After weeks of referring to the situation along the southern border as a “challenge” and providing answers unsatisfactory to many, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called it a “crisis”. Although, she later corrected herself to call it a “challenge”.
This is the first time a senior Biden administration official has called it a “crisis,” albeit accidentally.
During Thursday’s daily press briefing, Psaki and CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe were having a back-and-forth over talks between the United States and Mexico about shipments of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, as well as about Mexico helping stem the flow of migrants. It should be noted that the U.S. plans to ship doses to Canada, too.
O’Keefe asked if the U.S. had set “expectations” for the vaccine agreement linked to its southern neighbor’s collaboration in tackling the problems along their shared border.
“There have been expectations set outside of, unrelated to any vaccine doses or requests for them, that they would be partners in dealing with the crisis on the border,” Psaki replied. “There have been requests, unrelated, for doses of these vaccines. Every relationship has multiple layers of conversation that are happening at the same time.”
MORE ON THE BORDER: Biden’s message to migrants: ‘Don’t come over’
Later in the briefing, Real Clear Politics’ Philip Wegmann asked about her use of the word “crisis”. Psaki quickly responded, cutting him off, to clarify it as “challenges on the border.”
Wegmann then inquired if that “crisis” language reflected any changes in the administration’s view of the the border situation, to which she replied: “Nope.”
MORE ON THE BORDER: Arizona AG: Biden ‘incentivizing’ migrants ‘to break the law and come here’
Notably, Psaki has been pressed previously about hers and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas‘s refusal to call the situation a “crisis”.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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