FNC’s Peter Doocy Presses Biden, Psaki on COVID Hypocrisy, Left-Wing Violence

With liberal reporters continuing to act as no more than lapdogs for the Biden administration or attack dogs from the left, Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy has continued to separate himself from the pack (as he did during the campaign) by asking tough but respectful questions of Press Secretary Jen Psaki and President Joe Biden himself. 

On Monday, Doocy did just that with questions about the coronavirus vaccine, left-wing violence in Portland and Seattle, and a shifting of the goal-posts on how much control Americans had over the virus.

Doocy had two rounds with Psaki and, in the first, he had three questions. After CBS’s Ed O’Keefe received a non-answer last week, Doocy tried to get White House comment on Antifa’s latest destruction:

President Biden — now-President Biden condemned protests and violence on the far left and the far right before he was president. Why haven’t we heard anything directly from him about the riots in Portland and the Pacific Northwest since he was inaugurated?

This time, Psaki had an answer, asserting that he “condemns violence and any violence in the strongest possible terms” because “smashing windows is not protesting, and neither is looting.”

Following a question about financial relief for businesses hurt by riots, Doocy called out the administration’s hypocrisy on coronavirus-related travel bans. In response, Psaki dodged by invoking former President Trump’s unrelated travel ban in January 2017 (click “expand”):

DOOCY: And not just one more about the announcement you made off the top about travel restrictions. When President Trump was addressing travel restrictions in March, specifically on China, then-candidate Biden called it xenophobic and fearmongering. So, now-President Biden is putting travel restrictions on people coming in from other countries. What word to be used to describe that? 

PSAKI: Well, I don’t think that is quite a fair articulation. The President has been clear that he felt the Muslim ban was xenophobic. He overturned that ban. He also, though, has supported — and he himself even before — or we did, I should say — even before he was inaugurated, we stepped up travel restrictions in order to keep the American people safe, to ensure that we are getting the pandemic under control. That’s been part of his policy, but he was critical of the former President for having a policy that was not more comprehensive than travel restrictions. And he conveyed at the time, and more recently, the importance of having a multifaceted approach. Mask-wearing, vaccine dissipation, funding in order to get shots in the arms of Americans in the first 100 days, not just travel restrictions.

Doocy’s second crack came at the end of the briefing and dealt with impeachment: “If the whole point of impeaching somebody is to basically to get rid of them, and Trump is already gone, would President Biden support maybe the Senate censuring him so that lawmakers can move on with the people’s business?”

As she did last week with other reporters, Psaki maintained this was a matter for the Senate.

In contrast to Doocy, reporters such as NBC’s Geoff Bennett and The Washington Post’s Annie Linskey played the role of teacher’s pet, asking respectively about how Democrats should feel about compromise with Republicans and what “unity will mean to this administration.”

It was a similar scene a few hours later when the President took questions from reporters. As he did during the transition, Biden allowed his staff to pre-select reporters for him and the five they picked (which included Bennett and Linskey) were either fair but non-adversarial or softballs.

Biden went to leave the room, but not before Doocy shouted for him to take a question from him. Despite press wranglers trying to shoo them away, Biden kept reporters around, asserting that Doocy “always asks me tough questions and he always has an edge to them, but I like him anyway, so go ahead and ask the question.”

As you’ll see below, Doocy first asked about Biden’s not-so-ambitious benchmark for vaccinations and then pivoted to his comments last week that were at odds with his rhetoric during the campaign that the American people and federal government can control the spread of the coronavirus (click “expand”):

DOOCY: Thank you, Mr. President. So you just said that you think that three weeks or so, we’ll be at the point where there are a million vaccines per day, but it seems like —

BIDEN: No, I think we’ll get there before that. I said I hope — I misspoke. I hope we’ll be able to increase to get to the 1.5 million a day. That’s my hope. 

DOOCY: And then my — the follow-up to that would be, now that you’re President and you’re saying there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months, what happened to two months ago when you were talking declaratively about I’m going to shut down the virus? 

