White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded to a reporter from conservative media company Newsmax, who asked if President Joe Biden will fire Linda Thomas-Greenfield—a Black woman who is the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Since joining the U.S. Foreign Service in 1982, Thomas Greenfield's extensive resume includes serving as the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Director General of the United States Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources, United States Ambassador to Liberia and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs.
At Friday's press briefing, Newsmax reporter Emerald Robinson asked about firing the Ambassador for her comment that White supremacy is "woven" into the fabric of America's founding documents.
The UN Ambassador told Al Sharpton's National Action Network conference on Wednesday:
"I've seen for myself how the original sin of slavery weaved White supremacy into our founding documents and principles."
"Is POTUS going to remove an African American woman w/ decades of experience in the foreign service who's widely re… https://t.co/QnJTcunoff— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1618587851.0
Robinson claimed Thomas-Greenfield's statement was "getting widely criticized as essentially parroting Chinese Communist Party talking points."
The Newsmax reporter then asked:
"So is the President going to remove her from her position as the representative before that body to promote United States values?"
An unflinching Psaki responded first with a question.
"Is the President going to remove an African American woman with decades of experience in the foreign service who is widely respected from her position as ambassador from the UN? He is not."
"He will—he is proud to have her in that position. She is not only qualified. He believes she is exactly the right person in that role at this moment in time."
While Psaki said she has not seen Thomas-Greenfield's comments, she added:
"There's no question that there has been a history of institutional racism in this country. And that doesn't require the UN ambassador to confirm that."
But Robinson argued the Ambassador's statement was "essentially the same lecture though, that the Chinese delegation gave Secretary Blinken in Alaska last month. So does the President think our founding documents are racist?"
To which Psaki calmly replied:
"I would say that I will—I will leave my comments to speak for themselves. And certainly, I think most people recognize the history of systemic racism in our country. And she was speaking to that."
Twitter was quick to point out how the Three-Fifths Compromise of 1787—which counted slaves as three-fifths of a person to determine a state's total population—was one of the numerous examples of inherent racism in America's founding documents which reference enslaved Africans and "merciless Indian savages" in several places.
@atrupar Oh so now we’re all supposed to pretend that the 3/5ths Compromise isn’t blatantly racist?— SoOverIt (@SoOverIt)1618588066.0
@atrupar Here's the answer: when the Constitution was created people who looked like me were considered 3/5ths of a HUMAN BEING!!! #racist— Lance Mann (@Lance Mann)1618588138.0
@atrupar our country was built with slave labor slaves could not vote slaves weren't considered to be a full huma… https://t.co/WHLW5nbNZ9— sam (@sam)1618588637.0
@atrupar Slavery is in the Constitution. Black people are counted as 3/5 of a white person. Yes, racism is quit… https://t.co/4jahSBWMWH— Machine Pun Kelly (@Machine Pun Kelly)1618588338.0
@atrupar Linda Thomas-Greenfield's ancestors were enslaved in this country in full accordance with our sacred found… https://t.co/BadqAu2hRR— Craig Harrington (@Craig Harrington)1618588464.0
@atrupar I guess this reporter missed the 3/5ths compromise wherein white slavers used Black bodies to get outsized… https://t.co/ggUXLKdBvp— Straight No Chaser 🦩 (@Straight No Chaser 🦩)1618588620.0
@atrupar That reporter is a prime example of institutional racism & white supremacy being on full display attacking… https://t.co/4TcOR8BGS9— Proudly & Unapologetically Black (@Proudly & Unapologetically Black)1618594183.0
@atrupar I don’t know who this “reporter” is, but she is awful. Facts are facts. Our Constitution was created durin… https://t.co/yOPxIeb9sh— Laura P (@Laura P)1618595457.0
Others lauded Psaki for her consistently factual briefings and articulate shutdowns of conservative media reporters who think they have a "gotcha" question.
@atrupar @Jeffdc5 What I love about Press Secretary Jen Psaki is that she combats lies with facts. She has an arsen… https://t.co/V1hW5E2YXf— Russell Drew (@Russell Drew)1618589478.0
@atrupar There should be a flashing red light on Ms. Psaki's podium: "Warning-Psaki Bomb Incoming!"— Patrick B (@Patrick B)1618689973.0
@atrupar She has the gentle yet firm demeanor of a third grade teacher explaining to one of her students why he can… https://t.co/mHlhi1Hoza— Citizen D (@Citizen D)1618587999.0
@atrupar Jen ending the week just like she started it. Who is the reporter, btw? Dying to know what "news" org. s… https://t.co/12jVE3UKP2— Not this fuckin' guy again! (@Not this fuckin' guy again!)1618588014.0
@atrupar Thank you for keeping it real, Press Secretary Psaki. The entire globe recognizes the ugly truths some Ame… https://t.co/y2la9oOy7P— Jackie Kerr (@Jackie Kerr)1618591553.0
The Psaki Method seems to be a thing.
@atrupar Jen's "Let me answer that question with a question" style is just deadly— Chris in California (@Chris in California)1618590465.0
@atrupar She really is making the deployment of the Psaki bomb into an effortless art form. Always aware of the po… https://t.co/nWr8ILAMPH— Politicsrus (@Politicsrus)1618589765.0
@atrupar @Inkling61 Jen Psaki is brilliant at batting away these stupid questions that only highlight the racist beliefs of the questioner.— Kathleen M. Thompson (@Kathleen M. Thompson)1618588574.0
@atrupar Jen Psaki be like https://t.co/USP3S4fmOl— AV🕯️9 min, 29 sec (@AV🕯️9 min, 29 sec)1618591447.0
Thomas-Greenfield spoke about racism during the National Action Network's annual convention and encouraged Americans to "acknowledge that we are an imperfect union and have been since the beginning, and every day we strive to make ourselves more perfect and more just."
In addition to the remarks about White supremacy in the founding documents, she said:
"Racism is not the problem of the person who experiences it. Those of us who experience racism cannot and should not internalize it despite the impact it can have on our everyday lives."
"Racism is the problem of the racist, and it is the problem of the society that produces the racist. And in today's world, that's every society. In America, that takes many forms. It's the White supremacy that led to the senseless killing of George Floyd."