With Tuesday serving as the final White House press briefing for at least week due to President Biden’s trip to Europe, liberal reporters had one more chance to perform for the cameras and/or suck up to Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Unfortunately, PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor, The New York Times’s Katie Rogers, and The Grio’s April Ryan seemed to be more like CNN's Brian Stelter than, say, Fox’s Peter Doocy.
After Ryan hammered Psaki from the left about the right for Black Americans to vote being in peril, Rogers tag-teamed with Psaki to mock conservatives and Republicans as having “[gone] crazy” and got “worked up” over Vice President Kamala Harris’s comments about the U.S./Mexico border as well as her NBC interview.
Rogers began with a series of climate change and infrastructure questions, but that was merely lip service to what she seemed most enthused about: trashing the right.
With smiles on their faces, Rogers and Psaki pivoted to Harris (click “expand”):
ROGERS: And I just had another on the Vice President visiting the border or not visiting the border. Republicans and conservatives are, you know, going crazy on Twitter, sending pictures —
PSAKI: They’re worked up.
ROGERS: – sending video of her interview
PSAKI: I’ve seen it.
ROGERS: — with Lester Holt saying I’ve not been to Europe either. Does the President think there is a scenario in which she should visit the border? And also, the mounting criticism from Conservatives, would that ever factor into a decision to send her down there? I mean, don’t they have a point that if she has this task in front of her, should she not see the end cause as well as the root cause of migration?
One could safely say it’s time to add “going crazy” and “worked up” to the bingo card, fellow conservatives!
Going back to Ryan, she reminded Psaki that Biden “has based his administration on equity and equality and now the issue of voting rights is in our face.”
Ryan implied Black Americans are in danger of not being able to vote, saying they’re “without the full protections of 1965 Voting Rights Act because of Shelby v. Holder, but it's also unraveling because of states and the person that seems to be holding it up is Joe Manchin.”
She then wanted to know whether Biden would speak with Manchin about the importance of understanding that these Americans need to have full protection (which Ryan ostensibly meant the progressive boondoggle For the People Act).
Psaki tried to defuse Ryan, but the CNN political analyst continued to press from the far left, demanding to know when Biden will “lean in” on voting and ensure that Manchin caves because, “if it doesn't happen before the next elections, it looks like it could be a done deal.”
Alcindor picked up Ryan’s line of attack against Manchin: “There are some progressives who are calling Joe Manchin, Senator Manchin, the new Mitch McConnell saying he’s an obstructionist, saying that he’s standing in the way of the Biden agenda.”
“I wonder what the President makes of that. Is he worried about progressives alienating Senator Manchin or does he agree with some of the things that they’re saying about standing in the way of his agenda,” she added.
Psaki replied the administration will “leave the name calling to others” since Biden “considers Senator Manchin a friend” even though they disagree “on voting rights and the bill that the Senator has expressed he won’t support.”
Going back to Rogers, her swipe also seemed to have been an attack on Doocy (who happened to be sitting only a row in front of her).
Doocy had gone a few minutes earlier and came ready to ask questions that actually advance the ball down the field, focusing on Harris’s trip and interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.
Here was the first two back-and-forths (click “expand”):
DOOCY: About the Vice President's trip. Why is it then that when the vice president has asked if she has plans to visit the border, she says, “we've been to the border,” even though she has not as vice president.
PSAKI: Well, as the Vice President, she does speak for the actions of the people in administration she certainly helps oversee. I expect that sometime she may go to the border, Peter, but as you know what her focus has been – what the assignment is specifically is to work with leaders in the Northern Triangle. She's on a trip doing exactly that, exactly what the President asked her to do.
DOOCY: And as we understand it, though, her main focus is to try to address the root causes of migration. Did somebody decide here that it would not be helpful for her to go to the border and talk to people who just migrated here?
PSAKI: Well again, I think that at some point she may go to the border. We’ll see, but she's in the Northern triangle now to have discussions with leaders, with community leaders, with civil society leaders, with the embassy about how we can work together, and obviously she's made a couple of announcements already, probably more to come before she comes back to the United States.
Psaki continued to be less than amused and perturbed with the questions as Doocy’s third and final query wondered why Harris would call visiting the border “a grand gesture” (even though it’s under her policy portfolio).
Before going to NBC’s Peter Alexander, Psaki made it clear she had had enough of Doocy:
Look, Peter again. I think her focus of this trip is on meeting with leaders, having a discussion about how to address corruption how to address the root causes, how to work together to address humanitarian challenges in these countries. That's exactly what she's doing on the ground, and I'm sure she'll report back to the President when she returns.
To see the relevant transcript from June 8’s briefing, click here.