Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy went toe-to-toe with Press Secretary Jen Psaki during Wednesday’s briefing, challenging her on the hypocrisy surrounding Texas Democrats fleeing the state over proposed voter integrity measures and the administration’s refusal to denounce the evils of communism that have ravaged the Cuban people for 62 years.
While Doocy actually did his job as a reporter to challenge those in power, others in the room pushed the White House not out of accountability, but from the left to help allies will policy proposals into existence.
Though Psaki found it amusing, Doocy’s first question was quite serious as it touched on whether Biden had ever done what Texas Democrats did this week:
About voting rights and Texas lawmakers who have come to Washington, do you know any — of any examples from his 36 years in the Senate that Joe Biden just hopped on a train and left town to avoid a vote that he knew he was going to lose?
Psaki replied by chuckling and again telling him, “welcome back” after a week away (which also led the rest of Doocy’s colleagues to laugh at the exchange) before offering word salad about how Biden “certainly applauds their actions and their outspoken opposition” that “[made] a statement” in fighting “restrictions on people's fundamental rights and the rights to vote.”
Doocy called out Psaki’s humorous dismissal, noting Biden’s eye-popping assertion that voter integrity measures pose the greatest threat to American democracy “since the Civil War.” Psaki agreed and argued that walking off the job and abandoning constituents “requires bold action” and “voices to speak out.”
The Fox reporter also took on this spin, wondering why someone who prided himself on wanting to “make deals with Republicans” would endorse lawmakers going AWOL until they get their way.
After Psaki tried to have it both ways with infrastructure and voting, Doocy shifted to Cuba. On that front, he led with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s hardline against Cubans fleeing to the United States.
Once Psaki parroted the secretary by insisting the administration wouldn’t stand for unfettered immigration from Cuba, Doocy turned to the fact that communism has been the reason for the decades of ruin on the island nation, but Psaki refused to accept that notion.
Worse yet, Psaki even refused to condemn the far-left ideology (click “expand”)
DOOCY: And as the administration tries to figure out the root causes of migration to the country, don't we know that the reason people want to leave Cuba is because they don't like communism?
PSAKI: We —
DOOCY: And so, as you’re trying to figure out, like, what the processes are for these people who want to leave Cuba. Does the President —
PSAKI: I'm not sure what your question is.
DOOCY: You guys have said a lot of times —
PSAKI: Why are people leaving Cuba or what is the process for them getting here? I can explain either of them, but you tell me.
DOOCY: Sure, yeah. Do you think that people are leaving Cuba because they don't like communism?
PSAKI: I think we've been pretty clear that we think people are leaving Cuba — or not — leaving Cuba or protesting in the streets as well because they are opposed to the oppression, to the mismanagement of the government in the country. And we certainly support their right to protest. We support their efforts to speak out against their treatment in Cuba. I will say, separately, an important question is what happens when people are seeking protection or what happens when they are attempting to flee? In the past, as I noted, we have had several humanitarian programs such as Family Reunification Parole Programs for Haiti and Cuba. Those are processes in-place prior to the Trump administration. Those have not been turned back on as the Secretary Mayorkas said yesterday. He also said we are assessing the status of those parole programs, Haitian and Cuban nationals in the U.S. with a fear of return may be eligible for protection, such as asylum, under U.S. law. Haitian nationals already in the United States may be eligible for temporary protected status. But migrants interdicted in the Caribbean who manifest a fear are referred to U.S. CIS for a protection screening. That’s what happens. Those who do not manifest a fear or who are not found to have a credible fear following this screening are repatriated to their country of origin. Those found to have a well-founded fear of persecution or fear are not brought to the United States. They are referred to a third country for resettlement. I'm sharing all of that with you so people understand what the process is when they're trying to make — what a treacherous journey is and a challenging journey where people can lose their lives. But certainly, we have said many times and I will reiterate here that we support not just the — the role of — of protest and peaceful protests, we stand with the Cuban people in their call for freedom from both the pandemic and decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime.
At least four other reporters questioned Psaki on Cuba, including two who wanted to know whether Biden had any plans to give a speech (or at least speak out further) on the protests and repression by the regime. But despite pleas from Florida Democrats, Psaki said there was nothing on Biden’s schedule to do so.
One reporter even tried to inquire about what steps the administration would take against the Cuban regime for detaining protesters and cutting off internet access, but once again, Psaki wasn’t interested beyond talking points about Cubans being frustrated with “the pandemic and from decades of repression.”
Elsewhere, Bloomberg’s Mario Parker lobbed a question from the left on what message the administration had for “critics [who] say that a lack of urgency that he hasn’t yet pushed senators to support abandoning or modifying the filibuster to get this legislation passed.”
But it was The Washington Post’s Matt Viser and then The Grio’s April Ryan who acted like true suck-ups by fretting that the White House didn’t go far enough in the President’s voting rights speech and call for the axing of the filibuster (despite its eyebrow-raising rhetoric) (click “expand”):
VISER: One more crack on the filibuster thing. The Vice President yesterday when he was asked about changing it to have carve out for voting rights said: “I'm certainly having conversations with folks. Is the President also having conversations or is he sort of yielding completely on the idea of — of changing the filibuster given that yesterday he compared the current state of democracy as in peril, comparing it to the Civil War. So is he talking to people about these legislative tools that could be changed, is he having the conversations?
VISER: So, he is having conversations. Is he advocating any particular way? Is he expressing an opinion to end those conversations?
RYAN: Yesterday in Philadelphia after the speech, Reverend Al Sharpton said it was a momentous speech. He said the President talked on race, but what was missing was the word filibuster and what he was going to do. Also after the speech, we talked to the NAACP President Derek Johnson, who said that he was concerned there was no path forward and there was no sense of urgency. I’m going back to that other question, but giving a little more specifics as to what was said, can you address that about the path forward, the filibuster, and sense of urgency? The President talked about equating this moment to the civil war, but where was the urgency in moving it forward — the path forward and, also, the issue of the filibuster that’s holding this whole thing up?
RYAN: So, what about the pathway forward, though, from this administration? What do you — I mean, you’re telling the coalition groups to go out and act. The President said that yesterday, but what is the path forward? What is the formula that this administration has to making sure that HR-1 is passed and that HR-4 comes behind it — HR-1 and S. 1 are passed then HR-4 moves forward?
On that note, remember when Ryan was offended that Trump told her to set up a meeting for him with the Congressional Black Caucus?
Well, we do and Wednesday’s exchange highlighted exactly what Trump was talking about in that the CNN political analyst is no more than a leftist hack and spokesperson for far-left activist groups.
To see the relevant transcript from July 14's briefing, click here.