Jen Psaki has been a remarkably different White House press secretary than any of her four predecessors. Where they were contemptuous and snippy — not to mention sometimes allergic to the truth — the Biden team’s first person on the job is, well, not. Except with Peter Doocy. Psaki and the Fox News journalist quickly established a frenemy repartee, with him asking questionable questions and her replying with snappy retorts. That schtick got a good workout on Friday, when Psaki quoted his own network back to him.
Psaki uses a Fox News report to respond to Doocy pic.twitter.com/Ml1ucFWF9E
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 2, 2021
Doocy tried to take the Biden administration to task for the Defund the Police movement, in which people demand that police budgets be slashed and reallocated in ways that may be more productive, not to mention safer for some communities. Biden and team have never embraced it, but Doocy singled out U.S. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, who last year was quoted saying it was “critical” for police budgets to be decreased.
But Psaki was ready for him. She immediately turned to a report from Fox News in February, which stated that Gupta’s nomination was supported by “current and former police chiefs in more than 53 cities across the country, as well as the National Fraternal Order of Police.” In addition to praising her leadership, they urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to “quickly confirm her.” (Gupta assumed office on April 22.)
After reading Doocy a piece from his own employers, Psaki said, “I don’t know if that was your report or not.” (It wasn’t.) “But it was certainly one from your network.”
When Doocy pressed that Gupta said she wanted police budgets decreased, Psaki replied, “She also made it clear in her confirmation process that she opposes defunding the police. And the president, most importantly, did not run on defunding the police. He’s always opposed defunding the police.”
The two’s latest exchange comes after a number of Democrats, as well as Fox News host Chris Wallace, have pointed out that, technically speaking, it’s Republicans who have tried to take money from the nation’s police forces, after they opposed a bill that would have made their budgets bigger.