Jen Psaki defends firing a bunch of potheads

Okay, so the title is probably a bit on the harsh side. (Borrowing a page from the Andrew Cuomo playbook, I’m sorry if anyone was offended.) But with that out of the way, the Biden administration is still taking fire for flip-flopping on the question of staffers receiving security clearances if they admit to past marijuana use. When Ed Morrissey wrote about this news recently, he reminded us that pretty much everyone knew that his proposed policy of ignoring admissions of pot-smoking during the security clearance process was untenable. Well, everyone except Biden and his advisors, apparently. Now, with dozens of staffers having either been fired, disqualified from government positions, refused jobs, or moved to undesirable, remote locations, the Biden administration is left to scramble and figure out a way to spin this mess. Press Secretary Jen Psaki took a valiant stab at it on Friday, playing down the numbers and writing it all off as no big deal. (The Hill)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday defended the administration’s policy on marijuana use by employees after a report said dozens of young staffers were suspended or asked to resign because of past use of the drug.

Psaki wrote in a series of tweets that only five people who had started working at the White House had lost their jobs because of the administration’s policy on past marijuana use. She did not indicate how many had been suspended or turned away before starting work, but she pointed to the administration relaxing rules around past marijuana use earlier this year.

“We announced a few weeks ago that the White House had worked with the security service to update the policies to ensure that past marijuana use wouldn’t automatically disqualify staff from serving in the White House,” she tweeted.

So “only” five people who had already started working were fired. Psaki failed to list a total of how many who were scheduled to come on board had been cancelled, how many were “suspended,” or how many had been transferred to remote locations with no access to the halls of power. This is not a situation where the White House can shrug it off as being no big deal. It’s a big effing deal, as some might describe it. As long as marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug, Biden has two choices.

One is that he can continue to give pink slips to people he specifically told to be honest about their past marijuana use and not worry about it. The other is to override the background check system and order them to receive security clearances anyway. The latter would be in his power to do, but after all the griping that was done over Donald Trump using the same method to get a clearance for Jared Kushner, the hypocrisy might have been too much for even Biden to bear.

This is, to borrow a phrase from Ed’s recent article, total amateur hour stuff. And Biden is littering the beltway with people who were undoubtedly loyal liberals and Democrats, but who will now be traipsing back home with a very unfavorable opinion of the current administration, along with severely diminished career options.

The marijuana story wasn’t the only issue where Psaki was being put on the spot, either. During an appearance on MSNBC (of all places), she was confronted with the fact that if Biden raises taxes on corporations, consumer prices will rise in response. In one of the more tone-deaf moments of an already tone-deaf administration, all Psaki could manage to say was that people are smart enough to know that corporations “do not need to raise prices.” (Breitbart)

During an interview aired on Thursday’s “MSNBC Live,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reacted to concerns that corporations will raise prices if taxes on corporations are increased by stating that President Joe Biden believes people “know that corporations do not need to raise the cost of goods in order to pay more taxes and pay more of their fair share.”

When the host pressed her with a follow-up, saying there wasn’t much Biden could do if corporations went ahead and raised prices anyway, she couldn’t manage anything beyond what was nearly a word-for-word repetition of her previous answer. “He also believes that the American people are smart. They’re invested in this. They’re going to pay attention and that they know that corporations do not need to raise the cost of goods in order to pay more taxes and pay more of their fair share.”

She’s just repeating the mantra “pay more taxes and pay more of their fair share” like a parrot. We’re used to hearing politicians repeat themselves when reporters press them on touchy topics, but you can at least reword your answer a little bit rather than sounding like a robot whose operating system just glitched out. And is her boss really so out of touch that he doesn’t understand that corporations exist in competitive environments in the private sector? They know what their costs are and how much profit they need to make to remain viable. They also have to be mindful of the prices their competitors charge. If you significantly raise their tax burden (along with that of their competition), they’re all just going to raise their prices to cover those costs.

Between the border crisis, the pot firings, and the unpopular tax increases Joe Biden is pushing for, this hasn’t been a good week in Bidenland. And Jen Psaki hasn’t exactly been dazzling at the lectern, either.