White House clarifies Biden’s ‘xenophobic’ remark on Japan, India

White House clarifies Biden’s ‘xenophobic’ remark on Japan, IndiaWhite House clarifies Biden’s ‘xenophobic’ remark on Japan, India
via White House
The White House has offered explanations after President Joe Biden’s controversial comments in which he labeled allies Japan and India as “xenophobic.”
Key points:
  • Biden described Japan, India, China and Russia as “xenophobic” at a fundraiser on Wednesday, attributing their economic issues to restrictive immigration policies.
  • On Thursday, the White House clarified that the president’s remarks highlighted the U.S.’ success due to its welcoming immigration stance, not as direct criticisms of the cited countries.
  • Despite those comments, the White House stressed the ongoing strength and significance of U.S. alliances with Japan and India, especially in strategic contexts.
The details:
  • Biden made his controversial remarks at a Washington D.C. hotel fundraiser attended primarily by Asian Americans. He stated, as per the official transcript:

“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.”

  • The president’s comments followed state visits by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida less than a month ago and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi less than a year ago. Both foreign leaders have been pivotal in U.S. strategies to balance China’s influence in Asia.
  • White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby clarified Biden’s comments on Thursday. Jean-Pierre emphasized that they were a broader reflection on the U.S.’ identity as a nation built by immigrants, while Kirby reiterated the president’s appreciation for the alliances and partnerships with the nations mentioned.

“He was saying that when it comes to who we are as a nation, we are a nation of immigrants, that is in our DNA,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “Our allies and partners know very well how much this president respects them.”

“Our allies and partners know well in tangible ways how President Biden values them, their friendship, their cooperation and the capabilities that they bring across the spectrum on a range of issues,” Kirby said separately. “We stand by our commitments. I don’t think there’s any doubt out there on anyone (about) the sincerity of those commitments.”

  • Biden’s comments coincided with the commencement of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. At the fundraiser, he highlighted the contributions of immigrants to the U.S. economy and criticized former President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.
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