White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki offered weak responses when pressed on Biden’s punish-Russia-but-continue-buying-oil-from-Russia policy.
The grilling took place during Thursday’s press briefing. White House Correspondent Jacqui Heinrich seemed to get the better of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
According to the Daily Wire, the exchange began when Heinrich asked Psaki if by continuing purchasing goods and fuel from Russia, was the United States effectively “financing the war” Russia is waging against Ukraine.
“As long as we’re buying Russian oil, though, aren’t we financing the war?” Heinrich asked.
Psaki replied somewhat dismissively, “Well, Jacqui, again, it’s only about 10% of what we’re importing. I’ve not made any announcement about any decision on that front.”
Heinrich also asked about President Joe Biden’s contention that America’s run-away inflation can be addressed by increasing local production. Heinrich pressed Psaki on why, if that were true, the administration would not apply the same logic to energy production?
“On gas, you just said less supply raises prices. It’s not in our strategic interest to reduce the supply. We also know the president as recently as yesterday talked about increasing domestic manufacturing to bring down prices on inflated items like goods, so why not apply the same logic to energy and increase domestic production here?” Heinrich asked.
Psaki objected to Heinrich’s logic and replied:
“Well, there are 9,000 approved oil leases that the oil companies are not tapping into currently, so I would ask them that question,” Psaki replied.
Heinrich continued to press, questioning if moving forward with more energy-friendly policies would positively impact the rising oil prices.
Heinrich continued to press:
“During those years where it would take to bring down prices as you’re saying, we should just continue to buy Russian oil?”
Psaki did not directly address Heinrich, opting to tout the administration’s recent release of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve (a move roundly criticized as it only amounts to a few days of American oil consumption).
“Well, Jacqui, I think you’re familiar with a number of steps we’ve taken,” she said condescendingly. [There’s been] a historic release from the strategic petroleum reserve,”
Heinrich fired back: “But that didn’t bring down prices, last time or this time.”
“Well, let me finish,” Psaki said. “What we can do over time is — and what this all a reminder of in the president’s view, is our need to reduce our reliance on oil.”
The Daily Wire noted that Psaki gave “no indication the White House had a plan to alleviate the pain of high prices at the pump.”