Embarrassing: WH Reporters Turn into Lapdogs for Psaki After Raging at McEnany

On Wednesday night, the White House press corps made their embarrassing debut before White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, going from raging hyenas under Kayleigh McEnany to snoozing lapdogs for Psaki with a combination of boring, straightforward, and unserious questions with only a select few probing queries.

This was in stark contrast to the first briefings from Trump White House Press Secretaries Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Kayleigh McEnany (with Stephanie Grisham never having held an in-person briefing during her tenure).

White House Correspondents Association president and Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller was given the pole position and he greeted Psaki with this nonsensical question: “When you are up there, do you see yourself in your primary as promoting the interests of the President or are you there to provide us the unvarnished truth so we can share that with the American people?”

After Miller asked about what Biden will do to Russia on the SolarWinds hack, NBC’s Peter Alexander noticeably flipped his tune from disgust to admiration for the one who yields the @PressSec handle on Twitter.

Alexander asked if Biden will call Trump on the heels of the letter he left behind and then commiserated with Psaki about people who don’t share their left-wing world view:

You talked, obviously, your is sort of in terms of delivering the best information to the American people on behalf of this White House. The battle for truth is a tough fight right now as is the battle against coronavirus. How do you and President Biden plan to combat disinformation that, in many ways, led to that assault we witnessed two weeks ago today on the Capitol?

The NBCer also falsely claimed that Biden did not have “a single member of his cabinet confirmed” when, in reality, the Senate had already begun voting on what would be an 84-10 approval of Avril Haines to serve as Director of National Intelligence.

After ABC’s Karen Travers, it was Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Epstein’s turn, who fretted about how even Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) wasn’t keen on the pricetag for Biden’s stimulus.

Two questions later, one reporter pressured Psaki from the left by wondering whether Biden will be able to keep his “promise” “to end all new oil and gas leasing on federal lands when he was a candidate.”

That same reporter also wondered about what “measures” the press “took to ensure that the President is safe” from all the germs spewed by Trump officials.

Fast-forward a few minutes and another reporter gave Miller’s softball a run for its money: “And then can you just give us some color about what it was like for him going into the Oval Office? He’s been waiting for this for so long. What was his reaction?”

It was following this walk-in-the-park that Fox News’s Peter Doocy got his chance and asked two of the three toughest questions of the nearly 30 Psaki faced, but the following question was another softie (click “expand”):

PSAKI: I’m sorry, I told you I was going to ask you, just skipped over there, go ahead. 

DOOCY: It’s okay. I will take it now all good. So, President Biden wants a theme of his presidency to be unifying the country, does he think that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer should drop a potentially divisive Senate impeachment trial?

(….)

DOOCY: And quick follow-up, on President Trump’s Inauguration Day, he filed paperwork to run for reelection, saying that — does President Biden have any plans to do that today, late, or in the coming days?

(….)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER #2: Yeah. Thank you, Jen. The President pledged today to repair alliances. Has he planned his first foreign trip yet?

The other tough question came from EWTN’s Owen Jensen as he grilled Psaki about what this new administration’s abortion policies will look like:

Two big concerns for pro-life Americans: the Hyde Amendment which, of course, keeps taxpayer dollars, as you know, from paying for abortions — Medicaid abortions and the Mexico City policy which, under the previous administration, they expanded to keep the tax dollars from overseas paying for abortions. So what are — what does President Biden plan on doing in those two items right now?

Between Doocy and Jensen, note how all three questions were tough, but free of condemnations, juvenile comebacks, and snark. Amazing how so many were unable to do that for four years.

Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Debra Saunders followed up on Doocy, but prefaced her question by hailing Biden for having “talked movingly about unity”

And I’ve heard from people who say well, that’s just talk. They want to know what action they’re going to see to show that kind of unity. Can you — I mean, Peter mentioned impeachment. Can you tell us what kind of action we can expect to see that will assure people that he wants to reach out to people who voted for him and people who did not.

One reporter later, Alexander, Miller, and Travers had a second round of questions, including the former trying to nudge Psaki to state whether Biden will fire FBI Director Chris Wray (which, until Wednesday, we were told to think was an unforgivable sin) (click “expand”):

MILLER: Jen, one quick one before we let you go. I just want to follow up on Peter’s question. Does President Biden believe that President Trump needs to be held accountable for the capital insurrection a couple weeks ago and does that accountability require that President Trump be barred from holding future federal office?

