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Tipsheet

White House Won’t Condemn Protests Forcing Justice Kavanaugh to Use Back Door of Restaurant

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

During Friday's press briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked by Fox News' Peter Doocy about the news that Justice Brett Kavanaugh had been reportedly forced to use the backdoor of Morton's Steakhouse in Washington, D.C., after abortion activists learned he was dining there. 

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Jean-Pierre offered, "When it comes to intimidation, that is something we have condemned." Though the White House has often said such remarks while emphasizing they "encourage" protests that are peaceful and go with a narrative of understanding the anger and passion of abortion activists. 

This prompted Doocy to ask Jean-Pierre, "Where's the line?" As he pointed out, "If these protesters can go to a justice's house, and they can go to a restaurant, where is it that you don't think it's appropriate for a group of protesters to go?" 

Jean-Pierre, who has a habit of providing non-answers, did not directly answer Doocy's question about where it is that it's not appropriate for protesters to go. She sought to sidestep the issue, telling Doocy, "I just laid out – you asked me about intimidation, we condemn intimidation, we condemn any violence, and we've been very clear." 

She then doubled down on the White House narrative to encourage protests against conservative Supreme Court justices. "Peaceful protest, uh, people should be allowed to be able to do that," she said. When Doocy prompted for follow-up by confirming this indeed included "in a restaurant," Jean-Pierre responded, "If it's outside of a restaurant, if it's peaceful, for sure." 

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Doocy, sounding incredulous as he asked "really," continued a back-and-forth with Jean-Pierre and spoke about the justices' "right to privacy," to which the press secretary insisted "this is what a democracy is." 

During the exchange, Jean-Pierre even had another Freudian slip, as she initially said, "We do commend – condemn intimidation," before correcting herself and saying the administration "condemn any violence." 

The point Doocy sought to make was that these "angry" protesters could create "a potentially really bad situation" that might turn violent seemed to be lost on Jean-Pierre. 

Jean-Pierre even appeared to be looking for a sense of commendation, as she reminded the nation that President Biden signed legislation to grant justices greater protection, though she failed to mention it was held up in the Democratically-controlled House. She also failed to mention how the Biden administration has been slow to act and that actions from the Department of Justice have come after pressure from Republicans

"We have shown how we want to make sure intimidation and violence is not the way to go, it is not the way to have a political discourse," Jean-Pierre said before finishing the exchange with Doocy. 

In refusing to condemn the actions of those activists and by encouraging such protests, the White House is joining the ranks of groups such as Shut Down DC. As Sarah highlighted earlier in her coverage, pro-abortion groups have called for more people to harass conservative justices, even offering to pay them. 

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It's also worth reminding that President Joe Biden himself never directly condemned or even addressed when Justice Kavanaugh was the target of an assassination plot. The suspect was reportedly upset that Justice Kavanaugh would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and about how he might vote in future gun cases. 

A statement condemning the plot did come from Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates, though the statement provided to Fox News was full of gaslighting. 

"Mortons" and "Brett Kavanaugh" were trending on Twitter on Friday as a result of the news. 

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