White House press secretary Jen Psaki cracked a joke Tuesday about the supply chain crisis affecting businesses and consumers across the country, saying it's a "tragedy" some people may have to wait longer for their treadmill to arrive.
"The tragedy of the treadmill that’s delayed," Psaki sighed during her daily press briefing.
Psaki was asked to address the supply chain disruptions across the country that have left store shelves bare ahead of the crucial holiday shopping season. One reporter asked why President Biden hadn’t acted sooner to address the crisis and whether his administration had failed to anticipate the issue.
"Well, that's not actually true," Psaki responded. "The president formed a task force at the very beginning of the administration.
"And what we know from the global supply chain issues is that they are multifaceted," she continued. "Right now, we've been focusing on the ports and issues at the ports, and what leaders at these ports will tell you is that they've seen an increase in volume dramatically as it relates to last year – 20%, 30% increase in volume."
Psaki said part of the administration’s work to address the supply chain has been providing COVID-19 vaccines to countries where manufacturing sites have been shut down due to the pandemic. She also said the administration has been working with state DMVs to expedite their approval of commercial driver's licenses to get more truckers on the road, as well as working with unions "to help address the shortages of workers."
"So I think the important thing to understand here is that there are multiple issues that are impacting the supply chain," she said. "And some of that is that as the economy has turned back on, more people had expendable income, wages to buy more goods, more people are buying more goods. People have started to also buy more things online than going into stores."
Conservatives criticized Psaki for the treadmill remark. It comes just days after White House chief of staff Ron Klain faced a backlash for enthusiastically agreeing with a tweet describing the supply chain crisis as "high class problems."