Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich pressed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on why President Joe Biden is participating in leisurely activities as he tackles illegal immigration, the debt ceiling and the Texas mass shooting.
The president is facing a widely expected surge in migration at the U.S.-Mexico border after the expiration of Title 42, a Trump-era COVID-19 immigration policy, and the aftermath of a shooting in Allen, Texas that left eight victims dead on Saturday.
“Why is the president talking about meal vouchers for canceled flights and holding a movie night at the White House with all those things going on?” Heinrich asked at the White House press briefing Monday.
“Because he’s the president and there’s multiple things that the president does and he can talk about the potential manufactured crisis that House Republicans have put forth and that could happen if they don’t get back to regular order,” Jean-Pierre replied. “He can talk about how he’s delivering for families, I think the airlines announcement that the president made is incredibly important to American families across the country. I hope you think so as well. When you think about what American families have to pay out-of-pocket because things that are not their fault, this is important.”
The White House announced plans Monday to require airlines to cover the costs of meals and hotel expenses for stranded customers when the companies are at fault for traveling shakeups. (RELATED: ‘Feels Like Smoke And Mirrors’: Jacqui Heinrich Confronts Jean-Pierre On Biden’s Victory Lap)
“But you talked about Memorial Day flights, but that’s three weeks away from now,” Heinrich continued. “He said preparing and looking forward to Memorial Day Weekend. So it causes the question of is the president really focused on today’s biggest issues when everyone in here is asking about Title 42, the debt ceiling, a mass shooting over the weekend, and we didn’t hear the president talk about any of those things.”
“Regular American families, everyday families are thinking about Memorial Day Weekend,” Jean-Pierre hit back. “They are. They are thinking how are we going to travel with their family, with their kids. They care about what the president said today. So that does matter. Title 42, what’s happening on Thursday, the lifting of Title 42, we have been talking about it over and over again for the past several weeks about how we’re preparing for the lift of Title 42, the programs we put in place without the help of House Republicans.”
She accused Republicans of “refusing to use the process” to work with the administration in raising the debt ceiling. House Republicans have clashed with the White House over their proposal to cut spending in order to reach a deal.
Heinrich pointed to Biden’s campaign promise to be a bipartisan unifier while “calling out” Republicans over policy decisions. The press secretary said the president can “call out” how the American people are “being harmed” by congressional Republicans and talk about the administration’s solutions to help Americans travel more easily in the wake of major airline shake ups in the last several months.