Aboard Air Force One
En Route Ottawa, Canada
6:07 P.M. EDT
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Guys, I’m so sorry. We’ve been waiting, and Jake is with the President right now. And so we’ve been — so either we go now, or we don’t have a gaggle. So —
Q You can send us Jake later.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We can send you — we will send you Jake later if it works on his schedule. I’ll do my best. But he’s in with the President. So, I’m really sorry. So —
Q You could just bring the President back too.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I could do that.
Q They could have their meeting in front of us.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, there are many things that we can do.
Q We could go there.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, you know —
Q Is that a consensus? (Laughter.)
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No. I know, I know. There are many — many options available to us. I am — we have about 10 minutes, so I will not do a topper. Go ahead.
Q Karine, obviously part of today was Congress’s TikTok hearings. We know the administration hasn’t wanted to talk about TikTok because of CFIUS, but did people in the White House watch the hearings, have any reaction to what was discussed and said at those hearings?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I know there’s been questions about what’s on the table, about what actions the administration could take or could not take. So I’m not going to speak to any of those specific — any specific actions that the administration could pursue to address national security concerns associated with TikTok. And you’ve heard us say this over and over again that is one of our concerns when it comes to this particular app.
And so, look, there’s — particularly — I’m not going to comment because particularly given that there’s a subject of ongoing negotiations with the ByteDance, as you — I’m sure you guys are following. With that said, our national security concerns about TikTok related to data security and content manipulations are well established, as we have said many times.
There has been public reporting that PRC-based employees of ByteDance have accessed user data on U.S. TikTok users, including journalists as well.
We are also concerned that the PRC could require ByteDance to censor certain contexts of TikTok or spread information that undermines U.S. national security. So we’re — we strongly support the legislation that you’ve heard us speak to multiple times, the RESTRICT Act.
And so that’s where I’m going to leave it. As you know — as you know, CFIUS is continuously to review this. But I just can’t speak to any internal conversations or — or, you know, anything specific to what we saw today with the hearing.
Q Karine, there’s —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Certainly everyone was — was — was watching. It was on — it was on the news today, but I don’t have anything to share.
Q There are reports that the U.S. and Canada are going to have a migration pact to close the road connecting New York and Quebec. Can you confirm the U.S. has signed on to that and talk about the parameters and how many migrants the Canadians have agreed to accept as part of that deal?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So — so although we have seen an increase of encounters on the northern border, as you guys have been reporting, the numbers coming from the south into the United States from Canada remain very modest. A few hundred a month is that — what we’re seeing currently. That’s what the data shows.
So, again, we’re seeing an increase in irregular migration going north into Canada, which reflects the regional and global migration challenge, as we have been talking about.
We’re committed to working with them to address it, including by prioritizing orderly and safe migration through regular pathways. So we continue to enforce our immigration laws and remote — and remove these without a legal basis to remain in the U.S., and DHS continues to efficiently process these individuals.
So, look, we feel like we have had great success with our partners in Canada, and we expect to continue that coordination. The President and the Prime Minister certainly will have more to share tomorrow. Don’t want to get ahead of any specific announcements.
Q So you’re not confirming anything?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m not — I’m not going to confirm anything at this time, but we will hear more from the Prime Minister and the President tomorrow. I’m just not going to confirm any — any (inaudible).
Q On Haiti: You know, the Pre- — the United States has hoped that Canada would kind of lead this military force to kind of try to put — bring some stability to Haiti among the violence. Is the Uni- — I mean, Trudeau doesn’t seem like he’s very interested anymore. Is the United States giving up on that particular — having Canada lead that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, there — as you know, when the President was in — at the summit in Mexico City with the President of Mexico and also the Prime Minister, this conversation came up with Canada in their bilat that they had on the ground.
So, look, we believe the security and humanitarian situation in Haiti is worsening, and the situation on the ground would not improve without armed security assistance from international partners. We’ve been clear about that. Any decisions about military force would be done in consultation with the U.N. and with the Haitian government.
Those discussions are still ongoing. We will remain in coordination with our partners, including, of course, Canada, on next steps on the force and other actions to address urgent security needs in Haiti, including support of the Haitian National Police. You’ve heard my colleague say this yesterday at the podium, from the National Security Council.
But, look, in the meantime, we’re going to continue to support the people of Haiti, as we have been doing since we — since we’ve been in office, with humanitarian support. And — and — and so I’ll just leave it there.
But, again, there’s going to be conversations about this, obviously, when the President arrives in Canada. I just don’t have anything more to share.
Q On the banking crisis, do you expect Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden to talk about the banking situation? Can you say a word about this CEO — meaning the bank CEOs that were in town? There have been conversations — Buffet; you know, Jamie Dimon. Just give us an update on where you are.
