Awkward moment Jen Psaki refuses to explain why White House fired five pot-smoking staffers when VP Kamala famously admitted to getting high
- The White House was again forced to defend firing five pot-smoking staffers during Wednesday’s press briefing
- Press secretary Jen Psaki was asked how aides could get axed after Vice President Kamala Harris has admitted to smoking pot
- Harris even said, ‘It gives people joy and we need more joy in this world,’ a reporter reminded Psaki
- Psaki stuck to her position that the White House allowed more people to serve than previous administrations would have
- Of the five people let go over pot-smoking, Psaki said a number had ‘other security issues that were raised’
- On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that dozens of Biden staffers had been suspended, told to work remotely or asked to resign due to past pot use
The White House was again forced to defend firing five pot-smoking staffers during Wednesday’s press briefing.
Press secretary Jen Psaki was asked how aides could get axed after Vice President Kamala Harris has admitted to smoking pot and even praised it saying, ‘It gives people joy and we need more joy in this world.’
Psaki stuck to her position that the White House allowed more people to serve than previous administrations would have, with a revised pot policy, adding that for a number of those let go ‘there were other security issues that were raised.’
White House press secretary Jen Psaki had to again defend the administration’s decision to ax five employees over prior pot use. She said the new policy still allowed more people to serve than would have been eligible in previous administrations
Vice President Kamala Harris’ comments on pot use were pointed out in the White House press briefing, including that she admitted to smoking pot and also praised it saying, ‘It gives people joy and we need more joy in this world’
She pushed back on the idea that President Joe Biden could simply let past pot smokers serve.
‘I think if marijuana was federally legal that might be a different circumstance,’ she told The New York Post’s Steven Nelson, who quoted Harris at the top of his query.
Psaki also wouldn’t give an estimate of how many White House workers’ jobs had been saved, thanks to a change in policy.
‘I don’t have any more data for you, other than to convey that there were a number of people who would not have been able to serve in past administrations and because of our efforts to modernize and work with the security service they’re able to serve,’ she said.
Of the five individuals who are no longer employed, Psaki called in an ‘unfortuante conclusion, of course.’
On Thursday night, The Daily Beast reported that dozens of young White House staffers had been suspended, told to work remotely or asked to resign due to past pot use.
Among those impacted were aides who lived in the 14 states and Washington, D.C., where recreational marijuana use is legal, despite it being illegal at the federal level.
One former staffer told The Daily Beast, ‘nothing was ever explained.’
‘The policies were never explained, the threshold for what was excusable and what was inexcusable was never explained,’ the axed aide said.
Psaki initially responded by tweeting out an NBC News story from February that said pot smoking wouldn’t automatically disqualify individuals from holding White House jobs.
President Joe Biden said he backed decriminalization of pot and legalization of medical marijuana when running for president, while Harris said she backed full federal recreational legalization
She followed up by saying only five staffers are ‘no longer employed as a result of this policy.’
Past drug use can impact a federal employee’s ability to get a security clearance – but the president has the ultimate say.
During the Trump administration, President Donald Trump still green-lit a security clearance for his son-in-law Jared Kushner over objections from the intelligence community.
On the campaign trail, Biden signaled he was for decriminalizing marijuana – not making recreational pot legal at the federal level.
Biden also supported legalizing medical marijuana and the federal government not interfering with state-level policies on the drug.
During her own presidential run, Harris took a legalization stance.
She was less vocal about backing that policy once she joined the Biden ticket in August.