Joe Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki faced some difficult questions Thursday regarding the loss of American energy independence and how continued dependence on Russian oil imports undercuts the sanctions imposed by the administration in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
The White House remains steadfast in its insistence that ending Russian oil imports will not be included in any sanctions package due to the invasion.
Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich asked Psaki during the briefing if, as a result, American consumers are being forced to support Russia’s financing of its war against Ukraine. She wondered whether the US is “financing the war” as long as we import Russian oil.
Psaki downplayed the question by saying the oil from Russia is “only about 10 percent” of what is being imported. She said that the administration’s objective is to “maximize” the impact on Russian President Vladimir Putin and “minimize” the effect on Americans. She added that anyone in favor of cutting off Russian imports “should be clear that would raise prices.”
Psaki said that Biden is not to blame for rising gas prices, which she claimed to be “because Putin is invading Ukraine.”
Gas prices increased by $1.14 per gallon between the day Biden assumed office and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The trade association American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers reported that in 2021 the US imported around 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia. Tens of millions of American dollars are being shipped to Russia every day. As a result, adding to Putin’s available resources for making war.
Heinrich also asked Psaki about the inconsistency of Biden’s recent messaging about increasing domestic production of consumer goods to bring down crippling inflation. She asked why the same logic should not apply to domestic energy production.
Psaki immediately turned to a White House talking point on how she claims oil companies are not using 9,000 oil leases already in place, ignoring the administration’s aggressively hostile position toward fossil fuel production. She told Heinrich they could “talk about it more tomorrow when you learn more.”
When Heinrich questioned Psaki’s spin about the decision to release small amounts from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Psaki pivoted to more talking points about “clean energy.” She said current circumstances show our need to “reduce our reliance on oil.”