Psaki Mocks Reporter Question Asking About ‘Green Job’ Replacement For Laid Off Keystone Workers

Psaki Mocks Reporter Question Asking About ‘Green Job’ Replacement For Laid Off Keystone Workers

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
February 9, 2021

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday mocked a reporter who inquired about thousands of recently laid off fossil fuel workers thanks to President Biden executive order that immediately shut down the construction go the Keystone XL pipeline, giving a snide response when asked about the expectation of the new “green job” employment replacement.

“When is it that the Biden administration is going to let the thousands of fossil fuel industry workers, whether it’s pipeline workers or construction workers who are either out of work or will soon be out of work because of a Biden Executive Order, when it is and where it is that they can go for their green job? And that is something the administration has promised. There is now a gap. So I’m just curious when that happens, when those people can count on that?” Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked.

“I’d certainly welcome you to present your data of all the thousands and thousands of people who won’t be getting a green job. Maybe next time you’re here you can present that,” Psaki snarked to Doocy’s question.

Biden on his first day in office signed an executive order revoking the Presidential permit critical for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The $8 billion project would have carried oil from western Canada through a 1,200-mile pipeline to oil refineries throughout the Midwest and Gulf Coast nixed over 10,000 construction jobs by Biden’s decision.

TC Energy, the company behind the construction of the pipeline said shortly after the ink dried on Biden’s executive order the action in scrapping the project would eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs in the coming weeks.

Doocy then noted that a close union ally of Biden, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka lashed out of the president’s decision, calling it a “mistake,” in an interview Sunday and that he wished he had paired the loss of jobs in the fossil fuels industry and the job creation in the green energy industry more carefully. 

“I wish he hadn’t done that on the first day because the Laborers International was right. It did and will cost us jobs in the process,” Trumka, a former coal miner told Axios’ reporter Jonathan Swan. “I wish he had paired that more carefully with the thing that he did second by saying, ‘Here’s where we’re creating jobs.’”

“You know, when they laid off at the mines back in Pennsylvania, they told us they were going to train us to be computer programmers,” Trumka added. “And I said, ‘Where are the computer programmer jobs at?’ ‘Uh, they’re in, uh, Oklahoma and they’re in Vegas and they’re here.’ And I said, ‘So, in other words, what we’re going to be is unemployed miners and unemployed computer programmers as well.'”

“The Labor International Union of North America said that the Keystone decision will cost 1,000 existing union jobs and 10,000 projected construction jobs,” Doocy pressed on, referring to the statement from LIUNA president.

Psaki’s swatted down Trumka’s criticism of the timing of Biden’s policy rollout, retorting to only highlight the AFL-CIO president’s praise of Biden.

“What Mr. Trumka also indicated in the same interview was that President Biden has proposed a climate plan with transformative investments and infrastructure, and laid out a plan that will not only create millions of good union jobs, but also help tackle the climate crisis,” Psaki said in response. 

The press secretary also claimed that Biden noted during his address to the nation last Friday his plans to share more details of “a jobs plan in the weeks or months following.” However, Biden made no mention of any upcoming plans about “green jobs” during his remarks.

“But there are people living paycheck to paycheck.  There are now people out of jobs once the Keystone pipeline stopped construction. It’s been 12 days since Gina McCarthy and John Kerry were here, and it’s been 19 days since that EO.  So what are these people who need money now — when do they get their green job?” Doocy continued.

“Well, the president and many Democrats and Republicans in Congress believe that investment in infrastructure—building infrastructure that’s in our national interests, that boosts the U.S. economy, creates good-paying union jobs here in America, and advances our climate and clean energy goals—are something that we can certainly work on doing together,” Psaki said, ending the exchange.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said that Biden wants to make sure workers in the energy industry “have better choices” in “alternative” jobs that are “cleaner,” such as solar power technicians. 

“Coal plants have been closing over the last 20 years. So what President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, and they can be the people who go to work to make the solar panels,” Kerry told reporters late last month.

Republicans slammed the hypocrite climate czar as “out of touch” for his degrading comment suggesting that laid-off coal workers impacted by climate change efforts could “go to work to make the solar panels.”

“What an arrogant, out-of-touch statement for a centimillionaire to say,” Sen. Ted Cruz said in an interview with Fox News. “You know, ‘You little people, you know, I don’t like the choices you’re making,  and so your jobs go away,’ as John Kerry said right there. Quelle surprise that the Democratic elites have decided that blue-collar workers, that union members, that men and women with calluses on their hands, they’ve made the wrong choices, in John Kerry’s words.”

A State Department study in 2014 found that the Keystone pipeline would support a combined total of approximately 42,100 jobs.

AFL-CIO Axios climate change Executive Order jen psaki John Kerry keystone pipeline Keystone XL Peter Doocy Richard Trumka State Department TC Energy ted cruz white house White House Press Briefing

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Mona Salama

Mona Salama