WH Press Erupts in Groans as Press Sec Makes Absurd Statement About Biden's 'Unprecedented' Actions
I understand the role of the White House press secretary is to, as much as humanly possible, shield the president and his associates from negative media coverage resulting from how they perform their duties. Thus, the more ugliness there is to hide, the more obvious hogwash you’re going to hear.
The most famous example was Ron Ziegler, Richard Nixon’s press secretary, who had a lot to hide. For instance, here’s what Ziegler had to say when Nixon stopped treating Watergate as a “third-rate burglary” (Ziegler’s own words for the administration’s stance on it) and shocked reporters by finally acknowledging the seriousness of the matter and insisting he was conducting an investigation:
“The president refers to the fact that there is new material; therefore, this is the operative statement. The others are inoperative,” he said, as The New York Times noted after Ziegler’s death in 2003.
Or when the press got word that U.S. troops were about to invade Laos as part of the Vietnam War: “The president is aware of what is going on in Southeast Asia. That is not to say anything is going on in Southeast Asia.”
Little wonder, then, that Ziegler became an alcoholic and died young at 63. He had a lot to hide, particularly since he was kept out of the loop on what was really happening behind the scenes regarding that “third-rate burglary.”
But I digress, because the two women who have been charged with shielding President Joe Biden have mostly been dealing with one particular ugliness with the media: Biden’s extreme desire to avoid dealing with any kind of ugliness from the media.
In the first year of his presidency, Biden held only nine presidential news conferences — fewer than any of his five predecessors by a wide margin, according to a tally from Axios. (George W. Bush, known for his verbal infelicities, held the next-least at 19, while the loquacious Bill Clinton had a whopping 38. Donald Trump had 21, Barack Obama had 27, and George H.W. Bush had 31.)
Thus, the White House press secretary is often left to answer why the reporters can’t get any answers from Biden.
The latest bit of hogwash from press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre? Well, maybe he doesn’t do media briefings, but he answers sometimes when you shout questions at him. In fact, he’s the unprecedented champ of answering shouted questions!
No, seriously. This is what transpired on Monday:
REPORTER: “Is the administration trying to protect the president from our questions?”
KJP: “Absolutely not.”
REPORTER: “So why the lack of any interaction in a formal setting to have a press conference?”
KJP: “The president takes shouted questions.” pic.twitter.com/WlqgNWL6ZE
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) April 10, 2023
“I represent a news organization that owns 113 television stations,” the unidentified reporter said. “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.”
“Absolutely not,” Jean-Pierre replied. “Absolutely not.”
“Then why the lack of any interaction in a formal setting to have a press conference?” the reporter shot back.
“I mean, the president takes shouted questions,” Jean-Pierre replied.
But what about a formal setting? “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,” she said
“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,” she continued. “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.”
OK, but as the reporter noted, the lack of formal press conferences involving Joe Biden “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,” he said.
“So I’ll say this — it is also unprecedented that a president takes as many shouted questions as this president has,” Jean-Pierre said. “And he has.”
Cue a collective groan in the room:
Karine Jean-Pierre says it’s “unprecedented that a president takes as many shouted questions as this president has.”
Reporters groan in unison at the absurdity of her statement. pic.twitter.com/A4g5sIU9ch
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 10, 2023
Shouted questions are the operative way President Biden takes questions. The others, particularly in formal settings, are inoperative.
The full exchange is here:
And believe it or not, this isn’t the worst way a press secretary in the Biden White House has covered up for the fact that the man who lends his name to the Biden White House doesn’t want to take questions from reporters who cover the Biden White House.
That honor goes to former press secretary Jen Psaki, whose ability to dish out some vague “circle back” hogwash with a straight face was generally superior to Jean-Pierre’s.
However, when asked in September of 2021 why Biden didn’t take questions during a joint appearance with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — and was caught on a hot mic with Modi trashing the American media — Psaki’s response was that Biden didn’t take questions because (seriously) the media didn’t talk about what he wanted to talk about:
Psaki was just confronted by two reporters about Biden asking Indian Prime Minister Modi to not take questions from the American press.
Psaki then embarrassingly justifies the remark by saying sometimes the Press doesn’t ask about what Biden wants to talk about.
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) September 27, 2021
Now, at this point, nobody has to be asked why the media is curious this president is being kept from answering questions in a formal setting:
“She was 12 and I was 30.”
– Joe Biden pic.twitter.com/bmit4z9oqa
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 23, 2022
BIDEN, screaming: “Name me a world leader who changed places with Xi Jinping. Name me one. NAME ME ONE.”
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 8, 2023
Is everything okay?
We carried Presdient Biden’s Ukraine remarks live on @FaulknerFocus today. #kleptocracy pic.twitter.com/aINZImChEy
— HARRISFAULKNER (@HARRISFAULKNER) April 29, 2022
Joe Biden once again tells the false story of Amtrak worker Angelo Negri who he says congratulated him while he was VP on traveled “2,200,000 miles” on the train.
Negri retired from Amtrak in 1993 and passed away in 2014 pic.twitter.com/WcWESZNMLK
— X Strategies LLC (@XStrategiesLLC) October 25, 2021
“Jackie are you here? Where’s Jackie?”
Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) died in a car accident in August pic.twitter.com/cHc3b7zPmE
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) September 28, 2022
The president has tried to address an unprecedented number of recently deceased lawmakers he thought were present at White House events, as Karine Jean-Pierre might put it.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Twitter users were as unimpressed with Jean-Pierre’s response as the groaning reporters in the White House briefing room were:
“Unprecedented” … I’m reminded of a kid who learns a new word then uses it all of the time even when context doesn’t permit…
— Olivia P. Walker (@olivia_p_walker) April 10, 2023
Lol he’s taken practically zero questions
— Montana Kon (@mookatooka711) April 10, 2023
He laughs and mocks the reporters
— Frances latini (@FrancesLatini) April 10, 2023
I love how she says “we get this every few months” like they have been there so long that their habits are acceptable.
— Michael Wagoner (@Atomtreeprod) April 10, 2023
They shout because he seldom takes questions or give answers
— Ron Russell (@RonRussell11) April 10, 2023
In other words, I don’t think there’s anyone who follows the subject who believes communicating with the media through shouted answers is, to phrase it in Ziegler-esque language, the operative mode of transparency. They have a president who sometimes doesn’t even know he’s the president. And that’s not a tasteless “haha, Uncle Joe is losing it” joke:
Biden calls Kamala “President Harris” again. pic.twitter.com/GTAFdnZDwm
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 5, 2023
Biden calls Kamala “President Harris” yet again pic.twitter.com/vYaQlIGtdW
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) January 11, 2022
Why did Joe Biden just call Kamala “President Harris”? pic.twitter.com/6AU7QwPvJu
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) March 18, 2021
Joe Biden, again, calls Kamala Harris the “President”.
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) October 24, 2022
Ron Ziegler, the poor man, had to deal with questions from the media about the Watergate break-in, the Vietnam War, the related invasion of Laos and release of the Pentagon Papers, and other Nixon-era scandals we’ve forgotten about, like allegations of campaign finance violations regarding donations from the dairy industry.
No wonder he came up with such sad, laughable hogwash that still remains part of Beltway lore a half-century after it was uttered.
The questions that Karine Jean-Pierre and Jen Psaki have most obviously been hogwashing about, however, are merely questions about questions — and whether the president they serve will actually take any.
The answer? Better have your shouting voice operative, because then you’ll have unprecedented access to him.
Congratulations on one of the most embarrassing moments in White House press secretary history, KJP.
Ron Ziegler would be proud.
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