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WATCH: Reporter Grills Psaki On France Feeling Betrayed Over Deal Biden Made

   DailyWire.com
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. The Biden administration's decision to give renters affected by the worsening pandemic a two-month eviction reprieve risks pushing a housing crisis into the fall if states fail to accelerate distribution of billions in rent relief.
Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was pressed during Thursday’s news conference over the administration’s response to France saying that they felt betrayed over a deal that the administration made with Australia.

“Late on Wednesday, the $40 billion submarine contract signed in 2016 with a French company was passed over for the newly established partnership dubbed ‘AUKUS,’” Fox News reported. “While the deal with France would have provided Australia with conventional submarines, the new alliance will instead grant the Indo-Pacific nation with highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology.”

Because of the deal, France canceled a gala in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the relationship that has France has with the U.S.

“Well, I would first say that we value our relationship and our partnership with France on a variety of issues facing the global community, whether it’s economic growth, or whether it’s the fight against COVID, or addressing security throughout the world,” Psaki responded. “And that has been a longstanding partnership for many, many years. I would leave it, of course, to our Australian partners to describe why they sought this new technology and why they pursued this technology from the United States. As you know, part of their — part of their issue is that there was a purchase of technology from — that Australia had made with the French. But we’ll let Australia speak to that and why they [pursue] — or why they purchased this technology. We cooperate closely with France. As the president said yesterday, we have a range of shared priorities in the Indo-Pacific, and that will certainly continue. We don’t see this, from our end, as a regional divide. We see this as areas in security — security issues that we want to take on together.”

When asked if the admin blindsided France with the deal, or if they knew that it was coming, Psaki said that France knew that it was coming.

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

REPORTER: Thank you, Jen. A couple questions on the same topic: this agreement announced yesterday, the AUKUS agreement — in particular, the reaction from two different countries. First, China, who said that — who accused this agreement of escalating tensions in the region and said it was reflective of a, quote, “Cold War mentality.” Do you have a response to that? Is President Biden looking to escalate a Cold War with China?

MS. PSAKI: No. This partnership, announced yesterday, is not about any one country. This is about advancing our strategic interests, the strategic interest of the United States, upholding the international rules-based order, and promoting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. And I would note that the United Kingdom and Australia also have a long history, as does the United States, of upholding the international rules-based order. So our hope is that the three countries who have consistently worked with regional supporters to support a secure and stable and peaceful Indo-Pacific can now work together to do exactly that. As it relates to China, we welcome stiff competition with the PRC. We do not seek conflict. Obviously, the president spoke with President Xi just a few days ago. And certainly, we’re committed to maintaining an open, high-level dialogue between the leaders.

REPORTER: The other country reacting strongly to this is France. The French foreign minister deemed it a, quote, “stab in the back,” compared it to a “unilateral” decision like the ones made by former President Trump. Just now, France has canceled a gala here in Washington that was meant to celebrate friendship with the United States. What reaction do you have to France’s rather outraged response to this agreement?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I would first say that we value our relationship and our partnership with France on a variety of issues facing the global community, whether it’s economic growth, or whether it’s the fight against COVID, or addressing security throughout the world. And that has been a longstanding partnership for many, many years. I would leave it, of course, to our Australian partners to describe why they sought this new technology and why they pursued this technology from the United States. As you know, part of their — part of their issue is that there was a purchase of technology from — that Australia had made with the French. But we’ll let Australia speak to that and why they [pursue] — or why they purchased this technology. We cooperate closely with France, as the president said yesterday, we have a range of shared priorities in the Indo-Pacific, and that will certainly continue. We don’t see this, from our end, as a regional divide. We see this as areas in security — security issues that we want to take on together.

REPORTER: Last one, then I’ll hand off. On the same subject, the French have also said that this is undermining relations with U.S. and its European partners. And they said they were blindsided by this deal. Did President Biden or the administration convey ahead of time to France that this was coming? Do they plan to speak today?

PSAKI: I don’t have any preview of calls for you. I will say that I’m sure we will — the president will speak at a high level soon. But we are engaged closely — and we were engaged, in advance of this announcement, with leaders in France about — about this purchase.

REPORTER: They were told it was coming?

PSAKI: They were aware in advance of the announcement. Yes.

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