Will Biden Kill His Dog & Other Absurd Psaki Briefing Moments

Alex Wong/Getty Images White House Press Secretary  Jen Psaki found herself being pressed to say whether President Joe Biden intends...


Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki found herself being pressed to say whether President Joe Biden intends to kill his dog, and that was arguably not the most absurd situation she faced this week.

If you thought the Brady Briefing Room was a surreal hellscape worthy of a Twin Peaks dream sequence last week, this week would like last week to hold its beer.

But through it all, Psaki continued to display the very particular set of skills that has endeared her to a growing army of fans — anti-Trump PAC MeidasTouch even has an extensive line of Psaki merchandise, and there’s a Psaki anthem as well — who celebrate her every head tilt, bemused smirk, and calmly delivered so-called “Psaki bomb.”

The week began with the escalating story of First Dog Major Biden’s alleged aggression, which was reported to have caused him and his older brother Champ Biden to be deported to Wilmington. Psaki had to weigh in on MSNBC’s Morning Joe without giving much detail, but was clear that the White House stood with Major.

But by briefing time, she was ready to explain that someone — later revealed to be a Secret Service agent — startled the rescue pooch and sustained a minor injury from what was later described as a nipping incident.

All of a sudden, though, she was faced with a reporter asking if the President had ruled out having the dog killed. The usually unflappable Psaki may have been slightly flapped this time, responding “Well, certainly, Major Biden is a member of the family, so I can assure you that,” but never actually ruling it out.

But Psaki’s weariest response may have been to the reporter who later asked “We’ve heard a lot about dogs; we were promised a White House cat. What happened to that?”

“Where is the cat? Today is a good day for the cat. I don’t have any update on the cat. We know the cat will break the Internet, but I don’t have any update on its status,” Psaki replied.

This week also saw the culmination of an ongoing effort to make “fetch” happen, and by “fetch” I mean calling the influx of unaccompanied minors at the border a “crisis.”

For whatever reason, the media has been badgering Psaki — and the President, and any other administration official they can get within earshot of — to fall in line with the long-simmering right-wing freakout over migrants at the border. They did it at least 12 times over the course of 10 days, culminating in Psaki’s umpteenth patient explanation that while the surge is a challenge, the alternative is immoral and unthinkable.

A supercut:

The subject matter of the border challenge prompted a couple of other memorable moments this week, such as one reporter’s attempt to contort the issue into an attack on teacher’s unions. After Psaki responded to several questions about school reopenings with patient explanations of the CDC’s guidelines, the reporter asked “have the border patrol unions and the HHS unions been easier to work with than the teacher’s unions?”

The line of questioning elicited a bemused laugh from Psaki, to which the reporter responded with an outraged “It’s not funny.”

Fact check: it was funny.

“Let’s take a responsible approach to the two issues. Okay?” Psaki said, then patiently explained the difference between the two issues.

One of Psaki’s guest speakers had a moment this week, as well, on the subject of migrant asylum-seekers. Special Assistant to the President & Coordinator for the Southern Border Ambassador Roberta Jacobson delivered a comically perplexed reaction when a reporter asked if President Biden will use executive authority to reunite migrant children separated from their families during the Trump era — other than the task force he created for that purpose.

“That’s exactly what the Family Reunification Task Force is doing,” Jacobson said, as the reporter asked, “So, nothing beyond that?”

With yet another perplexed look, Jacobson replied “It deals with the whole universe of people separated during that policy so, not that I know of.”

Another reporter teed Psaki up to deliver some cutting shade in Trump’s direction this week by asking if she had “any update on whether or not he wants his signature on there like former President Trump demanded?”

MS. PSAKI: Well, we are — we are doing everything in our power to expedite the payments and not delay them, which is why the President’s name will not appear on the memo line of this round of stimulus checks. The checks will be signed by a career official at the Bureau of Fiscal Service.

This is not about him; this is about the American people getting relief — almost 160 million of them.

Q So did — he did not want his name to appear on the checks?

MS. PSAKI: He didn’t think that was a priority or a necessary step. His focus was on getting them out as quickly as possible.

But the coup de grace and arguable challenger to the dog guy’s absurdity crown was an insane exchange in which a reporter not only insisted that Trump deserves credit for the Biden administration’s successful vaccine rollout, but actually read out a statement he’d prepared for President Biden’s use.

Psaki’s response, delivered with the demeanor of a kindergarten teacher comforting a toddler who’d just soiled himself, prompted the reporter to hastily and badly explain himself.

Is it better that the absurdity and irresponsibility flows from the media to the podium, rather than the other way around? Perhaps, but it’s more exhausting than it is entertaining.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Will Biden Kill His Dog & Other Absurd Psaki Briefing Moments
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