BIDEN: Oh, I am going to shut down the virus, but — I never said I’d do it in two months. I said it took a long time to get here and a long time to beat it. And so, we have millions of people out there that have the virus. We’re just — for the first day, I think, correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve been doing other things this morning, speaking with foreign leaders, but one of the things — I think this is one of the first days that the numbers have come down, the number of deaths and the number on a daily basis and the number of hospitalizations, et cetera. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take a heckuva lot of time. We still have as Dr. Fauci points out, it’s one thing when we have masks — how can I say it, politely — the disregard of not wearing masks and wearing masks and social distancing and failure to social distancing and people getting together on holidays in ways that weren’t recommended, et cetera. We see first thing that happens is we see the number of infections go up, then you see the hospitalizations go up, then the deaths go up. And so we’re — we’re in this for a while. Remember, what are we now? 410,000 deaths? And there’s going to be more. The prediction as I said from the very beginning of getting here after being sworn in was the predictions where we’re going to see a total of 600,000 and 660,000 deaths before we begin to turn the corner in a major way. So — and again, remember, the vaccine, most of the people taking the vaccine — a significant number — require two shots and they’re average of three weeks apart and it takes time for it to be sure that you get to that 95 percent assurance rate. And so, it’s beginning to move. But I’m confident we will beat this. We will beat this. But we’re still going to be talking about this in the summer. We’re still going to be dealing with this issue in the early fall. And last point I’ll make and I know you’re tired of hearing me say it, particularly you might be tired of hearing me saying this, and that is that if we wear masks between now and the end of April, the experts tell us we can save 50,000 lives. 50,000 people otherwise would die.

Unlike the belligerence and condescension we saw with the press corps under Donald Trump, Doocy has been able to ask tough but respectful questions of Biden and his team. What a novel concept.

To see the relevant transcripts from January 25, click “expand.”

White House Press Briefing
January 25, 2021
1:29 p.m. Eastern

GEOFF BENNETT: Acknowledging the — the — the — the confusion around the lack of clarity about the vaccine availability, give us a sense of just how stunning that revelation is. What was president Biden’s reaction to learning that?

(….)

1:31 p.m. Eastern

BENNETT: Went as the administration expect to have a better sense of the available inventory? 

JEN PSAKI: Well, as we noted at the top, you’re going to be doing regular briefings, three times a week. He will start those on Wednesday. I don’t know what assessment they will have by Wednesday, but what are objective is is to be providing clear and accurate information to the public. 

BENNETT: And what’s the White House message Democrats, to President Biden’s supporters who take him at his word and say, as it relates to COVID relief, we are in a national emergency and we should act like it, and they want action now? They don’t want any sort of delay, they don’t want to expereience the opportunity cost that might come from a delay in waiting for Republicans to get on board.

(….)

1:36 p.m. Eastern

ANNIE LINSKEY: Two questions for you. The first is stepping back for a minute and what the administration goals are. Unity is something that President Biden spoke about quite a bit on the campaign trail, talked about it during the transition. Could you talk a little bit more specifically about what unity will mean to this administration, whether there are any kind of benchmarks that you’ve identified, to show that unity has been achieved? And I just — to kind of contrast with the coronavirus task force, of course, you have gotten detailed benchmarks about what you want to achieve, moment by moment. But with unity, are you talking about bipartisanship? Are you talking about something that is wildly popular in the United States? Can you go through what Biden is thinking about when he says he wants to achieve unity?

(….)

1:38 p.m. Eastern

LINSKEY: I have one other question. The Trump administration — excuse me — the Obama administration initially had wanted to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. The Trump administration dragged their feet on that. I wanted to see if the Biden administration has a view of the timeline on whether or not she should be on the paper currency. 

(….)

1:42 p.m. Eastern

PETER DOOCY: President Biden — now-President Biden condemned protests and violence on the far left and the far right before he was president. Why haven’t we heard anything directly from him about the riots in Portland and the Pacific Northwest since he was inaugurated? 

