Jen Psaki Gets Testy With Mara Liasson Over Covid Testing: ‘Should We Just Send Them to Every American?’

 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson had a fiery back-and-forth during the press briefing on Monday.

Psaki addresses a multitude of issues that President Joe Biden’s administration is currently facing including the announcement of a U.S. diplomatic boycott from the 2022 Beijing Olympics, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris and her office’s viral tweet that stirred some controversy.

Liasson asked a question that shifted the focus towards the administration’s efforts to quell the spread of Covid-19, which is posing an urgent threat with the Omicron Variant’s arrival.

“Quick question on testing, last week obviously the president explained some ramp up in testing,” she said. “But there are still a lot of countries like Germany, the UK, and South Korea that basically have massive testing, free of charge or for a nominal fee.”

“Why can’t that be done in the United States?” she asked.

Psaki immediately responded with, “Well, I would say first, we have eight tests that have been approved by the FDA here,” she continued, “We see that as the gold standard.”

The White House Press Secretary also recounted some of the administration’s achievements within the testing environment adding, “Our objective is to continue to increase accessibility and decrease cost,” stated Psaki.

“If you look at what we’ve done over the course of time, we’ve quadrupled the size of our testing plan, we’ve cut the costs significantly over the past few months, and this effort to ensure you can get your test refunded means 150 million Americans will be able to get free tests.”

Liasson was unsatisfied with the press secretary’s answer and continued to press, asking, “Why not just make them free and have them available everywhere?”

“Should we just send one to every American?” Psaki fired back with some tension.

“Maybe,” replied Liasson, also with more snap.

“Then what happens when every American has one test? How much does that cost and then what happens after that?” said Psaki, in a somewhat condescending tone.

Liasson responded, “All I know is that other countries seem to be making them available in greater quantities for less money.”

“Well, I think we share the same objective, which is to make them less expensive and more accessible, right?” Psaki stated, seemingly attempting to close up the reporter’s questioning.

“Every country is going to do that differently…but what we’re working to do here is build on what we’ve done to date and continue to build out our testing capacity,” remarked Psaki concluding the subject’s discussion.

“Because, Mara, we absolutely recognize that this is a key component of fighting the virus.”

Watch above via The White House.

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