Despite their overall refusal to take the crisis seriously, prominent right-wingers have flipped concern about COVID-19 on at a moment’s notice when it’s politically suited them, and that trend continued in the White House briefing room this Monday. At the White House, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy questioned press secretary Jen Psaki about investigations into the origin of the virus that has swept the world, asking why the Biden administration doesn’t just launch their own probe. Doocy’s ignorant petulance led Psaki to observe that she thought he was “misunderstanding how this process actually works.”
Doocy asked as follows:
‘With 589,920 dead Americans, at what point does President Biden say, “We don’t want to wait for the WHO, we don’t know what they’re doing, this needs to be an American led effort to get to the bottom of what happened”?’
Psaki replied by noting that authorities “need access to the underlying data and information in order to have that investigation,” and at that point, Doocy interrupted, saying that Biden “talks all the time about how he’s known [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] for a long time. So why can’t he just call?” There’s been an issue with getting the data that would be necessary for an investigation into the virus, which was first identified in China.
Psaki commented as follows:
‘I think you’re misunderstanding how this process actually works. An international investigation led by the World Health Organization is something that we’ve actually been pressing for, for several months, in coordination with a range of partners around the world. We need that data. We need that information from the Chinese government, what we can’t do and what I would caution anyone doing is leaping ahead of an actual international process. We don’t have enough data and information to jump to a conclusion at this point in time.’
Doocy does not appear to have been meaningfully taking in what Psaki was saying. He subsequently asked whether there is “any amount of casualties from COVID in this country that would make you want to not wait for an international effort and just do it,” but as Psaki just explained, the Biden administration can’t exactly “just do it,” and Doocy’s self-important suggestion that they can is rooted in glaring ignorance. How is the Biden administration going to launch a meaningful investigation without access to relevant data that can only be obtained through international cooperation?
There’s an extra level of ridiculousness in Doocy’s approach considering the fact that his own network, Fox News, has spent basically the entirety of the pandemic downplaying the crisis and often outright deriding those who have taken it more seriously than them. Psaki pointedly commented to Doocy as follows:
‘Well, I have to say, I think the family members of the loved ones whose lives have been lost deserve accurate information, data, not the jumping to a conclusion without having the information necessary to conclude what the origins are. What we do share — everyone in this country has a desire to know how this started, where it started and prevent it from ever happening again. That’s something we all share.’
Psaki: I think you’re misunderstanding how this process actually works pic.twitter.com/CBH5A7obQw
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 24, 2021