Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich subverted on Monday the Biden administration’s attempts to save face over its failures to address the border crisis.
At the White House press briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced a barrage of questions about Title 42, which at the time was slated to end this week. The order allows the government to expel migrants from the U.S. quickly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ending it would overwhelm already exhausted immigration resources.
One of the questions that Heinrich asked Jean-Pierre is whether President Joe Biden would use executive authority to extend Title 42. In response, Jean-Pierre suggested the administration’s hands are tied because of a court order that deemed Title 42 illegal.
“We remain under a court order to lift Title 42. That is a court order,” she said.
But Heinrich quickly called out Jean-Pierre’s rhetorical sleight of hand. The press secretary was trying to remove responsibility from the Biden administration for the impact that ending Title 42 would have on the border crisis — but the government wanted it lifted to begin with.
“That is a court order that is telling us to lift Title 42,” Jean-Pierre said again. “And we’re going to comply, because we follow the rule of law. That is —”
“But the administration sought to lift it,” Heinrich interjected.
“But it is a court order. That is —” Jean-Pierre insisted.
“Started by you guys,” Heinrich pointed out.
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At no point in the exchange did Jean-Pierre take ownership over the fact that the court order was a direct result of the Biden administration’s actions. She painted the White House as passive participants in a situation out of the administration’s control.
“It was a court order that has been provided to us, and so now we have to comply,” she said. “We have to comply by December 21.”
“So you’re saying you don’t support lifting Title 42? Or —?” Heinrich responded, pointing out the inherent contradiction in Jean-Pierre’s position.
“What I’m saying is that it is a court order that has been presented to us that we are going to comply with,” the press secretary responded.
Fortunately, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts averted further problems at the border when he issued a temporary stay on a lower-court ruling in favor of the Biden administration that would have lifted Title 42 on Wednesday.
12/19/22: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre