As the dire situation at the southern border gets worse, the White House has steadfastly refused to label it a “crisis” despite the fact that a crisis is exactly what it is.
For example, last week when White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked during a press briefing if the Biden administration believed there was a “crisis at the border,” her reply was to invoke the “no labels” talking point.
“Look, I don’t think we need to sit here and put new labels on what we have already conveyed is challenging, what we have conveyed is a top priority for the President, what our policy teams are working on every single day,” she stated at the time.
But in an apparent slip of the tongue during today’s briefing, Psaki let the “crisis” word slip in the middle of answering a question. She didn’t seem to realize it until another reporter referred back to her comment a short time later.
Her acknowledgment of a crisis at the border happened when she was asked about the administration’s just-confirmed plans to give surplus AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine doses to Mexico and Canada. A reporter asked if there had been any “strings attached regarding the situation on the border with this decision to give AstraZeneca doses to Mexico?”
Here was her response:
“There have been expectations set outside of — unrelated — to any vaccine doses or request for them that they would be partners in dealing with the crisis on the border. And there have been requests, unrelated, that they — for doses of these vaccines. Every relationship has multiple layers of conversations that are happening at the same time.”
Later on in the briefing, another reporter circled back to her comments and asked her for clarification. Here’s how that exchange went down:
Q When you were talking, a moment ago, about diplomatic negotiations between the United States and Mexico, you said “crisis on the border.” Is — was that a —
MS. PSAKI: Challenges on the border.
Q Okay. But, so, that’s not — that doesn’t reflect any change in the administration’s —
MS. PSAKI: No.
Q — view of things?
MS. PSAKI: Nope.
Watch both clips below, the first one is where she admits it’s a crisis and the second one is where she reverts back to talking points about the border issues equating to “challenges”:
🚨🚨: Jen Psaki just broke with the administration, and called it “the crisis on the border.”
Later corrected herself in another response! pic.twitter.com/I8m9ee0Pz5
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) March 18, 2021
Reporter: “You said ‘crisis on the border…?'”
Psaki: “Challenges on the border.” pic.twitter.com/9M45VrbfsK
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) March 18, 2021
I asked @PressSec what she meant when she referred to the “crisis on the border…”
She clarified that she meant “challenges on the border.”
So does that ” crisis” language reflect any changes in the administration’s view of the the situation?
“Nope,” she insisted.
— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) March 18, 2021
If a surge of migrant children to the tune of 3-4 thousand at times being put into cramped migrant facilities in the middle of a pandemic isn’t a crisis, I don’t know what is:
“There is no crisis!” –sends FEMA
“There is no crisis!” –reopens camps
“There is no crisis!” –converts NASA facilities
— Chesty Puller’s Ghost 🇺🇲 (@ChestyPullerGst) March 18, 2021
It’s just an insult to the intelligence of the American people at this point for the administration to continue to play word games with what’s happening at the border. It’s an obvious attempt at Biden trying to avoid taking responsibility for the fact that the open borders declarations he made during his presidential campaign and his rollback of Trump border policies have been directly responsible for the surge in illegal immigration and the crisis we’re watching unfold on the Texas/Mexico border and elsewhere.
Biden told migrants to come. They came. That’s the border crisis. pic.twitter.com/k5CARwG3MZ
— Michael Moore (@mbracemoore) March 17, 2021
This is a crisis. Pure and simple. No two ways about it. It didn’t have to happen. But it did because of Biden’s own words and actions, and no amount of dodging, weaving, and spinning like a top from Psaki or any other official in this administration is going to change that.