You don’t hear about current White House press secretary Jen Psaki as much as you did Donald Trump’s four press secretaries, and one of them, Stephanie Grisham, barely held any press conferences. She’s comparatively boring, which is to say she’s professional, courteous to journalists, and — for the most part, though not exclusively — open about what’s going on in the Joe Biden White House. But every now and then she goes viral, and it usually involves her shutting down conservative reporter Peter Doocy.
Doocy is the son of Fox & Friends mainstay Steve Doocy, and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. He, too, works for Fox News, although his job entails dragging himself to the White House and pelting Psaki with rightwing talking points. The two established a frenemy relationship pretty much as soon as she took the job, and on Monday he tried to press her on newly awakened concern over how COVID-19 began.
A new Wall Street Journal article reveals that three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Urology in China had been hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms in November, shortly before the virus spread worldwide. Doocy pressed Psaki about Biden pushing for more intel. Psaki responded that they were pushing for an “expert-driven evaluation of the pandemic’s origins that is free from interference or politicization.”
But then Doocy asked the leading question he really wanted to ask, one that tried to make Biden look incompetent. “With 589,920 dead Americans, at what point does President Joe Biden say, ‘We don’t want to wait for the W.H.O., we don’t know what they are doing, this needs to be an American-led effort’?”
When Psaki began to tell him that they first need “access to the underlying data and information to have that investigation,” he interrupted her, asking why he can’t just call Chinese president XI Jinping, she shut him down completely.
“I think you are misunderstanding how this process works,” she told Doocy. “An international investigation led by the world health organization is something we have been pressing for several months in coronation with a range of partners around the world, we need that data and information from the Chinese government. What we can’t do, and what I would caution anyone doing, is leading ahead of an actual international process. We don’t have enough data and information to jump to a conclusion.”
This wasn’t a moment like the ones with Trump secretaries, like Sean Spicer or Sarah Huckabee Sanders or Kayleigh McEnany, who regularly went viral by being snippy or rude to journalists asking sometimes unflattering questions. Psaki was cool and collected but blunt, attempting to mollify someone trying to instill fear and impatience in an already anxious American people.
And so social media, who usually ignores Psaki, decided to praise her for something she probably does too much, which is deal with people like Peter Doocy.
Jen Psaki does not suffer fools or Doocys. https://t.co/Zref6jI4cH
— ReallyAmerican.com 🇺🇸 (@ReallyAmerican1) May 24, 2021
Oh, and it still doesn’t get reported on, but Press Secretary Jen Psaki is still pounding away at buffoonish gotcha questions from propagandists like Peter Doocybag from Fox. Such a badass.
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) May 24, 2021
Example # 506 of Jen Psaki calling Peter Doocy a complete idiot……in a classy way….. https://t.co/WIjGXZGwNM
— Les LeMieux, Sr (@leslsenior) May 24, 2021
Peter Doocy’s over here asking why the US doesn’t go all Leeroy Jenkins into China which I’m sure would be totally chill and not at all a gigantic disaster https://t.co/UOYg9ryEim
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) May 24, 2021
Doocy over here basically asking Psaki why won't President Biden invade China to get to the bottom of where COVID-19 originated. https://t.co/QirlXX2vkm
— Tim Fullerton (@TimFullerton) May 24, 2021
To be fair, the list of things Doocy doesn't understand is long and would fill many thick leather-bound volumes https://t.co/tyCvPwmlNm
— Jeff Timmer (@jefftimmer) May 24, 2021
Others saw through Doocy’s methodology, which here involved citing the number of deaths was a clear attempt to pin hundreds of thousands of American deaths on Biden, not the president who oversaw the vast majority of them and did little to stop it.