White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is under fire for allegedly mocking the Space Force in her response to a question regarding the Biden’s administration’s plans for the newly-created - but completely legitimate - branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Approved by Congress in 2019, the Space Force became the 6th official branch of the U.S. military at the request of former President Donald Trump, who cited space as the next frontier for global power.
During a White House press briefing Tuesday, Bloomberg News reporter Josh Wingrove asked Psaki “whether the President has made a decision on keeping, or keeping the scope of, Space Force.”
Psaki responded sarcastically by first laughing at the question, joking, “Wow, Space Force. It’s the plane of today.”
She then admitted she didn't even know who the White House Space Force contact is, saying, “It is an interesting question. I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact. I’m not sure who that is but I will find out and see if we have any update on that.”
Psaki’s response is very telling in two regards, one being how obvious it is that the Biden administration has put very little-to-no thought into their plan for the Space Force. The other is how incredibly disappointing it is that the White House press secretary still does not know the point of contact for one of the nation's very real military branches.
Psaki faced widespread criticism following the briefing. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) called for the press secretary to “immediately” apologize, saying:
“It’s concerning to see the Biden administration’s press secretary blatantly diminish an entire branch of our military as the punchline of a joke, which I’m sure China would find funny, The Space Force was passed with near unanimous support in Congress, the same type of ‘unity’ President Biden is supposedly working towards. Jen Psaki needs to immediately apologize to the men and women of the Space Force for this disgraceful comment.”
Psaki took to Twitter Tuesday night to soften her statements, but did not apologize.
We look forward to the continuing work of Space Force and invite the members of the team to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work.— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) February 3, 2021
Space Force was not a prominent topic of conversation throughout President Biden’s campaign, leaving many to wonder what the future holds for the newest military branch. Eliminating the branch is unlikely, as it is currently used as a vehicle to increase defense spending and would require an act of Congress.