With one last White House press briefing before the Fourth of July weekend, Fox’s Peter Doocy came prepared Friday afternoon with questions for Press Secretary Jen Psaki about her gaslighting on defunding the police, negative stories about Vice President Kamala Harris’s staff, and a widely-panned White House tweet urging Americans to celebrate the 16-cent decrease in the cost of food to throw a backyard get-together.
Starting with the hot dogs tweet, Doocy closed out his turn with a question about the tone-deaf tweet that ignored the fact that Americans are paying more for gas (which Psaki would acknowledge a few minutes later): “[T]he official White House account tweeted yesterday: ‘The cost of 1/4 of July cookout was down 16 cents from last year.’ 16 cents?”
Psaki didn’t hesitate in showing her Acela Corridor elitism, bragging that “there has been a reduction in some of the costs of key components of the Fourth of July — a Fourth of July barbecue. That was what the tweet was noting.”
Having totally missed the point, a usually calm Doocy came off as a tad exasperated while Psaki dug in by mocking blowback to the tweet has having emanated form those that dislike hot dogs (click “expand”):
DOOCY: [S]o does the White House think that 16 cents off of barbecue has more of an impact on people's lives than gas being a dollar more this time — this Fourth of July than last year?
PSAKI: I would say if you don't like hot dogs, you may not care of the reduction of costs.
DOOCY: You can’t —
PSAKI: You don't have to like hot dogs.
DOOCY: — you can’t buy a hot dog for 16 cents.
PSAKI: But — I — I — a reduction of —
DOOCY: Maybe a bite of a hot dog, though.
PSAKI: — I will say that what we are most focused on is the fact that we've created now more than three million jobs since the President took office. That's what we're focused on and continuing to implement additional components of his economic Build Back Better agenda.
Reuters’s Andrea Shalal was then called on and with the announcement that she wanted “to switch gears completely,” Psaki and the rest of the reporters promptly began laughing at the supposed nonsense of Doocy’s valid question.
In other words, they behaved like President Biden hours earlier when he grew agitated with multiple questions about Afghanistan. Fortunately, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and longtime radio correspondent Bob Costantini used part of their turns to ask about Biden’s bizarre annoyance.
Rewind to the beginning of Doocy’s spot and he led off with a series of stories in establishment, liberal media publications about the reportedly disorganized, haphazard, and toxic work environment associated with the Vice President.
Psaki, who worked at CNN prior to joining the Biden team, refused to engage because “I try not to speak to or engage on anonymous reports or anonymous sources” as Harris “has a challenging job, a hard job, and she has a great supportive team of people around her.”
Doocy also tried to go for round three in sparing with the administration over their false claims that Republicans are the party that has been (and wants to continue) defunding the police.
“You say the President does not want to defund the police. But is the President concerned then that, last year, the now associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said it was, ‘critical for state and local leaders to heed calls from Black Lives matter and Movement for Black Lives activists to decrease police budgets,’” asked Doocy.
Just like on Monday and Wednesday, Psaki reignited the gaslighting as she tried to defend Gupta (click “expand”):
PSAKI: Well, let me first say that, as a Fox News report that came about in February quoted: “Current former police chiefs in more than 53 cities across the country, as well as the National Fraternal Order of Police, are issuing their support of the nomination of Vanita Gupta, President Biden's nominee for associate attorney general, praising her leadership and record and urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to quickly confirm her to the post.” I don't know that that was your report or not —
DOOCY: It was not.
PSAKI: — but it was certainly one from your network.
DOOCY: But she said — okay, so that's the Fox report.
DOOCY: Thank you, uh, and Senate testimony, she said she wanted to decrease police budgets, so was she —
PSAKI: She also made explicitly clear in her confirmation process that she opposes defunding the police and the President ran on, most importantly, did not run on defunding the police. He's always opposed defunding the police. I’ll also note because you've asked this question before, or a few times over the last several days that, when we talk about, uh, individuals in Congress and their support for funding or opposition to funding for the police, I think what the American people are most focused on is how people vote, what their record is, which is a public record. And I will note that, while the President ran on and won the most votes of any candidate history on a platform of boosting funding for law enforcement after Republicans spent decades trying to cut the cops program, which, again, is public record, we don't need to under — under — undervalue the intelligence of the American people, uh, the President ran on increasing that funding. It's in his budget. In President Trump's budget, he significantly cut that, so that's a change. And the American Rescue Plan had a great deal of funding for local and state authorities, something that can support funding for local police in communities across the country, something many have used. Doesn’t require me telling you names of individuals who opposed the American Rescue Plan. Every Republican opposed the American Rescue Plan, and I don't have time to read out all their names today.
If this were a Trump administration briefing, one could safely bet that CNN and MSNBC would be doing a few segments fact-checking Psaki and decrying the administration’s lies.
But since their friends are in power, they moved right along.
To see the relevant transcript from the July 2 briefing and questions about critical race theory from Shalal and a softball question on oil prices from Bloomberg’s Jennifer Epstein (which should have been a hardball), click here.