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The White House has doubled down on President Biden’s warning that Americans will have to cope with high gas prices for “as long as it takes” for Ukraine to defeat Russia’s invasion — with a top economic adviser to the president saying that the future of the “liberal world order” depends on it.
During an appearance on CNN Thursday, National Economic Council director Brian Deese was asked by anchor Victor Blackwell: “What do you say to those families who say, ‘Listen, we can’t afford to pay $4.85 a gallon for months, if not years. This is just not sustainable?”
“What you heard from the president today was a clear articulation of the stakes,” Deese answered. “This is about the future of the Liberal World Order and we have to stand firm.
“But at the same time, what I’d say to that family and to Americans across the country is you have a president, an administration that is going to do everything in its power to blunt those price increases and bring those prices down,” Deese added.
Hours earlier, Biden was asked by New York Times reporter Jim Tankersley during a news conference in Madrid: “The war has pushed prices up. [Oil] could go as high as $200 a barrel, some analysts think. How long is it fair to expect American drivers and drivers around the world to pay that premium for this war?”
“As long as it takes,” Biden answered. “Russia cannot, in fact, defeat Ukraine and move beyond Ukraine. This is a critical, critical position for the world.”
Republicans and conservatives expressed outrage over Deese’s comments, which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called “completely out of touch” on Twitter.
“The Biden Admin has forgotten they work for the American people and not the ‘liberal world order,’” said Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.)
“Notice how cold Biden’s adviser is about the pain of the American people,” tweeted author David Limbaugh. “No compassion that liberals are so falsely famous for. It’s a mini-clinic in statism. Like Biden, he’s saying, ‘Subjects of government exist for the state, not vise versa.’”
Even some Democrats took issue with Deese’s choice of words.
“Democracy just say Democracy, we are helping defend a Democratic country,” tweeted Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.). “Stop talking to Americans as if they read Foreign Policy magazine.”
As millions of Americans prepared to hit the road for the July Fourth weekend, the average nationwide price for a gallon of gas stood at $4.842, according to AAA. That was down more than 17 cents from the record high of $5.016 recorded June 14 — but up almost $1.72 from the national average on July 1 of last year.
The Biden administration has tried to pin much of the blame for soaring gas prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion — but the White House has also pointed the finger at oil companies, accusing them of artificially restricting supply by refusing to drill on leasing sites approved by the federal government.
In mid-June, Biden sent a letter to seven major oil refiners telling them their profit margins were “well above normal” and adding that they “need to work with my Administration to bring forward concrete, near-term solutions” to the price crisis.
The following week, however, the president skipped a meeting between oil executives and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, opting to meet instead met with wind-industry leaders.
The energy industry and Republicans in Congress have blamed the president’s policies for high gas prices, accusing Biden of kowtowing to environmentalists by canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline on his first day in office, scrapping new lease sales, and slow-walking approval of other vital infrastructure projects.