The White House on Monday played down a batch of newly released Twitter emails that reveal internal discussions about suppressing stories on Hunter Biden’s laptop as “old news.”
Elon Musk’s release of the “Twitter Files” has stoked conservatives, who see collusion between Democrats and social media platforms to suppress stories leading up to the 2020 election.
But White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dismissed the files, calling them nothing more than a distraction.
“So, look, we see this as a — an interesting or a coincidence, if I may, that he would so haphazardly — Twitter would so haphazardly push this distraction that is a — that is full of old news, if you think about it,” she said.
“And at the same time, Twitter is facing very real and very serious questions about the rising volume of anger, hate, and antisemitism on their platform, and how they’re letting it happen. And, you know, the president said last week: More leaders need to speak out and reject this. And it’s very alarming and very dangerous,” Jean-Pierre said.
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The reporter followed up, asking: “Is it the White House view that decisions at Twitter were made appropriately in terms of decisions to censor this reporting ahead of the election?”
Jean-Pierre got her dander up. “Let me — you see — you mischaracterize, actually, what I — what I actually said, and took it out of context when you asked your question.”
“Look, when I answered the question — and I already — I actually already addressed this — about how the White House and the administration is seeing what’s happening on Twitter, we were — we follow also what’s going on just like you guys are reporting it, just like you guys are seeing,” she said.
This is an old trick crafted by former President Bill Clinton — and perfected by his wife, Hillary.
As scandal after scandal popped up during President Clinton’s two terms, the White House would deflect and distract. First, they’d assign the scandal to a blue-ribbon commission, then say they couldn’t comment while the investigation was ongoing. They’d drag out the probe, release a fraction of the documents requested by investigators, and when finally forced to answer questions, they’d say, “What, that old thing!?”
Hillary Clinton ran the play to perfection with the attack in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. What was clearly a terrorist attack was at first characterized by Clinton as a protest spontaneously inspired by protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo over a YouTube video.
She knew that wasn’t true. In a phone call with the Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil the day after the attack, the then-Secretary of State said, “we know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest.”
But she never said that publicly. The massive scandal was occurring just two months before the presidential election, so then-President Barack Obama and his minions sought to bury the real story.
Obama and Clinton dragged their feet for the next six weeks, prompting a furious Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to say on October 28, “this is either a massive cover-up or incompetence,” and suggested that it was a scandal worse than Watergate.
“We know that there were tapes, recordings inside the consulate during this fight … So the president went on various shows, despite what he said in the Rose Garden, about terrorist acts, he went on several programs, including The View, including Letterman, including before the UN where he continued to refer, days later, many days later, to this as a spontaneous demonstration because of a hateful video. We know that is patently false. What did the president know? When did he know it?” McCain said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Obama won re-election, and he would eventually claim he immediately called the Benghazi attack “an act of terrorism” (The Washington Post’s fact checker dubbed that “revisionist history”).
But Clinton played the game even better. She was scheduled to testify before Congress on December 20 about the attack, but days before that, it was reported that she had become dehydrated from the flu, fainted, and sustained a concussion. Her testimony was postponed.
After announcing she would step down as Secretary of State, she finally testified on January 23, 2013. She uttered this classic passage: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d, they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?”
What, that old thing? Asked and answered. The Biden White House has learned well.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.