White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre held a press briefing for the first time since President Biden announced he would not be pursuing a second term and emphasized that his decision was not due to his health. 

After sharing their condolences to the family and friends of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who passed away over the weekend, as well as condemning the killing of Sonya Massey, who was fatally shot by an Illinois sheriff’s deputy in her home, Jean-Pierre addressed Biden’s decision to drop out of the presidential race.

Reading from a letter Biden issued on Sunday, Jean-Pierre said, ‘It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your president. And while it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as president for the remainder of my term.’

Jean-Pierre defended the president and denied any notion of him resigning from his current post and proceeded to highlight his accomplishments during his term.  

‘We believe and any suggestion of that note is ridiculous. I just laid out what the president has been able to do in almost four years, and it’s been successful,’ Jean-Pierre stated. ‘He’s been able to do more again than any president has been able to do in two terms. He’s been able to do that more in one term, and he wants to finish the job that he started and delivering more historic results for the American people.’

When asked why Biden stepped down and if it was related to his health, Jean-Pierre dodged the question again and deferred to the president’s address on Wednesday evening.

‘Again, the president’s going to speak to this directly to the American people tonight in prime time. I know many of you all will be watching it. There are specials going on tonight. He will, I promise you, he will speak to this directly to all of you tonight,’ she said. ‘But in his letter, he talked about the country. He talked about the party. He talked about the moment that we’re in right now. It is not about his health. I can say no, that’s not the reason. But hear him out tonight.’

When asked if Biden felt bullied to leave the race, Jean-Pierre again deferred to Biden’s Wednesday evening speech and said that his decision to step down was not an easy one to make. 

‘It’s obviously a historic moment, but a decision like this is very personal. It’s not easy to make. And I think there are very rare politicians who could look at the situation and make a decision. And I think it speaks to how honorable this president is, how selfless this president is, that he was able to make this decision and say, it is not about me, it is about the American people,’ Jean-Pierre said. 

‘This is about the country and making, again, a personal, difficult decision. And so I think that speaks for itself, I really do.’

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