White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to say Wednesday that the administration still views inflation as “transitory.”
Inflation hit a four-decade high Tuesday, with the Department of Labor (DOL) announcing that March consumer prices soared 8.5%. Amid the soaring prices – which have steadily risen throughout President Joe Biden’s time in office – Psaki was pressed on the administration’s past push to claim inflation as temporary.
“Does the White House still view inflation as transitory?” Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked.
Psaki pointed to the Federal Reserve and “outside economists,” noting that they all continue to believe the term remains accurate.
“That is the view of the Federal Reserve and outside economists, and they all continue to project it will come down this year,” the press secretary said, suggesting the White House is following this belief.
Throughout parts of 2021, administration officials repeatedly claimed that inflation would be temporary. Psaki and Biden, among others, downplayed Americans’ concerns, with the president at one point saying the increase was “expected.”
Towards the end of 2021, administration officials began to abandon the terms “temporary” and “transitory.” In December 2021, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen even admitted that it was time “to retire the word transitory.” (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Biden Administration Downplayed Inflation Concerns As Temporary)
The White House’s latest messaging on inflation has been to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin, with officials coining the term “Putin’s Price Hike” when discussing things like higher gas prices seen around the country.
Psaki was also pressed Wednesday about whether the administration was blaming inflation on Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Psaki issued a statement Wednesday morning slamming Abbott’s border security measures ahead of the end of Title 42, which allowed for the quick expulsion of migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ending in May.
Specifically, Psaki’s statement hit on Abbott’s action requiring the Texas Department of Safety (DPS) to conduct “enhanced safety inspections” on vehicles crossing from Mexico. The press secretary called it the inspections “unnecessary and redundant” and accused the measure of impacting inflation.
“Governor Abbott’s unnecessary and redundant inspections of trucks transiting ports of entry between Texas and Mexico are causing significant disruptions to the food and automobile supply chains, delaying manufacturing, impacting jobs, and raising prices for families in Texas and across the country,” Psaki said in her morning statement.
During the afternoon press briefing, Psaki was pressed on whether her statement indicated the administration was now also blaming Abbott for inflation. Psaki defended her statement and said the White House is “trying to state the facts.”
“Well, I think we’re trying to state the facts of what his – another political stunt – that we’re seeing happen and the impact of it, and what we’re seeing is right now, factually, there’s over one million dollars in trade crossing over the U.S.–Mexico border every minute,” the press secretary said.
“These actions are impacting people’s jobs and the livelihoods of hardworking families in Texas and across the country. That’s not a political statement, that’s a statement of fact. I’d also note that what we’re seeing with these unnecessary inspections of trucks … are significant delays which are resulting in a drop in commercial traffic of up to sixty to seventy percent in some ports, and that is significantly impacting the local and regional supply chains,” Psaki continued.