President Joe Biden’s statement about Senator Kyrsten Sinema being harassed in the bathroom — “I don’t think they’re appropriate tactics, but it happens to everybody from the — the only people it doesn’t happen to are people who have Secret Service standing around them. So, it’s — it’s part of the process” — earned him some scorn from columnists like Peggy Noonan:
His statement on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema being harassed in a ladies’ room by activists who hissed like the devil’s imps was wan and passive-aggressive: “I don’t think they’re appropriate tactics, but it happens to everybody. . . . It’s part of the process.” It doesn’t happen to everybody and to announce it is part of the process is to make it part of the process. It was as if he were saying: Yeah, she’s got me mad. Hound her some more.
Less noticed was White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s effort Friday afternoon to persuade reporters that Biden meant the opposite of what he said, that it was not a legitimate part of the process, that it doesn’t happen to everyone, and that it shouldn’t happen to anyone:
Q Thanks. I just wanted to come back to the — the incident — the protest that happened with Senator Sinema over the weekend and whether that’s something that the White House or the President has been thinking more about since then.
MS. PSAKI: Sure. I mean, I would say, I talked to the President about this, maybe two days ago — it’s all running together; in the last few days, I would say — and what he conveyed very clearly — just in case there’s any confusion about where he stands — is that, while, of course, we all agree — and as Senator Sinema said herself — the right to free speech and to protest is sacred to our country, he believes that what happened to her crossed the line and was absolutely unacceptable and flat out wrong to violate someone’s personal space in a bathroom. It doesn’t need to happen that way. We can peacefully protest without it crossing that line.
So that continues to be his point of view.
Apparently Biden meant to say, “absolutely unacceptable and flat out wrong” and it just happened to accidentally come out, “it happens to everybody. . . . It’s part of the process.”