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White House

Jen Psaki on Withdrawal Critics: ‘It Is Easy to Throw Stones or Be a Critic from the Outside’

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 16, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

We can argue whether White House press secretary Jen Psaki was ever good at her job — no, Ms. Psaki, the CDC director does not speak in her personal capacity about public health policies — but signs that this White House is overwhelmed by the crisis in Afghanistan are accumulating.

Congresswoman Susan Wild, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, is on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Last election cycle she endorsed Biden, declaring that the nation needs to be led by a president who has “compassion, competence, humility, and grace.” (Wild’s office says that while her statement praised Sanders, she did not endorse Sanders before endorsing Biden.) Wild was endorsed by unions, EMILY’s List, Everytown for Gun Safety, the Human Rights Campaign, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the NEA, NOW, the SEIU, the AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and the Sierra Club. She is a thoroughly mainstream Democrat, with a political persona that is the opposite of her surname. Wild is not a Tulsi Gabbard–style maverick, nor is she a Joe Manchin. She does not throw sand in the gears.

And yesterday Wild acknowledged a hard truth that the administration keeps denying:

Although it is clear to me that we could not continue to put American servicemembers in danger for an unwinnable war, I also believe that the evacuation process appears to have been egregiously mishandled. In order to move forward, we need answers and accountability regarding the cascading failures that led us to this moment. Our troops deserve nothing less than a complete and unvarnished truth.

In the eyes of many NR readers, the criticism Wild expressed is exceptionally mild and an understatement.

Nonetheless, today Psaki said that she had no specific response to Wild’s comments, just that “it is easy to throw stones or be a critic from the outside.”

What makes Wild’s comments significant is that she is not a bomb-thrower and not a member who picks fights with the administration to get cable news appearances. Wild doesn’t “throw stones” at a president of her own party for the sake of throwing stones. When someone like Wild is publicly denouncing “cascading failures,” it is a signal to the administration that there is no longer any point in disputing this. It’s clear to anyone who has eyes.

If Jen Psaki is lashing out at a Democratic congresswoman on the Foreign Affairs Committee as though she’s Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity . . . it is a sign that the tensions in the White House are even worse than we can see.

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