The Secret Speech of Jen Psaki

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reaffirmed Joe Biden’s stance that he was not an “old friend” of Xi Jinping before the summit between the two leaders last week. This was big news. And the media play it received was quite disturbing to Psaki, as it turns out.

Seeking to clarify matters, she wrote a statement to read to the press corps explaining her stance on China-US relations. She planned to read it to the press during Thanksgiving week. Presidential advisors, however, put the kabosh on the statement – and reportedly tried to put the kabosh on Psaki herself after they saw her draft. From reliable sources, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the situation, we have obtained portions of the statement which has come to be known among Washington insiders as the PPP, Psaki’s Psecret Pspeech.

Here is the text of Psaki’s scuttled statement planned for delivery to the White House Press Corps:

Hello everyone.

Before we begin today’s press briefing, I wish to say once again that it is great to be back here with all of you after my bout with Covid-19. I learned a lot while thinking about things during my illness, and I will return to that.

But first I want to reflect on the events of the last week including the President’s meeting with President Xi of China and the signing of the infrastructure bill. And in part I will address my remarks directly to China.

To begin with – and let us not mince our words – the American people owe China a great debt of gratitude for the infrastructure bill. On behalf of all Americans, I wish to thank China. Without you we could not have done it. For decades we have had potholed roads, lead laced drinking water, and the narrowest of broadband especially out in the countryside. Now that will change if only a tiny bit. And you China deserve the credit.

In fact the New York Times, mouthpiece of our foreign policy Establishment, made that very point two days after the signing of the bill:

“President Biden on Tuesday began selling his $1 trillion infrastructure law, making the case that the money would do more than rebuild roads, bridges and railways. The law, he said would help the United States regain its competitive edge against China.

“‘We’re about to turn things around in a big way,’ Mr. Biden said, ‘For example because of this law, next year will be the first year in 20 years that American infrastructure will grow faster than China’s.’”

You see, China, getting some federal funds for things we need is an uphill battle. But when our politicians see things in terms of an enemy, they scurry about like industrious little beavers getting things done.

Now, China, I recognize that you begged to differ on the size of the infrastructure bill. Your daily, Global Times, which occupies the same niche in China as do the New York Times or WaPo in the US, labelled the bill “a feeble imitation of China.” That is true; you, China, spend about 5.1% of GDP on infrastructure and we spend 1.5%. As a wordsmith myself, I would choose the word “puny” to describe the bill – at least compared to our whopping national security budget. But hey, when you are starving, crumbs can look like a banquet. And without you, China, we would not even have the crumbs.

Next, China, I want to talk about another big problem we are facing – inflation. Without you, it would be far worse. Because you handled the Covid-19 pandemic so well, your economy kept plugging along and we Americans got a bigger supply of cheap goods which of course helps to keep prices in line. Unfortunately, our leaders, namely The Donald and now The Joe, are laying tariffs on your goods, making them more expensive for our own people. You give us a gift and we destroy it. You probably think us inscrutable or at least ungrateful – and I don’t blame you for one moment.

I could go on with this praise, but no one is perfect, China. There is one area where I must level a criticism, and it comes of my personal experience with Covid. And here I fault you for your propaganda performance – and I speak as part of the most expert propaganda team on the planet. Quite frankly you are lousy propagandists. You contained Covid with fewer than 5000 deaths and fewer than 100,000 cases – total. And the “draconian” lockdowns after the initial 76 day lockdown in Wuhan were not so massive nor so widespread as we made them out to be.

I mean your public health achievement is awesome, and I reflected a lot on it as I was in quarantine with Covid, thankfully not very sick. But you let the news coverage be dominated by every trivial event including the inevitable missteps at the outbreak of a new pathogen for which the local officials were sacked. (Good for you, China – we have many governors who deserve punishment for their behavior during the pandemic – not the least of which is Mr. Cuomo who stuffed Covid patients into nursing homes.) But if you were more effective at getting the word out, perhaps the American people would have risen up and demanded the same results that you got. Perhaps I would not have fallen ill, and perhaps 760,000 Americans would still be alive. Honestly, China, you have to step up your information campaigns – a lot is at stake.

China, I also want to thank you for the event in Beijing at the very time of Xi-Biden confab, a refreshing change from the unrelenting hawk talk hereabouts. Again, let me quote the New York Times:

“Even as the two leaders met virtually, another meeting was taking place in Beijing, commemorating the American pilots known as the Flying Tigers who aided China during its war against Japan in 1941 and 1942.

“‘The story of the Flying Tigers undergirds the profound friendship forged by the lives and blood of the Chinese and American people,’ Qin Gang, China’s ambassador to the United States, said during the event. Acknowledging the tensions in the relationship, he added that the two countries ‘should inherit the friendly friendship tempered by war.’”

Finally, I wish to conclude with the words of Chief Justice Earl Warren, “Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile, I caught hell for.”

OK. Questions?

John V. Walsh, @JohnWal97469920, until recently a Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, has written on issues of peace and health care for several independent media. Read other articles by John V..