White House press secretary Jen Psaki has recently faced backlash from Republicans after her dismissive quip about the future of the Space Force. She has since addressed the question on Twitter.
During a White House press briefing on Wednesday, Psaki was asked if President Joe Biden had made any decisions whether to keep the Space Force and what its scope would be.
“Wow. Space Force. It’s the plane of today,” Psaki responded. “It is an interesting question. “I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact. I’m not sure who that is. I will find out and see if they have any update on that.”
Her comment was in apparent reference to a question at a previous briefing about the Air Force One color scheme.
Psaki has since come under fire from Republicans who are accusing her of making fun of the year-old military service championed by former President Donald Trump.
The space service branch traces its roots back to the Cold War and was founded on a bipartisan basis. The United States Space Force Act was signed in 2019 and came to be seen as one of the Trump administration’s great achievements. Its operations consist of monitoring the nation’s GPS and missile warning satellites and lawmakers in both parties see Space Force as integral to countering potential Chinese and Russian space threats. The service has become a popular punch-line in Hollywood, but some progressive groups have previously called for Biden to abolish the service.
Ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee and top congressional booster for the service Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-R) called on Psaki to apologize.
“It’s concerning to see the Biden administration’s press secretary blatantly diminish an entire branch of our military as the punchline of a joke, which I’m sure China would find funny,” Rogers tweeted. “The Space Force was passed with near unanimous support in Congress, the same type of ‘unity’ President Biden is supposedly working towards. Jen Psaki needs to immediately apologize to the men and women of the Space Force for this disgraceful comment.”
Texas Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-R) also criticized Psaki: “National security is no laughing matter. I expect more preparation from the White House.”
Ignoring calls for an apology, Psaki later responded to the question on Twitter: “We look forward to the continuing work of Space Force and invite the members of the team to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work.” Her tweet signifies the first time the Biden administration has explicitly said the military branch will continue.