At a press conference at the White House on Friday, press secretary Jen Psaki expertly disassembled conspiratorial questioning from Emerald Robinson, a reporter with the far-right media outlet known as Newsmax. At first, Robinson asked for Psaki’s take on the theory that the Biden administration is essentially carrying out a third Obama term, but Psaki pointed out that the idea that Biden is somehow not taking an active role in his own administration is just not reflective of the facts.
As Robinson initially put it:
‘Given the number of former Obama administration officials that are now in this Biden administration and the president’s relatively light schedule, there’s a growing perception that this is really just the third term of President Obama. What do you say to people who say that?’
Biden hasn’t had a “relatively light schedule” according to any reasonable understanding of the phrase. Psaki began her response by asking for clarification to the familiarly vague right-wing question. Psaki asked what “people” that the reporter had in mind, and amazingly, Robinson did not actually name a single specific person in response.
After Psaki asked what people in the media were supposedly making the charge of a third Obama term, Robinson said that “different people” were — and that’s it. She never named a single name! She simply went on to say that “many people” found Vice President Kamala Harris’s greeting of the Japanese prime minister “odd.” The flimsy and conspiratorial idea is that Biden was surprisingly out of the spotlight.
In reality, of course, there’s a pandemic unfolding, if Robinson hadn’t heard, and this pandemic has no doubt thrown a wrench in potential plans for in-person meetings with Biden and world leaders. Psaki pointedly replied:
‘It’s hard to react when I don’t know what people you’re talking about. I will say that the president met with the [Japanese] prime minister as you know and had a full meeting, a full press conference afterwards, and they even shared a meal. And the president has had dozens of conversations and calls with world leaders, and it should be no surprise that the vice president is also playing an important role engaging with and having discussions with foreign leaders.’
Subsequently, Robinson asked Psaki if Biden thinks that COVID-19 “was a lab leak.” Psaki replied by pointing out that the Biden administration, including the president, have already unequivocally established their support for a credible investigation into the issue. Robinson kept pressing, and as she continued to attempt to take up other reporters’ time, Psaki cut her off, saying:
‘I’m sorry, Emerald, I think you’ve had plenty of time today.’
Check out the interactions below:
“I’m sorry, Emerald, I think you’ve had plenty of time today” — Psaki ran out of patience with a Newsmax staffer’s conspiracy theories pic.twitter.com/fxModg18oq
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 7, 2021