Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, in an interview with the left-wing podcast “Pod Save America,” agreed with the observation that Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy’s questions in the briefing room made him sound like a “stupid son of a b——.”
Ms. Psaki was asked if Mr. Doocy is a “stupid [SOB]” or if “he just plays one on TV.” Her response was viciously partisan: “He works for a network that provides people with questions that — nothing personal to any individual, including Peter Doocy — but might make anyone sound like a stupid” you-know-what.
Earlier this month, it was reported Ms. Psaki had signed an exclusive deal to join MSNBC. Apparently, obscenely trashing a rival network is part of her new gig, however, ethically compromised it may be given she still hasn’t stepped down from the White House podium. On the podcast, Ms. Psaki lost her discipline and spoke in a personal capacity, whereas taxpayers pay her salary to speak on behalf of the president of the United States.
That’s a hallmark of Ms. Psaki’s tenure. If Mr. Doocy were not in the briefing room, she’d repeatedly get asked by less hostile news outlets what flavor ice cream Mr. Biden ate that day. When confronted with tough policy questions, she routinely relies on snarky, condescending, flippant retorts, mixed in with outright lies.
“Why is it that we can sit here in the White House briefing room with no masks, but people can’t sit in an airplane cabin with no masks?” Mr. Doocy asked Ms. Psaki Monday, in reference to a federal judge’s decision to strike down the transportation mask mandate.
“I’m not a doctor. You’re not a doctor,” Ms. Psaki snapped, without answering the question.
When sparring with reporters trying to do their jobs, the list of Psaki “hits” — in both senses of the word — is long and dishonorable.
In February 2021, after Mr. Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and the 15,000 high-paying American jobs that went with it, Mr. Doocy asked how those paychecks would be replaced, given that jobs in green energy weren’t yet available.
“I certainly welcome you to present your data on all the thousands and thousands of people who won’t be getting a green job,” Ms. Psaki retorted. “Maybe next time you’re here, you can present that.”
More than a year later, the lost Keystone XL jobs have yet to be replaced with their promised green counterparts.
When asked by another reporter whether Mr. Biden had decided on the future of the Space Force, the newest branch of the military established by former President Donald Trump, Ms. Psaki quipped: “Wow! The Space Force — it’s the plane of today,” comparing the importance of the question to repeated inquiries as to whether Mr. Biden had decided to change the color scheme on Air Force One.
In December, less than two weeks before the White House decided to mail COVID-19 test kits to American families, she mocked the idea.
“Should we just send one to every American?” Ms. Psaki defensively countered NPR’s Mara Liasson, who brought up the topic.
“Maybe,” the reporter replied, citing long wait lines for tests at the time and the fact other countries were implementing the policy.
“Then what happens if you — if every American has one test? How much does that cost, and then what happens after that?” Ms. Psaki snapped, putting the onus back on the reporter and avoiding the question entirely.
In January, when asked if the White House would consider changing course amid Russia’s impending invasion of Ukraine, rising inflation, skyrocketing crime, a southern border crisis, a COVID-19 surge and the collapse on Capitol Hill of Mr. Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda, Ms. Psaki was defiant, condescending and oblivious of the American people’s plight.
“Our effort is to do hard things, try hard things and keep at it,” she replied. “We could certainly propose legislation to see if people support bunny rabbits and ice cream, but that wouldn’t be very rewarding for the American people.”
Failing to deal with inflation at a 40-year-high and record gas prices isn’t very rewarding for the American people either. Though, in Ms. Psaki’s telling, the supply chain crisis is merely “the tragedy of the treadmill that’s delayed,” and rising prices are a “good thing,” because they mean that “more people are buying goods.”
Last month, Ms. Psaki bristled at a New York Post reporter who asked her how Mr. Biden is negotiating “conflicts of interest when it comes to sanctioning [Russian] people,” given his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Russia and a reported $3.5 million payment the son had received from the wife of a Moscow city official.
“I don’t have any confirmation of the accuracy of that report, so I have no further details,” Ms. Psaki snapped back, avoiding the question, and dismissing the Post’s own reporting.
“Can you say anything about the conflicts of interest though? How is [Mr. Biden] navigating those when deciding sanctions?” the Post reporter pressed.
“What would be his conflicts of interest?” Ms. Psaki cooed, before turning to another more friendly outlet for a new question.
It’s not surprising Ms. Psaki wouldn’t understand basic ethical issues, given that she has — reportedly — leveraged her government job to negotiate a lucrative deal with MSNBC, while continuing to serve as press secretary and still dealing with the media daily.
It’s well past time for Jen Psaki to go.
• Kelly Sadler is the commentary editor at the Washington Times.
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