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Biden calls Japan and India ‘xenophobic’

The White House scrambled to explain comments President Joe Biden made about Japan’s stance on immigrants Wednesday night at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C.

Biden’s remarks came just weeks after he hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for a state visit at the White House. Wednesday’s campaign event was primarily attended by Asian American donors.

According to the press pool traveling with Biden, the president lumped in Japan and India, two strong U.S. allies, with Russia and China, claiming that all four were xenophobic and that their opposition to incoming migrants negatively impacted them economically.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced multiple questions about Biden’s comments while traveling with the president to North Carolina on Thursday, and she claimed that Biden was trying to contrast those countries with the United States’s own acceptance of migrants.

“The broader case that he was trying to make,” Jean-Pierre told reporters, “when it comes to who we are as a nation, we are a nation of immigrants. That is in our DNA.”

“Obviously, we have a strong relationship with India, with Japan — and the president, if you just look at the last three years, has certainly focused on those diplomatic relationships,” she continued, ignoring questions about whether Biden’s comments would negatively impact relations with Japan and India.

Still, reporters continued to press Jean-Pierre on why Biden intentionally used such a “pejorative and negative word” to describe an ally.

“I think the president was very clear,” Jean-Pierre began to reiterate before reporters interrupted her repeated defense.

“He wasn’t very clear,” one reporter stated. “That’s why we’re asking you.”

“Here’s what I’m saying,” Jean-Pierre soldiered on. “It is important for us to remember that we are a country of immigrants. I’m explaining where he was talking about … what he was focusing on in those comments. We are a country of immigrants, it makes us stronger.”

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