U.S. Airstrikes Bring Back an Uncomfortable Tweet from Press Sec Jen Psaki
At President Biden’s orders on Thursday, the U.S. military carried out airstrikes against two Shia militia groups in Syria – retribution for a recent rocket attack on American troops in Iraq. It is believed that the targeted militia groups (Kaitib Hezbollah and Kaitib Sayyid al Shuhada) are backed with funding from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and American officials said the strike was a “shot across the bow” at Tehran – a warning that aggression against U.S. troops would not be tolerated.
“These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against American and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel,” said Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.
Though the airstrikes seem appropriate (arguably even minor when compared to the original attacks), Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, couldn’t escape accusations of hypocrisy when her past tweets came to light.
After President Donald Trump authorized airstrikes against a Syrian air base in 2017, Psaki was quick to jump onto social media: “What is the legal authority for strikes? Assad is a brutal dictator, but Syria is a sovereign country.”
Critics on Twitter called Psaki out for the sudden turnaround. One user, deploying one of Psaki’s favorite phrases, wrote, “Hey girl! Guessing you circled back to this one, huh?”
Another dryly noted, “Great tweet. I look forward to you condemning @JoeBiden’s illegal strikes in your press conference tomorrow.”
Psaki wasn’t the only Biden official called out for her two-facedness. Savvy Twitter users also brought up Vice President Kamala Harris’s tweet from the day after the Trump strikes.
“I strongly support our men and women in uniform and believe we must hold Assad accountable for his unconscionable use of chemical weapons,” Harris wrote at the time. “But I am deeply concerned about the legal rationale of last night’s strikes.”
We assume that she does not harbor any similar concerns about Thursday’s strikes. If she does, she certainly hasn’t bothered to express them on social media.
Then again, in a week where the Biden administration has taken credit for a vaccine rollout begun under Trump and found a way to Make Child Detention Facilities Great Again, violating their own moral concerns about Syria’s sovereignty is just another drop in the bucket.