White House Press Secretary gave a 40-minute press briefing on Monday, where she repeated the line, “We have been very clear” to reporters' questions while refusing to provide satisfactory answers.
Convoluted double-speak is the norm in Biden’s Briefings, but today KJP was even more vague than usual as she faced tough questions about the economy, Iran, Pakistan, Medicare, Student Loan Relief and more. Most of the questions were, of course, about the economy.
When a reporter asked about recent polling that shows Biden “deeply underwater” on the economy (-21 pts, in fact), KJP said:
“We are going to go out there…and talk about how we have delivered for the American people. Here’s a thing, when you think about Medicare, you think about Social Security, you think about the pieces of legislation that we have passed, they are very popular with the American people – with Republicans and Democrats – and so that is also important to note, we’re gonna keep getting out there.”
KJP downplayed concerns about today’s crash of the British Pound and doubled down on Biden’s economic policy, suggesting that the long game of the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act are going to be worth the pain his administration is inflicting on Americans.
“Our economic team reported that because of our economic strategy, which is focused on long-term growth and investment, increased manufacturing, and physical discipline, that we are able to navigate these challenging global times.”
When asked about rising crime in US cities, KJP replied that, “The crime is complicated and multi-faceted.”
Yes, she really said that.
The buried lead of this side show came with the fina question about a previously unreported letter to Biden from the staff of the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG). In the letter, obtained by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), OIG staff call on Biden to address the corruption Inspector General Joseph Cuffari.
Apparently, this situation has been ignored, even by the Government Accountability Office. The letter reads in part:
“After years of poor decision-making by IG Joseph Cuffar, PhD, and his front office staff, we can no longer hope that the ship will right itself. We were hopeful that IG Cuffari would make meaningful change after GAO completed its review of our office, when whistleblowers came forward to sound the alarm, when the CIGIE integrity committee opened an investigation. But here we are and the situation is the same.”Cuffari was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General on July 25, 2019.
The letter summarizes the allegations:
“He no longer has the support of his workforce. Staff do not trust IG Cuffari and his senior leadership to make the right decisions. He has permanently damaged the reputation of DHS OIG, which had already suffered public scandals and mismanagement. He has interfered with and weakened the ability of career staff to do their jobs.
Staff rightfully fear retaliation if they speak up.
At every step, he has made decisions that have demoralized his staff and damaged the organization, including:
- Refusing to move forward with important proposed work without reason.
- Ending the input of staff and assessment of risk in the planning process, so that only he and his inner circle assign most reviews completed by program offices without justification.
- Delaying the release of audits, inspections and investigations, sometimes for months or even years.
- Significantly editing reports to remove key findings, which weakens the impact of the reports.
- Interfering with staff efforts to gather information necessary to perform independent oversight.
- Limiting program office involvement in key decisions and communications regarding their work.”
Well done to the OIG staff for having the courage to speak the truth.
When asked about the letter, KJP stated:
“We are aware of some of the issues with this particular Inspector General and we’re going to take a look at those. That’s what I can share with you at this time, but as far as any personal personnel announcements, I don’t have anything to share. Again, we have heard of some of these issues, and I can say to you from here that we’re going to take a look at them.
Remember that DHS OIG is supposed to be the Watchdog of the DHS. No matter how KJP spins it, this letter points to conspiracies and cover-ups and corruption.
Who is the watchdog for the watchdog?