White House press secretary Jen Psaki had to defend President Joe Biden against an MSNBC host who was frustrated that he had not pressed on the filibuster issue earlier in his presidency when he wasn't as unpopular.
Mehdi Hasan asked Psaki on Thursday for an answer to the criticism from socialist Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York against the president.
"Jen, why wait almost a year to change his view and come out so publicly against the filibuster?" Hasan asked. "To give the rousing speech in Atlanta, that he finally gave this month? We lost all of 2021 while he waited for bipartisanship."
"First, Mehdi, that wasn’t the first speech on voting rights he gave, hardly. He gave a number of speeches last year ..." Psaki said before Hasan interrupted her.
"First time that he came out publicly against the filibuster!" Hasan interjected. "First time he came out so explicitly on the filibuster on voting rights!"
"I am getting there! I agree with you, Mehdi. I agree with you. I'm getting there," Psaki fired back.
She went on to claim that the president was building support for doing away with the filibuster, and that it would not have helped for him to come out sooner and more forcefully. Hasan appeared frustrated with that line of argumentation.
"I'm not saying it would have changed their minds earlier, but you’re telling me if he hadn't come out earlier, if the President of the United States with the bully pulpit, the leader of the Democratic Party, had he not come out three, six, nine months earlier and said, ‘We need to get this filibuster out of the way for voting rights,’ that wouldn't have helped?" Hasan continued.
Psaki said there was no evidence that such a course of action would have changed the minds of Democrats who were opposed to removing the filibuster.
Also in the interview, Psaki blamed COVID-19 for supply chain problems and the plague on the American psyche while she touted some elements of the economy that she saw as positive. She also again blamed "meat conglomerates" for high prices on meat at grocery stores.
Here's the video of Mehdi assailing Psaki:
Jen Psaki Defends Filibuster Strategy www.youtube.com