Isn’t it always a sight to behold when liberals say the quiet part out loud? Such was the case at Friday’s White House press briefing as Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy’s questioning led Press Secretary Jen Psaki to admit that parents shouldn’t have any say in school matters such as whether their children have to wear masks.
And in defense of masking all children of all ages, Psaki insisted that her rising kindergarten likes masks and it’s concerning to her that Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has put children in unsafe “environments” by banning school mask mandates.
Doocy built to this by pointing out that “DeSantis says that he may start withholding funds from school districts that don’t let parents opt out of policies that require masks in the classrooms,” before wondering: “Does the President think that parents should have that kind of power?”
Psaki chose the Melissa Harris-Perry approach to children, saying that she “want[s] public health officials to make decisions about how to keep my kids safe, not politicians and not only is Governor DeSantis not abiding by public health decisions, he’s fundraising off of this.”
After she added that DeSantis won’t let schools ensure that students are “in safe environments,” Doocy quoted the Florida governor on what he sees as the damage being done to children by having them in a perpetual state of masking wearing. It was here that Psaki used one of her own kids to argue that constant mask wearing is something small children should want to comply with (click “expand”):
DOOCY: He says that his concern is about “harmful emotional, academic, and psychological effects of putting kindergarteners in masks for hours at a time.” Is there any concern from officials that you guys talked to in your early pre-decisional discussions about that?
PSAKI: No, there’s not and I will tell you from personal experience, my rising kindergartner told me two days ago, she could wear a mask all day and she’s just happy to go to camp and go to school. And the objective from all of our public health officials has been clearly, under our secretary of education, kids need to be in school. We know there’s a mental health impact of them not being in school. And we should take the mitigation measures needed in order for them to be in school and in the classroom, including masking and including allowing that to be part of a reality in these schools to keep the community safe.
Before the masking questions, Doocy wanted to know why would the administration continue pushing for Covid-related welfare relief and moratoriums in light of the fact that the White House had celebrated Friday’s jobs report of 900,000 jobs created in July.
Psaki maintained that they’re necessary because some are both “overdue” and “long-term investments” at a time when “there are still people out of work” and lack “enough money to make ends meet.”
Elsewhere, Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann came prepared with excellent questions in the form of one each on the deficit and whether parental groups have had a seat at the table with the Education Department on school reopenings (seeing as how they have a cozy relationship with the teachers unions) (click “expand”):
WEGMANN: So the last time we talked about debt and deficits, you noted that the President has proposed a way to pay for his proposals and that he cares about the future of the next generation. I’m wondering what the White House reaction is to a recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office that predicts that the bipartisan infrastructure bill would add a quarter trillion dollars to the deficit over the next 10 years.
PSAKI: Well, the CBO analysis, I assume you’re referring to?
WEGMANN: Yes, Jen.
PSAKI: No, no, of course. I thought — I thought I understood where you were coming from. The CBO score, which projects a $30 billion deficit a year for eight years, does not count real savings agreed to on a bipartisan basis. That includes over $200 billion in lower costs for emergency programs like paid leave over the last year than CBO had originally estimated, and over $60 billion in higher spectrum revenue from a February auction than CBO had anticipated. Also, it doesn’t include the positive effects of the economic growth this package will drive on the budget. In fact, there’s strong evidence from a number of economists, and including Moody’s, that infrastructure investment like this can, in fact, help pay for itself over the course of time and over the long run. And that’s something that a number of leaders in the Senate are referring to.
WEGMANN: And then one more quick one. Yesterday, Secretary Cardona noted that the administration is — is working closely with teacher unions as they prepare for school openings this fall. I’m wondering, are there any specific parent organizations that the administration is also partnering with?
PSAKI: To help ensure school’s opening?
PSAKI: That is something, certainly, the Department of Education, they are working with a range of organizations to make sure they are educated, they have the information they need, they know what the mitigation measures are. I can certainly ask Secretary Cardona if there are any specifics or get you in touch with the Department of Education.
Newsmax’s Emerald Robinson came right afterwards and, though Psaki wanted nothing to do with her, she wanted to know what the White House made of former Biden transition Covid board member Michael Osterholm’s comments that cloth masks are ineffective.
For the third time this week, the Daily Caller’s Shelby Talcott was called on and chose to hone in on the fact that McAllen, Texas has been having to go it alone in expounding “resources and manpower” to setup and expand an “emergency compounds set up for COVID positive migrants.”
As to whether the federal government would provide assistance, Psaki said the Department of Homeland Security has “been in touch” with them as they constructed “this facility... to ensure we are taking steps to isolate and mitigate any spread of COVID.”
To see the relevant transcript from August 6's briefing, click here.