White House Briefing Addresses Courthouse Incident, Dodges Middle East Queries

Before the White House press briefing on Thursday, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy reported a disturbing incident unfolding outside the New York courthouse where former President Donald Trump was on trial. A man distributed conspiracy-laden pamphlets before setting himself on fire, captured in videos shared on social media.

The footage showed the man standing engulfed in flames before collapsing, with police officers quickly using fire extinguishers to douse the fire.

During the briefing in Washington, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to the events by describing them as “very sad news” and “a developing situation,” noting she had no additional information beyond what was being reported and directed further inquiries to local authorities in New York.

The incident occurred moments before her briefing, and at that time, the man had not been identified by the NYPD.

What drew attention during the briefing was Jean-Pierre’s reluctance to discuss a separate international incident from the previous night.

Despite repeated questions, Jean-Pierre declined to comment on Israel’s reported retaliatory strike on the Iranian city of Isfahan, targeting an airbase and nuclear facility. She referenced earlier statements by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, emphasizing that the U.S. was not involved in the strike.

“I know there’s a lot of interest in reports from the Middle East overnight, and we understand that. I’m going to say it now, though: I know you all will certainly ask me about it, that we do not have any comment on the reports at this time,” Jean-Pierre stated.

She did not provide further details on why she couldn’t elaborate.

The White House’s response appeared less forthcoming compared to earlier in the week when top defense officials briefed reporters on U.S. involvement in Israel’s successful defense against Iranian missile and drone attacks.

After that defensive operation, President Joe Biden advised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to avoid further escalation.

However, Netanyahu, facing his own legal challenges and under pressure to maintain his political position, opted to launch Israeli munitions into Iran against Biden’s counsel.

The White House’s muted response could be seen as an attempt to avoid escalating tensions further with Tehran, although given the strained relations between Biden and Netanyahu, the reasons for the silence remain unclear.