A reporter appeared to rankle White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday during questioning about the Biden administration’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The exchange came amid President Joe Biden’s pledge that no U.S. troops will get involved in the war, nor would he sign off on a no-fly zone which could lead to a war with Russia.
The reporter appeared to draw Psaki’s ire when he asked if the United States was going to simply “just watch this get worse.”
“Can you give us any sense of a timeline or a triggering event that would result in this policy change regarding Russian oil and any decisions that may be forthcoming? Is that imminent? Or is there something that — you know, is there an event — an outside event that you’re waiting for?” the reporter said.
“I wouldn’t say, Kelly, it’s an outside event. I think our continuing concern continues to be — you know, everybody wants to hold President Putin and the Russian leadership accountable. Everybody supports the efforts that the Pres- — President Biden has been leading around the world to take — put in place crippling financial sanctions, and they have had an enormous impact,” Psaki responded.
“But what we are also mindful of is not taking steps that have — would have the impact of raising energy prices, raising oil prices, raising gas prices for the American public. And we also are mindful of doing things in a way that is unified with our partners around the world,” she added.
“Can you speak to how the President has steeled himself, hardened himself, if you will?” the reporter said.
“He’s made a commitment not to put American troops in a military position in Ukraine. You’ve outlined all the steps the U.S. and allies are taking. But he’s also watching what is happening, as are many Americans who are concerned about the atrocities that are taking place, the loss of life, the civilians that are being affected. Does the U.S. just watch this get worse? Is that what we should all be prepared for?” he asked.
That question appeared to set the press secretary off.
“I would just argue we’re hardly ‘watching.’ We have been — we have provided a billion dollars in military and security assistance, including a range of defensive weapons that we have expedited delivery to the Ukrainian leadership and Ukrainian military,” she replied
“We have been the largest provider of economic and humanitarian assistance. We have rallied the world to stand up against President Putin. We are not “watching”; the President is leading the world in responding to this,” she argued.
“However, he is not going to put U.S. military men and women serving on the front lines of battle in Ukraine to fight Russia. That has never chan- — that has never been his plan, never been his policy, and he has no intention of doing that,” she said.