White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was confronted Wednesday over Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's admission that she was wrong about inflation.
What did Yellen say?
Yellen told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday what most Americans have known for months: The Biden administration's claim that inflation would be temporary was horribly wrong.
"I was wrong then about the path that inflation would take," Yellen said. "As I mentioned, there have been unanticipated and large shocks to the economy that have boosted energy and food prices and supply bottlenecks that have affected our economy badly that I didn't — at the time — didn't fully understand, but we recognize that now."
What happened with Jean-Pierre?
During the press briefing, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked Jean-Pierre about inflation and Yellen's revealing admission.
"When are you guys going to admit that you were wrong about inflation?" Doocy asked. "The treasury secretary says that she was wrong, so why doesn't anybody here at the White House?"
Jean-Pierre responded by absolving the Biden administration of any responsibility for ongoing economic woes, like record-high gas prices and the inflation crisis.
Instead, Jean-Pierre blamed "inflationary pressures which couldn't have been foreseen," Russia, and COVID-19 while simultaneously spouting talking points that would make it seem that no economic problems exist.
06/01/22: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre youtu.be
In response, Doocy highlighted the glaring contradiction in Jean-Pierre's response.
"Just that I understand: the treasury secretary says that she was wrong, but the White House was not wrong about inflation?" Doocy followed up.
Jean-Pierre, however, was not interested in directly answering the question. "Those are your words, not my words," she charged, before again absolving the Biden administration from any responsibility.
"We have achieved an historic recovery through an extraordinarily unprecedented economic moment. The president has consistently noted that the primary drivers of inflation are the pandemic and Putin's invasion of Ukraine," Jean-Pierre said. "The twists and turns of both these monumental events have affected energy prices and also food prices that we have seen these past several months."
"This is Putin's price hike, which the president refers to, and that is what Secretary Yellen was referring to if you — if you read the entire transcript. And that's what I'm trying to say to you," she added. "Hopefully that lands."
Unfortunately for the White House, Americans don't buy what Biden is selling.
Importantly, inflation and gas prices were a problem before the Ukraine war, and economists generally agree that a COVID relief package passed last spring, which injected more money into the economy, exacerbated inflation.
Bankers at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, in fact, have pointed out that while inflation has been a problem for developed countries post-COVID lockdowns, inflation in the U.S. far outpaced those countries, proving domestic policies drove our inflation problems.