WH Reporters Confront Press Sec About Pattern They've Noticed with Biden - She Giggles Through It Like a Kid


When America finds itself with an octogenarian president who acts like he’s his own Madame Tussaud’s wax figure — and yet still ardently insists he intends to run for re-election next year — the country desperately needs assurance it isn’t, in fact, dealing with a wax figure.

The one way to do that, naturally, is the presidential news conference. And that’s exactly what Joseph Robinette Biden, the 80-year-old 46th president of these United States, does not want to do.

Nor does he even want to talk to the media. In fact, he answers so few questions from reporters that even his simpatico press is turning on the White House’s press secretary regarding Biden’s lack of availability.

Her response? Giggling through it like she’s a kid reading a dirty joke.

The issue at hand involved Biden’s meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Friday — St. Patrick’s Day, as most of you likely know.

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However, nobody was particularly concerned about whether the press corps would be able to raise a pint of Guinness at the event and toast “sláinte” for the president’s continued good health  — and not just because the president’s health ain’t exactly stellar, or that he’s a teetotaler.

Instead, a reporter noted during press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s briefing Thursday that she had “laid out a very detailed schedule for the president tomorrow with the prime minister of Ireland, but it did not include a two-and-two news conference.

“Can you say why not and whether that might be added to the schedule tomorrow? This is kind of becoming a pattern with a lot of the world leaders who are coming to the White House,” she said, as Jean-Pierre attempted to talk over her.

“Look, I’ve spoken to this many times when it comes to diplomatic … these are diplomatic conversations that happen with the countries that are visiting, and it is something that is decided in that way.

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“But there will no — there will not be a two-plus-two tomorrow, as you just noted. But, again, this is in coordination with — with the country that comes to visit here at the White House.”

Jean-Pierre went on to say that “your colleagues will have an opportunity to ask questions during the pool spray” at the Oval Office “that happens every time a head of state visits.”

A “pool spray,” for the uninitiated, has nothing to do with a spring break ritual in Florida. Instead, it’s a term that refers to how, after prepared remarks are made by a politician, reporters shout questions at them and they occasionally answer.

Unless they’re Joe Biden, as a vexed press gathered at the White House noted during Thursday’s proceedings.

“Karine, he never answers questions during those pool sprays,” a reporter said.

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“That’s not true. He has — he’s answered,” Jean-Pierre responded.

Then, a Greek chorus of unhappy reporters began shouting their laments:

“Very seldom!” “We get shouted at!” “We get shoved out!” “We get yelled at! ‘Press, thank you! Thank you!'”

A giggling Jean-Pierre seemed to be having fun with this while she tried to get a word in edgewise, albeit half-heartedly: “It’s not — here’s –”

Continueth the Greek chorus: “We get yelled at during those!” “The press is normally shouted down when we’re in the Oval Office!” “You shout at us to get out!”

“I hear you guys,” Jean-Pierre said, continuing to laugh. “I hear you guys.”

Gendered language, anybody? Hello?

Again, this isn’t just Peter Doocy showing off Rich Little-esque vocal impersonation abilities and pretending to be a half-dozen reporters at once. These are the same people who enable the Biden administration day after day on broadcast and cable networks, wire services and liberal newspapers.

They’ve noticed what can’t be concealed: Biden doesn’t like answering questions, either in a joint news conference or flying solo.

When it comes to foreign leaders, here’s the president trashing the American press on a hot mic with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, counseling him not to take any questions from the domestic media:

There was no hot-mic moment during his meeting with then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson — but also no questions, as reporters were shooed away like drunken guests at the close of a birthday party:

After the Modi incident, then-White House press secretary Jen “Circle Back” Psaki somehow acquitted herself even more poorly than Jean-Pierre did on Thursday, saying the reason Biden didn’t take questions was that the media (no, seriously) wasn’t asking about what he wanted to answer.

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This is part of a bigger problem that doesn’t just involve foreign heads of state, however.

In his first year of office, Biden held just nine news conferences, the least of any president in recent memory. George H.W. Bush held 31, Bill Clinton 38, George W. Bush 19, Barack Obama 27 and Donald Trump 21, according to Axios.

In other words, that’s 10 fewer news conferences than the next-least on the list — George W. Bush, the guy who was constantly misunderestimated because of his occasional verbal infelicities.

Despite the fact there was never any evidence Dubya’s occasional Dubya-isms were the sign of some kind of cognitive deficiency in an otherwise healthy Yale graduate and Harvard postgraduate who left office at 62 years old, that didn’t stop reckless speculation from CNN types that he was mentally unfit for the job.

Those same CNN types now ardently defend the capacities of the 80-year-old commander in chief, even as he refuses to answer questions from the media:

And, keep in mind, Biden’s handlers know who they’re handling — and what’s still rattling around inside his brain.

As Australia’s The Conversation noted in a February article: “It took Biden until late March 2021 to hold his first press conference, more than two months after his inauguration – the longest a new president had gone without holding a press conference in 100 years.”

“While Biden doesn’t trash the press the way Trump did, he hardly speaks to the public,” wrote University of Georgia professor David E. Clemenston.

The White House press secretary routinely refuses to answer reporters’ questions. Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi wrote in January 2023 that Jean-Pierre repeatedly responded to questions about classified documents found in Biden’s home and former office ‘by essentially not responding.’” Which is hardly unusual, at least in this White House.

This has caused a press revolt of sorts, if a quiet one. As the Daily Caller noted, “In June, nearly 70 White House reporters wrote a letter to Jean-Pierre demanding that the White House lift its COVID-19 restrictions and give the press increased access to the president’s events.”

Jean-Pierre, I can only assume, responded with a quiet laugh as she did a little touching up of the wax around Biden’s jowls. After all, 2024 is fast approaching.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture