OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former Biden White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki premiered her new show on MSNBC recently and she’s already facing blowback.
As Grabien’s Tom Elliot pointed out on Twitter, Psaki attempted a segment where she attacked Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over his views on Ukraine. Psaki, who is supposed to be this great communicator, instead grabbed headlines when she persistently began waving her arms all over the place while trying to make a point.
“Okay. So, if you’re having a hard time following, you’re not alone. But let me try to recap here. It’s nothing more than a territorial dispute, but the person overseeing this, little territorial dispute, is a war criminal. But at the same time, we have to worry much more about our own border than said war criminal. Got it, okay, I think. And look, I know there are politics involved here. Of course there are. This is a potential presidential primary that he’s gonna get himself engaged in. But this isn’t just about positioning in a Republican primary. The rest of the world actually watches stuff like this very closely, including Vladimir Putin. If he sees the two leading Republican candidates for president waffling on support for Ukraine, it gives some incentive to wait out the next year and a half and continue to pulverize Ukrainian civilians, rather than even being open to negotiating anything,” Psaki began.
Then, the extreme arm-flapping began.
“So, Ron DeSantis may think this is just another political issue to manage in a primary, but what he is saying could actually impact the war. Europeans are watching this, too, and if they think the United States might waver in their support, that can impact their calculus as well. Look, I was with President Biden on his first overseas trip as president when the common concern he heard from other foreign leaders was whether they could depend on our commitment to our values and to our partners after four years of Donald Trump. ‘How long would it last?’ was their question,” Psaki said.
“And you better believe that those concerns will resurface if they are sensing a return to the isolationist sentiment from the leading Republican candidates for president. Now, it may be that Ron DeSantis has lurched away from Trump on this issue and is a firm supporter of helping Ukraine. It may be that he’s lurched back. I honestly can’t tell. But what I do know is this: Consistency matters. Commitment to values matters. And at the moment, Ron DeSantis isn’t showing much of either of those,” she added.
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 27, 2023
Psaki raised eyebrows last week when she gushed over President Joe Biden delivering a speech.
During an interview on MSNBC, Psaki, where she now works as a host, praised Biden for giving a speech at 9 AM about the urgent banking crisis facing the country.
“It’s important to note President Biden does nothing at 9 AM … The fact that he’s doing this at 9 AM anyway speaks to how vital the White House recognizes it is for him to have his voice out there…” Psaki told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday.
Psaki was ordered a few months ago to provide testimony, along with Dr. Anthony Fauci and current White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, in a case regarding alleged censorship of users by big tech platforms.
However, in January, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans blocked an attempt by GOP attorneys general to depose her in a lawsuit filed against the Biden administration that alleges collusion with big tech to censor and ban certain users.
First filed by then-Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is now a U.S. senator, as well as Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry in May, the suit claimed that administration officials coerced or colluded with social media platforms to “suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content” with “dis-information,” “misinformation,” and “mal-information” labels.
U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty of the Western District of Louisiana denied Psaki’s request to dismiss her subpoena to testify, but the three-judge appeals panel ruled that the lower court judge failed to sufficiently consider established legal principles that limit current or former Executive Branch officials’ depositions to essential circumstances, Politico reported, adding:
The attorneys general and several private individuals have argued that Psaki’s statements about encouraging social media firms to take down misinformation about the coronavirus and about election fraud are grounds to subject her to questioning, but the appeals judges sharply disagreed. The 5th Circuit panel also suggested that in the absence of evidence that Psaki herself was interacting with the social media firms or dictating policy, there was little reason to demand her testimony.
“The plaintiffs argue that a deposition is required in order to, among other things, illuminate the meaning of these statements. Much of this desired illumination, though, is apparent from the record,” Judges Edith Clement, Leslie Southwick, and Stephen Higginson wrote in their joint order. “In a similar vein, the plaintiffs say they need to uncover the identities of government officials and social media platforms mentioned in Psaki’s statements. The record is already replete with such information.
“As Press Secretary, Psaki’s role was to inform the media of the administration’s priorities, not to develop or execute policy,” the appeals judges noted further. “Unsurprisingly, then, the record does not demonstrate that Psaki has unique first-hand knowledge that would justify the extraordinary measure of deposing a high-ranking executive official.”