KJP Responds To Backlash
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced backlash from both sides of the political aisle after her response to a question about the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the United States.
During the press briefing, Jean-Pierre was asked about the White House’s concerns regarding the increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric and demonstrations, and whether they were taking action to address the threat of violence against Jews.
In response, Jean-Pierre pivoted to discuss hate crimes against Muslims, stating, “We have not seen any credible threats [against Jews]. But look, Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks.”
To be clear: the President and our team are very concerned about a rise in antisemitism, especially after the horrific Hamas terrorist attack in Israel. https://t.co/oMeFDmZK66
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) October 23, 2023
This response sparked criticism from both conservative and liberal figures, who accused Jean-Pierre of ignoring the issue of anti-Semitism and minimizing its impact.
Some questioned why she did not address the question directly, with journalist Megyn Kelly tweeting, “Weird how you didn’t say that when asked directly.”
To be clear: it did not seem that you or the president are very concerned at all about the rise in Jew hatred. Say it from the podium, don't take to your twitter account. https://t.co/C7uUB2sRe5
— Karol Markowicz (@karol) October 24, 2023
Others, including former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, criticized her for dismissing the concerns of the Jewish community. Fleischer tweeted, “This is the most tone-deaf answer ever. The question was about anti-Semitism and KJP talks about threats to Muslim Americans. I guess the fact that Jews are attacked doesn’t register with her.”
Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat from Florida, also criticized Jean-Pierre’s response, stating, “What a weak answer. And why are you looking in the book? What’s the approved answer? The simple answer is yes, you are concerned about the rise of antisemitism. Of course, we are also worried about hatred against Muslim Americans. Must do better.”
In an attempt to address the backlash, Jean-Pierre took to X to clarify her position. She stated, “To be clear: the President and our team are very concerned about a rise in antisemitism, especially after the horrific Hamas terrorist attack in Israel.”
"What is [Biden's] level of concern right now about a potential rise of antisemitism?"
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: "Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks" pic.twitter.com/q1WYkpbKmn
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 23, 2023
She also emphasized that the Biden administration has mobilized their homeland security team to address any potential threats that could harm Jewish communities, as well as other communities, such as Muslim, Arab American, and Palestinian American.
Despite this attempt at damage control, critics were not impressed with Jean-Pierre’s response. Many pointed out that her initial answer did not adequately address the question and called for a more direct acknowledgment of the rise in anti-Semitism in the United States.
What a weak answer. And why are you looking in the book? What’s the approved answer? The simple answer is yes, you are concerned about the rise of antisemitism. Of course we are also worried about hatred against Muslim Americans. Must do better. https://t.co/RdYhPTFpHa
— Jared Moskowitz (@JaredEMoskowitz) October 23, 2023
The controversy surrounding Jean-Pierre’s response highlights the ongoing struggle to combat hate and discrimination against different communities in the United States. As tensions continue to rise, it is crucial for leaders to address all forms of hate and bigotry and take meaningful action to protect marginalized groups.