An exchange between a Fox News reporter and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has become the subject of a Twitter storm following accusations by Donald Trump, Jr. that the White House is gaslighting the American public.
The exchange happened during a White House press conference on June 28. Fox’s Peter Doocy questioned Psaki about charges that the Republican party had defunded police by refusing to support President Joe Biden‘s American Rescue Plan. The plan offered stimulus funds to American families and public institutions in dire need due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Something one of the advisors said this weekend,” Doocy asked. “Cedric Richmond — he said, ‘Republicans defunded the police by not supporting the American Rescue Plan.’ But how is it that that is an argument to be made when the President never mentioned needing money for police to stop a crime wave when he was selling the American Rescue Plan?”
The always-cool Psaki had a clear answer. “The President did mention that the American Rescue Plan,” she explained, “they’ll — the state and local funding — something that was supported by the President, a lot of Democrats who supported and voted for the bill — could help ensure local cops were kept on the beat in communities across the country. As you know, it didn’t receive a single Republican vote. That funding has been used to keep cops on the beat.
Hey Siri, what is gaslighting? https://t.co/M83bElCChT
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 28, 2021
“But at the time,” Doocy countered, “that was sold as: These local police departments might have a pandemic-related budget shortfall — not, ‘We need to keep cops on the beat because there’s a crime wave.'”
“I think that any local department would argue that keeping cops on the beat to keep communities safe when they had to, because of budget shortfalls, fire police is something that helps them address crime in their local communities,” Psaki observed.
Doocy then contended that the American Rescue Plan was sold to Congress and the American public as a COVID-19 related piece of legislation, not one that supported law enforcement, even if it did allocate funds to do so.
“It did those things as well,” Psaki observed. “It was a pretty good bill and piece of legislation.”
Apparently not realizing that a piece of legislation can do two things at once, Don Jr. took to Twitter to accuse Psaki of gaslighting.
“Hey Siri, what is gaslighting?,” he tweeted. (We find this ironic, since Psaki’s observation that legislation can do two things at once is not gaslighting.)
The Twitterverse wouldn’t stand for it.
Fun fact…Republican's DIDN'T! vote for the plan that had funding for the police.
— John Slayer (@John666Slayer1) June 28, 2021
“Fun fact…Republican’s DIDN’T! vote for the plan that had funding for the police,” said user @John666Slayer1.
Psaki is right.
The GQP voted against funds for police.
Those facts are pesky things, aren't they?
— ??????Meidas_T'Sharra?????? (@TSharraRahl) June 28, 2021
“Psaki is right. The GQP voted against funds for police. Those facts are pesky things, aren’t they?” wrote @TSharraRahl.
Repubs won't support THESE officers. pic.twitter.com/sOCXeeABrA
— Cody Dog (@CodyIsAGoodBoy) June 28, 2021
“Repubs won’t support THESE officers,” noted @CodyIsAGoodBoy, who also posted a picture of the January 6 insurrection.
"Hey Siri, what does the future hold for 'June? pic.twitter.com/2T8r1wfQ0V
— meinnyc (@meinnyc130) June 28, 2021
“Hey Siri, what does the future hold for June?” wondered @meinnyc130, who also included a mock-up of Don Jr. in prison, an apparent reference to an impending indictment against the Trump organization.
Note to Don Jr.: please go actually ask Siri what gaslighting is.