by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Dominic Pino of National Review Online highlights the new White House press secretary’s difficult task.
On Friday, President Biden’s Twitter account produced this specimen:
“You want to bring down inflation? Let’s make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share.”
It’s phrased as a question-and-answer, but the answer is not in any way related to the question. Raising the corporate-income tax (presumably the policy on offer) is not a way to bring down inflation.
But there it is, on the president’s Twitter account. Presumably, it reflects a view that the president holds. Since it is utter nonsense, and the entire world saw it, one would think the White House would be prepared to answer questions about it.
One would think.
… [I]n the first press briefing since that tweet went up, Peter Doocy of Fox News read the tweet and asked the most straightforward question possible: “How does raising taxes on corporations reduce inflation?”
There’s only one correct answer to this question: “It doesn’t.” But the press secretary is not in the business of giving correct answers. The press secretary’s job is to give politically advantageous answers, which often bear little resemblance to correct answers. …
… [Karine] Jean-Pierre was clearly caught off guard by the question. You can tell because she hesitated and asked, “Are you talking about a specific tweet?” immediately after Doocy read, verbatim, a specific tweet.
The stalling didn’t lead to a better answer, though. It seems Jean-Pierre’s mental calculation went as follows: There’s no possible way to defend this entire tweet, so I’ll just defend the half that’s more politically popular, which is taxing the wealthy.
Of course, that doesn’t answer Doocy’s question, so he asked it again.
At this point, Jean-Pierre resorted to simply reading off the piece of paper in front of her, which mentioned something about climate change (totally unrelated).