At a Thursday press conference at the White House, Biden administration press secretary Jen Psaki shut down a dubious line of questioning from a reporter who tried to equate policy decisions made by former President Donald Trump and Joe Biden. In part, Psaki pressed the reporter for the identities of individuals pushing such comparisons, and the reporter came up largely empty.
The reporter initially asked as follows:
‘There’ve been a number of issues in the last, say, several weeks in which allies of the president are describing him as Trump-like, less in terms of his personality, and tone, and tenor obviously, but in terms of policy. Even today, [there was] a representative of the Cuban government describing the frustration with the president continuing to maintain Trump era policies vis-à-vis Cuba. What’s the president’s reaction, and does he accept that in some areas of policy, he is in agreement with the former president?’
As Psaki put it in reply:
‘So just for the sake of argument here — not argument, but discussion, beyond the representative of the Cuban government… who? Who are we talking about here? Who’s saying that the president is like Trump?’
The reporter did not name a single individual in direct response to that question, although he did eventually name another foreign official (this time from France). Instead, he insisted that he “could find” quotes for Psaki supporting the basic premise of his question. Psaki followed up by asking for specific policies alleged to be like those of Trump, and the reporter replied by saying that one such example “would have been the maintaining of the former president’s decision to withdraw troops” from Afghanistan — although it’s worth noting that Trump was not the first leader to advocate for a withdrawal of the U.S. military presence from Afghanistan.
Psaki replied in part by commenting as follows:
‘On Afghanistan, the former president struck a deal without the Afghan government that we heard the military convey yesterday led to the demoralization of the Afghan security forces.’
Psaki also noted that the continuation of public health-related restrictions at the southern border (which the reporter also cited) relates to real needs to keep people safe. Check out the bulk of the interaction between the two (in two parts) below:
Psaki presses a reporter to provide receipts after he asks a half-baked "many people are saying" question comparing Biden and Trump pic.twitter.com/pqRFHEspcM
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 30, 2021
Psaki: …because we’re in the middle of a pandemic which by the way, we would’ve made progress on had the former President addressed the pandemic and not suggest people inject bleach pic.twitter.com/xMWIGg7KDD
— Acyn (@Acyn) September 30, 2021