Coronavirus case numbers are breaking records week after week. American hospitals are swamped. Schools are in chaos and staffing shortages are overwhelming most industries. But when asked by a reporter if things were going well overall for the Biden White House, Press Secretary Jen Psaki replied, “We could certainly propose legislation to see if people support bunny rabbits and ice cream, but that wouldn’t be very rewarding for the American people.”
Does that strike you as glib? A little dismissive? Perhaps cringingly inappropriate? That seems to be the standard for press comments from White House officials as of late. This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve witnessed this behavior from Psaki specifically, whose hubris in cracking a joke about providing at-home testing nationally received so much flack that the administration is now doing just that.
Another White House communications staffer, Ben Wakana, is also a repeat offender of flip, condescending comments. This week, he decided to quote-tweet critics with sarcastic reminders of the Biden administration’s attempts at incentivizing vaccination, as if to say, “How dare you criticize our work?”
These two have the energy of kids in high school who act like jerks because they think they’re at the outcasts’ table, despite being the richest kids in school — or, in adult terms, working for the literal president of the United States. You might think a bit more gravitas would be a reasonable expectation, in light of the mass death event we’re still experiencing. But that weird, defensive energy seems to come from the top on down, as both President Biden and his second-in-command have used the considerable resources at their disposal to tell Americans desperately seeking testing options to… Google it. Don’t expect the American government to have the answers!
One particularly bizarre contribution came from Vice President Kamala Harris in a recent interview with NBC News. Asked if the Biden administration would be considering changing course from its heavy focus on reopening, Harris condescendingly imparted this word salad: “It is time for us to do what we have been doing. And that time is every day. Every day it is time for us to agree that there are things and tools that are available to us to slow this thing down.” Sure! Who could disagree with — checks notes — every day being the time to do what we’ve been doing?
For one, disabled people. Craven comments from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky suggested it was “encouraging” that a CDC study found that the vast majority of vaccinated people dying of COVID have multiple comorbidities. As Kayle Hill wrote for Teen Vogue: