Not-So-Dirty Dozen: The 12 Best Moments, Hardballs, and Throwdowns From WH Briefings

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After taking trips down memory lane on Tuesday and Thursday with the six most pro-Hamas moments and grillings from the left, respectively, we’re going to open 2024 with the 12 best moments – battles, beatdowns, and hardballs – from 2023, the first full year of the ever-inept Karine Jean-Pierre’s term at the podium.

As we’ve done with our past two installments, we present these picks in chronological order, with the original NewsBusters headline.

Follow the links to see the top Doocy Times moments from 2021 and 2022.

January 12 — YIKES: Doocy, O’Keefe SLAM KJP Over Biden ‘GarageGate’ Docs

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The year began with the stunning revelation that classified documents had been found at both President Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home and the Washington D.C. office of his University of Pennsylvania think tank. Unfortunately for Jean-Pierre, she found herself subjected to a brutal grilling from the entire room, not just Fox’s Peter Doocy.

CBS’s Ed O’Keefe and NBC’s Kristen Welker were just two of the liberal network reporters who took the press secretary to the cleaners over the lack of details.

January 13 — Here Were the Smartest and Dumbest Questions on the Biden Docs from Friday’s WH Briefing

The White House continued to stonewall the press corps over the growing Biden documents scandal, but thankfully the liberals in the seats weren’t intimidated.

Along with Welker, then-CBS News Radio correspondent Steven Portnoy called out Jean-Pierre with the insinuation that she and the press team were falling on their swords for the President as well as a question about whether she had been asked to mislead reporters about what Biden knew.

January 17 — Throwing Joe Overboard? WH Press Corps EVISCERATE KJP in Wild Briefing

Just four days after the above ordeal, Jean-Pierre faced what we said at the time was “another installment of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”. Then-ABC correspondent Cecilia Vega noted more classified documents were found since the last briefing, so Vega pressed her on whether she knew then that there’d more revelations.

She maintained her innocence until CBS’s Weijia Jiang engaged in a brutal back-and-forth (see video).

Even NPR’s Tamara Keith had this grenade: “[A]re you upset that you came out to this podium on Friday with incomplete and inaccurate information? And are you concerned that it affects your credibility out here?”

January 19 — How Long Will This Go on? More WH Reporters Throw Down with KJP Over Biden Docs

For the final installment of Jean-Pierre’s briefings from hell on the Biden documents, Gray TV’s Jon Decker got in on the act calling out Biden choosing to publicly comment on the probe and seeing if the White House found that to be appropriate.

Of course, Jean-Pierre wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole

May 9 — Jacqui Heinrich Calls Out KJP Over ‘MAGA Republican Extremists’ Rhetoric on Debt Limit

Debt limit and government spending negotiations were a frequent subject of congressional and executive relations in 2023, so it was only natural the White House continued to lean in on their dangerous rhetoric referring to Republicans writ large as domestic extremists.

Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich decided she had enough and called out this buffoonery (click “expand”):

43 Republican senators signed onto a letter opposing raising the debt ceiling without budget reforms, and 217 members in the House voted for that bill to raise the debt limit with cuts to spending. Does the White House consider all of those members to be dangerous, MAGA Republican extremists?

(….)

And the constituents that they are voting on behalf of have said that they are concerned about their retirements, about the effects of inflation, and those members represent more than half the country in the House. Those — that’s the majority of — of districts in the country that they’re voting on behalf of those constituents who are expressing concern where the economy is. So, I guess, how can the white House continue to use messaging and calling this the Default on America Act and — and paint this legislation in such a way without having a conversation about budget when you’ve got half the country saying that they want that conversation?

(….)

The bill doesn’t have any appropriations in it, actually and the — the Speaker has, you know, ruled out a number of those things including defense, veterans benefits, senior entitlement programs. I mean, you have Mitt Romney saying there’s got to be a conversation here. Is he a MAGA Republican extremist?

June 14 — KJP Lashes Out at EWTN Reporter for ‘Irresponsible’ Question on Trangenderism

Owen Jensen of the Catholic news organization EWTN always has a keen sense of what his readers and viewers are interested in (chiefly, abortion, contraception, and religious freedom here and abroad), so it was in keeping with this mission when he asked for Biden’s thoughts about men pretending to be women and competing against girls.

When Jensen said in a follow-up this is an issue of safety for girls, Jean-Piere blasted him for his “irresponsible” views that she claimed impugned trans kids.

July 7 — KJP Suffers Mini-Meltdown When NY Post Asks If Cocaine Came From Biden Family

The New York Post’s Steven Nelson had quite the year as Jean-Pierre iced him out for six months, but amid that blackout, his colleague Caitlin Doornbos triggered Jean-Pierre in much the same way Jensen did a month earlier. This time, however, it dealt with the irony-rich scandal of cocaine being found in the West Wing.

Here’s what set her off: “[S]orry to bring up cocaine again, but there was a question yesterday during press gaggle with Andrew Bates that was, I guess, he said that it — he did — he was avoiding it because of the Hatch Act. I’m just asking again: Can you say once and for all whether or the not the cocaine belonged to the Biden family?”

