National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was irked when asked about President Joe Biden’s inaction toward Iran after issuing a warning about attacks on U.S. service members stationed in the Middle East — there have been multiple attacks since the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas savagely attacked Israel, killing more than 1,400 civilians.
At Thursday’s White House press briefing, Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked, “The president said that if Iran or its proxies attacked U.S. troops that we would respond. So, what is he waiting for exactly?”
Biden said at a joint news conference Wednesday with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese that he had warned Iran: “My warning to the Ayatollah was that if they continue to move against those troops, we will respond. And he should be prepared.”
“He did say that,” Kirby responded, prompting Heinrich to press, “Where is the response?”
“The president said that if Iran or its proxies attacked U.S. troops – we would respond. What is he waiting for?” pic.twitter.com/Z5U1g6U3dj
— BPR based (@DumpstrFireNews) October 27, 2023
“He said that,” the Biden official repeated the non-answer. “And he said that we will.”
“So, repeating the warning is the response?” the reporter asked.
Kirby voiced his dissatisfaction with the inquiry and Heinrich pushed back, “It’s an honest question!”
“I’m not going to telegraph punches here from the podium,” Kirby replied. “We have responded and retaliated in the past — quite aggressively, in fact, back in March. And as the President said: We will not hesitate to protect our troops and our facilities, but we’re going to do it at a time of our choosing in a manner of our choosing.”
“And the decision to do it, if we do it, is his as commander-in-chief and his alone,” he added.
Heinrich followed up by asking how the warning to the Ayatollah was delivered and Kirby wanted no part of that question either.
“Can you say if there was a phone call or if there was a third party? Was there a message that was relayed after U.S. troops were injured?” she pressed.
“There was a direct message relayed. That’s as far as I’m going to go,” Kirby said.
The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that a total of 21 U.S. service members were injured as a result of drone and rocket attacks on coalition military bases in Iraq and Syria last week, attributing the attacks to Iranian proxy groups operating in the region.
When Heinrich asked why the delay in reporting the injuries, Kirby dodged the question: “I’d have to refer you to the Pentagon on that.”
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