White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki sparred with Fox News reporter Peter Doocy once again, this time after Doocy attempted to place the blame on President Joe Biden for the number of COVID-19 deaths nationwide.
Psaki, no stranger to Doocy's criticisms, gave him a blunt reminder of former President Donald Trump's action at the start of the pandemic.
You can watch what transpired in the video below.
It all began when Doocy tried to deflect from the breaking news story confirming that former President Trump hid his positive COVID-19 test result mere days before joining then-candidate Biden on stage for a September 2020 debate.
“There’s a lot of talk about the first Trump-Biden debate today. But at the second one in 2021, roughly 220,000 Americans had already died of COVID."
"Joe Biden said about Trump, ‘Anyone who was responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.’ Is that still the standard now that more Americans have died under President Biden?"
Psaki's response was firm. She pointed out that the former President had consistently downplayed the pandemic's severity and pushed bogus health treatments, to say nothing of his other actions, saying:
“I think the fundamental question here is what are you doing to save lives and protect people?"
“And the former president was suggesting people inject bleach. He apparently, reportedly didn’t even share with people he was going to interact with that he had tested positive for COVID himself."
"He continued to provide a forum for misinformation, which probably led to people not getting, not taking steps forward to get to protect themselves, to wear a mask, to eventually get vaccinated."
"This President has made the vaccine widely available. He’s relied on the health – the advice of his health and medical experts, and he is trying to be a part of solving this crisis, getting the pandemic under control."
"And I think there’s a pretty stark difference between their approaches.”
Psaki is correct.
Trump sparked significant controversy in the spring of 2020 when he opined that health officials should consider injecting bleach into people's bodies as a means of fighting the virus.
He also claimed that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine can be used as an effective treatment for COVID-19. He even claimed to have taken the drug himself.
Trump's comments prompted the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to warn doctors not to prescribe hydroxychloroquine or the related drug chloroquine. The drugs are restricted for hospital and research uses only.
Trump later denied the FDA had ever issued a warning.
After he'd recovered from his own bout with COVID-19, an experience that landed him in the COVID-19 ward of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he insisted that news coverage of the pandemic was designed to hurt his re-election chances and should be considered an “election violation."
In making these claims, Trump showed no sign that he would change his messaging strategy even as more White House staffers, and even former Vice President Mike Pence, tested positive for the virus.
A Rose Garden event for Amy Coney Barrett, then nominated by Trump to serve on the Supreme Court, has been credited as the source of the COVID-19 outbreak at the White House.
Many have praised Psaki for her response.
Psaki is no stranger to Doocy's pointed questions.
In October, he again attempted to criticize President Biden, saying that Biden had "broken his promise" not to "interfere in what cases" the Department of Justice (DOJ) "should bring and not bring."
Their interaction became more abrasive when he suggested Biden was inappropriate to weigh in on whether or not the DOJ would prosecute individuals who'd defied subpoenas from the House Select committee tasked with investigating the January 6 insurrection.
To that end, Psaki reminded Doocy that the President Biden has supported the DOJ's efforts to prosecute those involved in the insurrection, noting that Trump "put political pressure on senior DOJ officials to propagate lies about the election to the point that they threatened to resign en masse."