ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos challenged White House press secretary Jen Psaki directly during a Sunday morning interview on “This Week,” asking her how President Joe Biden planned to reverse his still-sinking polls.
Stephanopoulos cited a recent ABC/Washington Post survey — that showed over half of respondents believed Biden did not possess the “mental sharpness” to lead effectively — and pressed Psaki on how the president might use his upcoming State of the Union Address to help turn things around.
“The president is approaching his State of the Union in a pretty difficult political position right now, 37 percent approval rating, Democrats trailing badly in the midterm polling,” Stephanopoulos said, noting that Biden’s low approval numbers were likely to have a devastating impact on his party going into this November’s midterm elections.
“A majority in our recent poll out this morning even question the president’s mental capacity. How is he going to turn that around on Tuesday night? And how much has his State of the Union been changed by this war in Ukraine?”
“You know, George, from covering State of the Unions for some time, that it is about delivering a message to the public at a moment in time. And if you look back when President Obama gave his first State of the Union, it was during the worst financial crisis in a generation. When President Bush gave his first State of the Union, it was shortly after 9/11,” Psaki replied, making no effort to address Stephanopoulos’ concerns about the poll numbers.
“Leaders lead during crises. That’s exactly what President Biden is doing. He’ll speak to that, but he’s also going to speak about his optimism about what’s ahead and what we all have to look forward to,” she continued.
Stephanopoulos also pressed Psaki on the Biden administration’s sanctions and whether or not they were enough to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop his invasion of Ukraine. He asked whether vocal critics of the president like Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) were right to say that Biden should be increasing American energy production — via restarting work on the Keystone XL Pipeline and approving more oil and natural gas leases — to compensate for the increased oil and gas prices.
Psaki argued that increasing energy costs only further convinced Biden that the move toward green energy was the correct response.
“What this justifies in President Biden’s view is the fact we need to reduce dependence on foreign oil, on oil in general, and look at other ways of having energy in our country,” she said, adding that the invasion of Ukraine was also beginning to convince some of the European nations that they needed to be less dependent on Russian oil as well.
Jen Psaki says Biden wants to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by using green energy, not by expanding U.S. energy production pic.twitter.com/NqCKmzkCBN
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 27, 2022