President Joe Biden faced backlash on Wednesday after admitting at the start of his press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, that he reads off a list of pre-selected reporters that is given to him.
The admission by Biden confirms what has long been suspected as he is often seen looking down at his notes right before he calls on reporters who are almost always from left-wing legacy news organizations.
Biden said, “I’ll take your questions and as usual, folks, they gave me a list of the people I’m going to call on.”
BIDEN: "I'll take your questions and as usual, folks, they gave me a list of the people I'm going to call on" pic.twitter.com/RdAks1RIdp
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 16, 2021
The admission from Biden spurred a flurry of responses online, including from commentators who compared how Biden handled the press to how Russian President Vladimir Putin handled the press.
“How is this acceptable?” Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) tweeted.
How is this acceptable? https://t.co/zpiIUFr8Mt
— Congressman Greg Steube (@RepGregSteube) June 16, 2021
“Someone needs to ask Jen Psaki why they make Biden do this,” RNC communications specialist Kyle Martinsen tweeted. “Do they think he’s incapable of calling on reporters without a list?”
John Cooper, Communications Director at the Heritage Foundation, tweeted: “It’s frankly embarrassing watching *Vladimir Putin* take questions from the press for 45 minutes, and then Biden comes out with a preset list of reporters he’s allowed to call on.”
“Putin, the leader of a country with some of the greatest restrictions on press, took questions from all reporters,” Lesley Fulop Byers, Communications Director of the House Homeland Security Committee Republican, tweeted. “The leader of the free world only calls on a handful of reporters from a list his staff pre-approved. Yikes.”
Toward the end of the press conference, Biden snapped at a CNN reporter who asked him about his meeting with Putin.
“Why are you so confident he’ll change his behavior, Mr. President?” reporter Kaitlan Collins asked.
“I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior,” Biden erupted. “Where the hell — what do you do all the time? When did I say I was confident?”
“I said …what I said was, let’s get it straight, I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world,” he continued. “I am not confident of anything. I am just stating the facts.”
“But given his past behavior has not changed and in that press conference after sitting down with you for several hours, he denied any involvement in cyberattacks. He downplayed human rights abuses. He even refused to say Alexey Navalny’s name,” Collins pushed. “So how does that account to a constructive meeting, as President Putin put it?”
“If you don’t understand that, you are in the wrong business,” Biden fired back.
This report has been updated to include additional information.