OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre turned heads this month with a startling admission that few covering the administration likely saw coming. It came after President Joe Biden made yet another incorrect claim during a speech this month.
The administration’s spokeswoman was responding to a question from a reporter about a statement made by the president regarding the passing of former New Mexico governor and Clinton Energy Secretary Bill Richardson.
“The initial statement from the president about the passing of Governor Bill Richardson included condolences for his wife of 50 years, Barbara, and their daughter, Heather,” a reporter began. “That line about Heather, the daughter, has been removed because they didn’t have a daughter named Heather — or a daughter.
“So can you walk us through how these press releases are fact-checked; who signs off on them in the end; and then, in this case, how this error was made?” the reporter asked.
“So, look, we apologize for the error,” Jean-Pierre began. “Certainly, that is not something that, you know, we want to do, right? We want to make sure that we get this information out clearly and in a straightforward way to the American people. So, that was not done intentionally. And certainly, when we realized that error, it was removed from the website.”
Next came the startling admission.
“We do have fact-checkers here. We do have multiple people who take a look at — at the press releases, especially from the president. This was just a miss, unfortunately. And we apologize for that miss,” she admitted.
The exchange was noted online by the research wing of the Republican National Committee.
Karine Jean-Pierre apologizes for issuing a press release with condolences for former Gov. Bill Richardson’s non-existent daughter named Heather:
“We do have fact checkers here” pic.twitter.com/a9ECf6i7ud
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 6, 2023
Biden’s gaffes and misstatements — some argue they are outright lies — have become a staple of his presidency and have led to much debate. Late last month, for example, the co-hosts of Fox News’s popular “The Five” program got into a heated back-and-forth over something Biden said while visiting fire-ravaged Maui, one of the main Hawaiian islands.
Jeanine Pirro blew her stack after the five-member panel’s liberal, Jessica Tarlov, attempted to defend something Biden said after the country’s deadliest wildfire took hundreds of lives.
During his visit, Biden attempted to ‘relate’ to Hawaiians who lost loved ones in the flames as well as practically everything they owned by mentioning a small kitchen fire that he said nearly resulted in the loss of his beloved vintage Corvette.
“I don’t want to compare difficulties, but we have a little sense, Jill and I, of what it’s like to lose a home,” Biden said. “Years ago now, 15 years ago, I was in Washington doing ‘Meet the Press.’ It was a sunny Sunday.
“Lightning struck at home, on a little lake that’s outside of our home — not a lake, a big pond — and hit a wire that came up underneath our home into the heating ducts, air conditioning ducts,” he continued.
“To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my ’67 Corvette, and my cat,” he added.
At one point, Tarlov defended Biden, who also turned heads when he seemed to lack awareness over a remark he made about a dog trained to uncover human remains that was wearing small boots to protect its paws from the charred ground.
“You guys catch the boots out here?” Biden appeared to ask the press traveling him. Afterward, according to Fox News, he smiled and said, “That’s some hot ground, man.”
His reference to the “hot” ground after the country’s deadliest wildfire did not sit well with many people who expressed their outrage online.
“He was talking to a dog whose paws are on the ground!” Tarlov said, which set Pirro off.
“Are you kidding me? This is a guy who goes to an infern, an inferno where a thousand people and children are missing,” Pirro said. “He talks to a dog, and he talks about the fact that he almost lost a cat!”
“This guy has been lying from the moment he came on the political scene,” she said. “He has a lack of empathy, he is egocentric, he’s got a condescending smirk whenever anybody asks him a question from the press. He is lying, and he’s narcissistic.”
She added that she did not believe Biden went to Maui because he is empathetic but rather to “make it about himself.”