Doocy Confronts Psaki Over Biden’s Past Comments on ‘Bonehead’ Court-Packing

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Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy joined the Briefing Room rotation on Friday to cap off another whirlwind week and, as the fourth reporter called on during Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s Q&A, he brought up President Biden’s past opposition to court-packing (as he seems to be moving toward doing just that) and the latest headlines from the Biden border crisis.

And on the courts, Doocy got a key assist from none other than CNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.

Doocy started with the Supreme Court and brought up comments Biden made in 1983 in light of Biden’s appointing of a commission to study court reform (which should be read as nothing more than a leftist power grab). 

“He said he thought that court packing was a bonehead idea when FDR tried it. So, why ask a panel now to go and see if it is a good idea,” asked Doocy.

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When he brought up 1983 before his question, Psaki interjected with a weak dad joke about how she was impressed with Doocy’s trip aboard the “time back machine.”

Psaki insisted it’s not just about court-packing or to simply give him the greenlight to do so, but rather supposedly bringing together legal minds from across the spectrum to publish a report on “the pros and cons” of court-packing, “the court’s role in the constitutional system, the length of service and turnover of justices on the court, the membership and size of the court, and the court’s case selection, rules, and practices.”

Doocy then shifted bears to the border and new reporting about the eye-popping cost that taxpayers have incurred from this border surge. As expected, Psaki held serve in downplaying the issue (click “expand”):

DOOCY: [T]he U.S. government is now reportedly spending $60 million a week to shelter migrant children. That adds up to $3.1 billion in a year. Where’s the money coming from? 

PSAKI: Well, first, I would say that, as you may recall, the prior administration requested and received nearly $3 billion in supplemental funding from Congress for the U.C. program back in 2019. That came after the previous administration had already made multiple transfers of hundreds of millions of dollars. And our commitment is to ensuring HHS has the funds it needs now to safely and humanely care for children, which, of course, is resource intensive. We know that. There are 200 permanent shelters around the country and there are needs related to the pandemic, social distancing, enhanced ventilation and testing that are additional needs given to the time that we’re living in.

DOOCY: And because of the time that we’re living in, is there concern that this is HHS that it is — that these shelters — that The Washington Post says that costs are going to rise significantly that the shelters might be draining pandemic responses elsewhere? 

PSAKI: No, that’s not what our concern at all. We have funding for the pandemic response. I’m just conveying to you what we feel this cost is and why it is at that the rate it is at this point in time. 

Doocy’s third line of questioning focused on the disturbing revelation from Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) that migrant children at one San Antonio-area shelter are being sexually abused and whether the White House had any comment.

Psaki said the well-being of children is something the administration takes “very seriously” and thus the claims will be investigated by HHS. That said, she put them aside because “[c]urrently, we have no basis for his calls to shut down the San Antonio Freeman coliseum as an intake site.”

One could argue that children wouldn’t have been placed in such decrepit conditions if a message of an open border hadn’t been projected, but that’s for another conversation.

Though Psaki wouldn’t offer anything new, Doocy tried again with a follow-up

And the last one would just be you’ve said this week, that you guys are trying to make a process that’s more efficient and effective and that you’re addressing this in a humane way that keeps these kids as safe as we possibly can. If these allegations are true, how is that consistent with what you guys are trying to do? 

Psaki went next to Collins, who went back to Biden’s judicial commission and asked what they’re actually going to do in their report. Incredibly, Collins got Psaki to flail when it came to a basic question of whether it’ll offer direct recommendations (click “expand”):

COLLINS: On the commission for the Supreme Court, when President Biden first disclosed this idea — I believe he was still a candidate when said this — he said he wanted recommendations as to how to reform the court system because “it’s getting out of whack.” Yet, this commission is not going to actually make recommendations? So why —

PSAKI: They will be. They’ll be doing a report — 180 days — at 180 days that will be released to the public.

COLLINS: But it’s a report, but it’s not them actually making recommendations to the president? 

PSAKI: Well, I’m sure he’ll take a look at that report, that this diverse group of members are putting together, thinking through over the next 180 days and it will impact his thinking moving forward. 

COLLINS: So, — but it won’t explicitly say here’s a recommendation from what we have studied to do, x, y, z? 

