Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre why Republicans have shown more support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan than President Joe Biden.
Doocy pointed to Republicans’ appraisal of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan during Wednesday’s press briefing, noting the White House expressed hesitation about her trip due to China’s ongoing threats.
“How come Republicans seem more jazzed about Speaker Pelosi’s trip than the president?” Doocy asked.
“You’re going to have to ask Republicans,” Jean-Pierre said. “Jazzed? Do they have jazz hands, Peter?”
“We can have our [Capitol] Hill team check,” he said.
Doocy cited Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calling the trip “important” and Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham saying the idea of Pelosi going is the “right” thing to do. (RELATED: ‘Always Causing Trouble’: Trump Blasts Pelosi For Taiwan Trip)
“Is President Biden just worried about hurting [Chinese President] Xi’s [Jinping] feelings?” Doocy continued.
“So you’re saying, because they said that, then we’re not jazzed? We’ve been very clear for the past week or so that the speaker has the right to go to Taiwan,” the press secretary replied.
“Why is it so hard for the president just to say ‘she’s a brave trailblazer and I think it’s great that she went’ like so many others,” he said. “Does he think that it was good that she went?”
Jean-Pierre said the White House will “not dictate” the delegations of congressional members, adding they have a right to travel where they please. She emphasized the administration’s role in giving congressional members a “thorough” analysis of the state, geo-politics of the region and national security information.
In a statement led by Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska, 26 Republican senators affirmed their support for Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.
“We support Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan,” the statement read. “For decades, members of the United States Congress, including previous Speakers of the House, have travelled to Taiwan. This travel is consistent with the United States’ One China policy to which we are committed. We are also committed now, more than ever, to all elements of the Taiwan Relations Act.”
Doocy then asked if the trip was “worth the trouble” given that the Chinese Army has deployed troops around Taiwan. The press secretary repeated the White House’s previous remarks that it is unnecessary for the Chinese to act aggressively towards the trip, given that the trip is consistent with previous U.S. policy.
“The United States will not seek and does not want a crisis,” she said. “But we are prepared to manage what Beijing chooses to do.”
The Fox News reporter asked Jean-Pierre if Biden takes threats from China seriously, citing a Chinese official threatening the U.S. by stating it must “pay the price for their mistake.” Jean-Pierre repeated that the U.S. is not seeking to wage conflict with China and that nothing has changed in regards to the One China policy, which affirms the U.S.’ recognition of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as the only legitimate government of China.
Biden spoke to Xi about Pelosi’s trip Thursday, expressing the U.S. “strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” Biden previously told reporters that the military does not think the trip is a good idea.