Jen Psaki goes on Fox News to clean up after Joe Biden presser

White House press secretary Jen Psaki made a rare appearance on Fox News Thursday morning to attempt to clean up after President Biden one day after his first solo press conference of 2022. 

The president caused widespread outrage at Wednesday’s news conference by suggesting that a “minor incursion” into Ukraine by Russian forces would receive a less robust response.

Biden also stated Wednesday that this year’s midterm elections “easily could be illegitimate” if the Senate did not pass a sweeping election reform measure that died hours later when Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voted to uphold the 60-vote legislative filibuster.

“I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit,” the president said. “It’s — the increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these — these reforms passed.”

On Fox News Thursday, Psaki claimed that Biden “absolutely is not predicting that the 2022 elections would be illegitimate.”

“The point he was raising was both that in 2020, even amongst challenging circumstances, efforts to suppress the vote and the midst of a pandemic, there was record turnout, [among] Democrats and Republicans record turnout to go to the polls,” Psaki told “America’s Newsroom” hosts Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino.

President Biden caused outrage during his press conference on January 19, 2022 by saying that the 2022 midterms might not be legitimate.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

“And the point he was making is that the former president [Trump] asked a number of states, seven or more in fact, to overturn the outcome of the election. Now obviously, if there’s an effort to do that, we’ve got to fight against that. That’s what our commitment is to doing but he was not making a prediction.”

Turning to tensions in Eastern Europe, Psaki insisted that “any movement of military troops across the border into Ukraine” would be met with “severe economic consequences” for Russia.

One day earlier, Biden had suggested that the severity of the Western response to an invasion by Moscow “depends on what it does.”

Jen Psaki claimed that Biden "absolutely is not predicting that the 2022 elections would be illegitimate."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed that President Biden “absolutely is not predicting that the 2022 elections would be illegitimate.”
Fox News
The January 19, 2022 press conference was the first time that Biden appeared solo in a news conference.
The January 19, 2022 presser was only the second time that President Biden has appeared solo in a news conference.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having a fight about what to do and what not do, etc.,” Biden said. “But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the force they’ve massed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia.”

Later in the news conference, Biden boasted: “I’ve already shipped over $600 million worth of sophisticated equipment, defensive equipment to the Ukrainians. The cost of going into Ukraine in terms of the physical loss of life for the Russians — and they’ll, they’ll be able to prevail over time, but it’s going to be heavy. It’s going to be real. It’s going to be consequential.”

Thursday morning, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky fired back at Biden in a tweet saying, “We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power.” 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared in a rare Fox News interview to run damage control after the press conference.
Psaki said that President Biden is “always firm in his conversations” when asked about his dealings with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Fox News

“Our national security team has been in touch,” Psaki said when asked if the Kiev government had been in touch with the White House. “[Secretary of State] Tony Blinken is in Europe right now. Also, I would note the foreign minister conveyed just this morning that he is confident in the support of the United States, and he should be, because we are supportive, and we have their backs.”

The press secretary was also asked about Biden’s insistence to The Post Wednesday that he had pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping about the origins of COVID-19 during a virtual summit between the two leaders in November. The topic was not mentioned on a White House readout of the meeting, leading Biden to claim that his press team didn’t know about the exchange because they weren’t in the room at the time.

“The president never holds back and he’s always firm in his conversations,” claimed Psaki. “I can promise you that, including with President Xi, who he’s known for a long time and he’s had a lot of deep — direct conversations with.”