Psaki panned for statement defending 'vital partner' Kamala Harris: 'This is how you know it's bad'

Media top headlines November 15

In media news today, Kamala Harris’ spokeswoman hits back at CNN, an MSNBC anchor gets slammed on Twitter for arguing Americans can afford more expensive groceries, and Axios warns about a ‘reckoning’ on news outlets that touted the Steele dossier

Conservatives online had a field day after White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s public pushback against reports of White House exasperation with Vice President Kamala Harris.

Following a CNN article about dysfunction in Harris’ office and mutual frustrations between her and President Joe Biden’s office about her difficult roles, awkward moments like laughing off questions about the border, and dwindling approval rating, Psaki took to Twitter Sunday evening to praise Harris as a “vital partner.”

“For anyone who needs to hear it. @VP is not only a vital partner to @POTUS but a bold leader who has taken on key, important challenges facing the country — from voting rights to addressing root causes of migration to expanding broadband,” she tweeted.

From highlighting some of the key issues that Harris is struggled to make headway on to casting further prominence on a story about Harris’ problematic start as vice president – her approval is as low as 28 percent in one survey – Psaki’s missive was panned by the right online.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks about his Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal as Vice President Kamala Harris stands by in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 28, 2021.
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

“Yikes, this is how you know it’s bad,” Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Republican Florida Gov. Ron Desantis, tweeted.

“It says a lot that this statement is coming from the press secretary and not, you know, her boss,” Heritage’s John Cooper noted.

Insider columnist Josh Barro joked that his t-shirt about the administration not being disappointed with Harris was raising questions already answered by his shirt.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, on her first day back after testing positive for COVID-19, speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 12, 2021.
(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Others said the apparent necessity to release such a statement suggested internal issues were real for the administration. Given the report that Harris’ team thought some of the lack of defense of her from Biden’s shop was politically driven, Psaki’s statement was viewed as further shade her way disguised as support.

CNN’s lengthy report delved into Harris’ frustrations over being politically sidelined and handed unwinnable assignments. Some of her allies also complained she was being treated unfairly by the media and the Biden administration, with one unnamed former Harris aide saying Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg received a more robust defense from the White House after his paternity leave dust-up because he was a White man.

Even lawmakers weighed in, with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., snarking that Psaki should let people know what Harris had done to end the border crisis.

For all the pushback Psaki’s statement got, the White House stuck with it. Communications director Kate Bedingfield reiterated the post Monday morning, “just in case you missed it.”

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