Jean-Pierre on Lack of Worker Protections in Auto Bailout: ‘It Was a Different Time’ and We Did the Best We Could

On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to a question on whether President Joe Biden regrets that the auto bailout under the Obama-Biden administration wasn’t structured to require companies to have more responsibility to workers by stating that “it was a different time.” And the administration did the best it could.

Host Lawrence O’Donnell asked, “The [President] now has an autoworkers strike on his hands, and it is on his hands, because that’s one of those things that lands in the White House, even though, in the design of government, it’s not supposed to, people always turn to the President and [wonder] what can you do. I want to get to that question of what do you think the administration can do there, what does the President think the administration can do? But also, going back to the bailout that saved these companies, does the President have any regrets about the way that was structured in terms of the company’s responsibilities to workers?”

Jean-Pierre responded, “Look, at the time, it was a different time. And so, at the time the Obama-Biden…administration did the best that they [could] and we believe we did.”

She continued, “What I can speak to now is this is a President that believes in collective bargaining. He believes in the right to strike. And those are two things that he believes very, very strongly. And what is happening and needs to continue to happen is that the parties [negotiate] and [try] to figure out the best contract for them, and the way that we have been assisting is we have, you’ve heard of acting Secretary Julie Su and Gene Sperling have been offering support the best way that we can. So that — in the ways that the parties want us to support. And so, the President’s going to continue to say he supports workers. He wants to make sure that we create middle-class — good-paying middle-class jobs, and it is important that UAW is at the center as we’re building — as the auto industry continues to grow and they have to be at the center of that. But we need to continue to grow good middle-class jobs. That is Bidenomics. That’s what the President wants to see, and we are there to assist in any way that is needed, but, obviously, the negotiations are going to happen between the parties.”

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