White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked Wednesday if the Biden administration considers "MAGA Republicans" a greater threat to the United States than individuals determined to be national security threats.
But she refused to provide a straightforward answer.
What is the background?
The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General released an alarming report this week disclosing that refugee vetting methods used during the withdrawal from Afghanistan were less than satisfactory.
The report said Customs and Border Protection "did not always have critical data to properly screen, vet, or inspect the evacuees."
"We determined some information used to vet evacuees through U.S. Government databases, such as name, date of birth, identification number, and travel document data, was inaccurate, incomplete, or missing. We also determined CBP admitted or paroled evacuees who were not fully vetted into the United States," the report explained.
"As a result, DHS may have admitted or paroled individuals into the United States who pose a risk to national security and the safety of local communities," it continued.
What did KJP say?
President Joe Biden has sharpened his partisan rhetoric in recent weeks, ramping up attacks on "MAGA Republicans." That is: Americans who support Trump but, in the eyes of Biden, threaten democracy.
In light of the DHS OIG report, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked Jean-Pierre a simple question: Who does the Biden administration believe is a bigger threat?
"In the last week or so, we've heard the president calling elected Republicans a threat to the country. Does he think MAGA Republicans are more of a threat to the country than people DHS says may pose a risk to national security and the safety of local communities?" Doocy asked.
09/07/22: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierreyoutu.be
Jean-Pierre's response — or lack thereof — was telling.
Not only did she not answer Doocy's question, but she instead disputed the DHS OIG report and referred Doocy to question the DHS instead.
"DHS has disputed this report," Jean-Pierre responded. "And it said it didn't take into account the key steps that we have taken as a U.S. government, the rigorous, multi-layered screening and vetting process that we take as a government, that was not part of the report."
"Again, this report is not accurate. I know that our team has spoken to your team about this, and the DHS has provided a comment saying just that," she added. "So again, I refer you to DHS."
Exactly as Jean-Pierre said, the DHS disputes the findings of the OIG report. The agency claims that "all Afghan nationals were screened, vetted and inspected prior to parole into the United States."
However, the inspector general said that is not true.
"Although the Department asserted it provided sufficient evidence that all individuals were properly screened, vetted, and inspected, we could not confirm this assertion and reported data inaccuracies," the OIG report explained.
"DHS explained that recurrent vetting processes were established for all paroled Afghan evacuees for the duration of their parole period," the report added. "However, we did not receive supporting data or other evidence to validate these assertions."