White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday accused Washington Examiner reporter Rob Crilly of twisting President Joe Biden’s words “out of context.”
Crilly was sitting in on the daily White House press briefing and asked Psaki a question regarding Biden’s previous statements concerning executive orders.
“I’m sort of trying to reconcile this [inaudible] 26 executive orders now and reconcile that with the campaign rhetoric …. Joe Biden said the word ‘limitations’ on the use of executive actions, things you can’t do by executive order unless you’re a dictator. We’re a democracy and we need consensus.” said Crilly. “I think you said earlier that some of these executive orders will be used to roll back some of the immoral things that the previous administration had done. If you’re calling these things immoral, is that seeking consensus and unity? And then also does it suggest that President Biden sees himself as perhaps a benevolent dictator?”
During the early days of the Democratic presidential primaries Biden criticized other candidates for relying too much on executive orders to accomplish their policy goals saying that they needed to “generate a consensus,” but as of Thursday Biden has signed a record number of executive actions. He has also received criticism over the high number of actions, including from The New York Times Editorial Board, which urged Biden to “ease up on the executive actions.”
“I’m sure this wasn’t your intention, but I think you took the president’s comments a bit out of context. He was asked about tax reform and whether that could be done via executive order during the interview with George Stephanopoulos, which you’re referring to,” Psaki responded. “I think the question is pretty important context for everybody and he said, no. And the president also said during an interview with columnists back in December, that he didn’t think executive action should be used for everything. And that certainly is his point of view.” (RELATED: ‘This Political Theater … Is Scary’: Sheriff Pushes Back On Biden’s Border Policy ‘Madness’)
Psaki went on to say that there were “harmful, detrimental, and yes, immoral” actions taken by the “prior administration” that Biden “felt he could not wait to overturn.” She then concluded by saying, “He is going to use the levers that every president in history has used, executive actions. But he also feels it’s important to work with Congress and not just one party, but both parties to get things done.”