During a White House media briefing, a Biden administration representative became increasingly frustrated as they faced a barrage of questions regarding the influence of politics on President Biden’s decision-making process concerning the Middle East. The exchange took place between NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby, and Kimberly Halkett, a media representative from the Al Jazeera news organization, as reported by the Recount.
The confrontation began when Halkett inquired about the possibility of President Biden overstepping his authority in authorizing attacks on the Houthi rebels based in Yemen. These rebels have been responsible for targeting ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, as shown in a video clip shared on X.
Halkett’s question was prompted by a letter sent to President Biden by nearly 30 members of the House, who deemed his actions in the Middle East as “unauthorized,” according to the Associated Press.
“As representatives of the American people, Congress must engage in robust debate before American servicemembers are put in harm’s way and before more U.S. taxpayer dollars are spent on yet another war in the Middle East. No president, regardless of political party, has the constitutional authority to bypass Congress on matters of war,” the letter said.
“We’re not at war with the Houthis. We’re not going to be at — we’re not looking for a war with Iran. The president is comfortable that he has the appropriate legal authorities to act in self-defense of our ships, our sailors, and our troops and our facilities at sea or ashore,” Kirby replied.
John Kirby clashes with Al Jazeera's @KimberlyHalkett at WH press briefing:
“[Biden’s] not looking at political calculations, or the polling, or the electoral calendar as he works to protect our troops ashore and our ships at sea … any suggestion to the contrary is offensive.” pic.twitter.com/LKwDcdE1vr
— The Recount (@therecount) January 29, 2024