Jen Psaki sets the record straight

QAnon to the contrary, on March 4th Donald Trump didn’t miraculously become president of the United States again. But he did receive a rather substantial smackdown at the hands of President Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

In quoting a lie told by Admiral Brett Giroir, Trump’s former testing czar, ABC’s Mary Bruce said to Psaki, “Brett Giroir has said that you’re following 99 percent of the playbook they [the Trump administration] created on vaccines. He has said that the prior administration deserves more credit here for at least getting the ball rolling on some of these.”

Psaki objected to the claim that the Biden administration is following Donald Trump’s vaccination program. Psaki pointed out the obvious, saying that she doesn’t think “anyone deserves credit when half a million people in the country have died from this pandemic. So what our focus is on and what the president’s focus is on when he came into office just over a month ago, was ensuring we have enough vaccines. We are going to have them now…

“There’s no question, and all data points to the fact there were not enough of any of those things when he took office,” Psaki continued. “We are open-eyed about the challenge that we continue to live under, and that’s why he’s been focused every single day in doing everything possible to get the pandemic under control.”

Psaki is talking about the previous administration and the current one like a manager comparing two employees. Perhaps it would be helpful for us all to stop thinking of people who run the government as politicians and start thinking of them as employees. Maybe you’ve noticed it yourselves, but whenever a politician behaves badly or doesn’t do his or her job, a lot of people rush in to either defend or excoriate their job based on whether or not their name is followed by an “R” or a “D.”

For example, Trump spent the last six months of his tenure of office whining about how the election was going to be rigged. Then after he lost the election, he spent his final 78 days whining about how the election had been stolen from him. A lot of people either defended him or excoriated him based on the big fat red “R” for “Republican” at the end of his name.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see Trump do much work on coronavirus during that time. Like I say, when he wasn’t playing golf, he seemed way too busy whining about the election night and day. You can check his (now defunct) Twitter account if you don’t believe me. Just go to

Now, if all you can do is think of Trump as a politician, you might be tempted to want to know first what kind of letter follows his name. If it’s the “D” letter you might be tempted to react to him one way. If it’s the “R” letter, you might be tempted to react to him another way.

As I say, maybe there would be less confusion about such things if we had thought of him as an employee from the first, and completely forgotten about the fact that he is a politician. For example, let’s say a bunch of us occupied the same house. Let’s say we all had an employee who was supposed to mow the lawn and wash the windows on our house. Let’s say instead that employee played golf and texted messages to his friends about what unfair employees we are and how we’re all so nasty and mean that we’re all going to probably fire him for unfair and dishonest reasons. Meanwhile the windows are filthy. Meanwhile the lawn is getting shabbier and shabbier. Meanwhile the employee is encouraging people to make the windows filthier and the lawn shabbier in the name of “freedom.”

I don’t think anybody in the house is going to defend that employee, do you? Not unless he’s somebody’s favorite uncle. No, they’re going to fire that employee and hire a new one. And when that new one goes to work right away fixing everything the previous employee failed to fix, nobody is going to try to give the previous employee any of the credit for the new employee’s work. Nobody is going to say, “That new employee is just using the old employee’s playbook,” particularly when the old employee’s playbook was to sit around and whine about how he’s going to get fired, and so on, while the new employee is too busy to think about such things. He’s too busy doing the work.

That’s why I like thinking of politicians as employees. That’s what I do. And because of that I call balls and strikes on employees, not politicians. It may seem like I tend to favor employees who have a bright blue “D” appended to the end of their names, but that’s just an illusion. I call balls and strikes on them too. Employees with bright blue “Ds” on the ends of their names tend to screw up less often, that’s all. Employees with fat red “Rs” on the ends of their names tend to screw up more often. But I will never confuse the job they’re supposed to be doing with those letters. Like I say, I call balls and strikes on everybody. And I plan to go right on doing just that. No matter what. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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