Is it possible for Jen Psaki to be both good at her job and absolutely terrible at it? Because that’s what I feel like when I watch her answer any halfway pressing question. She’s good at spewing talking points and filibustering, and I suppose that’s a skillset in and of itself, but the things she actually says are just not persuasive at all. And isn’t persuasion a big part of being the president’s press secretary?
But perhaps the White House thinks it’s beyond having to convince anyone of anything? That’s the kind of arrogance that went forth today when Psaki attempted to clean up Biden’s recent COVID-19 falsehoods.
As RedState reported, the president sat down for his first interview in months, and while it was mostly the tongue bath you’d expect from ABC News, there were a few tough questions. One of them involved Kamala Harris saying that no one saw the Delta or Omicron variants coming, and that the administration wasn’t prepared.
Biden’s answer was something else (see Joe Biden’s Wild Cackle When Asked About His Failures Points to a Man Far in Over His Head).
ANCHOR: "The vice president said in recent days that you didn't see Delta coming, that you didn't see Omicron coming. How did you get it wrong?"
BIDEN: "Ha ha ha" pic.twitter.com/FkVgpPQ2HU
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 22, 2021
Fox News’ Peter Doocy (because who else?) asked Psaki about that exchange,
DOOCY TIME: "So why is the President saying about this new variant, 'nobody saw it coming, nobody in the world' if that's not true."
Psaki: "Well first, I would say that nobody saw — knew that there would be the number of different variants." pic.twitter.com/lnyBawHVFh
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) December 23, 2021
This is where Psaki being both good and terrible at her job comes in. In that clip, she does a decent job filibustering for 45 seconds in order to move Doocy on to the next question so he can’t follow up. Her pace of speaking is acceptable, and she’s got the talking points down about how supposedly prepared the White House was.
Yet, in the end, she never actually addresses the fact that both Kamala Harris and Joe Biden pointedly said they weren’t prepared. Isn’t that the most important issue at hand? And clearly, they weren’t prepared. The White House was taken completely by surprise in regards to Delta and Omicron. So who exactly is listening to Psaki’s deflection and thinking “yeah, this makes sense.” Instead, it just comes across as weak excuse-making by a president who was cast into the deep end and has no idea how to swim.
As I argued earlier today, this is why senators shouldn’t be presidents except in extremely rare circumstances — but I digress. Perhaps Psaki’s inability to actually persuade is simply a result of having absolutely nothing to work with? It’s rare for a day to go by where Biden doesn’t say something that’s contradictory, and that’s assuming he manages to say anything of substance at all. I certainly don’t envy having to clean up a senile old man’s statements on a near-daily basis.
Still, Psaki gets paid well to do her job, and she should be held to some semblance of a standard when it comes to truth and honesty. Gaslighting constantly by pretending Biden didn’t say what he actually said may play well with leftwing Twitter. But it’s only driving normal Americans further away.