It can’t be easy being Jen Psaki.
As the press secretary for a Democratic White House, she enjoys a natural home-court advantage when it comes to dealing with the mainstream media — and knows it.
As the spokeswoman for the first Democratic White House after the Donald Trump presidency, she probably feels entitled to the perpetual goodwill of the same prima donna correspondents who got the vapors every time Sarah Sanders of Kayleigh McEnany looked at them sideways.
Unfortunately for Psaki, unlike Sanders or McEnany, she’s working in an administration that’s desperately trying to convince the American public that it’s on top of major issues like the unfolding-in-real-time disaster on the southern border when she knows, and the reporters know, that the White House doesn’t have a clue how to handle it.
And sometimes it’s just impossible to hide.
One of those moments came Monday, when Psaki was asked how the Biden White House reconciled the idea of paying $86 million to put illegal immigrants up in hotel rooms in the Southwest when very American National Guard troops had been banished to parking garages when they were in Washington to guard Biden’s inauguration.
(They were also subjected to considerably less than excellent culinary standards.)
Psaki did what she always does when she’s confronted with a question with a little more bite than the lapdog press corps is wont to deliver: She danced around it.
Q: How do you square National Guard troops sleeping in parking garages and eating contaminated food with illegal immigrants being put up into hotel rooms?
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 22, 2021
The question started with a reminder of the administration’s decision to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to furnish the hotel rooms for people who are in the country because they have little regard for American law.
“How do you square that with the National Guard troops who were sleeping in parking garages and ate, you know, some of them got sick from having contaminated food,” asked the reporter, identified by the Daily Caller as Emerald Robinson of Newsmax.
“A lot of people are pointing out that our National Guard were treated one way, and then illegal immigrants are going to be put in hotel rooms.”
Psaki, of course, didn’t answer the question. Her response amounted to basically that President Joe Biden had immediately offered to “play any role that he could play” in easing the plight of the guardsmen — “boosting morale, asking for more aid, making sure they had the right, were treated in the way that they deserve for the incredible role they’ve played.”
Then she went on to a new topic — the appointment of former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to an assistant secretary’s role in the Department of Health and Human Services. (She didn’t answer that question either.)
Psaki’s dodging response to the Guard/hotel room question didn’t win her many fans, even in the liberal-dominated Twitter world:
Why does she never give a STRAIGHT ANSWER…always avoiding the problems Even when it came to our troops sleeping on concrete floor. Biden made the mess at the border and hiding is not going to solve the situations .why don’t you admit the mistake YOU MADE…
— betty sims (@bettysi66686285) March 22, 2021
She is so lost up there. You can see her panicking… this is day 61 @PressSec hahaha. This is comedy watching her stumble.
— SoonerOkie (@BoomSoon365) March 22, 2021
Legit question she ran away from … Pathetic
— CryptoZilla (@senseibigdog) March 22, 2021
What Psaki probably hoped no one would notice was that she never addressed the meat of the question.
As despicable as Democratic treatment of the men and women of the Guard really was, it was two months ago — an eternity in the modern news cycle. (And given that it was Democrats disrespecting the military, the disgrace wasn’t all that surprising.)
The question was about the hotel rooms.
It might seem “normal” in the through-the-looking-glass world of liberal politics, but sane governments do not spend their national treasury on hotel rooms for lawbreakers.
They might spend money on jail cells. They might spend money on detention centers. They might spend it on sending illegal immigrants home. If they’re particularly practical, they might even spend it on a wall to keep illegal immigrants out of the country in the first place, avoiding the problem completely.
But what they don’t do is spend it on hotel rooms.
It would take considerable brainpower to try to come up with a reason why it’s reasonable to make hotel guests out of uninvited visitors who have no business being in the country in the first place.
It would take more than a friendly audience of condescending liberals to try to make pure lunacy sound sane on a national stage.
But that’s the job Psaki has chosen for herself and trained for for years, as deputy White House communications director during the Obama years as well as the spokeswoman for John Kerry’s State Department during Obama’s second term.
Psaki is going to have a very tough 4 years, if she makes it that long. Even some of the left-leaning media are starting to ask this administration some tough questions.
— David (@David07882208) March 22, 2021
Whatever egos Huckabee and McEnany had to deal with (and they weren’t all named “Acosta”), they at least had the advantage of defending policies created by adults to be implemented in the real world, not chasing unicorns to some progressive utopia somewhere.
The mainstream media hated them, and news briefings had to be a workout, but in the November election, almost 75 million voters showed how seriously they took it.
Whatever the battles McEnany and Huckabee faced with a ruthlessly antagonistic press corps, at least they never once had to stand at the White House podium and defend spending tens of millions of dollars on hotel rooms for criminals for whom deportation or jail followed by deportation are more reasonable alternatives.
No, it can’t be easy being Jen Psaki, explaining and defending Joe Biden in the White House.
But it’s harder being the people who are paying for it, in every way.
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