With the liberal media in a tailspin over the omicron strain of the coronavirus, Wednesday’s White House press briefing was jam-packed with both Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Dr. Antony Fauci, so Fox’s Peter Doocy naturally brought the heat and actually challenged the administration while other lobbed fear-mongering questions.
When Doocy first got a crack at Fauci, he set Fauci up with a seemingly benign question: “Dr. Fauci, as you have advised the President about the possibility of new testing requirements for people coming into this country, does that include everybody?”
Fauci replied it does since “anybody and everybody who’s coming into the country needs to get a test within 24 hours of getting on the plane to come here,” but Doocy was ready to pounce: “But what about people who don't take a plane and just these border crossers coming in in huge numbers?”
Of course, the liberal bureaucrat insisted that was “a different issue” since “we still have Title 42...so there are protections at the border.”
Doocy followed up by asking if there’s “something to do to test these people somewhere else,” but Fauci continued to lie (as fact-checked by Doocy’s colleague, Bill Melugin): “There is testing at the border under certain circumstances, as you know.”
Skip ahead to Psaki’s turn and, after wishing her a happy birthday, Doocy hit the administration for demanding “these vaccine mandates for workers” despite the fact that “federal courts are saying that they don’t know if they’re legal” and Biden “talks about...respecting the rule of law[.]”
Psaki said she needed to “clarify exactly what we’re talking about” and claimed “a lot of companies” are implementing mandates even without the force of the federal government because “it makes sure they have a healthier workplace,” so it’s almost irrelevant.
Doocy grew blunter in his next question: “[W]hat ever happened to President Biden’s promise to shut down the virus?”
After Psaki said they’re still “working on it,” Doocy noted that “there’s another variant” and thus has the White House’s thinking shifted to telling Americans “that the President, instead of shutting down the virus, is going to try to help people live amidst the virus and go about their lives[.]”
Of course, Psaki said people should know that the administration is “all sick and tired of this virus,” but blames it on the fact that not enough Americans are vaccinated.
To close things out, Doocy had a zinger (click “expand”):
DOOCY: And then, last one, a lot of talk about the first Trump-Biden debate, but at the second one, in 2020, when roughly 220,000 Americans had already died of Covid, Joe Biden said about Trump: “Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.” Is that still the standard now that more Americans have died under President Biden then President Trump?
PSAKI: Well, I think the fundamental question here is what are you doing to save lives and protect people? And the former President was suggesting people inject bleach. He apparently, reportedly did not even share with people he was going to interact with that he had tested positive for himself. He continued to provide a forum for misinformation, which probably led to people not getting — not taking steps forward to protect themselves, to wear a mask, to eventually get vaccinated. This President has made the vaccine widely available. He’s relied on the health — the advice of his health and medical experts and he is trying to be a part of solving this crisis, getting the pandemic under control, and I think there’s a pretty stark difference between their approaches.
Fortunately, there were a few others who had constructive questions. Real Clear Politics’ Philip Wegmann sought Fauci’s take on Governor Kathy Hochul (D-NY) banning “elective hospital surgeries to prepare for the omicron variant” and whether that’s “going too far, too quickly,” but Fauci ducked it because “I don't really want to comment on the situation in individual states.”
Wegmann also drew a non-answer when he wanted to know what lessons the government will bring to fighting omicron from “the adverse effects of...those lockdowns” with the U.S. having just surpassed “100,000 overdose deaths for the first time ever.”
Instead, Fauci replied that things are discussed “every single day” to improve one’s response to the pandemic, but one thing we do know is to make sure everyone is vaccinated and boosted.”
Elsewhere, Bloomberg’s Jenny Leonard offered a herd immunity question that Fauci deemed “really dangerous” while NBC’s Peter Alexander questioned Psaki on whether the White House would support a temporary halt to the federal gas tax to help Americans facing high gas prices.
As for the fear-mongers, there were reporters calling for Covid testing mandates for domestic flights, masking at any and all holiday parties, and international quarantines for even vaccinated travelers (click “expand”):
SABRINA SIDDIQUI (Wall Street Journal) [TO FAUCI]: There is screening in place for international travel but we've seen how quickly variants can spread once they reach our shores. Does the science not suggest there should at minimum be a testing requirement for domestic air travel? And if not, why not?
STEVEN PORTNOY (CBS News Radio) [TO FAUCI]: Dr. Fauci, we're firmly in the holiday season and a lot of Americans are wondering if it's safe, even if they’ve been vaccinated, to go to a cocktail party, without a mask, with a glass of eggnog in their hand. What's your advice to them?
CHRIS MEGERIAN (Los Angeles Times) [TO FAUCI]: Question about quarantining for international visitors. Would — do you think international visitors, when they arrive, should quarantine on arrival for seven days, regardless of vaccination status?
MARY BRUCE (ABC) [TO PSAKI]: On the issue of quarantines, Dr. Fauci touched on this a bit, noting that they still are a recommendation for some, can you explain sorta why they aren’t being mandated or why that isn’t up for consideration?
To see the relevant transcript from the December 1 briefing, click here.