Psaki Admits She Thinks About Cutting Biden Off When He’s Talking To The Press
White House press secretary Jen Psaki admitted that she briefly considered cutting President Joe Biden’s press conference short when he announced he was going to extend it past the originally scheduled time.
Psaki made an appearance on Pod Save America, where she said she was shocked by Biden’s decision but allowed it to continue because he seemed “to be having a good time.” Biden’s Jan. 19 press conference went on longer than those of any recent president, lasting nearly two hours. While Biden was poised throughout the conference, he made several statements on Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine and the legitimacy of the 2022 midterm elections that Psaki later had to clean up.
“Did Biden accidentally take an Adderall that Donald Trump Jr. left behind? Like, 90 minutes in, were you surprised by how long it was going?” Pod Save America host Jon Lovett asked.
“I was in the back and I was thinking, ‘Do I cut this off? He seems to be having a good time. He’s calling on nearly everyone in the room.’ So yes I did have that go through my mind,” Psaki answered.
Psaki said that one of Biden’s main objectives for the press conference was to discuss the lack of proactive plans from their Republican opponents. While Biden argued that Republicans had no legislation of their own and only wanted to oppose his, several of his other statements eclipsed that one.
Biden had previously stated that the U.S. and its allies would take “decisive” economic action if Russia chooses to invade Ukraine. His message during the press conference was very different, however, with him stating that he might allow a “minor incursion” to slide.
“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, et cetera, but if they do what they are capable of doing with the forces massed on the border, it will be a disaster for Russia if they invade Ukraine,” Biden said.
His statement was met with indignation from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy, who reminded Biden in a tweet that “there are no minor incursions.”
We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power 🇺🇦
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) January 20, 2022
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne later clarified Biden’s statement, “The president was referring to the difference between military and non-military/paramilitary/cyber actions by the Russians. Such actions would be met by a reciprocal response, in coordination with Allies and partner.”
Biden also stated at the press conference that the 2022 midterm elections could “easily be illegitimate” unless Congress passed his election reform agenda.
“Oh yeah, I think it could easily be illegitimate. Imagine, imagine if, in fact, Trump succeeded in convincing … to not count the votes,” Biden said. “Imagine if those attempts to say that the count was not legit, you have to recount it and were … going to discard the following votes. I’m not saying it’s gonna be legit. The increase in the prospect of being illegitimate is a direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed.”
Psaki later clarified those comments, saying she “talked to the president a lot about this and he is absolutely not predicting that the 2022 elections would be illegitimate.”