Reporters blasted at White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday after telling them they would have the opportunity to ask President Biden questions from the press pool during an upcoming meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
The exchange took place during the daily White House press briefing after Jean-Pierre was asked why a joint press conference was not scheduled between Biden and Varadkar, who will visit Washington, D.C., on Friday.
“Can you say why not and if that can be added to the schedule tomorrow? This is kind of becoming a pattern with many world leaders coming to the White House,” a reporter asked Jean-Pierre.
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White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Press Secretary speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on March 16, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
“I’ve talked to this a lot… I’ve brought it up a lot and I’ve explained that these are diplomatic talks that take place with the countries that are visiting, and it’s something that’s decided that way,” Jean-Pierre replied .
“You get a chance, or your colleagues get a chance, to ask questions during the pool spray on the oval that happens every time a head of state visits. So that’s a chance to be able to pose a question to the president or the head of state visiting the White House on that day,” she added.
Reporters immediately began pushing back, with one saying, “But he never answers questions in those periods,” referring to Biden.
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“That’s not true. He answered questions,” replied Jean-Pierre.
U.S. President Joe Biden, on March 31, 2022. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo)
The room then erupted, with one reporter saying they were “yelled at” when they tried to ask questions, and another said reporters were “shouted down” by members of White House staff when they asked questions tried to set.
Jean-Pierre tried to speak, but was peppered with complaints from the reporters.
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‘I hear you. I hear you. I hear you,” she finally said, grinning. “Look, the two plus two is something that is done in coordination with the country that is visiting. That is not something that is decided unilaterally. That is something that is agreed with the other country.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addresses the media at the Howard University Campus in Washington, DC, during his visit to the US for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo date: Thursday, March 16, 2023 (Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
She avoided answering directly to reporters’ concerns about Biden’s failure to answer questions, reiterating that they would have an “opportunity” on Friday to put questions to the two leaders.
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“I can’t speak to who’s going to answer questions or who’s not going to answer questions.” she said. “As you know, this is a president who often answers shouted questions, but the two plus two is not a unilateral decision. It is a decision that is made in consultation with the visiting country.”
Brandon Gillespie is an associate editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @brandon_cg.