President Joe Biden told the same story twice during a fundraiser Wednesday, and nobody seems to know why, including his own press secretary.
According to a pool report from Politico’s Jonathan Lemire, at one point during the fundraiser the president “reflected on his decision to seek the presidency” by retelling “the story about the events of Charlottesville in 2017 as the reason for his campaign.”
But then “[a] few minutes later, he told the story again, nearly word for word,” the pool report continues.
A transcript of the fundraising speech he delivered also confirms this.
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) September 21, 2023
“You know, you may remember that, you know, those folks from Charlottesville, as they came out of the fields and carrying those swastikas, and remember the ones with the torches and the Ku — accompanied by the Ku Klux Klan. And in addition to that, they had — there were white supremacists. Anyway, they were making the big case about how terrible this was. And a young woman was killed in the process,” he said.
But as noted earlier, he then repeated this story minutes later.
“But then along came, in August of 2017, Charlottesville, Virginia. You remember those folks walking out of the fields literally carrying torches, with Nazi swastikas, holding them forward, singing the same vicious, anti-Semitic bile — the same exact bile — bile that was sung in — in Germany in the early ‘30s. And a young woman was killed. A young woman was killed,” he said the second time around.
Now fast-forward to Friday, when Fox News’ Peter Doocy tried questioning White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the president’s repeated remarks.
“At a fundraiser this week, President Biden told donors about how Charlottesville inspired his campaign. And then, according to the pool, a few minutes later, he told the story again, nearly word for word. What’s up with that?” Doocy asked.
Instead of actually answering the question, Jean-Pierre spit out a word salad worthy of Vice President Kamala Harris.
“What I can tell you is — and I’m going to be careful not to talk about — because this was a campaign event for this upcoming campaign, obviously, in 2024. So, I’m not going to speak to that, put that out there for the Hatch Act,” she said.
“What I can speak to is — look, the President was making very clear why he decided to run in 2020 and 2019. He made it very clear as to what he saw in this country and what was going on. And he got 81 million votes — a historic amount of votes — from Americans across the country who believed that this was a president who can help get our — protect our democracy, get our economy back on track. And — and could be a leader and the adult in the room. And so, that’s what you saw,” she added.
“I’m not going to speak to comments that were made and — during a campaign — campaign event, but I can certainly speak to why the President is president today and why he decided to take on this job. And it is important for him to continue to deliver for the American people, and that’s what he’s going to do,” she concluded.
What did any of that have to do with Doocy’s question!?
Later during the press briefing, another reporter — to her credit — tried once again to procure a real answer from the press secretary.
“Following up on Peter’s comment about the fundraiser. We all understand these are off camera. We were not witnesses to that, except for our pool that was present. But for the president to retell a story we’ve all heard him tell many times in full … is it any concern that he would fully retell a story in the same space in the same event?” the reporter asked.
This time the press secretary actually answered the question — sort of — by attributing the repeated story to the president speaking from his heart.
“I think it’s important to note that the president was speaking, as you said, at a fundraiser, and he was speaking from his heart. He was speaking about why he decided to do this. And you hear the president talk about this. It’s always incredibly emotional for him, because he didn’t have to. He went through a incredibly difficult time when he was deciding to jump into the race,” she said.
“But he saw, you know, as somebody who served as senator, as somebody who served as vice president, what was going on in this country under the last president,” she added.
Not completely convinced by her answer, the reporter then asked, “So you think knowingly and mindfully that he wanted to retell it?”
This time Jean-Pierre replied with another word salad.
“You know, I have not spoken to the president about it, certainly. But what I can say is: The passion that he has when he tells that story and how important it is for him to have done something because he believed, you know, our democracy was at stake. You know, and that’s — and — and what he saw. I mean, you all saw what we saw in Charlottesville. It was devastating. It was a part of our country that was devastating to see,” she said.
“And so, you know, he spoke to that passionately. And, you know, that’s why he’s in this. He’s in this because he believes that he can — he can help move this country forward in a way that brings it to — to its best — right? — when he talks about possibilities. And that’s why he was speaking to — in an incredibly passionate way,” she added.
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