At the White House daily press briefing today, Press Secretary Jay Carney did not deliver a statement but instead went straight to fielding questions from the media. He spent the bulk of his time addressing the deteriorating situation in Ukraine, the kidnapping of some 200 girls by the terrorist cell Boko Haram in Nigeria, and a newly released U.S. government report on climate change.
Zero questions were asked about Obamacare, the newly formed special committee on Benghazi headed by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), or the vote scheduled later today in the U.S. House of Representatives to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress.
On climate change: “This is a challenge that is real and is not one we are predicting that will affect us in the future, [but] is here facing us now,” Carney said. “[This] presents us with challenges now that we can meet. And, in so doing, improve the effects of climate change in the future.”
When later asked by MSNBC’s Chuck Todd if the president will use unilateral actions to combat climate change or to invest in green energy, he nodded in the affirmative.
“Those investments have and will continue to pay off in the broad all-of-the-above strategy,” he said. “If Congress is sitting still he won’t.”
On the terrorist kidnappings in Nigeria: “What I can tell you is that it is certainly up to Nigeria to maintain the safety and security of its citizens,” Carney said. “These girls were kidnapped and captured 22 days ago. Appropriate action must be taken.”
“President Obama has directed we do everything we can to find and free these girls,” he added.
Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama will discuss this unfolding situation later today in a closed meeting at the White House.
On the situation in Ukraine: “The chaos we have seen in eastern and southern Ukraine is a direct result of Russian involvement and intervention,” Carney said. “So, it certainly isn’t a surprise to see Russian leaders questioning the ability of Ukraine to have an election [on May 25]. We and our partners are focused on that: making sure Ukraine does have that ability. Despite the violence and chaos we have seen in some cities in Ukraine, [the majority] of the nation is calm and we expect the elections will proceed, and Ukraine will be able to exercise their fundamental right to vote for a president.”
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