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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki laughed during an interview this week when pressed on Vice President Kamala Harris' very low approval rating, which one recent poll put at a dismal 28%.
"But her approval ratings are low,"
Politico editor Anita Kumar said. "I mean, is that, do you think that's spreading to the American people when they, when they answer some of these polls and have an opinion about her?"
"Look, I think we've seen, it's not a secret, Anita, we've seen some drop in approval ratings,"
Psaki said as she briefly laughed. "Um, you know, across the board. I will say that we also have to be, and we are very sober about, the fact that, um, there are some challenges, real challenges people are going through in this country."
When asked if she blamed sexism and racism for the amount of criticism that Harris was facing, Psaki answered, "Yes. Criticism from the outside, absolutely."
"I do think that it has been easier, and harsher, from some in the right wing who have gone after her because she is the first woman, the first woman of color,"
she added. "I'm not suggesting anyone will acknowledge that publicly, but I think there's no question that the type of attacks - the attacks on her that certainly, being the first she is many times over, is part of that."
Psaki's defense of Harris comes after a CNN report from earlier this week stated that Harris supporters believe that she was not being given enough support by the administration.
"Many in the vice president's circle fume that she's not being adequately prepared or positioned, and instead is being sidelined,"
CNN reported. "The vice president herself has told several confidants she feels constrained in what she's able to do politically."
Psaki defended Harris following the CNN report, writing on Twitter: "For anyone who needs to hear it. @VP is not only a vital partner to @POTUS but a bold leader who has taken on key, important challenges facing the country-from voting rights to addressing root causes of migration to expanding broadband."
Psaki's statement generated instant mockery online, including some of the following notable responses:
- Arthur Schwartz, political strategist: "You know Kamala is in bad shape when she needs Biden and his piss poor approval ratings to vouch for her. And Biden wouldn't even do it himself - he sent out his flack who has been mercilessly trashing the VP to the press."
- Erick Erickson, radio host: "This is such a Queen move. You list the three things the Administration is failing out badly to claim Kamala is vital. Oof."
- Benjamin Hall, reporter: "Hardly the kind of thing you would write if you had complete confidence.."
- Josh Hammer, Newsweek: "If you've gotta say it like this, then it's not true."
- Matt Whitlock, political strategist: "WOW - the White House is so rattled by reporting on dysfunction between Biden and Harris they're putting out defensive statements. Love that Psaki is touting Kamala's leadership on 'root causes of immigration,' an effort that has become a punchline as the border collapsed."
- Harmeet Dhillon, attorney: "Hahaha this is worse than saying nothing. Imagine the Game of Thrones machinations that took place for this to be the compromise tweet."
- Ian Miles Cheong, writer: "Jen Psaki throwing the subtlest of shades at Kamala Harris, reminding Kamala of what her job is and how she's bad at it."
- Jim Hanson, defense expert: "Translation: We have no viable method to get rid of her."
- Robert Tracinski, writer: "If you have to say this, you're already losing."
- Josh Dolin, political commentator: "They can't even find one shred of truth to defend someone who is now officially the most unpopular VP in the history of the United States."
- Andrew McCarthy, former federal prosecutor: "What must be going on behind scenes if they decided they had to put this out 9pm Sunday night?"
- Bryan Dean Wright, former CIA officer: "Kamala's approval rating sits at 28%. That's a record breaker, with Harris beating out warmonger Dick Cheney and his record low of 30% set back in 2007."