Friday the 13th was Jen Psaki’s last day as the Bagdad Ali of the White House. I want to thank Joel B. Pollak for this list.
Yes some — particularly in the establishment media — have called her the “best ever,” perhaps because the job of explaining Joe Biden’s failures is simply so difficult. Here are some of the most memorable moments of her tenure, for better or for worse:
17. COVID and masks. Despite sanctimonious lectures about pandemic precautions, Psaki somehow managed to contract COVID twice. She also struggled to explain the White House’s double standards on wearing masks on federal property.
16. “Circle back.” Psaki drew mockery from conservatives over her repeated promises from the podium to “circle back” with reporters when she did not know the answer to questions — or perhaps when she knew, but preferred not to answer.
15. Hoaxes. Psaki repeated some — not all — of the famliar liberal hoaxes about Trump, most notably the “bleach” hoax, insisting — despite glaring evidence to the contrary — that he had told Americans to inject bleach to cure COVID (he did not).
14. Defaming Kyle Rittenhouse. In the midst of the Rittenhouse trial, Psaki criticized “vigilantes with assault weapons.” After Rittenhouse was acquitted, she refused to walk back Biden’s false claim that Rittenhouse was a “white supremacist.”
13. War on “misinformation.” Psaki vowed her briefings would fight “misinformation,” and defended — to her last week — the Biden administration’s “disinformation” office. But she herself spread disinformation about Russia, and Hunter Biden.
12. Space Force snub. Psaki appeared to snub the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces when she mocked a reporter’s query about whether Biden intended to continue Donald Trump’s addition to the military. She later clarified that she supported it.
11. Major dog cover-up. When Biden’s dog, Major, was accused of biting a Secret Service agent, Psaki downplayed the incident. Later, documents suggested that Psaki misled the public about the real threat the dog posed to agency staff.
10. Border denial. Psaki made it clear she did not want reporters to ask about the crisis at the southern border, chastising reporters for “maddening” questions about it. She claimed Biden’s policy was more “moral” and “humane” than Trump’s.
9. Refusing to condemn protests at Supreme Court justices’ homes. It took Psaki days to condemn violence after a draft opinion reversing Roe was leaked, and she actually encouraged the arguably illegal protests outside the homes of justices.
8. Dismissing the idea of free COVID tests. Psaki initially scoffed at the idea of sending free COVID tests to every American as too costly to undertake. A few days later, mid-omicron wave, the administration belatedly began doing so.
7. “Don’t Say Gay’ demagoguery. It was Psaki who started the false — yet effective — claim that Florida had passed a law that literally prohibited people from saying “gay.” The law actually restricts sexual instruction of any kind to K-3 children.
6. Doocy. Among many examples of the Biden administration failing to respect the press, one of the worst was Psaki saying that Fox News made Peter Doocy — one of the few critical voices in the press corps — sound like a “stupid son of a bitch.”
5. Defending inflation. Psaki test-drove several excuses for inflation, first claiming that it was transitory (“inflation is going to come down next year”), then trying to put a positive spin on it as the by-product of an otherwise wonderful economy.
4. Admitting Biden skipped D-Day. Among other clean-up jobs, Psaki had to explain Biden’s unfortunate failure to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day in 2021. She told reporters that the historic occasion was still “close to his heart.”
3. Vacationing while Afghanistan fell. Psaki and many other members of the administration had to be called back from summer vacation when Afghanistan began to fall to the Taliban, a failure that has since defined perceptions of the president.
2. Hunter Biden dodges. Psaki repeatedly (and successfully) dodged questions about Hunter Biden, his laptop, and his connection to his dad’s finances, claiming they were a private matter or the under the purview of the Department of Justice.
1. Baby formula. Psaki’s advice, when asked what parents should do if worried about their babies amid a national shortage of baby formula, was to “call their doctor.” Neither she nor the White House had any solace to offer American families.
One example when Psaki called it right: she did, finally, admit that communism is a “failed ideology,” as Cubans protested in the streets against their oppressive regime. But that, sadly, is all the Biden administration was willing to do to help them.8