White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre came under fire on Monday after her response to a question regarding the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States sparked backlash from both sides of the political aisle.
During the press briefing, Jean-Pierre was asked about the White House's concerns regarding the growing trend of anti-Semitic rhetoric and demonstrations in the country. However, her response focused mainly on hate crimes against Muslims.
"We have not seen any credible threats," Jean-Pierre said, dismissing the possibility of Jews in the United States being targeted by hate-fueled attacks. "But look, Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks."
"What is [Biden's] level of concern right now about a potential rise of antisemitism?"
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: "Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks" pic.twitter.com/q1WYkpbKmn
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 23, 2023
Critics were quick to point out that Jean-Pierre's answer completely disregarded the rise of anti-Semitism in the country, with many calling her response "tone-deaf" and "weak."
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tweeted, "This is the most tone-deaf answer ever. The question was about anti-Semitism and KJP talks about threats to Muslim Americans. I guess the fact that Jews are attacked doesn’t register with her."
Others also expressed their disappointment with Jean-Pierre's response, with Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) saying, "What a weak answer. And why are you looking in the book? What’s the approved answer? The simple answer is yes, you are concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism. Of course, we are also worried about hatred against Muslim Americans. Must do better."
To be clear: the President and our team are very concerned about a rise in antisemitism, especially after the horrific Hamas terrorist attack in Israel. https://t.co/oMeFDmZK66
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) October 23, 2023
In response to the backlash, Jean-Pierre took to Twitter to clarify the White House's stance on the issue. "To be clear: the President and our team are very concerned about a rise in anti-Semitism, especially after the horrific Hamas terrorist attack in Israel," she wrote. She also mentioned that the President had mobilized his homeland security team to address any potential threats towards Jewish communities, as well as Muslim, Arab American, and Palestinian American communities.
Despite her attempt to do damage control, Jean-Pierre's initial response was met with criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Many criticized her for failing to directly address the issue at hand and instead redirecting the focus to another group.
What a weak answer. And why are you looking in the book? What’s the approved answer? The simple answer is yes, you are concerned about the rise of antisemitism. Of course we are also worried about hatred against Muslim Americans. Must do better. https://t.co/RdYhPTFpHa
— Jared Moskowitz 🟧 (@JaredEMoskowitz) October 23, 2023
The rise of anti-Semitism in the United States has been a growing concern for many, with reports of hate crimes and rhetoric targeting Jewish communities on college campuses and elsewhere. It is crucial for the White House to address this issue and take action to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of hate in the country.