Wednesday’s Psaki Show marked a contrast between the constructive and the absurd as Fox’s Peter Doocy engaged the White House press secretary on questions surrounding President Biden’s son Hunter and brother Jim and, as other reporters would as well, immigration. But in contrast, others expressed discomfort with a lack of COVID restrictions, raised concerns about right-wing terrorism, and pleaded for more January 6 indictments.
Starting with the constructive, Doocy led with what one could call Bidenphones (following in the footsteps of Obamaphones): “Our team in Texas is saying that you guys are starting to give smartphones to border crossers, hoping that they’ll use the phones to check in or to be tracked. I — which part of that is supposed to deter people from crossing illegally into the states?”
Psaki argued “you of all people” should “recognize that we need to take steps to ensure that we know where individuals are and we can track...them” as one of the “alternatives to detention programs” with phones allowing for facial and voice recognition and GPS tracking.
Doocy followed up: “With the telephonic, though, any concern by folks around here that these migrants will take the phones and just toss them?”
When Psaki countered with a question as to whether he knows of “people throwing phones away,” Doocy hit back that he was merely asking a question.
After Psaki offered a similar answer about the phones “ensuring...individuals who irregularly migrate” are “monitored,” Doocy pivoted to Biden family corruption as FoxNews.com reported Wednesday that the now-President wrote college recommendation letters for the son of Hunter’s Chinese business partners.
Psaki deflected, citing how it happened in 2017 (click “expand”):
DOOCY: Okay. On another topic, was it common for President Biden to do favors for Hunter Biden’s international business partners like writing college recommendations for their kids?
PSAKI: I have — I’ve seen the report. I have no confirmation or comments on a report about whether or not the President, when he was a private citizen, wrote a college recommendation letter for an individual.
DOOCY: I — A college recommendation letter, though, from, at the time, a former Vice President would be a big deal. So, do we know what the President might have gotten in return for doing a favor like that?
PSAKI: Again, I have no confirmation of any recommendation letter the President wrote when he was a private citizen — by the way, not serving in public office. That’s even in the report.
DOOCY: But he’s the President now, and you’re his spokesperson.
PSAKI: Correct and he was not the President at the time of this report.
On a second matter, Doocy wanted to know whether it was accurate that, as per emails (from Hunter’s laptop), Joe “was officemates with Hunter and his brother Jim here in D.C.” during Hunter and Jim’s business venture with a Chinese energy company.
Psaki insisted three times that it wasn’t “accurate” and “they were not officemates” despite Doocy noting the fact that Hunter had emailed the landlord asking for keys to be made for Jim as well as the then-former Vice President and wife Jill.
Going back to immigration, NPR’s Mara Liasson and ABC News Radio’s Karen Travers posed questions about how the administration will grapple with the expected tsuanmi of illegal immigrants upon the formal end of the pandemic rule Title 42.
For Travers, she asked whether the message is still for illegal immigrants to “not come” to the U.S. even though they’ll no longer face risk of deportation.
Liasson’s Title 42 questions were followed by four fear-mongering COVID-19 questions from The New York Times’s Katie Rogers, including her first lamenting how the White House promotes its “stringent measures” but still allows the President to appear maskless in public.
Instead of acknowledging the science of lack of risk to most if they contract the virus, her last question pressed from the left on whether Biden not being masked sends the right message to Americans “as infection rates rise.”
But Rogers could hold a candle to zingers from freelance reporter Andrew Feinberg fearing “white supremacists and other domestic extremists” carrying out “violence on American soil” in support of Russia and then the Huffington Post’s S.V. Dáte pleading for more people to be charged in relation to the January 6 riot (click “expand”):
FEINBERG: You talked about the increasing picture of Russia’s economy. Over the years, public reporting has shown that white supremacists and other domestic extremists have developed an affinity for Russia. Is there any concern that as the Russian economy continues to degrade, that Russia might try and inspire domestic extremists, domestic terrorists to commit acts of violence on American soil in retaliation?
DÁTE: There was a recent report that the President had expressed some frustration that the former President had not been charged. Without getting into the details of that, there are lots of people being charged with obstructing an official proceeding, meaning the January 6th certification. Well, the former President was doing that openly and his administration was doing it. Why wouldn’t you charge him? And why hasn’t the President come out and said that if that’s the case?
To see the relevant transcript from April 6’s briefing (including key follow-ups from Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann on Ukraine and union drives at Amazon), click here.