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White House press secretary Jen Psaki found herself in hot water on Tuesday after she appeared to mock the Space Force, the U.S. military’s newest branch, during her daily press briefing.
While meeting with reporters, Psaki was asked about the Biden administration’s position on the Space Force, the sixth military branch, created by former President Donald Trump.
“Wow. Space Force. It’s the plane of today,” Psaki responded sarcastically, referring to a question she answered two weeks ago about Air Force One, which Trump sought to redesign during his presidency.
The reporter who asked the Space Force question pushed back against Psaki’s reaction, which elicited a response from the press secretary.
“It is an interesting question,” Psaki said. “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.”
Here's Jen Psaki laughing at the question from Bloomberg's @Josh_Wingrove about whether Biden will keep the U.S. @SpaceForceDoD or dismantle it, adding she didn't even know who the WH contact was pic.twitter.com/twavKEq9ME
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 2, 2021
What was the response?
Psaki was condemned by Republican lawmakers for mocking the Space Force.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) released a statement demanding that Psaki apologize, according to Politico:
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. 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.
Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) similarly said, “This is just another example of the Biden administration not taking China seriously while demeaning the incredible work of Space Force personnel.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) called Pskai’s overall posture toward the question concerning.
“In all seriousness, this was a very real question about Space Force, and deserved a real answer. Her disdain for questions that fall outside the ‘what is the President’s favorite ice cream!?’ genre is really a problem,” Crenshaw tweeted.
How did Psaki respond?
While she did not outright apologize, she appeared to issue a quasi-apology, saying the Biden administration will continue the work of the Space Force.
“We look 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,” Psaki said later on Tuesday.