The White House apparently didn't have enough foresight to realize that a presidential address last week in which Biden attacked roughly half the country for being on the side of historical racists wouldn't play well. Shocker: comparing more than half the United States Senate to Jefferson Davis is not a recipe for unity. Despite days of stinging criticism for the speech that was labeled a "break point" for the Biden administration by Peggy Noonan, the White House is maintaining Biden's divisive rant was totally normal.
About Biden's speech last week, the one where he said lawmakers were either on the side of MLK or George Wallace, @PressSec says "was not a partisan speech."— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) January 18, 2022
As a result of what is just the latest iteration of Biden's confounding communication style, questions about the president's address — not as much about its substance but about Biden's tone and decision to malign ideological and political opponents as racist — are still swirling. That's something Psaki discovered again in Tuesday's press briefing when she was asked to answer ongoing criticisms being lobbed at the White House for Biden's latest speech.
If you're still defending the speech a week later, it probably didn't go very well. https://t.co/vNnbO5o21M— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) January 18, 2022
"The president delivered a powerful speech about the protection of peoples' fundamental rights in this country, which is their right to vote, the right to vote for anyone they choose, whether it is him or someone else," Psaki tried to reason, despite that definitely not being the message Biden's hollering delivered.
"It was not a partisan speech," Psaki insisted, claiming "it was intended to lay out for the public exactly what's at stake and lay out for elected officials what's at stake," she continued. "He stands by everything he said in that speech."
Jen Psaki says that Biden's speech in which he compared opponents of a federal takeover of elections to segregationists "was not a partisan speech...he stands by everything he said in that speech." pic.twitter.com/Swd6csMGGG— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) January 18, 2022
Similar to other controversies, Psaki and the White House are just doubling down, ignoring the problem, refusing blame or accountability for any negative consequences, and trying to gaslight their way to the next bungled speech or crisis. But the White House also seems to be getting a little turned around within its own strategy.
Sounds like the White House is walking back the walk-back after comparing more than half the country to racists and traitors for not supporting their effort to outlaw voter ID. https://t.co/YAKkNbcOHe pic.twitter.com/HqGmcMh7Sn— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) January 18, 2022
To claim that a speech comparing members of the Senate who oppose Biden's agenda — or the radical moves needed to move it along — is merely laying out the provisions of his federal takeover of elections is peak Psaki spin and should be treated as unserious nonsense. But such nonsense is little deterrent to prevent the White House from ping-ponging from one messaging disaster to another.