White House Forced Into Clean Up Duty After Biden Calls Critical Ally ‘Xenophobic’

REUTERS/Bonnie Cash

Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was forced to clean up for President Joe Biden after he called a critical ally of the United States “xenophobic” during a Wednesday campaign event.

While appearing at a campaign event in Washington, D.C., Biden said that countries such as China, Japan and Russia are struggling economically because they are “xenophobic.” Jean-Pierre fielded multiple questions from reporters on Thursday who pressed the press secretary on the meaning and cause of the president’s remarks.

“The word ‘xenophobic’ is a very pejorative and negative word, particularly to use against an ally. Is that what [Biden] meant?” a reporter asked.

“Look, he, I think he was — look, the president was very clear. I think that —” Jean Pierre began. (RELATED: KJP Short-Circuits When Doocy Questions Who Is Funding Campus Protests)

“He wasn’t very clear. That is why we are asking you,” the reporter interjected.

“Look. Here is what I am saying. He was talking about who we are as a country. Right? He was talking about the importance about being a country of immigrants, especially as you see the attacks that we have seen very recently in the last couple of years, on those attacks on immigrants in particular. And so it is important for us to remember that we are a country of immigrants,” Jean-Pierre began.

“I’m explaining what he was talking about and how he was — what he was focusing on in those comments — country of immigrants, it makes us stronger and it is important to be very clear about that. And the president’s always going to be really clear on speaking on issues that matter to the American people. We are a country of immigrants. That matters. And we’ve seen these attacks and so the president is never going to shy away from that.”

Through several questions about the president’s remarks about Japan, Jean-Pierre maintained that Biden was speaking to the United States’ strengths and the fact that America is a “nation of immigrants.”

“This election is about freedom, America and democracy. That’s why I badly need you. You know, one of the reasons why our economy is growing is because of you and many others. Why? Because we welcome immigrants,” Biden said at the campaign event. (RELATED: Biden Says States Shouldn’t Deploy National Guard Against Anti-Israel Protests)

“We look to — the reason — look, think about it. Why is China stalling so badly economically? Why is Japan having trouble? Why is Russia? Why is India? Because they’re xenophobic. They don’t want immigrants. Immigrants is what makes us strong. Not a joke. That’s not hyperbole. Because we have an influx of workers who want to be here and want to contribute,” the president continued.

Jean-Pierre did not answer whether Biden wanted to apologize to Japan over the comments.

“Was that intentional? And does the president want to apologize to Japan?” a reporter asked.

“The broader case that he was trying to make, which I think most leaders and allies across the globe understand, is he was saying that when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to who we are as a nation, we are a nation of immigrants. That is in our DNA. And you’ve heard the president say this, and you’ve heard us say it more as an administration, it makes us better. We are stronger for it. Because of the fact that in our DNA, we are a nation of immigrants, and I think that is probably very important to note as well.”