White House press secretary Jen Psaki is seemingly trying to downplay the country’s supply chain crisis by characterizing it merely as the “tragedy of the treadmill.”
In a presser that has often become a forum for snark, Psaki was responding to a journalist’s question on what the Biden administration is doing about backlogged ports leading to empty shelves across the country especially as the Christmas season approaches, let alone products for day-to-day needs.
Michael Shear, a reporter from the liberal New York Times, politely wondered why President Joe Biden was not on top of the situation sooner.
“So just a question on the timing on the supply chain issue — actions that the president has taken. It was clear in March of 2020, when COVID hit, that the supply chains across the world had been disrupted. Even as the sort of work to fight back against COVID proceeded…it was crystal clear that things were not improving on supply chain. People couldn’t get dishwashers and furniture and treadmills delivered on time, not to mention all sorts of other things. So why is it —
“The tragedy of the treadmill that’s delayed,” Psaki interjected.
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) October 19, 2021
“…But serious — the serious point is: Why didn’t the president act sooner in a more aggressive way? I know there was a task force announced at some time this — earlier this summer, but essentially, the president waited until, you know, now — right before the holiday season — to take these series of actions,” Shear continued.
“Why didn’t the president act sooner? And is that a reflection of the fact that his administration has failed to kind of anticipate and is much more reactive to these kinds of things rather than getting ahead of them, as they should?” he added.
Psaki disagreed that Biden was late to the party.
“Well, that’s not actually true. The president formed a task force at the very beginning of the administration. And what we know from the global supply chain issues is that they are multifaceted,” Psaki said and went on to claim that there is a year-over-year, 20-30 percent increase in volume at the ports, locations that she said comprise the focus of the administration’s efforts.
“But there are other issues that have impacted the global supply chain that we’ve been working to address through our task force from the beginning. One of them is the fact that manufacturing sites around the world have been shut down because of COVID,” she said.
She also attributed the logjam, in part, to the shortage of drivers as well as implying that an improved economy has prompted additional consumer buying because workers have more cash in their pocket.
At the same presser, Psaki quibbled with Fox News reporter Peter Doocy about what constitutes the middle of the night when it comes secret migrant plane flights to U.S. locations.
A clip of the back and forth at the briefing about the Biden administration’s supply chain response is embedded below.
Many Americans own a treadmill or would like to own one, as part of a physical fitness regimen.
The Times reporter, however, may have revealed a hint of elitism by mentioning that device in the same breath with consumer staples such as furniture and dishwashers, and by extension, many needed family goods and staples
Along these lines perhaps, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, via a retweet, drew criticism last week for condescendingly dismissing the current economic climate, including inflation and supply chain woes, as “high-class problems.”
When asked by a reporter, Psaki denied that Klain was tone-deaf to what is really happening on the ground and said, in part, for what she described as a fuller context,” that “We’re at this point because the unemployment rate has come down and been cut in half, because people are buying more goods, because people are traveling, and because demand is up, and because the economy is turning back on.”
The latter is essentially the same talking point that she articulated to the Times’ Michael Shear.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) October 15, 2021
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who has faced criticism for being away from the office on paternity leave while the crisis worsened, has predicted on CNN that the supply chain crisis will continue through next year and that the administration is taking short- and long-term steps to address it.
Separately, the administration is reportedly trying to get the port of Los Angeles to operate 24/7 and even floated, as it were, the idea of calling out the National Guard to help.
Buttigieg says supply chain crisis to run into 2022, puts lipstick on pig to sell empty shelves as robust demand https://t.co/ZQwi2j4Hww
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) October 17, 2021
He then offered up the same rationale as Psaki: “Look, part of what’s happening isn’t just the supply side, it’s the demand side. Demand is off the charts. Retail sales are through the roof.”
Never letting a crisis go to waste perhaps, as is the Democrats’ mantra, Buttigieg implied Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, currently pending in Congress, is the solution to the bottleneck.
Trump supporters will recall that the 45th president emphasized bringing manufacturing home so that the U.S. wouldn’t be so dependent on foreign sourcing.
Twitter is having its say about Psaki’s latest quip; here is just a small sampling:
Stores are running out of food, medical supplies, supply driving inflation but Psaki reduces real world problems down to the example of a treadmill for a chuckle. Hoo boy. https://t.co/oGJzvCVyWa
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) October 19, 2021
“You won’t need to worry about a treadmill, you’re gonna lose a lot of weight, by starvation” -.@PressSec
Here’s the Safeway in my hood today.🤷♀️
*lower right picture…cat food shelf nearly bare. pic.twitter.com/FpLVy6WuCk
— Hey Boo Boo 🗣 (@HeyBooBoo16) October 19, 2021
We are in distribution and manufacturing of essential products. Towels and Tissue, sanitizer and PPE. Our entire company has been through hell with supplying goods. She absolutely should get fired for this comment. Get on the front lines. She would not make it a month.
— Rob Williams (@robwil900) October 20, 2021
It’s bad enough that several retailers are chartering their own ships to go pickup supplies.
Almost every durable consumer good (cars/parts, appliances, electronics, toys, etc.) is without microchips while all US-bound goods coming from China are taking 2-2.5x as long to arrive.
— Kaden LeFevre (@kadenlefevre) October 19, 2021
The Biden administration really doesn’t seem to understand that disruptions like this effect all Americans.
Prices are already soaring thanks to Biden-created inflation. This backlog will only make prices go higher.
That’s not a “high-class problem.” https://t.co/k5SS9X52Iw
— Dan K. Eberhart (@DanKEberhart) October 19, 2021
— Elizabeth Carver ❤️ (@ElizabethMTHC) October 19, 2021
I have a small business that is dependant on the global supply chain to package my products. If I can’t get these items, I’m out of business.
This isn’t just about Christmas presents. This is about thousands of businesses and millions of employees who need a paycheck.
— Anonymous Anonymizer (@JonathanLingo) October 19, 2021
How bout medical devices, PPE and basic items like winter clothing…
Another bang up job by Team Brandan
‘Tragedy of the treadmill that's delayed': White House mocks supply chain issues https://t.co/r7J36NFs6S
— Dave Carney (@granitewinger) October 19, 2021
No Jen, the tragedy of the truck parts that aren't making it here. Now, those trucks can't make their deliveries of food/clothing/and whatever else we need. We would all like to thank you & Joe and we are glad your getting a kick out of it. https://t.co/TQMPTYnQVq
— Iridium24 (@Iridium24) October 20, 2021
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