NBC reporter’s basic question about border security causes WH press sec to stumble: ‘Uh, um, uh’

News & Politics

An NBC News reporter asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Thursday whether the United States southern border is “secure.”

What is the background?

Vice President Kamala Harris claimed in a recent interview that the border is “secure” despite more than 2 million migrants having entered the U.S. in fiscal year 2022, which ends on Sept. 30.

But migrants who arrived at the Naval Observatory, the official residence of the vice president, directly contradicted Harris’ claim.

“The border is open. Everybody believes that the border is open,” a Venezuelan man told Fox News on Thursday. “It’s open because we enter. We come in, free, no problem.”

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What happened with KJP?

NBC News White House reporter Kristen Welker asked Jean-Pierre whether the White House stands by Harris’ border assessment.

“Does the White House stand by those comments that the border is secure?” Welker asked.

Instead of directly answering the question, Jean-Pierre immediately offered up an obfuscated answer full of hems and haws.

“What we stand by is that we’re doing everything that we can, uh, to make sure that, um, uh, that we follow the process that’s been put forth,” she said. “That’s why we have, uh, historic funding, uh, to do just that, to make sure that, um, uh — you know, uh, um, uh, to make sure that, um — to make sure, uh, that the folks that we encounter at the border be removed, uh, or expelled.”

The press secretary also noted that the Biden administration will have deported a record number of migrants this year, a truthful claim that requires the necessary context that a record number of migrants have entered the U.S. this year. Jean-Pierre, however, did not mention that inconvenient truth.

“Is the border secure, Karine?” Welker pressed. “Is the border secure?”

“I’m just going to refer back to the vice president,” Jean-Pierre conceded. “We agree with her. She is saying that there’s a lot of work to do. Right? She also said that in that very statement. We agree that the border is secure, but there is still more work to be done.”

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09/15/22: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre


In an exchange with another reporter, Jean-Pierre somehow managed to blame the Trump administration for the border crisis happening on President Joe Biden’s watch.

“What we have been doing is doing the work that wasn’t done by the last administration,” she said. “We are fixing a broken system.”

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