I lost count of how many times Press Secretary Jen Psaki needed to explain the context in which Gen. Mark Milley went outside the official chain of command to talk to his counterpart in China, and also his fellow commanders at the Pentagon.
The context, of course, is that when that happened, he had very compelling reason. The Former Guy had just incited and given the blessing for an insurrection that saw thousands of MAGAt psychos attack the Capitol, wherein they attempted to take legislators and the Vice President of the United States hostage and kill them. All in a futile attempt to maintain power.
So, there's that little piece of important context.
You'd never know that context existed, though, from the way the press asked questions today, behaving as if Milley's actions under Trump might carry over to his service as Biden's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The compilation video above are only the second and third time Psaki was asked if Gen. Milley still had Biden's confidence, if he should be investigated, if Biden was worried Milley would do the same thing to HIM, etc. Each and every time, Psaki explained said context. You'd think it was perfectly normal for what happened under Trump to happen under Biden and every other president, from the way the press was behaving.
The first reporter in this video (the second to bring up Milley) asked, as if bewildered, what on earth will Pres. Biden do should his Joint Chiefs go outside the command structure, or decide the president is doing something unlawful?
(Remember. Trump actually was doing things that were unlawful and unconstitutional and demanding others also do those crimey things, and he was considering using the military to maintain power.)
Psaki told him, "Well, beyond this president, or any president, it's the obligation of every Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to follow the constitution to prevent unlawful military action. This president has no intention of fomenting unrest or insurrection. He has no intention of moving forward or recommending unlawful military action. He has no intention of working in a way that is outside of what his national security team, what his military commanders are aligned with him on....He has no intention of working outside of what is legally allowable. So I don't think that's gonna be an issue for this president."
Unlike The Former Guy, who held the constitution in disdain, regarded the rule of law as no better than dogsh*t on his shoe, and treated the military like his personal bouncers at Studio 54.
Another reporter asked, "Is there a point at which the criticism makes General Milley unable to continue in this role, because it is a new administration, it's a new day, and there are some questions about if he exceeded his authority?"
"Well, AGAIN, the president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism, and his fidelity to our constitution," answered Psaki. "I can't speak to the former president's experience with him, or the former president's views of him. But THIS president, this CURRENT president, who FOLLOWS the constitution, who's NOT fomenting an insurrection, who FOLLOWS the rule of law, has complete confidence in Chairman Milley, and his continuing to serve in his role."
The reporter brought up criticism of Milley from Republicans, and Psaki shot her down, saying, "I don't think the president is looking for the guidance of members of Congress who stood by while the president of the United States and the leader of their party fomented an insurrection and many of them were silent."
Amazingly, they continued asking her some version of the same question about Gen. Milley fitness and Biden's faith in him. Did they think they'd wrest a different answer from her? Did their brains refused to accept and absorb the truth of the context Psaki had already provided?
Frankly, this is context their own educations and experience should have already ingrained in them — context that would have prevented them from embarrassing themselves with this stenographic repetition of GOP talking points, as if they were legitimate concerns.
It's astonishing that Psaki continues to go out there daily and treat these reporters as professionals. They very clearly are not.