Tapper Grills Psaki on Troubling WH Position on Inflation and Ethics Complaint Against Her

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

It’s rare when CNN seems to get it right or when they appear to do actual journalism.

But we had one of those rare occasions during an interview that Jake Tapper did with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

On Friday night, Tapper grilled her over Joe Biden’s legislative agenda, and he actually punctured the White House’s frequent claim that the Biden spending bonanza bill, Build Back Better, is popular. Tapper noted that in a CNN poll this week, only a quarter of the people thought that the bill would leave them better off — more people, 32 percent, thought it would leave them worse off and 43 percent thought they wouldn’t be affected. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement of what Americans think about the bill.

“The White House has not convinced” the voters, Tapper said.

Psaki claimed it was because people really didn’t know what was in the bill. On the contrary, it’s the people who don’t know what’s in the bill who are for it, because they don’t know better. It’s the people who know what’s in the bill who are against it — when they realize what it all means and how badly it would affect the economy and their lives. Tapper quipped that the progressives seemed more about bashing the moderates than they were about touting the supposed benefits of the bill.

Then Tapper put Psaki on the spot over inflation, pointing to their ridiculous take on how inflation was somehow a “good sign” and mentioning the disdainful tweet of the White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, who retweeted a post calling inflation a “high class problem.”

“Inflation is skyrocketing,” Tapper said. “The prices for home heating costs, cars, groceries, furniture, rent, gasoline are hitting Americans right in the wallet. The White House response has been generally to say, hey, inflation shows that we’re coming out of the recession, so it’s a good sign. President Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, enthusiastically retweeted an economist who had said, in part: “Most of the economic problems we’re facing, inflation, supply chains, et cetera, are high-class problems.”

Now, I get the larger point that, when we’re talking about economics, we’re coming out of recession. But doesn’t it seem tone-deaf to say that rising prices and empty grocery store shelves are high-class problems? Isn’t that a bit dismissive?” Exactly.

Psaki then did her best to spin, claiming it wasn’t “exactly” what the tweet or retweet said. Yes, Jen, it was, as we reported.

Psaki also argued that what was happening now was a “good thing,” because people were buying goods. Just forget about the fact that it costs them more for everything, and they have less in their wallets at the end of the day, because she says all this is a “good thing.” It’s a good thing we all have to pay more and get less under #EmptyShelvesJoe.

Then Tapper pulled out an old tweet from Ron Klain where Klain chastised Trump for rising prices. “There are a lot of people out there who might say, why did Ron Klain think that rising prices was a serious concern under Trump, but not under Biden?” And President Donald Trump never had anything close to the inflation that Biden has now, with the highest numbers in years. Psaki basically avoided answering for the obvious hypocrisy of the White House’s position on the issue.

Tapper finished the interview by asking about the complaint filed against her by CREW, a leftist watchdog group that claims she violated the Hatch Act when she endorsed Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe from her podium during a White House briefing. The Hatch Act bars executive branch employees from using “official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.”

Here’s what she said which was the focus of the Hatch Act complaint. The tweet also notes that this isn’t the first time that she’s done it, saying something similar when California Governor Gavin Newsom was also running during his recall election.

Psaki responded to Tapper, “I take ethics seriously. So does this president, of course. As I understand it, if I had said he, instead of we, that would not have been an issue at all. And I will be more careful with my words next time. Words certainly matter.”

Translation? Of course I did it, but I should have just been more careful about how I did it. If Biden actually took ethics seriously, he wouldn’t have all the issues he’s had with his son, the questions about influence peddling, and the concerns about connections to foreign governments. If he took it so seriously, you wouldn’t have people like George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley calling for the need for a special counsel to address all the questions.