Kirby snaps at reporter over Pelosi trip ‘drama’ ahead of potential Taiwan stop: ‘You’re manufacturing it’

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White House official John Kirby had a testy exchange with a reporter about the “drama” that has erupted ever since it was signaled that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be visiting Taiwan during her trip to Asia. 

There has been a war of words between the U.S. and China as it was reported that the Democratic leader would visit Taiwan. Beijing views Taiwan as part of its own territory, and Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Biden in a phone call last week that the U.S. must not “play with fire” regarding China’s involvement with Taiwan.

At Monday’s press briefing, RealClearNews reporter Philip Wegmann grilled Kirby as to why President Biden “bother[ed] with this drama from the beginning” when he suggested to reporters that Pelosi shouldn’t go to Taiwan based on military assessment. 

“Why not call the Chinese bluff or tell them to pound sand when they started bellyaching about the possibility of this trip given, as you pointed out, there’s no change in policy and there’s precedent for Pelosi to visit Taiwan?” Wegmann asked. 

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Kirby snaps at reporter over Pelosi trip 'drama' ahead of potential Taiwan stop: 'You're manufacturing it'

John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, takes part in White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 1, 2022.
(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

“What’s the drama?” Kirby responded. 

“Have you watched the briefings the last couple of weeks?” Wegmann said. “There’s been this question of whether or not-“

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“Yeah, I’ve been here the last couple of weeks. I haven’t seen any drama. I think- I think you’re manufacturing it with your question,” Kirby shot back. 

Kirby, the White House’s National Security Council strategic communications coordinator, insisted the Biden administration’s stance on China has been “clear” and has not changed, telling Wegmann “There’s no drama to talk to.”

Kirby snaps at reporter over Pelosi trip 'drama' ahead of potential Taiwan stop: 'You're manufacturing it'

John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, takes part in White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 1, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

“We have no interest, as I said in my opening statement, increasing tensions here. We have no interest in changing any of the approach that we take as a government or in keeping with our allies and partners to wanting to see cross-strait tensions be resolved peacefully without a unilateral change,” Kirby continued. “So I don’t know about the drama that you’ve you’re claiming exists. It’s quite the contrary here.”

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During his remarks, Kirby told reporters that the Biden administration opposes “any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side” regarding China-Taiwan tensions. 

“We have said we do not support Taiwan independence, and we have said we expect cross-strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means,” Kirby said. 

Kirby snaps at reporter over Pelosi trip 'drama' ahead of potential Taiwan stop: 'You're manufacturing it'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., landed in Singapore ahead of a potential visit to Taiwan, which has sparked a war of words between the U.S. and China. 
(Getty Images)

Pelosi has received bipartisan support from lawmakers after it was reported that she had intended to visit Taiwan during her overseas trip, which has fueled numerous threats from China and its state-run media, hinting her plane would be shot down if she attempted to land in the disputed territory. 

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Reports indicate Pelosi will follow through with her plans and will appear in Taiwan amid vocal aggression from China.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report. 

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