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White House: Our Critics Are Pro-Putin

White House press secretary Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki / Getty Images
• April 12, 2022 1:30 pm

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The White House has settled on a new message for skyrocketing inflation: Criticizing President Joe Biden means you're siding with Russia.

Following the Tuesday release of March's Consumer Price Index (CPI), which showed inflation soaring to the highest level since 1981, a senior adviser to the White House's Council of Economic Advisers attacked Republicans for alleging that Biden's policies contributed to a rapidly devaluing dollar.

"Putin and @SenRickScott fully in lockstep in blaming Biden for Putin's Price Hike," Jesse Lee tweeted. "So surprising."

Lee's tweet came after Sen. Rick Scott (R., Fla.) released a statement calling the new CPI numbers a "big wake up call for Joe Biden." Scott added, "As long as Joe Biden is in office, families will continue to suffer, debt will keep climbing, and prices will skyrocket even higher."

Inflation has been increasing since Biden took office—well before Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February. A recent study from the San Francisco Federal Reserve found that COVID-19 stimulus packages, including Biden's $2 trillion American Rescue Plan, contributed to roughly 3 percentage points of the CPI's increase in 2021.

The White House has tried to find a message to address voter concerns over rising consumer prices as polls find Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of Biden's handling of the issue. Prior to the war in Ukraine, the White House blamed supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and proposed the nearly $2 trillion "Build Back Better" bill to bring consumer costs down.

"Inflation has everything to do with the supply chain," Biden said in January, when inflation was at 7.5 percent.

Economists from both the left and right warned Biden that his stimulus package could kick off an inflationary spiral, including former Obama administration advisers Jason Furman, Larry Summers, and Steven Rattner.