President Joe Biden said he had been given a pre-selected list of reporters and was instructed which ones to call on during his Thursday press conference regarding the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.
Kayleigh McEnany, who was White House press secretary under former President Donald Trump, blasted Biden’s list and said nothing like that ever took place during her tenure.
“Ladies and gentlemen, they gave me a list here,” Biden said during the press conference. “The first person I was instructed to call on Kelly O’Donnell of NBC.”
Biden to reporters: “They gave me a list here, the first person I was instructed to call on” pic.twitter.com/1AuaDO0QJy
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) August 26, 2021
McEnany condemned how closely Biden is being instructed regarding how to deal with the press, tweeting, “As White House Press Secretary, I NEVER instructed President Trump to call on a pre-determined list of reporters. President Trump could make decisions for himself, speak directly to the American people, and secure peace through strength…”
As White House Press Secretary, I NEVER instructed President Trump to call on a pre-determined list of reporters.
President Trump could make decisions for himself, speak directly to the American people, and secure peace through strength… https://t.co/ARrRUCR7BB
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) August 26, 2021
Biden was widely panned for his performance at the press conference; Fox News host Greg Gutfeld jokingly asked afterward, “Who instructed him? Was that also the Taliban?”
Biden went on to ask questions of several other reporters, at last calling on Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy and getting into a testy exchange during which he crumpled over his mic out of exasperation. As The Daily Wire reported:
Biden took Doocy’s question last at the end of the presser, smirking and describing him as “the most interesting guy that I know in the press.”
“Mr. President, there had not been a U.S. service member killed in combat in Afghanistan since February of 2020,” Doocy began. “You set a deadline, you pulled troops out, you sent troops back in, and now 12 Marines are dead. You said the buck stops with you. Do you bear any responsibility for the way that things have unfolded in the last two weeks?”
Biden said he bears responsibility for “fundamentally all that’s happened of late,” but then went on to blame former President Donald Trump for the situation. He repeated his allegations that the Trump administration forced his withdrawal from Afghanistan on an abbreviated timeline but neglected to mention that his own administration moved the timeline up after originally setting the 20th anniversary of 9/11 as the deadline for withdrawal.
Biden then challenged to Doocy to answer whether what he was saying about the Trump administration was true. “Do you remember that? I’m being serious.”
“Donald Trump is not president right now,” Doocy responded as Biden continued to interject. “I know, but I was just trying to extrapolate since — and I don’t think the issue is — do you think that people have issue with pulling out of Afghanistan in the way that things have happened?”
Cameras in the room shuttered as Biden bent over and closed his eyes in an apparent display of irritation at Doocy’s line of questioning.