Thursday’s White House press briefing devolved into the liberal press corps consistently showing concern for Hamas terrorists and their citizens in Gaza and increasing scorn for Israel’s right to take out Hamas for their October 7 terror attacks. In contrast, Fox’s Peter Doocy grilled the National Security Council’s John Kirby over the Biden administration’s praise for Qatar despite its housing of Hamas leadership.
In Realville, Doocy Time began with a bang: “[T]alking about getting Americans out of Gaza, President Biden said, ‘I want to thank our partners in the region and particularly Qatar.’ The leader of Hamas lives in Qatar. So, why is President Biden thanking them for anything?”
DOOCY TIME: “President Biden said, ‘I want to thank our partners in the region and particularly Qatar.’ The leader of Hamas lives in Qatar. So, why is president Biden thanking them for anything?”
John Kirby: “Oh, geez, Peter. Take a step back here and look at this.” pic.twitter.com/nzgsUuwsQ1
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) November 2, 2023
Kirby was unamused: “Oh, geez, Peter. Take a step back here and look at this.”
Doocy dished it back: “‘Geez, Peter’? They — they are a terrorist group that killed Americans and kidnapped Americans within the last month.”
Kirby refused to engage on the topic and instead hailed Qatar as “helpful in getting those Americans out” given their “lines of communication with Hamas that almost nobody else has” and argued “you would agree with me and everybody at your network would agree that getting the hostages out is a good thing.”
“[I]t would be irresponsible, in fact, I would expect that you and everybody else in here would be — would be going after me if we weren’t doing everything we could and having every possible conversation we can have to get Americans that are held hostage back home with their families. If we weren’t doing that, it would be diplomatic malpractice,” he added.
Kirby went onto read a quote from a now-viral interview of Hamas leader Ghaza Hamad going on a virulently anti-Semitic tear calling for Israel’s erasure before scoffing at Doocy and predicting “you’re going to say, ‘well, why are you talking to them.’”
Doocy interjected, “You’re making my point here. If Qatar is so helpful, why aren’t we asking them to hand over the leader of this terrorist group?”
Before moving onto a back -and-forth with Doocy over what a humanitarian pause actually means, Kirby twice insisted he wasn’t making Doocy’s case for him, but went no further in rebuffing Qatar for housing Hamas leadership while Gazans have lived lives of squalor.
Usually a Biden apple polisher, ABC’s Mary Bruce instead came to parrot the anti-Semitic United Nations “raising serious concerns about the Israeli airstrike at the refugee camp, saying there are serious concerns that these are disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes.”
ABC’s @MaryKBruce: “The U.N. Human rights office is raising serious concerns about the Israeli airstrike at the refugee camp, saying there are serious concerns that these are disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes. Does the administration share the U.N.’s… pic.twitter.com/D4WPNvOA0A
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) November 2, 2023
As he’s done with many of these idiotic questions, Kirby reiterated that “[w]e don’t want to see a single civilian hurt or killed in this conflict, and there’s been too many deaths as it is,” but they won’t be micromanaging Israel’s response. In recent weeks, he’s also emphasized the obvious that this is how war unfortunately unfolds.
For the second straight briefing, CNN’s M.J. Lee played self-righteous judge and morality police by trying to force Kirby into attacking the Israelis for their airstrikes and into the pro-Hamas line that they’re targeting civilians (click “expand”):
LEE: Admiral, earlier this week, you had said, after the first airstrike in Jabalia, that it’s obvious to us that Israel is “trying to minimize” civilian casualties. Now that you’ve had more time to see and assess the situation there, would you still say it’s obvious that Israel is trying to minimize civilian casualties?
KIRBY: We see in the scope of their operations that — that they are making efforts to try to minimize civilian casualties. That does not mean — and I did not say — that they aren’t still causing some — that their operations aren’t still causing some. They are, and each one is tragic. Each one shouldn’t happen and we have been crystal clear about that.
LEE: Would you say, with Jabalia specifically —
KIRBY: I’m not going to talk —
LEE: — that —
KIRBY: — about a specific event.
LEE: — but — but why not?
KIRBY: Because I’m — I’m not going to litigate an operational event that our military is not involved in in almost real time. I’m just not going to do that, M.J. It would be inappropriate for me to do that from the White House podium.
LEE: But specifically on the question of minimizing civilian casualties, isn’t an air strike that targets a refugee camp or a densely populated civilian area — isn’t that sort of the definition of not minimizing civilian casualties?
KIRBY: That is a question for the Israeli Defense Forces….We’re having daily conversations with our Israeli counterparts about their thinking, about their plans, about their strategy, about the execution of that strategy, and continuing to urge them to do everything they can to minimize civilian casualties.
LEE: So, on this, you wouldn’t weigh in, even though the President and everyone on down has said that the minimiz- — minimizing civilian casualties is incredibly important, that it’s something that he is talking to his counterpar — -part about all the time.
KIRBY: What I said was, I’m not going to weigh in from the podium and make public — provide public analysis in near real time of operations that U.S. forces aren’t involved in.
Reuters’s Andrea Shalal was also on this train of thought, wondering how the U.S. could “help Israel in pinpointing its targeting precisely to avoid the casualties” and passed along a Hamas-endorsed claim that “195 that were killed at Jabalia.”
In a follow-up, she blamed the United States directly for the strike in an area the IDF had told people to evacuate weeks ago and was anything but just a refugee camp: “If the U.S. is providing weapons that are intended to minimize harm but then we see large civilian casualties in places like Jabalia, does the U.S. bear some responsibility by providing the weapon?”
Instead of pressing Kirby and Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre into having the administration do more to fight anti-Semitism, Shalal and Patsy Widakuswara of the taxpayer-funded Voice of America promoted Islamophobia as someone an equal problem (click “expand”):
WIDAKUSWARA: On Islamophobia. Some of the Muslim leaders that I spoke with said that while they appreciate the effort to combat Islamophobia, they thought the timing of the announcement was interesting, because this is something that the administration has been working on for months. And some of them feel that this is a political bone thrown at them and does not address their bigger concern, which is U.S. policy to support Israel, where they are frustrated that their perspectives are not being heard. Your message to them?
WIDAKUSWARA: Well, the complaint that I’ve heard raised a lot is that every time they want to address U.S. support to Israel, the White House pivots to Islamophobia. Is that an accurate assessment? How would you respond?
SHALAL: I just want to follow up on the Islamophobia question. With this initiative, are you going to be reviewing laws and regulations that are in place across the U.S. government that are targeted at Muslims? And — and, you know, not just in the federal level, but also at the state and local level, do you see some scope for those measures to be rescinded? And in what kind of timeframe is that even possible?
To see the relevant transcript from the November 2 briefing, click here.