If you don’t have time to read this entire commentary, let me paraphrase the key point for you in a couple of summary sentences.
Reporter: How involved was President Joe Biden in the shady business dealings of his close relatives?
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: Oh, goodness, look at my wrist! I have to go.
The actual exchange, on display for the world to see in the video below, took more than a minute to get through, but that’s essentially what happened.
According to the official White House transcript of the exchange, the question asked was:
“The top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, Congressman [James] Comer, has said that he’s investigating the President’s involvement in his son Hunter’s foreign business dealings. One, looking for your reaction to that. And then, on the merits of the allegations, can you address whether the President was involved in any of his son Hunter or his brother’s foreign business deals?”
Also, going by the official transcript, Jean-Pierre began her reply with: “So, look, you know, there’s — there’s some — a little bit of interesting, you know, kind of, on-brand thinking here because, you know, congressional Republicans ran saying that they were going to fight inflation.”
That’s pretty close; they skipped a few of the “ums” and such, but try reading that response out loud and you get the sense that Jean-Pierre is working hard to buy some time to come up with response to that question.
Which, in-and-of-itself, is interesting, as it raises the question of why in the world she would not have been prepared for such an obvious inquiry from the White House media after a midterm election that put Republicans solidly in charge of the House of Representatives — and Hunter Biden directly in the sights of House Republicans who have been promising for months to investigate the president’s son after the midterms.
You’ll notice that she didn’t even try to bring Hunter Biden or his father into her response initially. In fact, it took her several sentences to get there.
“They said they were going to make that a priority,” she said. “They were very clear about that these past several months.
“And instead, what they’re doing is they’re focusing — you know, they’re focusing — they’re making their top priority — they get the majority, and their top priority is actually not focusing on the American families but focusing on the President’s family.
“They’re not coming up with solutions on how we’re going to lower costs for Amer — for American families. They’re not coming up with solutions as to how are we dealing with issues that matter the most to American families.”
That’s not the worst spin I’ve ever heard, but it would have been far more effective had it not taken her so long to think of it on the fly.