And there’s also a feeling out in the market that the White House and the administration have been slow to respond.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So there’s a couple of pieces there. Look, I — you know, I’m not going to get ahead of the conversation that the President is going to have with the Prime Minister. I’m not — you know, maybe it comes up, maybe it doesn’t. I’m just not sure. So I’m certainly not going to get into a hypothetical there.
Look, you’ve heard — you’ve heard us speak to this, as far as our response and the President’s direction. He was very clear when we saw what was curren- — what was happening with the banking — banking situation, the banking system, 12, 14 days ago. And we’ve taken decisive and forceful actions to strengthen the public confidence in the U.S. banking system and give banks access to resources to meet depositors’ demand.
And so, just a couple of things. You saw that on Friday, March 10th, when the FDIC quickly took control of Silicon Valley’s Bank
assessment [assets]. You saw that over that weekend when they took control of Signature Bank’s assets and moved to protect all depositors at both banks. And you saw that with the Fed’s new lending facility to help banks meet the needs of all of their depositors.
So our administration, because of the President’s direction, took decisive action to promote the safety of regional and community banks while ensuring taxpayers are not on the hook. Right? That was something that the President was very clear about.
Q But other banks remain in danger, like First Republic.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, I’m not going to — I’m not going to get into specifics on any other institutions. That’s not — I’m not going to speak to that at the — at this time.
But the actions that — the actions that we took, that this — the federal — the federal government took, that the Treasury — Treasury Secretary took, and also the banking regulators, those actions demonstrate that we will use tools — every to- — we will use tools we have to give the American people confidence that their deposits will be safe.
And, look, it is important that we use those tools that we have to support community and other banks.
But again, you’ve heard this from Jerome Powell, you’ve heard this from the Secretary: that because of decisive actions, we have seen deposits stabilize at regional banks. And we think that’s important. And I’ll leave that there.
Q And, Karine, can I ask you about the Pre- — to preview the President’s address to Parliament tomorrow? But I’m also curious, too: Is he going to bring up Canada’s defense spending? That’s something President Obama mentioned when he addressed Parliament, especially given Canada is not hitting its NATO targets, and questions about its NORAD contributions, especially in the wake of the balloon.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’ll answer the last one first. Look, I’m sure that’s going to come up. We believe that Canada is a important, critical NATO Ally. And so, we — we feel that, you know, they have done their part to do what — to do what they can for Ukraine. But I’m sure that conversation will come up. As it relates to NORAD, I just don’t have anything to share.
As it relates to the — the — the address that the President is going to give to Parliament tomorrow — look, Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, and other — and others, like Obama, all addressed — including Obama — all addressed the Canadian Parliament during their visit to Canada.
President Biden is looking forward to continuing this tradition of speaking to Canada’s elected officials and pub- — and public to reaffirm the United States commitment to the U.S.-Canada partnership.
During the speech, he will promote our shared domestic and foreign policy goals by highlighting the mutual benefits of the IRA — the Inflation Reduction Act — the CHIPS and Science Act, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement for promoting prosperity and energy — and clean energy. So he looks — he very much looks forward to having — to having that (inaudible).
Q Karine, sorry. Did you say that the President watched the TikTok hearings today, himself?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, I did not say that.
Q Did — did he?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I cannot — I cannot confirm that he watched it. I’m just saying that it was — you know, it was — clearly, it was well covered. But I have not spoken to him about if he’s watched the — if he watched the hearings.
Q And on the — just real quick. Do you have any updates on a possible Biden-Xi call, now that the Chinese leadership is in place?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So that is something that we’re — we — we’re looking forward to doing and we’ve been working on. I just don’t have anything to confirm or lay out or anything to preview at this time.
Q On the banking situation, just what role do you expect the private sector to play in shoring up confidence in the banks? I mean, you saw — you know — you know, there have been reports that, you know, Jamie Dimon has been in; the White House has been talking — you’ve had conversations or someone had a conversation with Warren Buffett. Can you just say what you expect from the private sector?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just don’t want to get ahead of — of any potential conversations or get into — just into any hypotheticals from here.
I can say that when it comes to our actions and how we reacted to what we’ve seen the last 14 days, we have seen that the banking regulators and the Treasury Secretary take action at the direction of the President to make sure that the — the mark- — the banking — the banks would continue to be resilient and that it was — we saw sta- — stabi- — stabilization. And I think that’s what’s important to make sure that the American people have confidence, and that’s what was the priority of this President, and make sure that taxpayers are not on the hook. And so that’s what’s important here.
I’m not going to get into —
Q Thanks, Karine.
6:18 P.M. EDT
Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2023/03/23/press-gaggle-by-press-secretary-karine-jean-pierre-en-route-ottawa-canada/