White House co-press secretary John Kirby was stunned during a press conference on Tuesday — and said a new national security issue is “not his swim lane.”
Recent reports indicate that Chinese government-connected agents may have been purchasing American-owned homes near U.S. military bases — particularly those that include farmland with the property.
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Kirby, the spokesman for the Department of Defense of the United States, had apparently heard nothing about this report.
“Given the fact that a known adversary, in this case China, are buying up U.S. real estate … around U.S. military installations, is this on the administration’s radar?” a reporter asked Kirby during a Tuesday press conference.
Kirby looked lost.
“And what is being done to study this or to protect” American home ownership of these properties?
“The question of American home ownership is a little outside of my swim lane,” Kirby replied.
“This is a national security issue, particularly … around military installations,” the reporter responded.
“What I will tell you is that the president has been nothing but clear about our concerns about Chinese unfair trade and economic practices,” the press secretary responded.
When asked why it’s not a military concern that homes next to military bases are being bought, Kirby was confused.
“I’m probably not the right person to ask about home ownership here in the United States,” he said.
“This isn’t about home ownership. This is about buying up land near military installations,” the reporter repeated. “Is that a concern to this administration?”
The reporter said they’d submitted articles to the White House detailing these concerns weeks ago, and wanted to follow up on the report.
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Kirby simply didn’t respond.
You can see the video below —
Reporter: China is buying up land near U.S. military bases. Is this on the administration’s radar?
Co-Press Secretary John Kirby: That’s “a little out of my swim lane.”
Reporter: “This is a national security issue.”
Kirby: “I’m not the right person to ask about this.” pic.twitter.com/UjJqcPFtQ8
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 13, 2022