Psaki mocks 'world-renowned business, travel and health expert' Ted Cruz over false Southwest Airline claims

Psaki mocks 'world-renowned business, travel and health expert' Ted Cruz over false Southwest Airline claims
Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing on Friday, July 16, 2021, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Erin Scott)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki dismissed Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) false claims attributing the Southwest Airline delays to President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate.

During the press briefing on Tuesday, October 12, Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich alluded to the Texas lawmaker's remarks asking, "What's the White House response to those who say vaccine mandates have reduced the workforce and contributed to this problem?"

On Sunday, Cruz took to Twitter with a link to a CNBC News article about the Southwest Airlines flight cancellations. He also criticized the president and attributed his proposed vaccine mandate to the flight delays.

"Joe Biden's illegal vaccine mandate at work! Suddenly, we're short on pilots & air traffic controllers. #ThanksJoe," Cruz tweeted on Sunday.

Psaki offered a response beginning with a reference to the Texas senator's remarks saying, "Well I know world-renowned business, travel and health expert Sen. Ted Cruz has made that point. But I wouldn't say that is widely acknowledged or echoed by business leaders who have implemented these mandates.

"It doesn't mean this isn't hard and challenging — of course it is. We're in the middle of a global pandemic," she continued. "But ultimately, the job of the president of the United States is to lead, is to follow the advice of health experts, is to ensure that he is protecting the lives of people across the country."

She also addressed the circumstances surrounding the Southwest Airlines controversy. "We now know that some of those claims were absolutely false, and actually the issues were completely unrelated to vaccine mandates," Psaki said.

Shortly after the press briefing footage began circulating, Cruz also attempted to push back via Twitter. The senator claimed to have spoken with a reputable source for the airline who claimed "there was a 'sick out' of air traffic controllers in Jacksonville over vaccine mandates."

However, what Cruz fails to acknowledge is that Biden's proposed vaccine mandate has not yet gone into effect.


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