Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich managed to raise White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s hackles on Friday as she probed the Biden administration’s Ukraine policy in light of the Afghanistan debacle.
“This is now the second evacuation of Americans in the course of –” Heinrich began.
“It’s not actually an evacuation,” Psaki interrupted.
“To be clear, American citizens can depart Ukraine. There are means of departing Ukraine. This is not a country where we are at war, where we have tens of thousands of troops who have been fighting a war for 20 years. So it’s incredibly different,” she said.
“Correct. You are correct in that. But it’s the second time we’ve urged American citizens to get out of a country,” Heinrich said in reply, leading Psaki to cite a number of times the State Department has urged Americans to leave a country.
“But these are the two major events that have happened under this administration,” Heinrich pressed until Psaki again interrupted.
Then Heinrich got the chance to ask her question.
“What does the administration say to critics who are looking at these two events and questioning his administration’s foreign policy approach?” she asked.
“Who is questioning us? Give me names,” Psaki asked.
“Plenty of Republicans,” Heinrich replied.
“I could name off any number of Republicans,” Heinrich said.
“I’d love to know a name,” Psaki snarked.
“Goodness. Mitch McConnell,” Heinrich replied.
Psaki then launched into an explanation of why the Afghanistan withdrawal was a success.
“OK. Well, here’s what I would say to Mr. McConnell: The president ended a 20-year war in Afghanistan — a war that had cost us thousands of American lives, billions, trillions of dollars, and was a failed enterprise after 20 years.
“He was the first president to do that after many of his predecessors failed to take exactly that step. We knew it would be complicated. We knew it would be challenging. He had the courage to get our troops out of there and end a 20-year war.
“This is entirely different because we are not ending a 20-year war. We are trying to prevent war here. We are trying to keep American citizens safe in Ukraine by encouraging them to depart, by providing them information about what the security circumstances are on the ground. And I think it’s important for the American public to understand the significant differences between these different scenarios,” Psaki said.