Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy was firing on all cylinders on Thursday afternoon, delivering a through evisceration of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki over the Biden administration’s lax immigration policies, their double standard requiring COVID testing for international fliers but not for illegal immigrants, and the regime’s affinity for green jobs.
And, as we’ve seen as of late, Doocy wasn’t alone on immigration as numerous reporters from liberal outlets also pressed Psaki on the federal government’s failure to disincentivize people from illegally bounding across the U.S./Mexico border.
Doocy started by quoting Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s insistence that illegal immigrants see Biden as “the migrant President” and this “flow” of people needs to “be tackled” and asking whether “the White House take[s] that as a compliment.”
Seemingly under the impression that Doocy was misleading her, Psaki asked for more context, but Doocy promptly read the full, unambiguous quote.
Psaki spun her usual web about how “the majority of people who come to our border will be turned away” despite the fact that they’ll be ferried out across the country as part of their “human approach” to children.
Doocy then upped the ante with this hardball about required COVID testing for airline passengers while illegals can waltz across without needing to prove they’re free of the virus:
And then, in terms of keeping COVID out of the country, does the White House think that it’s a problem that travelers have to show a negative COVID test, proof of a negative COVID test when they fly in to the U.S. from any foreign country, but travelers don’t need to show anything like that when they just walk across the border as long as they don’t go to a port of entry?
Psaki continued her penchant for ignoring the substance and instead attacked Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) as a habitual liar whereas the Biden team is “interested in facts around here” (click “expand”):
PSAKI: Well, I think there’s a lot of confusion about what’s happening at the border as it relates to people coming across and what happens when they come across. And I know Governor Abbott down in Texas has — has expressed some of his concerns and many of those have not been based in fact. So let me go through a few of those cause I know we’re interested in facts around here. One, Governor Abbott has referred to what is happening at the border as open borders, as us having an open borders policy. That is absolutely incorrect. The border is not open. The vast majority of individuals apprehended or encountered at the border are denied entry and returned under Title 42 as we have mentioned. Also, he has suggested that we are not vaccinating CBP officers. Again, we like to deal with facts around here. There’s no higher priority than the health of the federal and safety workforce. And the Department of Homeland Security and CBP have been clear that more than 64,000 frontline DHS employees, including members of the U.S. Border Patrol, have received a vaccination, so that’s just another point to provide full clarity. The other piece is the question about the testing of migrants at the border or testing of migrants as they’re coming across. We have DHS and FEMA have stepped in and work with local mayors, NGOs, and public health officials in Texas to implement a system to provide COVID-19 testing and as needed, isolation and quarantine for families released from Border Patrol facilities. Their proposal and agreement would cover 100 percent of the expense of the testing, isolation, and quarantine. But Governor Abbott has decided to reject that. So, there are a number — there’s a lot of confusion about these issues and I just wanted to provide a little point of clarity here.
DOOCY: But not asking about Governor Abbott, asking about President Biden in charge of the federal government. Why are the feds relying on NGOs to administer the tests? We talked to people at the border who say that migrants are tested if they show symptoms. That seems like a loophole.
PSAKI: That’s — that’s not an accurate depiction. There’s an important role that NGOs, that local mayors, that local officials play in — in working together. This is a proposal that was worked with DHS, with FEMA and others to help address and ensure that people are tested and Governor Abbott, I raised that simply because he had raised a concern about that and I wanted to be clear that we’ve put forward a proposal. So, I think the question is why is he standing in the way of local communities getting in the way of testing, isolation, and quarantining efforts?
Since Psaki had yet to actually answer him, Doocy plainly stated the reality that “COVID is COVID” and “COVID at the Dulles Airport customs is the same as COVID in a border town.”
“So I’m curious why is it that it’s enforced for people flying in from other countries but not a requirement by the federal government to test or to prove a negative test anywhere along the border except for the port of entry,” added Doocy.
