Members of the White House Press Corps made it clear that they were not impressed with the lack of access they were getting to President Joe Biden.
During Monday’s regular briefing — which included a brief visit from the Easter Bunny — several reporters questioned White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about Biden’s imminent trip to Ireland and whether or not he planned to take any of their questions in the near future.
Gray TV White House correspondent Jon Decker asked Jean-Pierre directly, noting that there were no planned press conferences on the books either in the United States or abroad.
“I represent a news organization that owns 113 television stations. And a question that I’m often asked — and I don’t know the answer to, so I’ll ask you that question: Is the administration trying to protect the president from our questions? Please answer that question if you could,” he asked.
“Absolutely not. Absolutely not,” Jean-Pierre insisted.
Decker continued to press on the lack of any formal press conferences, but Jean-Pierre objected, “I mean, the president takes shouted questions.”
“In a formal — in a formal setting,” Decker protested.
“I understand. I have dealt with this question about three times already. I understand it is — it is — it is the job of you all to ask this question to me. Totally get that. And that’s not a problem at all,” Jean-Pierre said, claiming again that Biden had taken many direct questions, but repeating that she did not have any information about upcoming press conferences.
“You recognize — just one last thing. Just to button it up. You recognize that as it relates to prior administrations, the president’s predecessor, President Obama, President George W. Bush — I’ve been here long enough to have covered President Bill Clinton — this is not the norm,” Decker pushed back. “The norm is we do get an opportunity, ask the questions to the president about domestic and foreign policy issues in a formal setting at some point, and you choose that point. But we haven’t had that opportunity in quite some time.”
Jean-Pierre tried again, claiming that it was “also unprecedented” that Biden took “as many shouted questions” from reporters as he did.
Decker called her out immediately, saying, “No. I covered the last administration, and I’ll tell you: Almost every day, up until — the November 2020 election, Donald Trump took questions practically every day!”
Jean-Pierre moved on then, dismissing the topic: “I hear you. I hear you on the press conference — on a formal press conference. We get this probably every couple of months when you guys ask us about a formal press conference. I don’t have anything to share with all of you at this time. And — and I’ll just — I’ll just leave it there.”
Fox News anchor Dana Perino weighed in the topic later, asking why the White House Press Corps was even traveling to Ireland with the president if he didn’t intend to let them ask any questions.
DANA PERINO: "The President's going away for 5 days to Belfast, will not take any questions from the press. So, at this point, why is the White House Press Corps going?"
Biden is currently spending 5 days in Ireland and still has yet to visit East Palestine, Ohio. pic.twitter.com/tnDOuCnHAG
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 12, 2023