- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki this week pledged the Biden administration's "full support" for the U.S. Space Force, the newest branch of the military, which was established in 2019 under former President Donald Trump.
"They absolutely have the full support of the Biden administration," Psaki, 42, told reporters on Wednesday, one day after facing conservative backlash for sounding dismissive of Space Force.
On Tuesday, she was was asked about the military branch, Psaki answered with her tongue firmly in cheek: "Wow, Space Force. It's the plane of today!"
She added: "It is an interesting question. I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact. I'm not sure who that is. I will find out."
Watch: Psaki - Space Force has 'full support' of administration
Psaki's response drew criticism from Republicans. Rep. Mike Rogers, the top-ranking GOP member on the House Armed Services Committee, told Politico the White House spokeswoman should "immediately apologize" to the members of the Space Force for the remark which he slammed as "disgraceful."
"It's concerning to see the Biden administration's press secretary blatantly diminish an entire branch of our military as the punchline of a joke, which I'm sure China would find funny," Rogers said. The incident was amplified in some conservative media circles.
Psaki later tweeted: "We look forward to the continuing work of Space Force and invite the members of the team to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work."
On Thursday, when asked if she would apologize for the previous remark, Psaki reiterated that the Biden administration is committed to continuing the Space Force.
"We are not revisiting the decision to establish the Space Force," she said.
Trump, 74, saw the formation of the Space Force as a top accomplishment of his administration, though its creation had been discussed for decades prior and had bipartisan backing, according to NPR.
"He took our idea and he blew it up," Rep. Jim Cooper, a Democratic lawmaker from Tennessee, had complained after he and Rogers pushed for the new military branch.
While it's currently the smallest branch of the U.S. military, it is the first newly established independent entity of the country's armed forces since the Air Force was created in 1947.
The Space Force's purpose is to "protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force," according to its mission statement. This includes managing GPS capabilities, military satellites, and monitoring missile threats against North American from around the globe, as well as monitoring space debris.
"Maintaining space superiority is an emerging capability required to protect U.S. space assets from hostile attacks," the military branch says.
However, due to its relationship with Trump, some aesthetics and the futuristic scope of the newly formed military branch have been mocked in recent years, including its naming of military members as "Guardians" and its official flag closely resembling a logo from Star Trek.
Netflix premiered a satirical take on the Space Force, starring Steve Carell, in 2020.