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He was talking about...: White House on Biden's 'xenophobic' remark

By Lalit K Jha
May 03, 2024 10:04 IST
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The United States is a country of immigrants, the White House has said, defending President Joe Biden's remarks calling two of his QUAD partners -- India and Japan -- as well as Russia and China "xenophobic" nations, asserting that none of these countries, unlike the US, welcome immigrants.

IMAGE: United States President Joe Biden. Photograph: @WhiteHouse/X

Responding to a question about the remarks made by Biden at an election fundraiser on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the president was making a "broader point".

“He was making a broader point. Our allies and partners know very well that -- how much this president respects them," Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference on Thursday.

"As you know, in regard to Japan, they were just here for the state visit. The US-Japan relationship is an important relationship. It's a deep, enduring alliance," she said.

"He (Biden) was making a more broad comment, speaking about this country and speaking about how important it is to be a country of immigrants and how it makes our country stronger. And so, that's what he was talking about," she said.

"It relates to our relationship with our allies, that continues. Obviously, we have a strong relationship with India (and) with Japan. And the President, if you just look at the last three years, has certainly focused on those diplomatic relationships," Jean-Pierre said.


"He was talking about who we are as a country. He was talking about the importance of being in a country of immigrants, especially as you see the attacks that we have seen very recently, in the last couple of years, those attacks on immigrants, in particular," the White House Press Secretary said, defending the president.

"The President is always going to be really clear on speaking to issues that matter to the American people. We are a country of immigrants. That matters. And we've seen these attacks. And so, the President is never going to shy away from that," Jean-Pierre said.

“It is important for us to remember that we are a country of immigrants. I'm explaining what he was talking about and what he was focusing on in those comments: a country of immigrants makes us stronger. It is important to be very clear about that," she said.

While addressing his supporters at the Democratic Party fundraiser here on Wednesday evening, Biden said, "This election is about freedom, America and democracy. That's why I badly need you. You know, one of the reasons why our economy is growing is because of you and many others. Why? Because we welcome immigrants."

"We look to -- the reason -- look, think about it. Why is China stalling so badly economically? Why is Japan having trouble? Why is Russia? Why is India? Because they're xenophobic. They don't want immigrants,” Biden, the presumptive candidate of the Democratic Party, said.

India and Japan are members of QUAD -- a four-member strategic security dialogue that includes the US and Australia.

Biden hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a State Visit last year, while Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited the White House in April for an official visit.

Biden has been under attack from his opponents and the Republican Party for his immigration policies, as hundreds and thousands of illegal immigrants enter the United States every month.

Immigration is a hot topic in the November 5 presidential election in which Biden will face former president Donald Trump, the presumptive candidate from the Republican Party.

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Lalit K Jha
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