“We are BTS,” said RM, whose official name is Kim Nam-Joon and is considered the de facto leader of the giant group, as he took to the podium in the briefing room. “It’s an honor to be invited to the White House today to discuss such important issues as anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian-American inclusion and diversity.”
White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre, who opened up about the organization, noted that while “many of you know BTS as a Grammy-nominated international icon, they also play an important role as youth ambassadors, promoting Respectful and positive message.”
The other group members then took turns delivering their own messages in Korean. Later, a translator summed up their various messages, such as: “Equality starts with us being open and accepting of all our differences” and “We hope today is a step forward to respect and understand that everyone has valued people.”
Then RM went back to the podium.
“Finally, we thank President Biden and the White House for this important opportunity to talk about why it matters,” he said. “Remind ourselves what we can do as artists.”
On the last day of May, BTS, designated Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, headed to the Oval Office to meet with the president himself. Before attending the news conference, BTS filmed content and toured the venue with the White House digital team, according to a White House official.
The group’s visit to Biden — somewhat inexplicably closed to news coverage — is the latest example of the White House using the power of celebrity to focus on key priorities.
In July last year, the government hired singer Olivia Rodrigo to promote the coronavirus Vaccination.Just last week, the White House invited actress and singer Selena Gomez to highlight mental health, and Gomez appeared at three minute video Discuss it with Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and Surgeon Vivek H. Murthy.
But at some point on Tuesday, the anti-discrimination message the administration wanted to send was somewhat overshadowed by the hysterical atmosphere inside the briefing room and outside the White House gates.
Outside, hundreds of fans – mostly young girls – gathered for a distant glimpse of the K-pop group, chanting the names of the seven members and pointing their fingers as they waited under the scorching sun Shouting: “BTS! BTS!”
Inside, dozens of interested journalists, many of Korean descent, packed the aisles at least half an hour before the briefings were supposed to start — making the already cramped room even more suffocating. The veteran reporter quipped that the briefing room has been less crowded since Sean Spicer was press secretary, when for all the wrong reasons, at least for the Donald Trump administration, these meetings Become a must-see TV show.
Tuesday’s live White House briefings typically draw hundreds of interested viewers. But some 11,000 people turned out for the show long before the 2.30pm meeting began. About 71,000 people were online ten minutes before the launch. Minutes after the briefing officially started – minutes later than originally planned – 197,000 people watched.
More than 300,000 people were still streaming when White House National Economic Council Director Diess took to the podium to start speaking. (The longer Diess talked about inflation, the ratings plummeted.)
“Okay, so I’m going home and telling my kids that BTS is open for me,” Diess said, as reporters laughed. “I didn’t expect this when I woke up this morning. And I know you’re all here talking about adjusted average inflation, and you’re as excited about it as you are about them.”