OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
White House reporters are furious with President Joe Biden as it was announced that he will not have a press conference during his entire trip to Ireland.
“I don’t expect there’ll be a news conference on this trip,” White House National Security Chief Spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing.
That ruffled the feathers of White House reporters who peppered White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre with questions about why the president would not be speaking to the press.
Gray TV reporter Jon Decker had a particularly contentious back and forth-with Jean-Pierre where he mentioned that former President Donald Trump took questions from reporters often. He also mentioned that former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama all took questions often.
Below is a transcript of the exchange:
JON DECKER: And then the second question has to do with the lack of a press conference during the President’s upcoming trip and the lack of press conference that we see in general from this White House. 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.
JEAN-PIERRE: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
JON DECKER: Then why the lack of any interaction in a formal setting to have a press conference?
JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, the President takes shouted questions. I —
JON DECKER: In a formal — in a formal setting.
JEAN-PIERRE: I understand. Jon, I understand.
JON DECKER: Yeah. Okay. Yeah.
JEAN-PIERRE: 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. But certainly, the President many times has — has stan- — has stood in front of all of you, has taken questions on his own, because he wanted to see what was on — on your minds, he wanted to see what the questions you all were going to ask him, and he wanted to answer them directly. That has happened multiple times — many times during this administration. And that will certainly continue to be. When it comes to a formal press conference, I don’t have anything to share with you at this time.
JON DECKER: You recognize — just one last thing.
JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, sure.
JON DECKER: 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. 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: So I’ll say this: It is also unprecedented that a President takes as many shouted questions as this President has. And he has.
JON DECKER: No.
REPORTER: No, no, no, no.
JON DECKER: I covered the last administration, and I’ll tell you: Almost every day, up until —
JEAN-PIERRE: Okay, well, we’ll get —
JON DECKER: — In the November 2020 election, Donald Trump took questions practically every day!
JEAN-PIERRE: — I hear your question. I heard Zeke’s question. 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.
As you can tell from Jean-Pierre’s answer she had dealt with the question several times during that press briefing and even more during the administration’s tenure. But she still has no answer.
If this were any other president this would be a scandal, but it is barely reported on television news programs, particularly on MSNBC and CNN.