White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if President Joe Biden’s use of the word “crisis” means that the administration has reversed its long-held position on what to call the situation at the southern border with regard to unaccompanied minors.
After the first golf outing of his presidency, Biden spoke briefly with reporters on Saturday and used the magic word in response to a question on the refugee cap. The audio from the pool video is very poor, but according to the pool reporter, President Biden said “We’re going to increase the number. The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people. We couldn’t do two things at once. But now we are going to increase the number.”
The remark drew attention at Monday’s briefing, perhaps because the administration has made a conspicuous point of resisting repeated and vociferous calls from members of the media to dub the situation at the border — an influx of unaccompanied minors that has resulted in overcrowding at Border Patrol facilities and a scramble to find appropriate placement for them — a “crisis.”
Although Psaki did slip and call the situation a “crisis” at one briefing before correcting herself, the consistent message from the White House has been to avoid that term in favor of describing it as a “challenge,” and casting their policy of not turning away children as the only moral and humane choice.
While calls to use the word “crisis” have come from reporters at multiple outlets, it was Fox News’ Kristen Fisher who started the trend at a March 1 briefing with Psaki and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and it was Fisher who jumped at Biden’s statement at Monday’s briefing.
“President Biden, over the weekend, called what happened at the border a ‘crisis,’” Fisher said, and asked, “Is that now the official White House position, that there is indeed a crisis at the border?”
Psaki began by describing the progress that has been made in getting unaccompanied minors out of Border Patrol facilities, then explained President Biden’s remark.
“The President does not feel that children coming to our border, seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships, and other dire circumstances is a crisis,” Psaki said. “He does feel that the crisis in Central America, the dire circumstances that many are fleeing from, that he, that that is a situation we need to spend our time, our effort on, and we need to address it if we’re going to prevent more of an influx of migrants from coming in years to come.”
The number of unaccompanied minors in Customs and Border Patrol custody had fallen by nearly half, according to a recent update, but the average stay was still well in excess of the legal limit of 72 hours as of April 10.
Watch the clip above via The White House.
The post WATCH: Jen Psaki Explains Why President Biden Used ‘Crisis’ to Describe Situation at Border first appeared on Mediaite.