What some have feared has become reality – Jen Psaki is returning to the White House, of course, if Joe Biden is confirmed as the new US president by the Electoral College in December.
Before assuming the role of White House communications director under President Barack Obama back in 2015, Psaki had already made history with some of her most controversial, and often simply faulty, statements while working as the State Department's spokesperson, a position she was tapped for in 2013.
Psaki’s frequent utterance “let me go back and check” came to be seen as her catchphrase and was lampooned in various memes. Only God knows what the world should expect now from Biden’s pick for the White House Press Secretary.
To illuminate on the issue, here is a recap of Jen Psaki’s most memorable gaffes, which provoked many laughs among political observers and ordinary citizens alike at the time.
May 2014, ‘I am not Familiar With This Term’
In May 2014, Psaki, reporting on a then-recent referendum in Ukraine's Donetsk region, which later proclaimed its independence, talked about “reports of Carousel voting”, the rigging of elections using busloads of paid operatives who vote multiple times in various locations, that had allegedly taken place.
When asked to clarify on that term by AP reporter Matt Lee, who often gave Psaki a hard time during her briefings, Psaki admitted that she had no idea what she was talking about.
“The truth is that I was reading that, I am not familiar with that term either … I’ll check and see what our team means by this term,” the spokesperson said.
April 2014, ‘Western European gas to Russia’
When speaking about Russia-Ukraine gas relations, Psaki made a notorious blooper that soon went viral, after assuming that it was Western Europe that was actually supplying Russia with natural gas.
August 2013, ‘Let’s Not Talk About Red’
When journalists repeatedly tried to question Psaki about a so-called “red line” in Syria, the term used by Obama to describe what line President Assad would have to cross to invite the military wrath of the Pentagon (namely, the use of chemical weapons), the press secretary lost her patience.
July 2013, ‘I'm Happy to Break Down the Pie for You’
Psaki also once made a tempting offer to her “torturer” Matt Lee, while using a “pie” analogy during a discussion on the Syrian civil war, when apparently referring to the diverse array of countries that had been providing aid to rebel forces.
Lee was really curious as to what “pie” the US could have been “a slice of”, a question that prompted Psaki to vividly respond: “do you not like pie?”
July 2013, ‘Determined Not to Make a Determination’
During another heated exchange with Lee, this time in relation to the ousting of Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi, Psaki repeatedly refused to say whether his removal from office in 2013 had been a coup d’etat – a term President Barack Obama strongly avoided using at the time.