White House minimizes supply chain crisis as ‘tragedy of the treadmill’

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki characterized the supply chain crisis that is causing a shortage of consumer goods across the country as the “tragedy of the treadmill” on Tuesday — the second time a member of the administration has made light of the crisis.

During Tuesday’s White House briefing, Psaki was questioned about why President Biden failed to take a more aggressive approach to the bottleneck when the signs were evident in March 2020 that the coronavirus pandemic would disrupt the global supply chain. 

“It was crystal clear that things were not improving on the supply chain. People couldn’t get dishwashers and furniture and treadmills delivered on time. Not to mention all sorts of other things,” the reporter said.

Psaki interjected: “The tragedy of the treadmill.”

The reporter pressed that the president didn’t announce a task force until last week when the holiday season was threatened by a shortage of toys and goods. 

Psaki said the president created a task force at the beginning of the administration and said such issues are “multifaceted.”

She said the administration is working to alleviate the bottleneck at the ports that have left cargo ships at anchor unable to unload and to get manufacturing sites shuttered because of the pandemic up and running again. 

Jen Psaki
Psaki said the president created a supply-chain task force at the beginning of the administration.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

It was the second time in as many days that a member of the administration downplayed the supply chain crisis. 

Liz Reynolds, the special assistant to the president for manufacturing and economic development, seemingly brushed off concerns about the inability to get goods during a conference call Monday with representatives of the nation’s governors. 

“You won’t be able to get the jacket in 15 colors, but you will be able to get the jacket,” she said, a source on the National Governors Association call told The Post. 

A truck drives past cargo containers stacked at the Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s busiest container port, which is currently experiencing large backup.
A truck drives past cargo containers stacked at the Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s busiest container port, which is currently experiencing large backups.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

And Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been criticized for being away on paternity leave for months while the crisis is brewing. 

In an interview Sunday, Buttigieg blamed the bottleneck on the high demand from American consumers for more goods. 

“Part of what’s happening isn’t just the supply side, it’s the demand side,” Buttigieg said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Demand is off the charts, retail sales are through the roof. … Demand is up because income is up, because the president has successfully guided this economy out of the terrifying recession.”



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