by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
We’re less than a month into the Biden administration, and it’s already become readily apparent that White House press secretary Jen Psaki is not very good at her job. Her most obvious tic thus far during evasive briefing-room performances is to dodge questions with the help of identity-politics non sequiturs.
Her very first day on the job, Psaki received a query about President Biden’s imminent plans to undo the Mexico City policy and the Hyde amendment, both of which prevent direct federal funding of abortion.
“I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he is a devout Catholic and somebody who attends church regularly,” Psaki replied. “He started his day attending church with his family this morning. But I don’t have anything more for you on that.”
The press corps never received a response about the Mexico City policy, which was revoked the subsequent week. The implication of her non-reply was that the White House did not owe the public an explanation about Biden’s policy stance on abortion; his identity as a Catholic was defense enough.
As it turns out, this reflex is Psaki’s primary means of dispensing with questions to which she has no answers. When the GameStop story was dominating the news cycle, a reporter asked whether the White House was concerned about the stock-market activity and whether there had been conversations with the Securities and Exchange Commission on the subject.
“Well, I’m also happy to repeat that we have the first female Treasury secretary and a team that’s surrounding her and often questions about markets,” Psaki replied. “We’ll send [you] to them.”
No further explanation was forthcoming. We were meant to be contented with the irrelevant reminder that Treasury secretary Janet Yellen was selected for her post according to the eminently progressive criterion of her gender.