White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre generally stays calm and patient when answering questions at media briefings, as a good press secretary should. But while still calm and patient, she had obviously had enough of the Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy at Friday’s briefing, who proceeded with his line of questioning while ignoring citizens’ First Amendment right to peacefully protest.
After Doocy pressed her over and over about protests against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh Wednesday night at a restaurant in Washington, D.C., Jean-Pierre finally said, “I’m done here, Peter.”
Abortion rights protesters showed up at Morton’s, a steakhouse in downtown Washington, after they heard Kavanaugh was dining there, as first reported by Politico. Kavanaugh, appointed to the court by Donald Trump, was in the 6-3 majority in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling two weeks ago, which upheld a restrictive Mississippi abortion law and overturned Roe v. Wade, therefore allowing any state to ban or severely restrict the procedure.
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The protesters urged the restaurant’s manager to evict Kavanaugh, and they tweeted that Kavanaugh left through the rear door, an account confirmed by Politico.
At Friday’s press briefing, Doocy asked Jean-Pierre, “Does the president think it’s appropriate for abortion rights protesters to intimidate Supreme Court justices when they’re out eating?” and referenced the Kavanaugh incident.
Jean-Pierre responded that President Biden and his administration have been clear that they “condemn any intimidation” of the justices and other public officials. “He has signed a piece of legislation making sure that they have the protection that they need,” she said.
“But you haven’t said, ‘Don’t go to their houses,’ as long as they’re peaceful — would you say, ‘Don’t go to a restaurant that a Supreme Court justice is at’?” Doocy asked.
Jean-Pierre replied that protesters have a right to demonstrate peacefully outside of a restaurant, but the administration condemns violence and intimidation. Doocy pressed on, asking if justices have no right to privacy. “This is what a democracy is,” the press secretary responded. “Of course, people have a right to privacy, but people also have the right to be able to protest peacefully. It’s the intimidation and the violence that we condemn.”
She reiterated those points as Doocy continued to press her, pointing out that the administration has provided U.S. marshals through the Department of Justice to protect members of the court. Finally, she made the “I’m done here” comment.
Jean-Pierre made history this year as the first Black lesbian to become White House press secretary. Watch her exchange with Doocy below.