Reporter Asks Psaki Why Biden Is Criticizing U.S. Media In Front Of Foreign Leaders

Reporter Asks Psaki Why Biden Is Criticizing U.S. Media In Front Of Foreign Leaders

On Monday, a reporter asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki about President Joe Biden criticizing U.S. media in front of foreign leaders. 

Biden launched his criticisms while sitting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was on an official state visit.

The episode comes after the White House Press Pool launched a formal complaint after Biden staff silenced reporters during a similar meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The exchange took place during Monday’s White House press briefing.

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Reporter Demands Answers From Psaki

The reporter said to Psaki, “As he sat down with Prime Minister Modi last week, the president said the Indian press is better behaved than U.S. press and then advised him to not take questions.”

The reporter added, “Can you explain why the American president was criticizing U.S. reporters in that setting?”

Sriram Lakshman, correspondent for The Hindu, relayed the background of the story.

Biden had suggested to Indian Prime Minister Modi that they not take questions from the press. On a hot mic, Biden said, “The Indian press is much better behaved than the American press…I think, with your permission, we could not answer questions because they won’t ask any questions on point.” 

Psaki replied by saying that Biden did take questions.

“Well, I would note first that he took questions on Friday and he took questions again today,” Psaki said. “And I think what he said is that they are not always on point.”

“Now I know that isn’t something that anyone wants to hear in here,” she added.

Psaki Defends Biden, Insists He Does Take Questions From The Press

Psaki then defended Biden’s words by implying that the press should only talk about what Biden wants to talk about.

“But what I think he was conveying is – today he might want to talk about COVID vaccines, some of the questions were about that … and some of the questions are not always about the topic he is talking about on that day,” Psaki said.

The White House press secretary insisted that Biden was not trying to take “a hard cut at the members of the media.”

The reporter followed up by bringing up White House aides recently ushering American reporters out of the Oval Office during a meeting between Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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The U.S. reporters began shouting after Johnson took two questions from British reporters, and Biden staffers herded them out of the room with the President taking no questions. 

The press pool immediately demanded answers from Psaki about why that happened.

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“Is the president hesitant to take questions when he’s sitting next to a foreign leader in the oval office?” the reporter asked. “Can we expect him to do that in the future?”

Psaki insisted that Biden took questions during his meeting with the Indian leader and said the president had taken questions “next to a foreign leader many, many times in the past.”


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