(….)

ALEXANDER: If I can follow up on that a little bit, Jen, is the President being updated, first of all, on the progress of the FBI investigation and we know the FBI is leading the investigation into the assault on the Capitol. Does President Biden have confidence in FBI Director Wray? 

PSAKI: Well, Peter come as you noted, there is an ongoing investigation which we certainly support. I’m not sure that he has received an update today on anything about the investigation, but certainly support those ongoing and we will, I’m sure, be receiving updates in the days ahead. 

ALEXANDER: Does he have confidence in the FBI director? 

PSAKI: I have not spoken with him about specifically FBI Director Wray in recent days, Peter, but I’ll circle back with you if there’s more to convey. Karen?

TRAVERS: The President did not mention the word Trump in his inauguration address today. What was the intention behind not making any direct reference to his predecessor in that speech? 

GloboNews’s Raquel Krahenbuhl closed out the briefing with a second round of her own, but this one encapsulated the briefing’s uncritical, unchallenged and unserious tone from these former so-called firefighters: “How does President Biden plan to restore the United States’s image around the world and what is his priority globally?”

To see the full transcript of the January 20 briefing’s questions, click “expand.”

White House Press Briefing
January 20, 2021
7:12 p.m. Eastern

ZEKE MILLER: Thank you, Jen. First off, congratulations and one question about your role. You touched on this a little bit at the top. When you are up there, do you see yourself in your primary as promoting the interests of the President or are you there to provide us the unvarnished truth so we can share that with the American people?

(….)

7:13 p.m. Eastern

MILLER: And again, just one subject since we’re short on time, when will President Biden begin making foreign leader calls? Who’s on that initial list? And during the transition, he did speak with President Putin — does he plan on doing that and is he going to discuss retaliation for the Solar Wind attack on the federal government?

(….)

7:14 p.m. Eastern

PETER ALEXANDER: Jen, let me — I have a question on policy. First, a quick housekeeping question. President Biden said he received a very generous letter from President Trump. Of course, he said it was private and he will not talk until I talk to him. Is President Biden planning to call now-former President Trump and is this White House working in any way to try to put the two in touch?

(….)

7:15 p.m. Eastern

ALEXANDER: Let me ask you about policy if I could grow quickly. You talked, obviously, your is sort of in terms of delivering the best information to the American people on behalf of this White House. The battle for truth is a tough fight right now as is the battle against coronavirus. How do you and President Biden plan to combat disinformation that, in many ways, led to that assault we witnessed two weeks ago today on the Capitol?

(….)

7:16 p.m. Eastern

ALEXANDER: And as it relates to the cabinet, if I can quickly, we know President Biden is beginning without a single member of his cabinet confirmed. What is your understanding of how quickly those confirmations will happen and when should we suspect additional nominations and ambassadorships to be announced?

(….)

7:18 p.m. Eastern

KAREN TRAVERS: Has President Biden invited congressional leaders to sit down and talk about the COVID relief measures that he has introduced?

(….)

7:18 p.m. Eastern

TRAVERS: What role do you expect him to play in those negotiations. There was a lot of comments today about his familiarity with the Senate. How involved would he be in that process?

(….)

7:19 p.m. Eastern

JENNIFER EPSTEIN: So, on — on — on this relief package, Senator Romney was already saying to reporters today that he doesn’t see a need for another virus relief package and he’s the kind of Republican vote you’re likely to be trying to get, so how long willing are you to try to work to get Republicans support before you fight to go through the budget reconciliation process?

(….)

7:21 p.m. Eastern

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS: Thank you, Jen. I do have a question about reopening schools. But I just want to pick up where she left off on that and note that Republicans, including Lindsey Graham, who is expected to be the Senate Budget Committee ranking member have already said that the price tag on the President’s proposal is too high for them. So, is there any wiggle room on that number and has he already begun negotiations with Mitch McConnell?

(….)

7:22 p.m. Eastern

CHAMBERS: With regards to reopening schools, what level of vaccination in teachers or students or level of testing that would be appropriate in order to meet the target date that the President has set. 

(…)

7:23 p.m. Eastern

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER #1: President Biden promised to end all new oil and gas leasing on federal lands when he was a candidate. The order you just mentioned that he signed today was much narrower than that. It’s a temporary moratorium and only applies to Anwar. And there was some debate about whether he has the legal flexibility to even follow through with this full promise. Does the administration still have that commitment today, to — to have that — 

(….)

