CBS’ Ed O’Keefe Asks ‘How Many More Charred Corpses Does the President Need to See’ to Change Gaza War Policy | Video

Blunt question came in response to White House spokesperson John Kirby’s explanation for why Israel’s attack on Rafah didn’t cross Joe Biden’s previously asserted ‘red line’

CBS White House Correspondent Ed O’Keefe had a blunt question for White House spokesperson John Kirby during a press conference Tuesday over the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas: “How many more charred corpses does the president need to see before he considers a change of policy?”

The question came in response to Kirby’s explanation for why Israel’s military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which began with an air strike on a refugee camp that killed 45 people, in defiance of a UN court order, didn’t cross the “red line” Joe Biden previously declared such an attack would be.

“We don’t want to see a major ground operation. We haven’t seen that at this point,” Kirby said when asked about the red line by O’Keefe.

Watch the clip below:

Kirby stated that the Biden administration doesn’t “wanna see a single more innocent life taken,” while also claiming to “take a little offense” at O’Keefe’s question.

“No civilian casualties is the right number of civilian casualties And this is not something that we’ve turned a blind eye to, nor has it been something we’ve ignored or neglected to raise with our Israeli counterparts – including, Ed, this weekend as a result of this particular strike,” Kirby said. “Now, they’re investigating it. So, let’s let them investigate it and see what they come up with.”

“But the president doesn’t have like, a personal limit to this?” O’Keefe asked.

“The president has been very clear and very direct about what our expectations are for Israeli operations in Rafah, specifically, but in Gaza writ large. We don’t support, we won’t support a major ground operation in Rafah,” Kirby responded. “And we’ve, again, been very consistent on that. And the president said that, should that occur, then it might make him have to make different decisions in terms of support. We haven’t seen that happen at this point,” he said.

Kirby did not define what would constitute a “major” ground operation in Rafah. Previously, Biden told MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart on March 9 that a “ground operation” in Rafah “is a red line.” Earlier this month, he told CNN’s Erin Burnett “if they go into Rafah,” he would cut off supplies of certain offensive weapons.

On Tuesday IDF tanks, conducting operations on the ground in Rafah, reached the city’s center.

When asked why Biden had not address Sunday’s airstrikes himself, Kirby added that the White House rota has had “plenty of opportunities” to the president, including “in a press conference last week” that took place before the attacks.


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