Air Force One is seen in the foreground as Marine One, carrying President Joe Biden, approaches for a landing ( Photo: Carlos Fyfe)

From ransomware attacks to voting rights, Delaney Tarr reports on the most important news from today’s Air Force One gaggle with Karine Jean-Pierre.

Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gaggled on Air Force One today as President Biden headed to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Biden plans to meet with survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre that occurred on “Black Wall Street” 100 years ago. 

As President Biden prepared for travel, the press asked questions on his racial equity policies. The White House stressed that Biden is primarily going to make sure the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre is told but still commented on some issues.

When asked for the President’s views on Republican legislature trying to ban critical race theory education in schools, Jean-Pierre said, “The President believes it’s important for our nation’s students to fully understand our history.” However, Jean-Pierre also asserted that it is not the federal government’s rule to set school curriculum and that the state government has the responsibility to do so. 

The Deputy Press Secretary dodged questions on reparations and student debt cancellation, specifically for Black and brown communities. Jean-Pierre pivoted focus back to the Tulsa visit and what she said is “the President’s gratitude for their bravery in sharing stories of their trauma.”

Here’s other news from the gaggle you may have missed: 

Texas Voting Bill causes conflict 

In the wake of former President Donald Trump’s false claims of “stolen elections” and voter fraud, voting legislation tensions are at a high. Republican Texas lawmakers have recently introduced a voting bill that, if implemented, would pass some of the nation’s tightest restrictions on voting. 

The bill has spurred conflict among Texas lawmakers, with a Democrat walkout and threats from the Governor to withhold pay. Democrats are calling on the President and Congress to do more about the bill, and the Biden administration has condemned it. 

“We need to move forwards, not backward,” said Jean-Pierre on voter accessibility. 

The administration sees the bill as a continued attack on democracy and called for passage of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Both bills would expand voting accessibility and reaffirm previous efforts for voting rights. 

CyberAttacks on the Meat Market

Major meat producer JBS notified the White House on Sunday that they were hit by a ransomware attack from a criminal organization likely based in Russia. Jean-Pierre said the White House is dealing directly with the issue, and the FBI is investigating the attack. 

Jean-Pierre also said the USDA has reached out to other meat producers to handle the situation. The White House asserts that combating ransomware is a priority. 

Biden has also launched a review to address the threat of ransomware along four lines of effort: Distribution of ransomware infrastructure and actors, creation of an international coalition to hold countries accountable for harboring ransom actors, expansion of cryptocurrency analysis to criminal transactions, and reviewing the United States’ ransomware policies. 

The plan builds on President Biden’s Executive Order outlining cybersecurity initiatives. The order is currently being implemented. 

When asked if Biden would still meet with Putin in the face of potential Russian cyberattacks, Jean-Pierre said, “There is no substitute for a leader to leader engagement.” Biden is set to meet with Putin in two weeks to manage differences between the nations and improve international relations.