White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre lashed out at Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Friday over a bill he signed into law this week restricting drag shows on public property, in the presence of children, or near schools in the state.
Jean-Pierre, who is openly gay, questioned what impact the bill would have on the lives of Americans, and claimed people were more concerned about issues like the economy and healthcare.
“The American people are focused on so many issues. We just talked about economy, we just talked about inflation, we’re talking about safer communities and schools, and good healthcare – all of the things that you all ask me every day. And you all know that’s what the American people care about,” she said in response to a question on what the Biden administration would do in response to the law.
“That’s what – even when they went to vote in November, those were the issues that mattered the most to them. But instead of doing anything to address those real issues that are impacting American people, right now you have a governor from Tennessee that has decided to go after drag shows. What sense does that make to go after drag shows? How is that going to help people’s lives?” she added.
The bill, which Lee signed into law on Thursday, makes Tennessee the first state to limit drag performances. It specifically criminalizes performances that take place in public or where they could be seen by children.
First-time violators of the drag performance aspect of the bill may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by a $2,500 fine and as long as a year in prison. Any subsequent offenses will be classified as a Class E felony.
The bill also bans gender transition treatment for minors in the state.
Fox News’ Julia Musto contributed to this report.