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As White House press secretary Jen Psaki was making excuses for President Joe Biden to two Fox News hosts live on air early Thursday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dropped a bombshell tweet directly aimed at the administration.
Psaki appeared on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” to speak in part about the president’s widely panned suggestion from a day earlier that he’d do little to nothing if Russian President Vladimir Putin made “a minor incursion” into Ukraine.
As the discussion on Fox News ensued, co-host Bill Hemmer cut in to point out that Zelensky had just posted a tweet related to the topic at hand.
That tweet read as follows: “We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power.”
The tweet was clearly directed at the Biden administration.
We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power 🇺🇦
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) January 20, 2022
Asked for her response, Psaki trotted out the same talking points she’d been uttering earlier in the segment.
“I want to be very clear. The president has conveyed directly to President Putin, if there is a movement of any military troops across the border, that is an invasion. If they go in, that is an invasion, and there will be severe economic consequences,” she said.
“I know the president of Ukraine knows that, and we’ve conveyed that there are a range of tactics the Russians use and have been warning about some of those, including the spreading of misinformation. We also will be ready to respond to that as well and working in lockstep with Ukraine.”
The argument she (and Vice President Kamala Harris as well) has been making is that when the president spoke of “a minor incursion,” he meant something like sharing so-called misinformation.
Co-host Dana Perino responded by noting that the Chinese Communist Party had likely also taken note of the “minor incursion” remark.
“Other adversaries of the United States watch everything the president says. Yesterday when the president said that about minor incursion, you can imagine everyone in Beijing was thinking ‘mmm’ when it comes to Taiwan. And I wonder about that message, how it will spread even further,” she said.
Perino then turned her attention to the upcoming Winter Olympic Games.
“Does the president have any concerns about the well-being and safety of American athletes as they head to China in this very tumultuous time?” she asked.
Indeed, just two days earlier, Beijing Organizing Committee official Yang Shu essentially threatened all Olympic athletes, warning of “punishment” if they speak out against China’s notorious human rights abuses.
“Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against the Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment,” he said.
While he didn’t specify the nature of this “certain punishment,” the assumption by most is that it’ll be jail or worse.
Responding to the CCP’s threat, human rights advocate Minky Worden of Human Rights Watch noted that it constitutes “a serious violation of athletes’ basic right to free speech.”
“Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against the Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment”
—Yang Shu, #Beijing2022 Organizer
— Minky Worden (@MinkysHighjinks) January 20, 2022
But Psaki’s response suggested she wasn’t aware of this threat.
“If he [the president] did [have concerns], we would work with the U.S. Olympic Committee to address that. I will tell you, we made — the president made a clear decision not sending a diplomatic delegation. Not for security purposes, but human rights and our concerns about the treatment of Uyghurs,” she said.
“However, we work closely with the U.S. Olympic Committee. Athletes are going. The president is looking forward to cheering, and me as well, from home.”
Her giddy remarks were not well-received …
I’m sure the Uyghurs will be delighted to hear that whilst they are being murdered, raped, tortured and sterilised, and imprisoned … vacuous entities like you are looking forward to cheering on US athletes at the Chinese Olympics …
— Silver Surfer 🇬🇧🇺🇸🇮🇪 (@SonumRisus) January 20, 2022
According to Human Rights Watch, China is guilty of a number of human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims.
“The Chinese leadership is responsible for widespread and systematic policies of mass detention, torture, and cultural persecution, among other offenses. Coordinated international action is needed to sanction those responsible, advance accountability, and press the Chinese government to reverse course,” HRC notes.
— Minky Worden (@MinkysHighjinks) November 14, 2021
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