President Biden revealed on Thursday that he had phoned a hospital where a friend and his wife were waiting in the emergency room to find out just how long the pair would need to wait to be seen.
After dropping this information, he moved on to discuss the toll the COVID pandemic has taken on the nation's health care system, but at Friday's press briefing, Fox News' Peter Doocy wanted answers.
"President Biden claims that he cold-called a Pennsylvania hospital to ask the desk receiving nurse why it was taking so long for a good friend's wife to be seen. What happened next?" Doocy asked.
Psaki deflected, giving first "the context of why the President told the story," which she said she thinks "is important."
"I promise I'll answer your question," Psaki said. "He was expressing that hospitals' front line workers, nurses, doctors, in emergency rooms, are still seeing and feeling the impact of the number of people who are unvaccinated who are filling beds and in emergency rooms, ICUs, and it is preventing, in some cases, people who have other illnesses or who may be seeking treatment who may be fearful of a heart attack, who, other people who might be going to the emergency room, from getting the care that they need. I don't have any other update for the privacy of of this individual."
"For the privacy of the individual how often this President Biden calls around trying to help his friends cut the line?" Doocy asked.
"That certainly was not his intention," Psaki said. "He was not trying to do that, he was checking in on a friend."
"Do you know if this particular hospital might have been having staffing shortages because they have a vaccine mandate, and maybe some folks have had to leave because they didn't want to get vaccinated?" Doocy asked.
Psaki quibbled with the basis of his question. "I would love for you to account for me where that is the issue at over, more so than the number of unvaccinated who are filling emergency rooms, filling ICU beds, that is the problem in hospitals across the country."
Biden made his remarks in Chicago on Thursday while expressing his interest in seeing the entirety of the American populace get vaccinated.