7:24 p.m. Eastern

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER #1: And can you talk a little bit just about the preparations for getting the White House ready and safe for the new President? It’s been reported that you did a $500,000 worth of deep cleaning. Could you talk about the measures that you took to ensure that the President is safe?

(….)

7:25 p.m. Eastern                

RAQUEL KRAHENBUHL: Thank you so much, Jen. Thank you for doing this on a daily basis. So climate change being one of the priorities, how does President Biden plan to work with Brazil. During the campaign, Biden criticized Brazil on deforestation and then the Brazilian President and he was the last want to congratulate President Biden on his election. What is the expectations for their relationship and does he plan to speak with the Brazilian President?

(….)

7:26 p.m. Eastern

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER #1: What are the next steps when it comes to Iran and does the President have any new plans to join the nuclear deal?

(….)

7:27 p.m. Eastern

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER #1: And then can you just give us some color about what it was like for him going into the Oval Office? He’s been waiting for this for so long. What was his reaction?

(….)

7:28 p.m. Eastern

JEN PSAKI: I’m sorry, I told you I was going to ask you, just skipped over there, go ahead. 

PETER DOOCY: It’s okay. I will take it now all good. So, President Biden wants a theme of his presidency to be unifying the country, does he think that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer should drop a potentially divisive Senate impeachment trial?

(….)

7:29 p.m. Eastern

DOOCY: And quick follow-up, on President Trump’s Inauguration Day, he filed paperwork to run for reelection, saying that — does President Biden have any plans to do that today, late, or in the coming days?

(….)

7:30 p.m. Eastern

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER #2: Yeah. Thank you, Jen. The President pledged today to repair alliances. Has he planned his first foreign trip yet?

(….)

7:30 p.m. Eastern

OWEN JENSEN: Yeah, hi. Congratulations on your new position. Owen Jensen with EWTN Global Catholic Network. Two big concerns for pro-life Americans: the Hyde Amendment which, of course, keeps taxpayer dollars, as you know, from paying for abortions — Medicaid abortions and the Mexico City policy which, under the previous administration, they expanded to keep the tax dollars from overseas paying for abortions. So what are — what does President Biden plan on doing in those two items right now?

(….)

7:31 p.m. Eastern

SV DATE: Yeah, as President-Elect, he talked about the possibilities of using the Defense Product Act to ramp up production of vaccines. Having looked at more data, does he feel that’s necessary? And was included, for example, in anything that he signed today? 

(….)

7:32 p.m. Eastern

DEBRA SAUNDERS: Thank you very much. The President talked movingly about unity today. And I’ve heard from people who say well, that’s just talk. They want to know what action they’re going to see to show that kind of unity. Can you — I mean, Peter mentioned impeachment. Can you tell us what kind of action we can expect to see that will assure people that he wants to reach out to people who voted for him and people who did not.

(….)

7:33 p.m. Eastern

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER #2: Um, Jen, will he seek a death penalty moratorium for this administration?

(….)

7:34 p.m. Eastern

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER #2: And on another note, will he keep Donald Trump’s Air Force One color scheme change?

(….)

7:34 p.m. Eastern

MILLER: Jen, one quick one before we let you go. I just want to follow up on Peter’s question. Does President Biden believe that President Trump needs to be held accountable for the capital insurrection a couple weeks ago and does that accountability require that President Trump be barred from holding future federal office?

(….)

7:35 p.m. Eastern

ALEXANDER: If I can follow up on that a little bit, Jen, is the President being updated, first of all, on the progress of the FBI investigation and we know the FBI is leading the investigation into the assault on the Capitol. Does President Biden have confidence in FBI Director Wray? 

PSAKI: Well, Peter come as you noted, there is an ongoing investigation which we certainly support. I’m not sure that he has received an update today on anything about the investigation, but certainly support those ongoing and we will, I’m sure, be receiving updates in the days ahead. 

ALEXANDER: Does he have confidence in the FBI director? 

PSAKI: I have not spoken with him about specifically FBI Director Wray in recent days, Peter, but I’ll circle back with you if there’s more to convey. Karen?

TRAVERS: The President did not mention the word Trump in his inauguration address today. What was the intention behind not making any direct reference to his predecessor in that speech? 

(….)

7:37 p.m. Eastern

KRAHENBUHL: How does President Biden plan to restore the United States’s image around the world and what is his priority globally?

View Original Source Source