Three days after first asking her if the administration would condemn communism and the far-left ideology’s gruesome affect on life inside Cuba, Fox News’s Peter Doocy finally got White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki to condemn on Thursday both communism and demand the regime grant “freedom” to the Cuban people.
And, on another matter, Doocy pressed Psaki on the Biden administration inviting the United Nations Human Rights Council (which included oppressive regimes such as China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, and Venezuela) to examine the U.S. government and trash it as repulsive and systematically racist.
Doocy started with Cuba and communism by telling Psaki:
Now that you’ve had a few days to think about it, does this White House still think the protests in Cuba are happening because people are upset about a rise in Covid cases there, or is there some thought may be given to the possibility that they're protesting because they are sick of communism?
After a week of refusing to condemn communism and its deadly outcomes, Psaki finally denounced it as not only “a failed ideology,” but one that’s “failed the people of Cuba,” who “deserve” both “freedom” and “a government that supports them.”
Doocy followed up by citing U.S. protesters who’ve been chanting “where is Biden” to inquire about what were Biden’s plans on future comments about the demonstrators in the island nation.
Prior to his on-camera comments later in the afternoon, Psaki insisted Biden has “made clear that he stands with the Cuban people in their call for freedom from both the pandemic and from decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba's authoritarian regime.”
Doocy then pivoted to the Biden administration’s invite to the much-maligned and lampooned U.N. Human Rights Council that seemed to equivocate the atrocities in countries like Cuba and China with U.S. racial tensions (click “expand”):
DOOCY: Why is the Secretary of State Blinken trying to address human rights in the U.S. by inviting experts — U.N. experts from Cuba and China here?
PSAKI: Well, first, I would say, um, that the secretary put out an extensive statement on why he is holding — why he believes that we need to play a role in lifting up and pushing countries to do better on human rights, on ending systemic racism in their countries. And certainly, human rights is always going to be a priority for the Biden administration and for this State Department. As the secretary said in his statement, he believes responsible nations must not shrink from scrutiny of their human rights record. Rather, they should acknowledge it with the intent to improve it, and also push and lift up and — and put — shine a light on other countries that need to do better. And that is the role we're playing here from the United States.
DOOCY: But you just rattled off all these problems with Cuba. They've got dissenters disappearing down there. In China, they've got a million religious minorities in internment cancer. Why are they going to come here and tell us how to improve our country?
PSAKI: I certainly don't think that's the format of the event, but lifting up and elevating human rights, systemic racism, the — uh — the — uh — the steps that have been taken — the poor treatment of Uighurs as I think, referencing here in China and — and pushing other countries with a spotlight on them to do better, is certainly a role we can play from the United States.
Elsewhere in the briefing, three reporters took on the important matter of inflation and attempts by the administration to downplay it.
ABC’s Rachel Scott went first and astutely posed to Psaki the possibility that the administration has “underestimat[ed] the impact of all of this government spending...on inflation,” but Psaki reiterated the spin that inflation is “temporary” due to the restarting of the U.S. economy.
A few minutes later, carnival barker Brian Karem made himself useful and pushed back with comments from J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon that inflation might not be “only temporary” and how does the White House square such a disconnect across the financial world.
McClatchy’s Francesca Chambers got down to brass tacks and the impact this has on “average Americans” (click “expand”):
CHAMBERS: Just to stay on inflation for a moment. What is the White House's message to average Americans, including those who are limited income, those who are experiencing higher prices right now for food and clothing and other goods and services? You mentioned that it's expected to die down next year. But — but what is your message to them in the meantime? Is it simply just to wait it out?
PSAKI: That's certainly not what I've ever said, but I will say our message is that we understand the threat that inflation poses. We will be vigilant about any responses needed. It's important for Americans to know and understand that these impacts are temporary, and some of these price increases are — are as a result of the economy turning back on, and experts will tell you that, whether it's the hotel industry or the airline industry going back to pre-pandemic prices. I’ll also note that the President has taken a number of steps, including ensuring that the vast majority of the American people were getting $1,400 checks, getting the child tax credit out to people's bank accounts today because he knows that Americans need a little extra help, still need a little extra help as the economy turns back on, so he’s committed to helping working people, and it's also important for people understand the transitory nature of inflation.
And to close out the briefing, Politico’s Laura Barrón-López posed an important Cuba question on whether the federal government would go through with the request from Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL), FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, and other Florida officials to send “higher altitude communication balloons to beam internet into Cuba.”
Of course, Psaki didn’t have anything to offer on its viability.
To see the relevant transcript from the July 15 briefing, click here.