Following a sudden hiatus due to her bout with Covid, The Psaki Show returned to the small screen on Friday afternoon and, though Fox’s Peter Doocy wasn’t in attendance, there were still plenty of noteworthy moments, highlighted by NBC White House correspondent Peter Alexander twice asking Jen Psaki about the proliferation of “Let’s Go Brandon” chants nationwide.
“Across the country, we've seen this new phenomenon lately chanted at sporting events and on signs, the phrase is ‘Let's go Brandon,’ a sort of code for a profane slogan attacking President Biden. What does the President make of that,” he wondered.
Psaki initially replied that she doesn’t believe “he spends much time focused on it or thinking about it,” but Alexander wasn’t done on the fainting couch since he wanted to know how Biden truly “react[s] to the stuff he sees when it is one of his primary promises or desires to bring Americans together” in light of this being an example of the “uncivil war” Biden mentioned in his inaugural address.
Only then did Psaki give a formal answer, taking a swipe at the right by arguing “it takes two to engage more of a civil engagement discourse” with the Democratic and progressive administration allegedly taking the higher road.
Prior to that, Alexander played the role of coronabro in inquiring about the future of White House Christmas parties and whether they’re “safe” in late 2021.
Elsewhere in the eye-rolling category, Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba brought up Biden’s upcoming birthday and so he wanted to know what Biden does to stay healthy: “Is there anything he be [sic] doing? He is 79-yrs-old. How does he keep fit? Does he exercise? We see him cycling. Does he do anything else?”
Psaki chuckled but went right along: “He certainly does enjoy a good ride on his bike and does keep fit, eats healthy, except for the occasional ice cream. Who among us doesn’t love ice cream?”
Though he had been on a mini-streak of sanity as of late, Playboy reporter and former CNN analyst Brian Karem went back to his old ways with a question about Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers: “On the vaccine, do you have anything to say to celebrities who have promoted — like Aaron Rodgers — who have promoted alternatives — dubious alternatives — to vaccines?”
Eager to head into the weekend, Psaki answered with her mask on as she left the room: “You know how we feel about misinformation. We’re against it.”
While some in the liberal media have parroted the administration’s spin on the economy and inflation, some White House reporters chose to at least acknowledge the problem (click “expand”):
ANDREA SHALAL (Reuters): [O]n inflation, so one in four Americans according to a new survey have experienced some kind of loss of income as a result of higher prices. The President has expressed concern about this. I know that you are looking into different fronts to — to address this, but, I mean, how urgent is it and, you know, is there any sort of specific concern that this is — is going to affect not just political outcomes, but just the overall economy?
JUSTIN SINK (Bloomberg): You just said that the real risk on inflation is inaction, but so far this week, we haven’t seen any action from the administration on gas prices. The President, in Europe, said, you know, we would see action sooner rather than later. On Wednesday, that it was a top priority, so is it going to tap the SPR, ease biofuel blending requirements, ban crude exports? And if the answer is you still haven’t kind of decided on any of this, is the message to Americans heading into Thanksgiving where everybody will be driving to see their family and friends, that you think the current prices are acceptable?
WEIJIA JIANG (CBS): [T]he Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, in September alone, 4.4 million people quit their jobs after 4.3 million in August. So, how are those figures accounted for when the President talks about the record 5.6 million jobs created in the first nine months when he talks about job growth, economic growth, etc.?
JIANG: In two months alone, some nine million people quit their jobs and I don’t know that they're all going to new jobs. So, is there any concern about this trend of the great resignation? Is there anything to do to reverse it?
MARYALICE PARKS (ABC): [Y]ou said that it’s a worker’s market and some industries need to create more competitive packages, that it’s a good thing people have more choices. Is that your way of saying that the White House doesn’t view this as a problem at all?
PARKS: And then following up on the questions about gas prices, again. Just kind of taking a step back, there are some Republicans who have taken this moment where they’ve seen gas prices to criticize sort of the administration big picture, canceling the Keystone Pipeline, halting leases for — new drilling leases on federal land, saying that, sort of the administration’s policies writ large have contributed to the rise in gas prices. What's your response to that?
And with Doocy not in attendance, it was Jacqui Time in the Briefing Room as Fox colleague Jacqui Heinrich drew lengthy Psaki word salads with denial dressings on gas prices and then a study from the Tax Policy Center that revealed Biden’s so-called human infrastructure plan would lower taxes on wealthy Americans rather than raise them (click “expand”):
Democrats are calling for the President to release barrels from the strategic petroleum reserve to bring down costs and that would be sort of an immediate action to mitigate these high-priced gases as opposed to waiting for the BIF money to be implemented to address a lot of the supply chain issues or the Build Back Better to be passed. Why has the president not yet done that? Does he plan to do that soon?
Can I get your response to this report from the Tax Policy Center that, under the Build Back Better plan, most millionaires would get a tax cut — at two-thirds of people making a million dollars would get a cut on average of $16,800, mostly because of SALT. Separately, it finds that 20-30% of middle-class households would pay more in taxes — granted it’s a small amount — between $100 and $230, depending on income level, but how does the White House frame this reconciliation plan as a tax cut to the middle class paid for by the rich when this analysis is showing the opposite?
But doesn’t that not take effect — that cut you’re referencing until 2023, so I guess what I'm getting at is next year, 2022, expectation is that middle-class families will be paying — granted, a little bit more, but still a little bit more if this passes. And then, also, you’re still dealing with issues like gas prices being high. You guys have talked about the actions you’re going to take or are looking at, but these are long-term solutions, mostly that you’re talking about, so what will be done in the immediate future to address the next year?
To see the relevant transcript from November 12’s briefing, click here.