- The Washington Times - Friday, October 22, 2021

White House press secretary Jen Psaki spent Friday’s daily press briefing clarifying multiple misstatements by President Biden the night before during a CNN town hall.

Ms. Psaki walked back Mr. Biden‘s boast that he will use the National Guard to fix the supply chain crisis, noting the administration isn’t even considering such a step.

She also indicated that the president overstated the U.S. position on defending Taiwan and clarified his comment that he‘s been to the U.S. border with Mexico.

During the town hall, Mr. Biden said he would send in the national guard to alleviate supply chain issues that have disrupted the economy and left store shelves bare.

Asked if he would consider sending in troops to drive trucks, Mr. Biden responded, “Yes, if we can’t increase the number of truckers” and said he had a “timetable” for calling in the guard.

Ms. Psaki explained to reporters that using the National Guard is not on the table.

While she noted that the president can call on the National Guard on the federal level, it is typically activated at the request of state governors. She added that the administration has no plans to use the guard to address the supply chain bottlenecks.

“Requesting the use of the National Guard at the state level, which is often how it’s done, is under the purview of governors,” she said. “And we are not actively asking them to do that. And we are not actively pursuing the use of the National Guard on a federal level.”

Ms. Psaki also clarified Mr. Biden‘s claim that he has visited the border, explaining he went there 14 years ago — in 2008 — as a candidate for vice president.

“I’ve been there before and I haven’t — I mean, I know it well. I guess I should go down. But the whole point of it is I haven’t had a whole hell of a lot of time to get down there,” the president said at the town hall.

Ms. Psaki noted that the president “did drive through the border,” in 2008, but emphasized that he‘s familiar with the issues going on with the immigration crisis.

He is certainly familiar with it,” she said. “What everyone should know and understand is that the president has worked on these issues throughout his entire career and is well-versed in every aspect of our immigration system, including the border.”

Last month, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy told Ms. Psaki that the network had “not found any record” of Mr. Biden visiting the border as “president, vice president, senator or even concerned citizen.”

Ms. Psaki at the time insisted that she should check the “history books.” The Washington Post also reported that it could not find evidence that Mr. Biden ever made a trip to the southern border.

Ms. Psaki was also forced to clean up the president’s claims about defending Taiwan if it was attacked by China.

When asked if the U.S. would come to Taiwan‘s aid in the event of an attack, Mr. Biden said, “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”

It appeared as if Mr. Biden was signaling a U.S. policy shift towards Taiwan. The U.S. policy had traditionally been governed by the “Taiwan Relations Act,” which established officially substantial but non-diplomatic relations with the island nation.

Ms. Psaki on Friday clarified that “there is no change” in U.S. policy towards Taiwan, suggesting that the president may have misspoken.

He wasn’t announcing a change in policy nor have we changed our policy,” Ms. Psaki said. “There is no change in our policy.”

When pressed on why Mr. Biden declared that the U.S. would come to Taiwan‘s aid, Ms. Psaki reiterated that the president was “not intending to convey a change in policy.”

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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