PSAKI: It’s meant to be a report and a summary of their discussions and their findings. I don’t know what it will look like and I will not get ahead of what their process will be.

What a mess.

To see the relevant transcript from April 9’s briefing, click “expand.”

White House Press Briefing
April 9, 2021
1:06 p.m. Eastern

PETER DOOCY:  To follow up on Ed’s questions about the Supreme Court, 

JEN PSAKI: Yep.

DOOCY: — action today. President Biden once said that in 1983 he thought courtpacking was a —

JEN PSAKI: Whoa, time back machine. 

DOOCY: — oh yeah. He said he thought that court packing was a bonehead idea when FDR tried it. So, why ask a panel now to go and see if it is a good idea? 

PSAKI: Well, first, he’s — the panel is being asked to do a number of — take a number of steps, including the pros and cons on exactly that issue. But they will also be looking at the court’s role in the constitutional system, the length of service and turnover of justices on the court, the membership and size of the court, and the court’s case selection, rules, and practices and the makeup of this commission, which was vital for the President, was — is — there are progressives on the court, there are conservatives on the court, people will present different opinions and different points of views and then they’ll have a report at the end of 180 days. 

DOOCY: Okay. And then about immigration, the U.S. government is now reportedly spending $60 million a week to shelter migrant children. That adds up to $3.1 billion in a year. Where’s the money coming from? 

PSAKI: Well, first, I would say that, as you may recall, the prior administration requested and received nearly $3 billion in supplemental funding from Congress for the U.C. program back in 2019. That came after the previous administration had already made multiple transfers of hundreds of millions of dollars. And our commitment is to ensuring HHS has the funds it needs now to safely and humanely care for children, which, of course, is resource intensive. We know that. There are 200 permanent shelters around the country and there are needs related to the pandemic, social distancing, enhanced ventilation and testing that are additional needs given to the time that we’re living in.

DOOCY: And because of the time that we’re living in, is there concern that this is HHS that it is — that these shelters — that The Washington Post says that costs are going to rise significantly that the shelters might be draining pandemic responses elsewhere? 

PSAKI: No, that’s not what our concern at all. We have funding for the pandemic response. I’m just conveying to you what we feel this cost is and why it is at that the rate it is at this point in time. 

DOOCY: And then just one more, Texas Governor Greg Abbott says he asked the Biden demonstration to shut down the temporary shelter for migrant kids at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio because he says he has gotten information to children there are being sexually assaulted. Is that facility going to be shut down? 

PSAKI: Well, first, we take safety and the well-being of children in our care very seriously, hence our early conversation about the funding spent to keep them safe during the pandemic. His — we are — his claims will be looked into, and investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services. Currently, we have no basis for his calls to shut down the San Antonio Freeman coliseum as an intake site but we will, of course, we — take these — this — these allegations seriously and they will be investigated. 

DOOCY: And the last one would just be you’ve said this week, that you guys are trying to make a process that’s more efficient and effective and that you’re addressing this in a humane way that keeps these kids as safe as we possibly can. If these allegations are true, how is that consistent with what you guys are trying to do? 

PSAKI: Well, again, we are looking into the allegations. We take them seriously and our focus remains on safety and well-being of children, hence we are looking into them and taking it very seriously. Go ahead, Kaitlan.

KAITLAN COLLINS: Thank you. On the commission for the Supreme Court, when President Biden first disclosed this idea — I believe he was still a candidate when said this — he said he wanted recommendations as to how to reform the court system because “it’s getting out of whack.” Yet, this commission is not going to actually make recommendations? So why —

PSAKI: They will be. They’ll be doing a report — 180 days — at 180 days that will be released to the public.

COLLINS: But it’s a report, but it’s not them actually making recommendations to the president? 

PSAKI: Well, I’m sure he’ll take a look at that report, that this diverse group of members are putting together, thinking through over the next 180 days and it will impact his thinking moving forward. 

COLLINS: So, — but it won’t explicitly say here’s a recommendation from what we have studied to do, x, y, z? 

PSAKI: It’s meant to be a report and a summary of their discussions and their findings. I don’t know what it will look like and I will not get ahead of what their process will be.

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