White House press secretary Jen Psaki was forced to do damage control during Friday’s press briefing where she was questioned extensively about President Joe Biden’s knowledge of the border crisis.
According to a report in The Washington Examiner, the president seemed to acknowledge that he needed to make another visit to the southern border while speaking at a town hall meeting late on Thursday.
Psaki was then questioned by reporters who questioned her about the president’s comments, which Psaki answered by both defining Biden’s knowledge and experience and saying that a “photo-0p” at the border wouldn’t actually do any good to help with the overwhelming migrant issue.
“Why did the president say [last night that] he has been to the border?” Fox News’s Peter Doocy questioned.
“He did drive through the border when he was on the campaign trail in 2008,” Psaki replied. “He is certainly familiar with the fact, and it stuck with him, with the fact that in El Paso, the border goes right through the center of town.”
The press secretary was then quick to say that the now-president visited nations south of the United States no less than 10 times while he was the Vice President for the Obama administration.
Psaki was insistent that those trips gave the president the necessary background of the geopolitical situation to orient him as to how to best help with the border since the nations of Mexico and Central America are the ones whose citizens are flocking to the border:
“You’re saying he drove by [the border] for a few minutes. Does that count?” Doocy asked, to which the press secretary responded that the president isn’t looking to go for good optics:
“There is a focus right now on a photo-op,” Psaki said. “The president does not believe a photo-op is the same as solutions,” she said. “He does not need a visit to the border to know what a mess was left by the last administration,” she said at another point in the exchange.
When questioned as to whether it’s possible the border conditions have changed within the past 13 years, Psaki said, “Aside from the fact that migrants are still coming to the border through the course of Democratic and Republican presidents and that the need to reform the immigration system is even further overdue, no,” Psaki said. “But we need to work with Democrats and Republicans to get that done.”