One of the most predictable things we’ve seen out of the Biden administration since they took office a month ago is to take credit for the coronavirus vaccine rollout’s successes without crediting the Trump administration’s advance work, all while simultaneously blaming the Trump administration for a supposed lack of a rollout plan when things go wrong.
Thanks to an Associated Press reporter, we learned yesterday that the administration is trying to take credit for the Trump administration’s policy towards Russia as well.
During a State Department press briefing Monday, a hot topic of discussion was the Nord Stream 2 undersea natural gas pipeline which runs from Russia to Germany but bypasses Ukraine. In December, President Trump signed a bill that would allow for imposing sanctions on any firm that assisted Russia in completing the pipeline. A few weeks later, Trump’s State Dept. contacted some of the companies and reminded them of the risk of sanctions.
As it stands now, the project is reportedly 90% complete. Russian “news” agencies say the project will be completed one way or the other despite the U.S.’s threat of sanctions.
During yesterday’s briefing at the State Dept., spokesman Ned Price was asked about the Biden administration’s announcement last Friday of two sanction designations, which some Congressional Republicans pointed out were actually done before Trump left office.
Price’s response set off Associated Press reporter Matt Lee, who proceeded to call him out for trying to credit the Biden administration for something that was already taking place under Trump’s administration:
Price said 18 mostly Western companies have made “good-faith efforts to wind down” their involvement with Nord Stream 2.
“This demonstrates that the legislative goals and our actions are having a good effect,” Price said of bipartisan US opposition to the project dating back to former president Donald Trump’s time.
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee then chimed in.
“You guys have only been in office for a month, right? Are you telling me that in the last four weeks these 18 companies all of the sudden decided to say, ‘Oh my God! We better not be doing anything with Nord Stream 2,” Lee said.
“You guys are taking credit for stuff the previous administration did. Yes or no?”
They went round and round a bit (read the full transcript here) before Price clarified that he was speaking on behalf of the State Department officials who had been working on this issue for months and who were carrying over the policy from the Trump administration.
Watch the contentious exchange between Price and Lee below:
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 23, 2021
This wasn’t Lee’s first run-in with Price. Earlier this month, the Free Beacon reported on how Lee went “beast mode” on Price after he suggested a “review” of existing policy towards Russia constituted “action.” Here’s a partial transcript:
QUESTION: Wait, wait. Hold on one second. You said you’re moving – since taking office, you’ve been moving expeditiously and with alacrity. So what have you done?
MR PRICE: I think —
QUESTION: You’ve announced a review, but what have you actually —
MR PRICE: We have announced a review, I think, in day —
QUESTION: Well, I can announce a review of my Netflix. So what —
MR PRICE: Well, Matt – Matt, reviews – reviews do reach their culmination.
QUESTION: Well, okay. So are you suggesting —
MR PRICE: And so this is a not a review for the sake of a review.
There’s been a lot of understandable concern among conservatives that most national media reporters won’t be holding the Biden administration’s feet to the fire, so it’s good to know that at least one is more than willing to go against the grain.