CNN's Jake Tapper schooled left-leaning media and some of former President Obama's top aides Thursday after they claimed on social media that President Obama was better prepared than President Trump to sidestep China's myriad rules and regulations when he visited the foreign superpower on official visits.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told journalists at a morning press conference that President Trump had refused to take questions from the press at a joint news briefing held with Chinese president Xi Jinping, at the request of the Chinese government.
The news sent left-leaning journalists into a tailspin of criticism, with prominent members of the media lashing out at Trump for caving to pressure from Chinese officials to maintain China's oppressive restrictions on the press. NBC's Chuck Todd led the charge, accusing the Trump team of failing to "push back" against censorship.
China isn’t supposed to have a say about press access. Previous press secs used to fight with Chinese counterparts for press access when in China. Witnessed personally. https://t.co/IWMgOoy7ZB— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) November 9, 2017
Members of the Obama Administration quickly piled on, claiming that their fearless leader had fought tooth-and-nail against restricting the press, and had been more forceful with the Chinese government than the "weak" Trump team.
Former Press Secretary Jay Carney patted himself on the back for negotiating a deal with Chinese press officials to force a question and answer period after Obama's joint news briefing, and called the Trump display "embarrassing."
I once had to tell Chinese officials that Pres. Obama would not show up for the press avail unless there would be a Q&A. They backed down. https://t.co/Z2LdwSYK9k— Jay Carney (@JayCarney) November 9, 2017
The Chinese try this every time. It’s a test of will and principle. Letting them dictate press access is an embarrassing capitulation. https://t.co/uIaEWhcpgF— Jay Carney (@JayCarney) November 9, 2017
Former Obama aide Ben Rhodes, who is notorious for subtly rewriting history in order to cement his former boss' legacy, joined in.
When Obama went to China we insisted that they take questions and they did. https://t.co/h5m8dcoyd1— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) November 9, 2017
But it seems the pair's memories go back only a few years, to Obama's second term in office and second major trip to China. On his first trip in 2009, Obama was also widely criticized for caving to Chinese demands and scratching a press conference.
Jake Tapper reminded them.
8/ so it’s great that President Obama landed in the right place by the end of his presidency — but he didn’t start there. So all the Obama WH aides beating their chests on this: simmer down.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 9, 2017