PSAKI: Well, he’s taking questions later this afternoon, so perhaps he will. I will say from here that President Biden condemns violence and any violence in the strongest possible terms. Peaceful protests are a cornerstone of our democracy. But smashing windows is not protesting, and neither is looting and actions like these are totally unacceptable, and anyone who committed a crime should it prosecuted to the fullest extent. Our team is monitoring it very closely.

DOOCY: And as he pushes for federal help to businesses affected by COVID, should we expect to see any kind of assistance for these businesses affected by covid and riots? 

PSAKI: Well, again, I think you know, because we’ve had this conversation and he already a few times since I joined the team, that his focus is on getting the American people through this period of time, pushing forward on a relief package that will get them the assistance they need as it relates to the pandemic and the impact of the pandemic, so I don’t have anything more for you on that. 

DOOCY: And not just one more about the announcement you made off the top about travel restrictions. When President Trump was addressing travel restrictions in March, specifically on China, then-candidate Biden called it xenophobic and fearmongering. So, now-President Biden is putting travel restrictions on people coming in from other countries. What word to be used to describe that? 

PSAKI: Well, I don’t think that is quite a fair articulation. The President has been clear that he felt the Muslim ban was xenophobic. He overturned that ban. He also, though, has supported — and he himself even before — or we did, I should say — even before he was inaugurated, we stepped up travel restrictions in order to keep the American people safe, to ensure that we are getting the pandemic under control. That’s been part of his policy, but he was critical of the former President for having a policy that was not more comprehensive than travel restrictions. And he conveyed at the time, and more recently, the importance of having a multifaceted approach. Mask-wearing, vaccine dissipation, funding in order to get shots in the arms of Americans in the first 100 days, not just travel restrictions.

(….)

1:53 p.m. Eastern

EMERALD ROBINSON: In an executive order that the President signed last week, he also suspended a Trump administrative — administration executive order that was particularly aimed at keeping poor countries, specifically China, from interfering in the U.S. power grid — that he suspended that for 90 days in that executive order last week. Given what you said about China today, why did he do that? Especially related to something so critical to our national security as the power grid. 

PSAKI: I’ll have to — I think the President’s view on our relationship with China, I tried to do my best to convey to all of you, I’ll have to check on that specific piece and we will circle back with you directly.

(….)

1:58 p.m. Eastern

KAITLAN COLLINS: You said that these coronavirus briefings are going to start. President trump did not attend a lot of those coronavirus — some of the coronavirus briefings at the end. He did not attend a lot of the Coronavirus Task Force briefings. Is President Biden going to attend those taskforce meetings within the group that’s working on this? 

PSAKI: He will be briefed regularly, I suspect far more regularly than the past president was briefed on COVID, and thus developments and progress the team is making. I wouldn’t expect he attends every taskforce meeting. No, but he expects and requests regular briefings from the team and I’ll expect he gets them. Go ahead. 

DOOCY: If the whole point of impeaching somebody is to basically to get rid of them, and trump is already gone, would President Biden support maybe the Senate censuring him so that lawmakers can move on with the people’s business?

PSAKI: Peter, I really appreciate your creative way of asking this question, which has come up a few times in here. The president is — was in the senate for 36 years. As you all know, he is no longer in the Senate, and he will leave it up to members of the Senate, Democrats and Republicans to determine how they will hold the former President accountable.

(….)

3:53 p.m. Eastern

JONATHAN LEMIRE: You’ve made reopening schools an essential part of your first 100 days agenda. You’ve long portrayed yourself as an ally to the teachers and unions. Right now, the Chicago Teachers Union has refused, defied an order to return to in-person classrooms because of a lack of vaccinations. Do you believe, sir, that teachers should return to schools now? 

(….)

3:56 p.m. Eastern

ALEX HALPER: I wanted to ask a question about Navalny if you considering putting sanction on anyone involved in his attempted poisoning and/or arrest when he returned from Germany? And if not, is that potentially derailing your new START extension? Thank you.

