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White House press secretary Jen Psaki attempted to cover for President Biden’s comment that he “can’t do much” about gas prices, explaining on Wednesday that “short gaggles” when Biden’s getting ready to travel are “not always super comprehensive.”
“I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home,” the president said Wednesday. And then hours later, as he was getting off Air Force One, he said, I “can’t do much about that right now.”
“For anyone that might have been confused seeing the two statements from the president within a couple of hours, what would be your explanation? Does the president believe there is action that he can take to address gas prices, or does he believe there’s not much that can be done?” a reporter asked Psaki.
“The short gaggles when the president is getting off the plane and getting into a car are not always super comprehensive,” Psaki responded, adding that they’re “not always extensive.”
The press secretary reiterated the president’s statement announcing that the U.S. would ban oil imports from Russia amid the invasion of Ukraine and said Biden would continue to work “with the global community about ensuring the supply in the marketplace meets the demand.”
“Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump since Putin began his military buildup on Ukrainian borders,” Biden said Tuesday during his announcement of the Russian oil ban. “And with this action, it’s going to go up further. I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home and coordination with our partners.”
After facing bipartisan calls to ban oil coming from Russia, Biden announced Tuesday that the U.S. would move forward on it amid the invasion of Ukraine. He warned of ever-increasing gas prices.
The Biden administration has continued to put the blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin, with many in the administration calling it the “Putin price hike.”
Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director, used #PutinPriceHike in a Wednesday tweet. She said the president would do everything he can “to shield Americans from pain at the pump.”
Others believe Biden administration policies, especially the canceling of permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, have something to do with the high gas prices facing Americans today.
“The United States imports nearly 600,000 barrels of oil a day from Russia—an amount that could have been made up for by the more than 800,000 barrels of oil the Keystone XL pipeline is capable of delivering each day if the Biden administration hadn’t stood in the way,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said in a Fox News op-ed last week.
But Daleep Singh, Biden’s deputy national security adviser, said Wednesday that the Keystone XL pipeline was a “distraction” and that it would not have been completed in 2022 even if it was permitted.
Jason Modglin, the president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, previously told FOX Business this wasn’t the case.
“Keystone would have absolutely made a difference because it would have lowered the cost of Canadian crude to get to the markets that it needs to get to in order to be refined and shipped to be utilized here in the United States,” he said. “And so by canceling Keystone, it artificially raises the price of Canadian oil and allows for the Russians to undercut that.”
Inflation hit another 40-year high Thursday, jumping to 7.9%. Gas climbed 6.6% in February and accounts for nearly one third of the overall price increases.