Along with the decline of Afghanistan questions continuing into Thursday’s White House press briefing with only 13 being asked, the Texas abortion law gave the liberal media an off-ramp to drop that humanitarian and security disaster as they dedicated roughly 29 questions to defending the left’s rabid support for murder. But when it came to EWTN White House correspondent Owen Jensen standing up for life, Press Secretary Jen Psaki couldn’t stand that.
Jensen interjected roughly 10 minutes into Psaki’s Q&A with the fact Biden’s abortion views go against his Catholic faith: “Following up on the Texas law, why does the President support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?”
Psaki has long exhibited testiness toward Jensen, so it wasn’t a surprise when she hit back: “Well, he believes that it’s a woman’s right, it’s a woman’s body, and it’s her choice.”
Jensen stayed tough as he fired off an excellent follow-up: “Who does he believe then should look out for the unborn child?”
By this point, Psaki couldn’t contain her annoyance:
He believes that it’s up to a woman to make those decisions and up to women to make those decisions with her doctor. I know you’ve never faced those choices nor have you ever been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices, this is an incredibly difficult thing. President believes their right should be respected.
How offensive! Psaki needs to be cancelled for (a) not using the term “birthing people” or “pregnant people”; (b) not realizing that, according to her side of the aisle, men could become pregnant; and (c) assuming Jensen’s gender. What a mess!
Jensen tried to sneak in another question about what would Biden’s “message” be “to pro-life groups who support this law,” but Psaki moved on because, according to her, “we have to move on” since “you’ve had plenty of time today.”
Before this, ABC’s Stephanie Ramos and CBS’s Ed O’Keefe presented questions from the left on abortion. O’Keefe went first with two questions, one of which seeking comment on “what advice would the President give to a woman in Texas...who wants or needs to get an abortion[.]”
Ramos used one of her two questions to find out what the White House felt about boycotts of the Lone Star State: “Does the administration have a message for industry and private businesses that have operations in Texas? Like, would the President and the White House support a boycott of sorts against Texas?”
Fast-forward past the Jensen exchange and CBS News Radio’s Steven Portnoy floated the idea of U.S. taxpayers (via the Biden administration) paying for women to receive free transportation to states outside Texas to receive abortions.
Shifting to Afghanistan, CNN’s Jeff Zeleny sought an update “on the 100 to 200 Americans who — American citizens who have worked in the country or are still in the country.”
Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich also went down this route, seeking the number of U.S. green card holders and Afghan SIV applicants left behind.
Psaki gave a long, meandering answer to both questions, but Heinrich waited Psaki out so she could mention a brutal BBC report about the Taliban conducting mass killings before questioning Psaki on whether “our reliance on the Taliban to keep their word in terms of our evacuation is misplaced if we’re going back on things like” not harming fellow Afghans (click “expand”):
PSAKI: I wanted to give you guys an update on one piece that was asked yesterday, which is how many people have come into the country...[B]etween August 17th and August 31st, of the breakdown of people who have come into the country, 31,170 — 107, I’m sorry, people have arrived in the United States as a part of Operation Allies Welcome. 4,446 are U.S. citizens, 14 percent of them. 2,785 or nine percent are U.S. lawful permanent residents. 23,876 or 77 percent...are other Afghans at risk, including SIV and other visa holders, SIV applicants, P1 and P2 referrals and others...[I]n terms of how many people are in the country now, there are people who are eligible we may not even know they’re eligible yet, right? It is very hard to define those numbers. That is something that certainly the State Department in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security are going to be assessing...[E]verybody who wants to leave Afghanistan and come to the United States will not be able to...What we want to do is try to assess and try to do extensive outreach through diplomatic channels to see how many people there are, what programs they might be eligible for.
HEINRICH: Thank you. And then I wanted to get to the Taliban and questions of whether it’s keeping its promise for amnesty. There was some reporting from the BBC, some color from that story: “Since the Taliban came to power, one man said they haven’t stopped killing.” “A few days ago,” this person said, “they killed 12 members of special forces in Kandahar...three soldiers in Jalalabad as well.” “The Taliban took them out of their homes and shot them.” Given this kind of reporting that we’re hearing, is it possible that our reliance on the Taliban to keep their word in terms of our evacuation is misplaced if we’re going back on things like the amnesty promise?
PSAKI: Well, first, I don’t have any confirmation of those details. I’m not questioning the BBC’s reporting, I just don’t have any confirmation of them from the U.S. government. I would certainly point you to the Department of Defense and others who might have additional details. But what I would note here, Jackie, is no one is saying from the federal government, no one, the President, secretary of defense, no one from the intelligence community, that the Taliban are good actors, right? We are not saying that. That is one of the reasons we are being so clear that we are not rushing to recognition. We will be watching clearly. We have a range of leverage at our disposal, including access to the global marketplace and, of course, we will be assessing. It’s, of course, based on how they treat individuals in the country, how they treat women, whether they let people who want to leave the country leave. All of those are factors that we will be assessing. But I don’t have any confirmation of that specific reporting.
The back-end of the briefing had two excellent questions as Politico’s Eugene Daniels noted that the Taliban has said it would be saddling up with China and then an Australian reporter grilled Psaki on Secretary of State Antony Blinken not calling Australia prior to the August 31 deadline (click “expand”):
DANIELS: On Afghanistan, the Taliban says China will be their main partner and kind of financial lifeline. Does that weaken America’s leverage over the group to change its behavior, especially given the geographic closeness between China and Afghanistan?
AUSTRALIAN REPORTER: A Taliban spokesman told an Australia news network that the 41 Australians who died in the war in Afghanistan died in vain. During this time, the Australian government found out about the withdrawal date change through media reporting. We weren’t included on the list from Secretary of State Antony Blinken of countries called on the final day, August 31. Does the Taliban have a point?
PSAKI: I’m not sure I understand your question.
AUSTRALIAN REPORTER: We have sacrificed a lot for this alliance, including the lives of 41 Australians, and we’ve been left seemingly out of the loop during this withdrawal process. There hasn’t been high level of communication with the Australian government during this time.
AUSTRALIAN REPORTER: [Blinken] listed through all these different countries that you called at the end of that, and Australia wasn’t on the list.
Of course, Psaki punted on both questions.
To see the relevant transcript from September 2’s briefing (including an abortion question from The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker), click here.