‘Worse Than We Could Have Imagined’: Jen Psaki Passes the Buck to Trump Several Times as Reporters Quiz Her About Vaccine Supply
With new questions surrounding the government’s inventory of Covid-19 vaccine doses, White House press secretary Jen Psaki is passing the buck to former President Donald Trump’s administration.
Appearing Monday in the White House briefing room, Psaki was quizzed by two reporters about comments made by CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky — who told Fox News, on Sunday, that her agency does not yet know how many doses of the vaccine they have on hand. CNN’s Kaitlan Collins sought to at least obtain a rough estimate.
“I know it’s complicated what’s being shipped and distributed, and actually injected,” Collins said. “But is there at least a ballpark amount that officials are aware of, of how much vaccine there is?”
Psaki could not throw out a number, and pinned it on the Trump team.
“The confusion around this issue — which, we acknowledge, there is some confusion — speaks to a larger problem, which is what we’re inheriting from the prior administration,” Psaki said. “Which is much worse than we could have imagined.”
Collins, however, followed up by pointing out Gen. Gus Perna, a holdover from the Trump days, maintains a role in President Joe Biden’s administration. The CNN correspondent asked if Perna could speak to the inventory on hand. Psaki replied by saying that the vaccine supply falls under Walensky’s purview.
NBC News correspondent Geoff Bennett took the baton from there — asking Psaki for Biden’s response when he found out there is no current tally indicating the number of vaccine doses the government has on hand.
“Give us a sense of just how stunning that revelation is,” Bennett said. “What was President Biden’s reaction to learning that?
“We were eyes wide open — all of us, including the president — with the knowledge that we were not walking into a circumstance where there was going to be a concrete assessment, or plan, presented to us when we walked in,” Psaki said — doubling back to swipe at the Trump administration. “And there wasn’t.”
A CNN report on the day after Biden’s inauguration stated that the new administration did not inherit a vaccine distribution plan from their predecessors. Yet in light of that, the Biden team has faced questions for setting its distribution goal too low. Biden pledged 1 million doses would be distributed per day during the first 100 days of his term. Yet the nation already reached that goal on Trump’s watch, and is currently averaging 1.2 million doses per day.
Watch above, via CNN.
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