‘Why Is It You Guys Were So Unprepared?’: Peter Doocy Hammers Psaki On Testing Failures
DAVENPORT, IOWA - JANUARY 28: Peter Doocy, a Fox News reporter, stands for a portrait before a campaign event for former vice president Joe Biden at Jeno's Little Hungary in Davenport, IA on January 28, 2020. (Photo by Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy challenged press secretary Jen Psaki directly during Monday’s press briefing, asking why President Joe Biden’s administration had been so “unprepared” for the dramatic uptick in demand for COVID-19 testing.

Doocy, who spent part of his own holiday isolating with COVID-19, said that he had followed President Biden’s advice — to “Google COVID test near me” — only to learn that testing centers were fully booked and no appointments were available.

Upon learning that Doocy had been isolating, Psaki began by ribbing him and asking whether he had spent the entire time he was holed up watching his own network — to which Doocy replied that, in addition to watching Fox News content, he had “exhausted the full catalog of Guy Fieri content” as well.

“I heard the President say, ‘Google COVID tests near me.’ So, as somebody isolating with COVID, I did that, and the appointments everywhere were completely jammed. So, why is it you guys were so unprepared for the need for testing after the holidays?” Doocy asked.

“Well, Peter, I’m happy to see you back and well,” Psaki began. “I would second say that there has been a massive surge in cases — as you know and were a part of — in D.C. and New York. And there has been an unprecedented — and in other parts of the country as well — there’s been unprecedented demand for tests.”

“So what we have done over the course of the last few weeks and even before that, is the president quadrupled our testing capacity since the summer,” Psaki continued. “We opened 20,000 sites across the country and we’ve also opened additional federal sites, including one in D.C. only recently.”

Psaki went on to tout the president’s promise to send out 50 million tests to Americans who need them, in addition to securing contracts to procure additional test kits and making sure that more rapid tests were available and approved for emergency use.

Doocy went on to argue that patients needed to travel and then wait in line for a test — something that did not align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance advising those with symptoms to stay home. He referenced Biden’s promise to send out home test kits to Americans, asking again why the administration had not been better prepared to make that happen.

Psaki pushed back, saying that there would be more information available on the test kits later in the week, but Doocy continued to press. “At the rate you guys are going, these tests are not going to be available until spring, so will you admit that these free tests you guys promised are not going to be ready until after the omicron surge?” he asked.

Doocy pressed once more, asking whether the federal government would consider rolling back the vaccine mandate for federal employees — which included those employed by the U.S. Postal Service — if it meant they would retain more employees and could get test kits delivered to the American people faster.

Psaki replied that the Postal Service was ready and “eager to take on this challenge” without the mandate being rolled back.

Doocy’s final question was about the vaccines and whether, after a number of people including Doocy himself had tested positive despite being “triple-vaxxed,” Biden intended to continue calling the spread of COVID-19 a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Psaki replied that the language still made sense because the severely ill were mostly unvaccinated while those who had gotten the vaccines had typically milder symptoms.

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