White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki mocked a serious question Tuesday regarding the White House’s position on Space Force, dismissing the newest military service division as “the plane of today.”
During Tuesday’s White House, a reporter asked Psaki about President Joe Biden’s plans for the future of Space Force as to whether he will keep the nation’s security space branch that was signed into law as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act in December 2019.
“May I finally ask whether the President has made a decision on keeping or keeping the scope of Space Force?” Wingrove asked.
“Wow! Space Force. It’s the plane of today,” Psaki quipped in response, mocking the entire branch of the military as insubstantial question by likening it to repeated softball inquires from reporters last month about whether Biden planned to change the color scheme of Air Force One.
“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 we have any update on that,” she added.
Psaki’s dismissive attitude and lack of knowledge being unprepared to answer the question towards the sixth military branch of the United States Armed Force didn’t amuse GOP lawmakers who slammed the “circle back” press secretary for using the “military as the punchline of a joke.”
“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,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) the top Republican on the House Armed Services told Politico.
“The Space Force was passed with near unanimous support in Congress, the same type of ‘unity’ President Biden is supposedly working towards,” Rogers added, calling on Psaki to “immediately apologize to the men and women of the Space Force for this disgraceful comment.”
Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), a founding member of the House Space Force Caucus blasted Psaki’s remarks, saying it shows the Biden administration is not taking China as a “threat” seriously.
“While the Biden Administration continues to think about whether or not the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] is a threat, China is working overtime to become the dominant force in space,” Waltz tweeted. “We need the professionals, the United States Space Force, to keep Americans safe.”
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) schooled Psaki on what the Space Force is about, saying she should “circle back immediately” with an apology to its 16,000 members.
“The United States Space Force is a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, not the butt of a joke,” Donalds tweeted. “Press Secretary Jen Psaki, your ‘joke’ is inappropriate, and you should circle back immediately with the more than 16,000 members of the Space Force with an apology from the White House lectern.”
In response to the uproar without directly commenting on it or apologizing, Psaki tweeted late Tuesday night, “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.”
The creation of the Space Force was one of the main accomplishments of President Donald Trump who helped Congress steer the creation of the Space Force in 2017. The U.S. Space Force is an independent military service branch, dedicated to focusing on missions and operations in the space domain. Its mission is to organize, train, and equips space forces to protect the U.S in space.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle see the Space Force as integral to ensuring the military puts enough focus on space to counter China and Russia. Both countries have stepped up anti-satellite missile tests in recent years.
Last year, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq as “fierce revenge” for the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani. No Americans were killed thanks to what President Trump referred to at the time as an “early warning system” from the Space-Based Infrared System.