Did Biden call UK PM Sunak ‘prejudiced’? White House pressed on comments on state puberty blocker bans

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was pressed Wednesday for a response to the United Kingdom’s decision to ban puberty blockers for minors despite President Biden’s claim that American lawmakers pushing such bans were “hysterical” and “prejudiced.”

Biden made the comments on June 8 during a joint press conference at the White House with U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the first person of color elected British prime minister, and declared his administration was “not relenting” when it came to making sure LGBTQ Americans were “protected.”

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a daily news briefing at the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on June 14, 2023, in Washington, DC.

“When the president made those remarks, he was standing next to the prime minister from the United Kingdom, and afterward, the United Kingdom announced that they were going to be placing a ban on puberty blockers for minors in most cases. Will the president raise this human rights issue with his U.K. counterpart?” RealClearPolitics reporter Philip Wegmann asked Jean-Pierre during the daily White House press briefing.

“I didn’t see those comments, so I can’t respond to that directly. And I’m just not going to go beyond what the president said in those conversations,” Jean-Pierre responded.

Wegmann also asked if the Biden administration intended to withhold Medicare funds or other federal healthcare dollars from states passing similar laws, but she said she didn’t “have anything to add to that.”

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Biden and UK PM Sunak hold press conference

President Joe Biden listens as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Thursday, June 8. (AP/Susan Walsh)

The Biden administration previously considered withholding Medicare and other funds in an effort to force Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The U.K.’s National Health Service said last week that it would not routinely offer puberty-blocking drugs to children at gender identity clinics, saying more evidence is needed about the potential benefits and harms.

It specifically said that “outside of a research setting, puberty-suppressing hormones should not be routinely commissioned for children and adolescents.”

President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden listens to a question during a bilateral press conference with United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, not pictured, inside the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Thursday, June 8, 2023. (Tom Brenner for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Caleb Alexander

Caleb Alexander

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