White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is facing criticism after she appeared to mock the newest branch of the U.S. military, the Space Force, during a press conference.
Responding to an inquiry by a member of the press about the Space Force, Psaki laughed and appeared to not take the question seriously, deferring to members of the Space Force to answer the question instead if they chose.
Paski was asked about what President Joe Biden’s plans were for the newest military branch, including whether he intended to keep it operational. The Space Force was introduced by former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, and was initially proposed to lead America into the final frontier due to growing threats from China and Russia to militarize space.
“Wow. Space Force. It’s the plane of today,” Psaki responded. “It is an interesting question. I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact. I’m not sure who that is. I will find out and see if we have any update on that.”
Psaki’s comments were seen as a direct reference to previous softball questions from the press corps about changing the colors of Air Force One.
Rep. Mike Rogers, the House Armed Services Committee’s top Republican, called on Psaki to apologize for the remark.
“It’s concerning to see the Biden administration’s press secretary blatantly diminish an entire branch of our military as the punchline of a joke, which I’m sure China would find funny,” Rogers said, according to the Daily Wire. “The Space Force was passed with near-unanimous support in Congress, the same type of ‘unity’ President Biden is supposedly working towards. Jen Psaki needs to immediately apologize to the men and women of the Space Force for this disgraceful comment.”
The Biden administration has come under fire from Republicans who argue that the administration is woefully unprepared to take seriously the national security threat posed by China.
“This is just another example of the Biden administration not taking China seriously while demeaning the incredible work of Space Force personnel,” said Rep. Michael Waltz.
Psaki’s apparent ignorance of the Biden administration’s plans for the Space Force follows a report from the Daily Wire which alleged that the administration’s communications team has been soliciting reporters for their questions prior to press conferences so as to not be blindsided.
Psaki has been lambasted on social media for her inability to answer questions, often stating that she is “going to need to circle back” with the reporter.
Despite her refusal to provide the Space Force with an apology, Psaki took to Twitter to state that the administration is looking forward "to the continuing work of Space Force and invite the members of the team to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work."