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‘We’re Going To Clear The Press First’: White House Official Boots Reporters Before Allowing Biden To Take Questions From Governors On COVID
U.S. President Joe Biden walks on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021. Biden's medical adviser said a domestic travel vaccination rule should be considered as the omicron variant fuels record Covid-19 case loads in some states and holiday travel continues to be disrupted around the U.S. Photographer: Ken Cedeno/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ken Cedeno/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

White House COVID coordinator Jeff Zients kicked reporters out of the room Monday before allowing President Joe Biden to take questions from state governors on a call to discuss the federal government’s strategy to handle the latest COVID surge.

“I want to thank the governors for their partnership, I mean that sincerely,” Biden said as he wrapped up the call. “And with that, I’m going to turn it back over to Jeff and I understand you guys may have some questions.”

Biden then turned and looked at Zients, who was off-camera, and prompted, “Jeff?”

“Good,” Zients replied, pausing for several seconds before adding, “I think we’re going to … clear the press first.”

Awash in complaints from members of the White House press corps about the administration’s apparent reluctance to allow President Biden to take direct questions, press secretary Jen Psaki has been forced to play defense on the subject — and has claimed numerous times that Biden does take questions all the time.

Just weeks into Biden’s presidency, Psaki faced questions about why he had not yet taken a formal press conference. She replied that Biden “takes questions several times a week” and planned to schedule a press conference soon.

Psaki gave the same answer to CNN’s Brian Stelter three months later when he asked why Biden hadn’t held more than one formal press conference. “He takes questions several times a week,” she said. She also claimed during that interview that Biden had taken questions from the press on 77 of his first 100 days in office.

In September, during a meeting with Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Johnson took several questions from the press — but as soon as a question was directed at Biden, White House staffers cleared the room. The White House later claimed that Johnson had not been expected to take questions. The press pool filed a formal complaint, requesting a press conference with the president. Psaki responded by saying that Biden took questions “several times a week.”

Psaki repeated the claim in a Zoom call with Politico, saying, “I think the important thing for people to understand, Anita, is that at a press conference you take ten, maybe fifteen questions. He probably takes, I mean, I’d have to look at it, but — 20-30 questions a week.”

Psaki made the claim again just before Christmas, telling reporters that Biden took questions “multiple times a week.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘We’re Going To Clear The Press First’: White House Official Boots Reporters Before Allowing Biden To Take Questions From Governors On COVID