OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was not thrilled when a reporter did their job and asked her a pressing question about the war between Russia and Ukraine and the involvement of the United States.
President Joe Biden has made it known that no United States troops will get involved in the war, nor would he establish a no-fly zone which could lead to a war with Russia.
The reporter rankled Psaki when he asked if the United States was going to simply “just watch this get worse.”
“Can you give us any sense of a timeline or a triggering event that would result in this policy change regarding Russian oil and any decisions that may be forthcoming? Is that imminent? Or is there something that — you know, is there an event — an outside event that you’re waiting for?” the reporter said.
“I wouldn’t say, Kelly, it’s an outside event. I think our continuing concern continues to be — you know, everybody wants to hold President Putin and the Russian leadership accountable. Everybody supports the efforts that the Pres- — President Biden has been leading around the world to take — put in place crippling financial sanctions, and they have had an enormous impact,” the press secretary said.
“But what we are also mindful of is not taking steps that have — would have the impact of raising energy prices, raising oil prices, raising gas prices for the American public. And we also are mindful of doing things in a way that is unified with our partners around the world,” she said.
“Can you speak to how the President has steeled himself, hardened himself, if you will?” the reporter said.
“He’s made a commitment not to put American troops in a military position in Ukraine. You’ve outlined all the steps the U.S. and allies are taking. But he’s also watching what is happening, as are many Americans who are concerned about the atrocities that are taking place, the loss of life, the civilians that are being affected. Does the U.S. just watch this get worse? Is that what we should all be prepared for?” they said.
That question got the ire of Psaki.
“I would just argue we’re hardly ‘watching.’ We have been — we have provided a billion dollars in military and security assistance, including a range of defensive weapons that we have expedited delivery to the Ukrainian leadership and Ukrainian military,” the press secretary said.
“We have been the largest provider of economic and humanitarian assistance. We have rallied the world to stand up against President Putin. We are not “watching”; the President is leading the world in responding to this,” she argued.
“However, he is not going to put U.S. military men and women serving on the front lines of battle in Ukraine to fight Russia. That has never chan- — that has never been his plan, never been his policy, and he has no intention of doing that,” she said.
She went on to answer another reporter’s question about comments made by Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham who argued that someone in Russia should assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The President believes there continues to be a diplomatic path forward. That is the path forward that will help resolve what we’re seeing on the ground,” the press secretary said.
“President Putin has the ability to deescalate. We have left the door open for months now to be engaged through de-escalation if de-escalation occurs.
“Obviously, humanitarian corridors, a ceasefire — those would all be steps that would be welcomed. But, no, we are not advocating for killing the leader of a foreign country or regime change. That is not the policy of the United States,” she said.