.S. military was held captive by an enemy force in an armed conflict. And in keeping with a long history in our country, backed by an ethos that says we don’t leave our men and women in uniform behind, we were able to successfully secure his release.
WELKER: Understood. But does the President stand by Susan Rice’s comments that he served with honor and distinction?
CARNEY: The President stands by actions that he took as Commander-in-Chief to secure the release of the only member of the U.S. military held as a POW from either the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. It was absolutely the right thing to do.
WELKER: So you’re not going to weigh in on that quote?
CARNEY: I think I’ve said three times now that we all stand by what the Defense Department has said, what Chairman Dempsey said, and what all the members of the national security team have said.