(….)

3:57 p.m. Eastern

GEOFF BENNETT: A question about your covid relief deal. On Friday, you said the nation is in a national emergency and we should act like it. Given the severity and scale of the need how long, are you willing to get sufficient Republican support before you would green light Democrat attempts to use reconciliation, for instance, to pass that bill?

(….)

4:00 p.m. Eastern

ANNIE LINSKEY: I wanted to ask you a little bit about one of the sort of major themes of your campaign and how you sort of intend to measure and enact it, and that is the idea of — of unity. If you could talk a little bit about what you see unity as being? There are some people who are defining it as being bipartisan, others are saying it is what most of the people in the country define by some poll might believe or any number of — or perhaps it’s 50 plus 1 or 50 plus 2 or 7. Given it is such a key part of your message and your promise, can you talk and reflect a little bit more about what is unity when you see it, as you define it?

(….)

4:07 p.m. Eastern

JOSH WINGROVE: You mentioned just now you might know in a couple of weeks. Can I ask whether it’s more important for to you get something passed in a short timeframe like that, or would you be willing to wait longer to get more bipartisan support? And might I also ask that one of the pillars is the vaccine funding. When do you think any American who wants to get the shot will be able to get the shot? 

(….)

4:10 p.m. Eastern

BIDEN: Does that answer your question? 

WINGROVE: But my question was, roughly when do you think anyone who wants one would be able to get it? Is it summer, is it fall? 

(….)

4:11 p.m. Eastern

BIDEN PRESS WRANGLER: Thank you, guys. 

PETER DOOCY: One more! One more on vaccines! [WRANGLERS SHOUTING] Mr. President, one more on vaccines!

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Now, wait, wait, wait, wait. I know he always asks me tough questions and he always has an edge to them, but I like him anyway. So go ahead and ask the question. 

PETER DOOCY: Thank you, Mr. President. So you just said that you think that three weeks or so, we’ll be at the point where there are a million vaccines per day, but it seems like —

BIDEN: No, I think we’ll get there before that. I said I hope — I misspoke. I hope we’ll be able to increase to get to the 1.5 million a day. That’s my hope. 

DOOCY: And then my — the follow-up to that would be, now that you’re President and you’re saying there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months, what happened to two months ago when you were talking declaratively about I’m going to shut down the virus? 

BIDEN: Oh, I am going to shut down the virus, but — I never said I’d do it in two months. I said it took a long time to get here and a long time to beat it. And so, we have millions of people out there that have the virus. We’re just — for the first day, I think, correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve been doing other things this morning, speaking with foreign leaders, but one of the things — I think this is one of the first days that the numbers have come down, the number of deaths and the number on a daily basis and the number of hospitalizations, et cetera. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take a heckuva lot of time. We still have as Dr. Fauci points out, it’s one thing when we have masks — how can I say it, politely — the disregard of not wearing masks and wearing masks and social distancing and failure to social distancing and people getting together on holidays in ways that weren’t recommended, et cetera. We see first thing that happens is we see the number of infections go up, then you see the hospitalizations go up, then the deaths go up. And so we’re — we’re in this for a while. Remember, what are we now? 410,000 deaths? And there’s going to be more. The prediction as I said from the very beginning of getting here after being sworn in was the predictions where we’re going to see a total of 600,000 and 660,000 deaths before we begin to turn the corner in a major way. So — and again, remember, the vaccine, most of the people taking the vaccine — a significant number — require two shots and they’re average of three weeks apart and it takes time for it to be sure that you get to that 95 percent assurance rate. And so, it’s beginning to move. But I’m confident we will beat this. We will beat this. But we’re still going to be talking about this in the summer. We’re still going to be dealing with this issue in the early fall. And last point I’ll make and I know you’re tired of hearing me say it, particularly you might be tired of hearing me saying this, and that is that if we wear masks between now and the end of April, the experts tell us we can save 50,000 lives. 50,000 people otherwise would die.

View Original Source Source