One day after derisively dismissing Space Force as “The plane of today!” and admitting that she didn’t even know who the Space Force’s White House contact was, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki flat-out refused to apologize for her comments. She did, however, state that the Space Force has the “full support of the Biden administration” when pressed.
As I covered Tuesday night, after Psaki was pilloried for her condescension and ignorance, and after some members of Congress suggested she should apologize for same, Psaki tweeted that “we” (meaning the Biden administration) “look forward to the continuing work of Space Force and invite the members of the team to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work.” At the time, I predicted that Psaki would consider that an apology and that the matter should be closed.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Fox News’ Kristin Fisher, daughter of two astronauts, asked Psaki if she was going to apologize as she was called upon to do.
Under questioning from Fox News's @KristinFisher (and the daughter of astronauts), White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refuses to apologize for mocking the Space Force at Tuesday's briefing, doubling down on her Tuesday night tweet saying the administration supports them. pic.twitter.com/2IcQMhkLvX
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 3, 2021
In her sarcastic response, Psaki indeed considered that tweet an apology, maybe:
I did send a tweet last night. You may not all be on Twitter. Maybe they’re not on Twitter. That said, we invite the members of Space Force here to provide an update to all of you on all of the important work they’re doing, and we certainly look forward to seeing continued updates from their team.
Aren’t communications professionals supposed to be skilled in communicating clearly and precisely? Psaki didn’t answer with a yes or a no, and didn’t even clarify whether the tweet was supposed to be an apology or not. The tone of her performance wasn’t lost on Twitter:
@PressSec Your press conference today left a bit to be desired. The Space Force is a part of the military force, deserving respect unlike your rude answer. The answer given that the “answer was the answer” was a curt answer. Get your act together and show some respect.
— cpg (@HorseNutmeg) February 3, 2021
Fisher followed up by asking Psaki if Space Force has the full support of the Biden administration. Psaki replied:
They absolutely have the full support of the Biden administration and we are not revisiting the decision to establish the Space Force. The desire for the DOD to focus greater attention and resources on the growing security challenges in space has long been a bipartisan issue informed by numerous independent commissions, and studies conducted across multiple administrations, and thousands of men and women proudly serve in the Space Force. As you know it was established by Congress, and any other steps would actually have to be taken by Congress, not by the administration.
In other words, “From the reaction to my comments yesterday we can tell that Space Force has a lot of support, so we’re not going to trash it again, and actually, it’s a bipartisan issue, so we can take some credit, but hey, if anything happens to it, that’s on Congress, not us.”