White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday performed what has become a near-daily exercise in educating right wing reporters, although this time not one from Fox News.
Instead, the reporter was Emerald Robinson of Newsmax, who Psaki ultimately was forced to cut off.
Robinson tried to defend Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, who not only refuses to implement a mask mandate but has banned state and local government agencies and schools from trying to do so – potentially putting 2.7 million children, and their families, at risk as they return to schools. DeSantis' state of Florida accounts for about one in five new coronavirus cases and "leads the nation in the number of adults and children admitted into the hospital with confirmed cases of Covid-19," CNN reports.
Robinson cited a medical expert who made news this week by saying the cloth masks many Americans are using are insufficient, and criticized his colleague for not urging stronger masks, possibly ones like the N95 masks used by medical professionals and first responders.
But the Newsmax reporter suggested that was proof that DeSantis' mask ban made sense, which it does not.
"One of the President's top COVID advisors, Michael Osterholm, just this recently –" Robinson began.
"Who's not a current adviser to the president," Psaki was forced to inform Robinson. He is an epidemiologist who was an advisor to President-elect Joe Biden but has not served in the administration.
"He said," Robinson continued, "in a television interview this week regarding mask wearing, specifically the cloth masks like so many of us are wearing here and what the kids are wearing in school, right? Largely. He said, it's just that the scientific community is doing a disservice to the public on face coverings, he said that cloth masks like these have very limited impact on the amount of virus that you inhale or you exhale out. And he also said that he's really disappointed in his colleagues for not making that more clear to the public, and that's sort of in line with the study that Governor DeSantis is citing as the basis for his executive order," Robinson declared, which is false, as Psaki was forced to explain.
"I think you're confusing a few things there but let me first say that Osterholm is not an advisor to the President, to the administration, to the White House," Psaki explained, information that is easily found on Wikipedia or via any simple Google search. "He doesn't work here, he's a private citizen and a medical public health expert, but a lot of public health experts are out there speaking and good for them."
In fact, Osterholm said this week, "It`s very important to wear adequate protection. And what we mean by that is you need to wear an N-95 respirator," which he noted are no longer in short supply like they were last year.
"I will say," Psaki continued, "that we are going to continue to rely on the advice of medical experts in the federal government on what kind of masks we all should wear, what kind of masks kids should wear, and if they change that advice, then the Department of Education will be working with schools to make sure if that's implemented as a mitigation measure."
"The issue we have taken with the guidance of Governor DeSantis – which he of course is fundraising off of, I think we should note – is that he is preventing schools and teachers and others from protecting themselves, and the students in their classroom, and as a mother myself, that's concerning and I'm sure it's concerning to mothers in Florida."
"I think we're gonna have to continue. Go ahead. I think we've got to continue. Go ahead, You had a very long question we've got to continue. Go ahead. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Emerald, we're going to continue. Go ahead," Psaki said, moving to another reporter.
Lord, grant me the patience that Jen Psaki has with Newsmax staffer Emerald Robinson pic.twitter.com/o2zE9VFMGN
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 6, 2021