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Psaki Denies Reports That Biden Was ‘Literally’ Unaware Of France Crisis

Jen Psaki
Jen Psaki

During Wednesday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed that White House climate envoy John Kerry did not mean what he said when he claimed that President Biden was “literally” unaware of his administration’s most recent crisis involving France.

The crisis developed after Australia ditched a contract with France for submarines, and signed on with the United States and U.K. instead.

“President Biden’s announcement of a deal to help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines has strained the Western alliance, infuriating France and foreshadowing how the conflicting American and European responses to confrontation with China may redraw the global strategic map,” the New York Times reported. “France on Thursday reacted with outrage to the announcements that the United States and Britain would help Australia develop submarines, and that Australia was withdrawing from a $66 billion deal to buy French-built submarines. At its heart, the diplomatic storm is also a business matter — a loss of revenue for France’s military industry, and a gain for American companies.”

Kerry discussed the situation this week, saying Biden was “literally” unaware of “what had transpired.”

“[Biden] asked me,” Kerry said. “He said, ‘what’s the situation?’ and I explained exactly, uh. He wasn’t, he had not been aware of that. He literally had not been aware of what had transpired and I don’t want to go into the details of it, but suffice it to say, that the president, my president is very committed to strengthening the relationship and making sure that this is a small event of the past and moving on to the much more important future.”

Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked Psaki about Kerry’s remarks on Wednesday.

“You’ve said this president’s first love is foreign policy,” Doocy said. “So, why doesn’t he know about these things in real time? John Kerry said [Biden] ‘literally had not be aware.’”

“I would encourage you to ask John Kerry specifically about the context of his comments,” Psaki responded. “The president and John — and the former secretary are also good friends. He relies on his counsel, and — as he does with many members of his national security team. But that certainly is not what he was intending to convey.”