Politics

Jen Psaki shut down Fox reporter: “The former president was suggesting people inject bleach”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing on Friday August 6, 2021, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing on Friday August 6, 2021, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House.Photo: Official White House Photo by Erin Scott

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki shut down a Fox reporter who argued that President Joe Biden has handled the coronavirus pandemic worse than Donald Trump did by reminding everyone that Biden “made the vaccine widely available” while Trump suggested “people inject bleach.”

At the White House Press Briefing yesterday, a reporter asked if Psaki wanted to comment how “Trump had tested positive” and Biden and Trump “were in such close quarters just a few days after,” referring to revelations in former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’s memoirs that Trump had tested positive for COVID shortly before the first presidential debate last year.

Related: Joe Biden just made the shadiest comment about Donald Trump

“Obviously, the debate occurred more than a year ago,” Psaki started, noting that Biden did not catch COVID after that debate.

“But,” she said as she got going, “I would note what is not lost on us is that no one should be surprised that currently in Congress, as we’re looking at the government staying open, you have supporters of the former president — supporters of the former president who withheld information, reportedly, about testing positive and appeared, apparently, at a debate; also held events at the White House, reportedly, with military veterans and military families, reportedly — many of you covered, so you could — you could confirm that; and did that without disclosing.”

She was referring to Meadows’s timeline, which says that Trump got his first positive COVID test result on September 26, 2020, one day before he hosted a White House event with the families of military servicemembers who had died in the line of duty. Trump announced that he had the virus on October 2, 2020 and had previously said that he may have picked up the virus at that event from one of the Gold Star families.

Republican lawmakers are threatening to shut down the U.S. federal government today in an effort to stop Biden’s vaccine mandate. If they are successful, the government would furlough workers and services will be shut down until their demands are met.

“And these supporters of this, of the former president are advocating for shutting the federal government down so that 20 percent of the public who are refusing to get vaccinated or tested can be free to infect their coworkers, our children, filling hospitals that they — that that is what they are advocating for,” Psaki said.

Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, riled up by several reporters discussing how Trump possibly attended the first presidential debate last year after he tested positive for COVID, decided to use one of his questions later in the press briefing to point out that many people have died due to COVID since Biden became president.

“A lot of talk about the first Trump-Biden debate today, but at the second one in 2021 [sic], when roughly 220,000 Americans had already died of COVID, Joe Biden said about Trump, ‘Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America,'” Doocy said. “Is that still the standard now that more Americans have died under President Biden than President Trump?”

“Well, I think the fundamental question here is: What are you doing to save lives and protect people?” Psaki responded. “And the former president was suggesting people inject bleach.”

She added that Trump allegedly didn’t disclose his positive COVID test to people he interacted with, provided “a forum for misinformation,” and didn’t do enough to encourage people to wear masks and get vaccinated.

“This president has made the vaccine widely available,” Psaki said. “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.”

Meadows, in his new book The Chief’s Chief, said that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on September 26, 2020 and took another test that day that came back negative. He allegedly decided to only believe the negative test and continued to meet with supporters.

“I didn’t want to cancel that,” Trump said about the September 27 event where he met with Gold Star families in an interview with Fox Business. “They all came in and they all talked about their son and daughter and father… They tell me these stories, and I can’t say ‘Back up, stand 10 feet away,’ you know? I just can’t do it.”

On September 29, he attended the first debate with Biden. A negative test from the previous 72 hours was necessary to attend and he submitted the negative test result.

On October 2, he announced on Twitter that he had tested positive. He was later hospitalized for six days due to COVID-19.

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