White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has a ‘particular style’ for responding to questions from the press. Earlier this year, Grabien highlighted Psaki’s repeated usage of the term ‘circle back’ when facing inquiries for which she had no clear answer.
Psaki has another go-to line, one she at times utilizes in odd situations. ’We welcome.’
In a press briefing on October 18th, Psaki was asked about China testing a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile over the summer to the surprise of US officials. Her unusual response raised eyebrows. “We have been consistent in our approach with China. We welcome stiff competition, but we do not want that competition to veer into conflict.”
‘We welcome stiff competition’ from the Chinese Communist Party with regards to hypersonic nuclear missile capabilities...
Is Psaki serious with this remark? Is she unaware of the significance of this report? Is she trying to deflect away legitimate questions on the topic with her response?
Regardless, utilizing ‘we welcome’ in this circumstance dilutes Psaki’s use of this phrase rendering it unserious in both past and future instances.
This was not the first time Psaki used these words relating to China. At a press briefing in September, she said, “As it relates to China, we welcome stiff competition with the PRC. We do not seek conflict.” Clearly the Biden administration ‘welcomes stiff competition’ from the CCP. Noted.
Peter Doocy of Fox News verbally spars with Psaki more than any other White House reporter. In August, he pressed Psaki over specific individuals being stranded in Kabul, Afghanistan. Psaki responded to Doocy in classic form saying, “I would welcome you providing their phone number and we will reach out to them today, and I can assure you of that.”
Psaki had previously countered another inquiry from Doocy in similar fashion, this one in February regarding ‘green jobs’ for laid-off workers in the fossil fuel industry.
Doocy: “When is it that the Biden administration is going to let the thousands of fossil fuel industry workers, whether it’s pipeline workers or construction workers, who are either out of work or will soon be out of work because of a Biden [executive order], when it is and where it is that they can go for their green job?”
Psaki: “Well, I’d certainly welcome you to present your data of all the thousands and thousands of people who won’t be getting a green job. Maybe next time you are here you can present that.”
And if there is one thing that Psaki rhetorically ‘welcomes’ at seemingly every opportunity, it is ‘Republican support.’
In April, Psaki said, “We would welcome any good faith engagement on finding common ground on infrastructure in this proposal.”
And in July, she remarked, “Of course we would welcome Republican support for the reconciliation package.”
Why Psaki uses this term with such frequency, snark, and dismissiveness is open to interpretation, but continuing to do so when discussing important real-world issues will not benefit the Biden administration. Just like ‘circle back,’ when the administration ‘would welcome’ everything and anything under the sun, serious observers will conclude that Psaki is full of it when she shoots off this term during a White House press briefing.
So make sure to keep your ears tuned for this phrase when listening to Jen Psaki in the future, as she is certain to circle back to it again.