White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s week has gone from bad to worse.
She’s been busted – twice – by Fox News’ Peter Doocy on statements she’s made about the crisis at the border and on Biden’s knowledge of what was happening. Even the Washington Post got in on the action this week with a disturbing report contradicting some of Psaki’s spin on the “kids in cages” issue.
In another report that paints the Biden administration and Jen Psaki especially in an unflattering light, today ABC News absolutely demolished claims she’s repeatedly made over the last couple of weeks regarding Biden’s lack of media availability – specifically as it relates to the number of Q&A’s she’s said he’s held with reporters since he was sworn in:
… his exchanges with the press have largely consisted of him briefly speaking with a small group of reporters who are brought into meetings in the Oval Office or events elsewhere in the White House shouting brief questions at him.
“The president takes questions several times a week,” Psaki said Friday, explaining that he has not yet held a press conference because “his focus and his energy and his attention” has been on COVID-19 vaccines and relief.
She said Monday that “the president has done about 40 Q&As since he took office.”
But those exchanges are often devoid of any meaningful back-and-forth, and typically last just seconds.
The president sometimes responds to one or two short questions — if that — while White House staff members yell, “Thank you!” and “Let’s go!” as they usher the journalists out.
As I noted Monday, reporters shouting questions to a retreating president is most definitely not the definition of a “Q&A.”
The part of the ABC News story that will no doubt sting the most for the Biden administration are the comparisons between Biden’s lack of media availability to date and Trump’s, who frequently sparred with the media in both formal and informal settings alike:
The contrast with former President Donald Trump has been especially striking, especially given Biden’s repeated promises to Americans that he’d always be “straight” and “transparent.”
The number of substantive one-on-one interactions the president has had with members of the news media, though, has plummeted compared to Trump.
Trump would frequently hold court with the press for long stretches of time at the end of unrelated meetings and events — or while walking outside to a waiting helicopter — veering off topic to answer an array of shouted questions.
Ouch! Imagine being the guy who fooled the media prior to the election into thinking things would change and that he would be “restoring” respect between the White House and the press corps now being told by that same media that even though Trump made claims they found dubious at least he was willing to take questions whenever he appeared in public?
Though the ABC News report covered a lot of ground and said Biden’s lack of press availability “raises questions” about accountability, it ignored the elephant in the room that RedState and other conservative sites have brought up about the other questions it raises, like as to who might really be running things in Washington, D.C., if Biden sometimes appearing out of sorts is just a bug and not a feature, etc. But it’s a start at least.