WH spox asked about GOP presidential candidate: ‘Honestly, I forgot she was running’

When Deputy White House Press Secretary and Senior Communications Adviser for Strategic Response Andrew Bates was asked about comments made by Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley concerning President Joe Biden’s age, he dismissively and rudely stated that he’d forgotten she was running.

(Video Credit: MSNBC)

Haley stated on Fox News that at Biden’s advanced age, it was “unlikely” he would live to see his 86th birthday. The media latched onto her words and it prompted a snarky response from Bates.

“He announced that he’s running again in 2024, and I think that we can all be very clear and say with a matter of fact that if you vote for Joe Biden you really are counting on a President Harris,” Haley declared on Fox News this week. “Because the idea that he would make it until 86 years old is not something that I think is likely.”

NBC’s White House correspondent Mike Memoli was the one who reached out to Bates for comment on the remarks. He was not disappointed, “As you know, we don’t directly respond to campaigns from here. But honestly, I forgot she was running.”

MSNBC talking head Alex Witt interviewed Memoli about Bates’s response, which she noted is the kind of answer the White House generally tries to avoid and declared that it was telling and made a statement.

Memoli, referring to Bates’s comment, said it was “spicy” but “illustrative” of the Biden campaign’s view that the president will faceoff with Donald Trump in 2024.

“We have a new and notable response from the White House over 2024 candidate Nikki Haley’s comment about President Biden’s age. A spokesman says, quote, ‘Honestly, I forgot she was running,'” Witt said during the segment.

“I want to bring in NBC White House correspondent Mike Memoli about that. Okay. I see the grin on your face on that. But listen, this is serious because it is significant that the White House spokesperson was even able to get a green light and make this comment. Right. How did that happen?” she asked.

He went on to assert how allegedly careful the White House administration has been to not violate the Hatch Act.

“Yeah, that’s absolutely right, Alex, because anybody who’s been watching White House press briefings, especially this week as President Biden announced he was running for reelection, has often heard White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre decline to answer even the most tangentially related questions to the campaign,” Memoli stated.

(Video Credit: Fox News)

“She’s often cited the Hatch Act, which is that policy that prohibits anybody who works for government, is paid by taxpayers from discussing electoral campaign politics. But this was a statement that apparently did pass muster of the White House lawyers, who, I have to tell you, often very have a very low bar for what they deem related to campaign politics,” he continued.

Memoli then proceeded to claim that the left has little to no concerns about Biden’s age which is demonstrably not true. They ostensibly feel that Trump is the defacto Republican nominee and that Biden can beat him.

“And so what this statement, I think does tell us is two things. One is just how much the president’s age is going to be a factor of concern to the Biden team. We did see Karine Jean-Pierre trip up a little bit this week when she initially refused to answer a question about whether the president would commit to serving all four years of a second term if he were elected,” Memoli commented.

(Video Credit: USA TODAY)

“The second thing is, I think gives us a little bit of a window into, Alex, is the vet, the high confidence of Biden advisers that ultimately it’s going to be Donald Trump who President Biden is seeking reelection against a rematch of the 2020 race. We’ve often heard advisers point to the fact that one reason why they’re confident of this is that the other Republicans in the race so far, including Haley, just have not been willing to take on Trump in their own party, are afraid of a triggering his own loyal base of supporters,” he added.

“And so this is a statement that we may not get a lot as spicy or as interesting as the one from Andrew Bates here. But I think it was very illustrative of how the White House is viewing this potential campaign ahead,” Memoli concluded.

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