White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has done a lot of trying to save face in recent days as criticism pours in — even from the left — over President Joe Biden’s decision to launch an airstrike in Syria targeting Iranian-backed militias. But now, it’s not just Biden’s actions that she’s coming under fire for.
In a stunning development, old tweets from Psaki have resurfaced showing her blasting then-President Donald Trump for a similar strike in Syria, the Washington Examiner reports. Now, Psaki is facing heat from those who say her defense of Biden’s first military action as president shows a clear double standard.
It was in April 2017 that the Trump administration launched an airstrike on a Syrian airbase. According to the Examiner, the move came in response to bombs and chemical weapons being used on Syrian civilians — including many children — located in Idlib.
Psaki, however, apparently didn’t see the strike as justified. “Also what is the legal authority for strikes? Assad is a brutal dictator. But Syria is a sovereign country,” she tweeted April 6, 2017.
After the Biden administration carried out a strike of its own, it didn’t take long for Twitter users to dig up the years-old post. On Thursday, conservative author Mike Cernovich punched back at Psaki: “Great question.”
Of course, the criticism wasn’t limited to the right side of the aisle. Progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) had a similar message.
Great question. https://t.co/79K8uyzwGi
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 26, 2021
Psaki has since tried to mark a contrast between Biden and Trump’s actions, charging that Trump’s attack was an “attack on Syrian military installations in response to a chemical weapons attack. Last night was a strike on militant groups in defense of U.S. personnel under attack in Iraq. There is a massive difference in both policy and law,” she said, according to the Examiner.
Previously, Psaki claimed Biden’s move was “legal” and “necessary,” as Fox News reported.
“He has the right to take action in a manner of his choosing,” the press secretary said. “I can assure you there was a thorough, legal response.”
But it seems even Democrats weren’t buying that. Are you?
“The American people deserve to hear the Administration’s rationale for these strikes and its legal justification for acting without coming to Congress,” Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Dem, said this week, according to NPR. “Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances. Congress must be fully briefed on this matter expeditiously.”