White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stumbles when pressed

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stumbled Wednesday while trying to respond to reporters pressing her over President Biden’s decision not to attend the coronation of King Charles III.

When asked on three separate occasions about Biden’s planned absence at the event, Jean-Pierre fumbled her words and gave a rambling answer repeatedly touting the president’s “good relationship” with the king while avoiding directly answering why he decided not to attend.

“The president had about a 25-minute, 30-minute call with the King Charles III, during which he congratulated the King — I think we put that out last night — to his upcoming coronation, and they have a very friendly conversation,” Jean-Pierre told one reporter who asked why Biden was not attending as head of state.

“They have a good relationship with the King. He talked about how he enjoyed meeting — visiting — the Queen, I should say, back in 2021 — he and the first lady, at Windsor. And he hoped to visit again soon.”

“Actually, during that call, the King offered for him to come and do a state visit, which the president accepted. And so they will see each other again, very soon, and I’ll just leave it there,” she added. “But again, they have a very good relationship. There are many things that they both care about — key shared values, key shared issues that they want to continue to discuss, like climate change. And that conversation will continue, and there will be a visit in the near future.”

Jean-Pierre also said she could not provide a timeline to when a state visit would actually take place.

Later in the briefing, another reporter asked Jean-Pierre if she could explain why first lady Jill Biden would be in attendance at the coronation rather than the president himself. The White House confirmed the first lady would be attending in a Tuesday statement.

“Look, the president is looking forward — he had a great conversation — has a good relationship with King Charles III,” Jean-Pierre responded.

“As you know, they’ve met before, and there is a lot of shared interests, shared values, of issues that they want to discuss, and will continue to discuss, one of them being climate change. And at some time in the future, the king invited the president for a state visit. He accepted and that will happen, I just don’t have anything further to share on that.”

Another reporter then asked if Jean-Pierre was “concerned” that the British people might see Biden’s absence as “a snub,” noting that even though past U.S. presidents had not attended coronations, that was before the invention of airplanes and modern technology.

“No, they should not see it as a snub. Not at all. Again, the president has a good relationship with the King. They had a friendly conversation, and I will leave it at that. It is not a snub,” she said.’

No U.S. president has ever attended any of the seven coronations of a British monarch since the country declared independence in 1776. The most recent was the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953.

The coronation of King Charles is set to be held on Saturday, May 6.

Originally published as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stumbles when pressed on Joe Biden’s absence from King Charles’ coronation

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