July 27 — Wegmann, Jiang, Ejiochi Press KJP on Biden Corruption as Others Lob Woke Softies at Kirby

The shocking collapse of Hunter Biden’s plea deal allowed for a brief reprieve in Hunter-less questions (outside of conservative media), including CBS’s Jiang using President Biden’s ardent views on gun control to ask Jean-Pierre whether he still believes those who violate such laws should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Elsewhere, the great Philip Wegmann of Real Clear Politics picked up on a hugely significant shift in wording from Jean-Pierre about what the President knew concerning Hunter’s life of corruption:

Moments ago, you said that nothing has changed, when you were asked about the President’s previous remarks on his son’s business dealings, but the language has, in fact, changed. So, I just want to clear this up once and for all. The President has previously said that he has never discussed overseas business dealings with his son, but the White House now says that the President has never been in business with his son. So, why the updated language? Which statement is true? Or is this semantics and they’re both true?

Unsurprisingly, Jean-Pierre wouldn’t budge from her “nothing has changed” spin. Here’s to more questions like this in 2024.

September 21 — BRUTAL: Melugin Excoriates KJP on Border After Silencing Doocy in Wild Briefing

Both Jean-Pierre and predecessor Jen Psaki have always shown a willingness to tangle with Doocy (or whomever is in the Fox News Channel seat), but Jean-Pierre must have decided she wanted nothing to do with Doocy when he asked a simple question amid the late summer/early fall surge at the southern border: “So, what do you call it here at the WH when 10,000 people illegally cross the border in a single day?”

Jean-Pierre started to answer, but quickly changed her mind and silenced Doocy (click “expand”):

JEAN-PIERRE: So, what do you call it, Peter, when GOP puts forth a — a — wait, no — 

DOOCY: Ask [inaudible] — 

JEAN-PIERRE: — no, no, no, no, no, no, you can’t — 

DOOCY: — Karine —

JEAN-PIERRE: — I’m answering. Okay, we’re going to move on.

DOOCY: — you’re answering the question, but — okay.

JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, we are moving on.

DOOCY: Karine, please!

JEAN-PIERRE [TO TODD GILLMAN]: In the back. Go ahead. Go ahead.

DOOCY: You said you were stopping the flow at the border.

JEAN-PIERRE [TO GILLMAN]: Go ahead, in the back. [TO DOOCY] No, nope.

DOOCY: 10,000 migrants —

JEAN-PIERRE: I tried to answer, Peter —

DOOCY:  — okay?

JEAN-PIERRE: — I tried to answer the question, you stopped me.

Afterwards on FNC and live from the border, the indefatigable Bill Melugin took Jean-Pierre to task for both cutting and running from Doocy as well as her refusal to respond forcefully to this Biden border crisis.

October 23 — Fox’s Trimble, RCP’s Wegmann Grill Kirby, KJP on Rampant Anti-Semitism in Universities

Jean-Pierre’s most embarrassing and uniformly-panned briefing arguably took place here when she had a mealy-mouthed response to this question from the Fox Business Network’s Grady Trimble: “[D]oes the President view anti-Israel protests and sentiment on college campuses as anti-Semitism?”

Here’s how we characterized it at the time:

Jean-Pierre shamefully refused to denounce it specifically and declined “to get into what’s happening across the country and — and different universities” given “the First Amendment…and peaceful protest is part of — part of our democracy, being able for folks to — to — to be able to express their feelings.”

She took a more esoteric track and sought to put equal weight on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, arguing Biden “has been very clear in wanting to make sure that Jewish Americans, wanting to make sure that Arab Americans, Muslims are protected here” and “any type of violence” is unacceptable.

November 2 — Predictable: Doocy Throws Down With Kirby Over Qatar as Others Fear Islamophobia

Peter Doocy was in rare form on this day as he called out President Biden’s praise for Qatar for its work mediating hostage talks between their allies in the Hamas terrorists and Israel. Speaking to the National Security Council’s John Kirby, Doocy wondered why Biden should be “thanking them for anything” considering Qatar allows the leader of Hamas to live there in peace.

Kirby was disgusted, telling him to “take a step back” while Doocy shot back that Qatar harbors the leaders of “a terrorist group that killed…and kidnapped Americans”. Instead, Kirby insisted we should thank Qatar for having “been helpful in getting…Americans out and I’m sure you…and everybody at your network would agree that getting the hostages out is a good thing.”

Doocy and Kirby eventually got into a tense back and forth after Kirby used the occasion to call out one Hamas leader in particular for an interview post-October 7 that called for the eradication of Israel and its people:

December 13 — The Bold and the Beautiful…and the Pro-Hamas: Highlights From This Week’s WH Briefings

Doocy fittingly closed out our 2023 list with this December 13 exchange after Hunter Biden’s stunt speaking to reporters at the Capitol but ignoring a congressional subpoena to testify about his life of corruption.

“You said that President Biden was familiar with what his son was going to say…If I called my dad and said I am about to violate a congressional subpoena, he’d probably say, ‘son, you shouldn’t dop that’. Was there any attempt…to talk Hunter out of it today,” he asked.

Jean-Pierre acted as though Hunter’s some poor minor, saying she didn’t “have anything else to add” besides President Biden being “familiar with what Hunter as going to say” because the First Son “is a private conversation” and she doesn’t disclose the President’s “private conversations.”

Later on, Nelson had a simple question: “[C]ould you explain…why the President interacted with so many of his relatives’ foreign associates and why he continues to deny the interaction?”

Jean-Pierre took a page out of the Clinton playbook and lambasted Republicans (and anyone for raising concerns about any possible relationships Joe had with Hunter’s business associated) as engaged in “a baseless political stunt” with “zero evidence” to support it.

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