Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy chafed at presidential spokeswoman Jen Psaki during tense questioning over the Biden administration’s seemingly different messaging regarding the crowded housing of migrant children and reopening of public schools.
During a portion of her Wednesday press briefing, Psaki sought to explain President Joe Biden’s approach to handling a surge of illegal immigrants as well as migrant children that began in the weeks following former President Donald Trump’s November election loss.
“We’re working to fix the mess of the last couple of years. It’s going to take some time,” Psaki said. “This is clearly a priority for the president. We are looking at a range of options, which include the opening of additional facilities. It includes steps we can take to expedite the processing. It includes application and implementation of CDC guidelines that just came that allow for more children to be housed safely in these facilities.”
Doocy responded by asking whether the Biden administration saw any disparities between the CDC’s COVID-19 recommendations for crowded migrant child facilities, that are open and expanding, while issuing similar recommendations for schools that refuse to reopen.
(Source: Fox News)
Psaki replied by asking Doocy if he had any particular schools in mind regarding his question, prompting him to reply with his own question: “Are most schools in this country at full capacity with in-person learning?”
The press secretary repeated her question to Doocy, asking if he knew of any schools that were ignoring the CDC’s reopening recommendations.
“I think the CDC is saying that you can be at, every school, at full capacity…” Doocy began as Psaki interjected to explain the current health agency’s COVID guidelines.
She said the government health agency has issued eight recommendations for primary schools to reopen as the pandemic lingers.
“A number of schools have actually recently reopened, schools in Washington, D.C., have, some have, schools in many districts across the country,” said Psaki. “But each school district needs to make the decision about whether they are able to take those mitigation steps.”
She went on to say that Biden has insisted that many schools “need additional funding” to reopen.
“Since they are not all back, from an administration position, or from your perspective, have the Border Patrol unions and the HHS unions been easier to work with than the teachers’ unions?” Doocy asked.
Psaki hesitated before saying she viewed the question as “a little bit of mixing different circumstances.”
“It’s children all in tight quarters,” Doocy clarified, which prompted a chuckle from Psaki.
“It’s not funny,” the Fox News correspondent shot back.
“Not quite…let’s take a responsible approach to the two issues,” Psaki replied, essentially repeating her earlier statement about the CDC’s “eight mitigation steps” to public schools for them to reopen.
“That is a different circumstance than what we’re seeing at the border,” she insisted as she repeated her earlier claim that U.S. schools continue to reopen around the country.
In a recent press briefing, Psaki said the administration was providing a host of services to migrant adults and children, including education, health care, and legal assistance. For migrant kids, that includes “classroom education,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.
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