After Psaki said all she could do was “describe….our policies,” Doocy pivoted to possible pay disparities between green vs. fossil fuel jobs (click “expand”):
DOOCY: And then just one quick one on green jobs. You guys have talked a lot about tackling the climate crisis while creating good-paying jobs. Now the president of a Texas AFL-CIO has come out to say someone working at a refinery leaving to go install solar panels, they’re probably going to take a 75 percent cut in pay. Is that something the administration is aware of?
PSAKI: I’m not sure which jobs are being compared there. Here’s what I can convey to you. The President is committed during his presidency to invest in, work with labor unions, with climate activists, with a range of — with the industry to invest in good paying clean energy jobs. And he believes that unions have an incredibly important role to play in ensuring those are high-paying jobs, that those treat the people who are in them with the respect and value that they deserve through collective bargaining rights and a range of the benefits of union organizing, being a part of a union. Obviously, that requires additional work and investment by the federal government working with Congress to invest in what we see as industries of the future. Oil and gas jobs are not going away. There are many industries that are, of course, continuing to function. The outgoing administration flooded the oil markets with cheap, federal leases. This won’t affect the markets for years to come. But what our objective is is to invest in what we see as the industries of the future where we feel the jobs will be moving forward. And the president looks forward to continuing to delivering on his commitment to doing exactly that.
DOOCY: High-paying, good-paying but equal paying?
PSAKI: High-paying, good-paying jobs. I think we’re comparing a little bit —
DOOCY: He’s saying [INAUDIBLE].
PSAKI: I’m not sure what specific jobs you’re comparing. What I’m conveying is the commitment to ensuring that jobs in the clean energy industry will be high-paying, union jobs. That’s what the President’s objective and commitment is, too.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins went next and, after a few questions about the stimulus package, she picked up on immigration with an excellent question about the refusal to label the border situation a crisis:
The administration has refused to call it a crisis, instead referring to it as a challenge and saying what you call it doesn’t make a difference in how you’re responding to it. But now today, there are over 3,700 children, unaccompanied migrant children in Border Patrol custody. They’re spending, on average, over 100 hours — four days in these facilities that are jail-like facilities not meant for children. So how can you say that’s not a crisis?
In part, Psaki dismissed Collins’s premise because “our focus here is on getting to the root of the issues and taking actions, and we don’t feel the need to, you know, play games with what it’s called.”
Collins tried again, but Psaki dug in that there’s no reason “to put new labels” on this “vital human challenge.”
While two other reporters would join the cadre, they weren’t as noteworthy as Collins and NBC’s Kristen Welker, who went back to Doocy’s quoting of Obrador. Here was part of that back-and-forth (click “expand”):
WELKER: If I could try one more time on the issue at the border and just follow up on the comments and the Mexican president, who said that the surge in unaccompanied migrants is because they see the President as the migrant president, What does that say about how the President is handling this situation?
PSAKI: Look, I think the president has been clear as has every member of our administration….[T]he border is not open. Now is not the time to come. We turn away the vast majority of people who come to the border….We stand by our decision, and our policy as an administration not to send unaccompanied minors back on the treacherous journey, so. You know that is our policy because we feel it’s humane and it’s moral and we think the world sees it that way as well.
WELKER: Does the message need to be even clearer, though? Yesterday, Ambassador Jacobson acknowledged that yes. She said, in her own words, you’re trying to walk and chew gum at the same time.
WELKER: Does there need to be a more streamlined message in order to prevent his search?
PSAKI: Well, she also talked about, Kristen, which is true in the region, we’re working against the efforts of smugglers and others who are conveying a different message. One of the steps we’re taking that I touched in a little bit earlier is….going back to some of the policies that were in place previously where children could apply for the Central American Minors program, which was ended in 2017. We estimate there’s about 3,000 kids who might be eligible who could apply and they could apply from the region, which would mean they wouldn’t make the treacherous journey….So there’s our there’s, uh, numbers — numbers challenges here, and we’re working through a lot of the operational details and specifics, but we stand by, you know, that what we feel is a more humane approach to what is happening at the border[.]
Two words to describe Psaki’s answers ever since this issue began, dear readers: Word salad.
Actually, “word salad” works for just about everything she’s said from the podium when it comes to answering tough questions.