White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained away a now-viral video of her appearing to mock a Fox News discussion on the impact of “soft-on-crime” policies, claiming she was simply responding to a chyron.
In the video, Psaki pointed out the fact that while MSNBC and CNN were covering the American response to a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine — and CNBC was “doing their own thing about the market” — Fox News had Judge Jeanine Pirro discussing the fallout of “soft on crime” policies. “What does that even mean, right?” Psaki asked, laughing. “So there’s an alternative universe on some coverage. What’s scary about it is a lot of people watch that.”
Jen Psaki mocks people discussing the “consequences” of “soft-on-crime” policies: “What does that even mean?” pic.twitter.com/C1KEnXVIQI
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 31, 2022
Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked Psaki about it directly during Monday’s briefing, asking whether her comments on the “Pod Save America” podcast had been a reflection of her own personal opinion or of the White House’s priorities.
JACQUI TIME: “Your appearance on Pod Save America” mentioned “one line has prompted some criticism…’Soft on crime consequences? What even is that?’ Were you speaking in your personal opinion or…the priorities of” the WH?
Psaki says Fox has unfairly criticized them on crime. pic.twitter.com/h6n392tYRm
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) January 31, 2022
Psaki’s response was that her comments had been taken out of context — and that she had simply been responding to a chyron on Fox News. She then pivoted to attack the network, arguing that Fox News had been unfair to the President Joe Biden and his administration.
“I would encourage anyone to listen to the full context of the interview and the conversation,” Psaki said. “What I was speaking to was a chyron on Fox News, since you raised it, which suggested this administration is soft on crime with no basis, given we have had many conversations and back and forth with you and your colleagues about the prioritization of the president to ensure that we are working as close partners with leaders, whether it is [New York City] Mayor [Eric] Adams, who he’s going to spend the day with on Thursday, or others in the country, and the facts speak for themselves. This is what I was talking about in the interview for the full context.”
Psaki went on to claim that the American Rescue Plan had included additional resources for police — blaming Republicans for opposing the massive spending package — and arguing that Biden was pushing for greater increases in law enforcement funding that his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
“And the other fact that is never talked about in these Fox packages, maybe even this one, is the fact that gun crime is a major driver of crime across the country, also a fact. So those are pieces I think in that moment I was speaking to and, again, we are about the facts here, and addressing crime is something that is a root of the president’s agenda,” Psaki concluded, attacking Fox News directly once again.