Jen Psaki: Biden Working to Ease COVID Restrictions, ‘Never’ Supported ‘Defunding the Police’

Jen Psaki: Biden Working to Ease COVID Restrictions, 'Never' Supported 'Defunding the Police' White House press secretary Jen Psaki White House press secretary Jen Psaki in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Theodore Bunker | Thursday, 20 January 2022 03:34 PM

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that the Biden administration is working to lessen Covid-19 restrictions and said that the president has “never” proposed or supported “defunding the police.”

Co-host Dana Perino asked Psaki during an interview on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” if President Joe Biden will "provide America an off-ramp to COVID and especially for those the unvaccinated?"

Perino added that while she supports vaccination, those who don’t see themselves as "scapegoats and second-class citizens."

Psaki noted, in an apparent response to criticisms that the restrictions have a partisan nature, that about three-in-four Americans have been vaccinated against Covid-19, and said that “mathematically” means they’re not all Biden supporters or Democrats.

"What the president’s trying to do is protect the country, protect people from death," she said.

"At the same time, Dana, I think you make a really important point — we don’t want to live like this. You heard the president say ‘we don’t want to live like this forever.’ We want to get back to a point where we’re not wearing masks, of course. Where we are not worried about our kids being in school places, … That’s where we want to get to, and what we’re trying to do is continue to fight at the height of a pandemic to get to that point," Psaki said.

She also addressed a question from Perino about crime and whether Biden is “OK” with “the progressive prosecutors that are, for example here in New York City, saying things like ‘taking a gun into a store, robbing it, but then leaving and nobody gets killed — that’s a misdemeanor?”

Psaki said that Biden has a “bottom line” against pressuring prosecutors or the justice department, and noted that the president is a longtime supporter of law enforcement and first responders.

"As you know, it was a big issue of defunding the police. That was absolutely never anything he proposed or supported — even in the face of real criticism from within his own party," she said.