Jen Psaki Vows Never to Use the Term ‘Red Line’ Again After Barack Obama Mess

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday she would never use the term “red line” to describe President Joe Biden’s position on anything.

“Red line is an old term. We’re not going to use it again,” she said, after a Fox Business reporter asked her a question on Biden’s “red line” on income caps for direct coronavirus stimulus payments.

Psaki was referring to her years as a spokeswoman in former President Barack Obama’s State Department when she repeatedly sparred with journalists about Obama’s use of the term “red line” to talk about his position on military force in Syria.

Obama famously said in August 2012, that if Syrian officials used chemical or biological weapons during their civil war it would be a “red line” for future military actions in Syria. When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appeared to cross the line a year later, Obama did not order direct military action in Syria.

In 2013, Psaki expressed her frustration with the repeated references to Obama’s “red line” that did not have teeth.

“I’m not talking about red lines. I’m not having a debate or conversation about red lines, I’m not setting red lines. Let’s not talk about red today,” Psaki said during a 2013 State Department briefing.


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