White House media secretary Jen Psaki got into a heated sparring match with a reporter on Tuesday when she would not answer his question about President Biden.
Psaki was asked by the NY Post’s Steven Nelson about a report from Vanity Fair in Dec., which said that White House coronavirus advisors were briefed by virus experts about strategies to fight the pandemic and were told they should give free rapid tests to homes ahead of the holidays just in case of a fresh surge.
The report said that members of Joe Biden’s team were briefed about the plan, which was in the end rejected, but did not explicitly say that Biden himself was told about it or made the decision not to ship the tests. Nelson asked Psaki if Biden was briefed about the White House sending tests to Americans for free beginning this month.
Instead of answering directly, Psaki gave off a list of actions that the president had facilitated and emphasized that the White House was going through with sending out some free tests.
“The president made use of the Defense Production Act, put in $3 billion to increase it, quadrupled the size of our testing ability, and now we have ordered one billion doses,” Psaki stated. “So we see it as, our coronavirus team, the members who worked there, saw that as a very good meeting, a great meeting, a lot of which we implemented.”
Nelson pressed Psaki for her non-answer, asking once again if President Joe Biden was briefed: “How can Biden shut down the virus if he is not briefed on these ideas … was President Joe Biden briefed about this idea at the time?”
Psaki again deflected, this time showing some frustration as she said she had answered Nelson’s question.
“I answered your question already, maybe you might not have been listening to me. Maybe you were waiting to ask your next question,” Psaki replied. “But I answered your question.”
“That’s not my question,” Nelson said, before trying again to get an answer. However, Psaki replied she had already answered and that he should go onto something else or they had to move onto another journalist.
The Biden White House is currently rolling out a plan to allow American citizens to order free COVID-19 rapid tests on the internet that will be shipped to them by the U.S. Postal Service starting later on this month.