When Joe Biden first began announcing the composition of his cabinet, many joked that he simply decided to gather all the old friends from the Obama administration. Now they don’t joke like that – it has become suspiciously like the truth. On Sunday, November 29, the President-elect of the United States announced that the famous Jen Psaki will become the press secretary of the White House. We remembered the best aphorisms of Psaki and tried to figure it out: why the scandalous press secretary was needed for the new president.
Biden, in his future administration, recruited a purely female team for posts related to PR and the press. His former aide, Kate Bedingfield, will become White House communications director, and her deputy will be Pili Tobar, who also worked at Biden’s headquarters. And, of course, the most striking appointment is former State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who will soon take over as White House press secretary.
Six years ago, there was such an anecdote: “As Jen Psaki said, in the event of an invasion of the Belarusian army into the territory of Ukraine, the US Sixth Fleet will be immediately transferred to the shores of Belarus.”
For the sake of fairness, it was this phrase that the then representative of the US State Department did not say. However, the same logic works here as with Biden. “When your supporters assure you that you do not have dementia, your affairs are disastrously bad.”
In the same way, when people believe that an official representative of the US State Department could absolutely seriously threaten Belarus with an invasion of the mysterious “Minsk Sea”, it is a disaster.
And the problem is that this is not at all the situation when Jen Psaki was attacked by evil tongues in order to denigrate a competent politician after a single slip of the tongue. Jen has a rich track record of unexplained mistakes.
For example, she threatened Russia with a harsh response to openly aggressive exercises right on the border with Ukraine … in the Astrakhan region. In general, Psaki is a fine fellow, Russia is big, and Astrakhan is in every way closer to Ukraine than, for example, Chukotka and Sakhalin, but all the same – a blatant illiteracy for the chief press secretary for international affairs.
Psaki’s problems were caused not only by political geography – in principle, she had no idea where the hydrocarbon resources came from. “You know … There are gas flows … I mean – natural gas, from Western Europe through Ukraine to Russia,” Jen Psaki once said at a press conference.
In general, the history of phenomenal errors did not end there.
For example, she stated that Russian journalists had secretly “brought a portable anti-aircraft missile system into the war zone right in the trunk of a private car.” Again, just MANPADS – and in fact could be generous for a couple of tanks in the trunk, why waste time on trifles?
Psaki also at one time irrefutably proved Russian interference in Ukrainian affairs: “In the photographs we see that these people, judging by their outward signs, are clearly related to Russia.” What are these signs that inevitably betray a Russian, it remains only to guess: perhaps the photograph captured Ivan Danko from “Red Heat” or Boris Razor from “Big Jack”.
Distinctive features of Russians – that’s okay, perhaps they are absolutely obvious to Jen Psaki, and the rest simply did not understand her thoughts. But then she sincerely accused Russia of organizing “electoral carousels” in Donetsk and Lugansk. When asked what it is, the press secretary of the State Department replied: “I am not familiar with this term, it is written here.” However, she firmly rejected the theory that the “electoral carousel” is somehow connected with the children’s carousel – already good.
A trademark of Psaki’s press secretary was avoiding answers. And this is not at all the art of gracefully repelling an uncomfortable question that is highly valued in this environment. She just immediately said that it was time to move on to the next question, at best – she promised to find out the answer later and share it at the next conference.
In addition, Psaki was very fond of blaming Russia for all sins. It got to the point of being ridiculous.
According to her version, the official representative of the US State Department, Victoria Nuland, learned to swear with American obscenities during a translation internship on a Soviet fishing vessel. Apparently, the Soviet sailors were so proficient in foul language that they taught Nuland to speak her native language.
These wonderful stories about Jen Psaki’s incredible adventures in the world of press conferences can be continued for a long time. But if you sum up the results without humor, it turns out that Joe Biden appointed a woman secretary of the White House who is not taken seriously at home, and who is frankly laughed at abroad. But this is for her to take all the blows and speak to journalists every day.
So why did the democratic politician choose Psaki for such a responsible post? The answer is simple and prosaic. Joe Biden is desperate to bring back the Obama days. He selects a team of old functionaries, where the main criterion is not quality, but the length of service. “They did not fail under Obama – they will not fail now” – this is the logic of the President-elect.
Against this background, the faithful Psaki is very good. In 2015, she left her position as spokesman for the State Department and went to the position of director of communications for the administration as an adviser to Obama. And at the same time, she announced that she would take with her to the White House the famous pink hat with earflaps, presented to her in Paris by the Russian delegation.
As for the new appointment, from a personnel point of view, Jen Psaki would not have raised concerns if the Obama era continued now – then the charismatic president covered all the shortcomings of local performers.
Joe Biden is absolutely not charismatic, besides, he no longer looks like the fighter he did eight years ago. He could mask his shortcomings by recruiting great professionals into the team and giving them the reins. Instead, Biden plans to follow the successful Obama formula. The only pity is that this formula lacks the main ingredient – Obama himself.