Psaki Refutes Kerry's Claim That Biden Was 'Literally' Not 'Aware' France Was Angered by Sub Deal


White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is pushing back on Climate Envoy John Kerry’s claims that President Joe Biden was “literally” not aware of a diplomatic rift with France.

On Wednesday, Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked about Kerry’s comments, “John Kerry says that after France was cut out of the nuclear submarine deal, and they were upset enough about being left in the dark that they pulled their ambassador, he went to the president and ‘the president literally had not been aware of what had transpired.’ So, what else are you guys not telling the president?”

“Of course he was aware of the French being [upset],” Psaki began. “I know John Kerry quite well. He of course was aware, the president, of the French being displeased about the deal with the Australians.”

She went on to note that Kerry, who previously served as Secretary of State, “regularly” speaks with French officials in his role as the climate envoy. She added, “He, of course, conveyed to the president what his read was of what they were specifically unhappy about and how to help address it.”

However, her answer did not satisfy Doocy who pushed back, “You said this president’s first love is foreign policy, so why doesn’t he know about these things in real-time?”

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When Psaki stated again that Biden was aware the French were displeased, Doocy repeated Kerry’s claim that Biden had “literally not been aware.”

“Peter, I would encourage to ask John Kerry specifically about the context of his comments. The president and the former secretary are also good friends, he relies on his counsel as he does with many members of his national security team. But that certainly is not what he was intending to convey,” she added.

Watch the video below:

The exchange refers to comments made by Kerry about a diplomatic spat between France and the U.S.

In September, Biden announced that the U.S. would help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines. However, the deal torpedoed a previous Australian deal to buy French-built conventional submarines.

In response, France recalled its ambassador to the U.S. to signal its strong displeasure with the deal and being left in the dark about the plan, which it called “unacceptable behavior between allies and partners.”

During an interview with French outlet BFMTV, Kerry said, “[Biden] asked me. He said, ‘What’s the situation?’ And I explained. He had not been aware of that. He literally had not been aware of what had transpired.”

“And I don’t want to go into the details of it, but suffice it to say that the president, my president, is very committed to strengthening the relationship and making sure that this is a small event of the past and moving on to the much more important future,” he added.

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