White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre doubled down on President Joe Biden’s attacks on “MAGA [Make America Great Again] Republicans” by saying they are apolitical during Friday’s briefing.
A reporter questioned the press secretary on why the president held a “politically charged speech” funded by taxpayer dollars with two Marines visibly standing several feet behind him. Jean-Pierre said the president’s message defended democracy.
“The way we see it here, and I would argue the way many Americans across the country see it, is [that] standing up for democracy is not political. Denouncing political violence is not political. Defending rights and freedoms is not political,” Jean-Pierre said. “Making clear that the challenges facing the nation is not political. We don’t call any of that political, we see that as leadership and we see that as presidential.”
She then turned to the question about the two Marines flanking Biden during the speech, saying the president gave an important speech reflecting the democratic values for which Marines and other members of the military risk their lives.
“The president gave an important speech last night. A critical speech and an added inflection point. And our democracy, our values, are values that our men and women who protect us everyday and fight for it everyday, believe in as well. The presence of the Marines at the speech was intended to demonstrate the deep and abiding respect the president has for these service members, to these ideals, and the unique role our independent military plays in defending our democracy no matter which party is in power. Again, no matter which party is in power.”
Jean-Pierre added it is “normal” for presidents to give speeches in front of military members, naming former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush as examples. (RELATED: Reporter Asks Jean-Pierre If It’s ‘Hypocritical’ To Call Trump Candidates ‘Extreme’ After Dems Meddled In Their Primaries)
The White House reportedly stated Thursday’s speech would be apolitical, but excerpts publicly disclosed before the speech made the public feel differently.
“Remind yourself that White House officials insisted repeatedly today this isn’t a political speech. Then read these excerpts,” CBS News White House and Political correspondent Ed O’Keefe said Thursday.
Remind yourself that White House officials insisted repeatedly today this isn’t a political speech. Then read these excerpts. https://t.co/ce0lFwJUhN
— Ed O’Keefe (@edokeefe) September 1, 2022
The president said during his speech that “MAGA Republicans” and former President Donald Trump “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” He argued they disregard the rule of law and the Constitution by fanning the “flames of political violence.”
Biden also warned of the alleged threats to Americans’ “right to privacy” posed by the GOP, including abortion, gay marriage and contraception.
“[They] are determined to take this country backwards,” Biden said. “Backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”
Jean-Pierre has repeatedly doubled down on such rhetoric, saying at a Thursday briefing that “MAGA Republicans'” stances on abortion and other “fundamental rights” are “extreme” because they supposedly do not align with the majority of Americans.