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Tipsheet

Psaki Backtracks From Biden Warning That Food Shortages Are 'Going to Be Real'

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

In another case of a discordant White House in which contradictory statements are issued by President Biden and his senior aides, Press Secretary Jen Psaki sought to reassure Americans Tuesday that they wouldn't face food shortages as a result of the Biden administration's actions or those of foreign countries during the war in Ukraine.

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"We are not expecting a food shortage here at home," Psaki told reporters in Tuesday's briefing, "but we are acting to bolster food security around the globe, both unilaterally and in conjunction with allies and partners," she said. 

Psaki's claim, and the certainty with which she denied any expectation that Americans might face food shortages, is a direct contradiction of what President Biden said at the end of March while on his trip to Europe amid Russia's war in Ukraine. 

As Katie reported at the time, Biden said in Brussels, Belgium, that he and NATO allies "did talk about food shortages. It's going to be real," Biden declared. "The price of these sanctions is not just imposed upon Russia. It's imposed upon an awful lot of countries as well including European countries and our country as well," he added. 

So which is it? Are, as Biden said, "real" food shortages that are a "price" to paid by Americans coming as a result of Biden's sanctions against Russia? Or is Psaki correct that there's not any expected shortages here at home?

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Perhaps one of the blame-shifting staffers reminded the White House of the statement Biden made about food shortages while campaigning in 2020 in which he stated "[w]e don't have a food shortage problem, we have a leadership problem," in an attack on his predecessor. I guess food shortages being the result of bad leadership isn't as convenient a talking point now that Biden is the leader warning of food shortages.

As has been seen multiple times during the Biden administration's year-plus in office, assurances from the White House are not sure bets. From the promise that vaccination would allow Americans to return to normal without masking up everywhere, to pledges that vaccines wouldn't be mandated by the federal government, to assurances that the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban was anything but certain, the Biden administration has consistently found reality shattering their rosy promises. 

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