As you’ve probably ascertained by now, Joe Biden’s recent press conference did not go well. Despite the fact that he largely received softball questions, the president still managed to have outbursts of anger and falsehoods. But it was his comments delegitimizing the 2022 election that drew near-universal ire. They were so bad that even CNN managed to levy some mild criticism.
I like to imagine Jen Psaki finishing off her sixth straight cigarette at around the time the presser ended, just being thankful the train-wreck finally ended. Then it was off to perform clean-up duty.
So, how do you spin the fact that Biden twice claimed the 2022 election wouldn’t be legitimate unless he got his garbage “voting rights” bill bassed? Psaki apparently decided on the “pee on their leg and tell them it’s raining” strategy. In hindsight, I suppose there weren’t any better options.
Here’s what that looked like on Fox News this morning.
.@DanaPerino: "I'm curious if you'll continue to say the 2022 elections will be illegitimate?"
Psaki: "First I talked to the president a lot about this & he absolutely is not predicting that the 2022 elections would be illegitimate." pic.twitter.com/8qsCkisPW1
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) January 20, 2022
The problem with that response is essentially everything. We have the two videos showing Biden pointedly questioning the legitimacy of the 2022 election. In one instance, the president asserts that “I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit,” followed by a claim that the passage of his federal elections takeover will be the deciding factor.
REPORTER: Will the midterm elections be fair and legitimate if the voting bill isn't passed?
BIDEN: "It depends on whether or not we’ll be able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election.” pic.twitter.com/COCp5RSfXB
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 19, 2022
In another instance, when asked if the mid-terms will be fair and legitimate, Biden took things a step further. He noted that he and his party would try to convince people that things are being set up to “alter the outcome of the election.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that what he was saying and what his intentions were in making those statements.
Biden says that future elections "easily could be illegitimate."
"I'm not saying it's going to be legit. The increase in the prospect of it being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed." pic.twitter.com/DF0iOXX2jl
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) January 19, 2022
Yet, Psaki wakes up the next morning and proclaims with a straight face that Biden wasn’t actually predicting the 2022 election will be illegitimate? Not only did he predict that, but he pointedly laid out the circumstances in which that would be a reality in his view, i.e. if his elections takeover isn’t passed. There was no ambiguity about his comments. But this is the life of a press secretary for a decrepit, 80-year-old man who can’t keep his thoughts straight anymore.
Meanwhile, Never Trumpers are attempting to cope by saying “well, at least they walked it back.” You can almost feel the consternation in their pleas for the president to stop being what he is.
— Alyssa Farah Griffin (@Alyssafarah) January 20, 2022
But hey, they bought the ticket, and now they get to take the ride. This is who Biden is, and it’s who he has always been. No amount of gaslighting about what he “really meant” is going to change that.
Besides, these clean-up attempts only further harden opposition to the administration’s positions and policies. People see what’s happening, and they heard what Biden said. Psaki can’t lie her way out of it, though she’ll certainly continue to try.