U.S. President Joe Biden has landed himself in hot water with the mainstream media following his refusal to take questions from the White House press pool during a sit-down with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week. The press pool filed a formal complaint against the Democrat president for refusing to answer questions about the multiple crises that have plagued his administration since he took office in January.
Biden’s meeting with Johnson in the Oval Office is the first time the two heads of state have had a formal meeting following Biden’s disastrous pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The decision received widespread condemnation in the British Parliament, which criticized Biden for his decision to blame America’s erstwhile Afghan allies for much of the catastrophe, instead of taking responsibility.
Attempts by members of the press to ask Biden questions about the ongoing crisis at the U.S. southern border and others were reportedly shot down by White House aides, who drowned out journalists by shouting over them.
“[President] Biden and British PM [Boris Johnson] meet to discuss pandemic, trade and other issues,” wrote CBS News reporter Ed O’Keefe. “Johnson took 3 questions. White House aides shouted down U.S. attempts to ask questions. I asked Biden about southern border and we couldn’t decipher what he said.”
IN THE OVAL OFFICE… @POTUS Biden and British PM @BorisJohnson meet to discuss pandemic, trade and other issues. Johnson took 3 questions. White House aides shouted down U.S. attempts to ask questions. I asked Biden about southern border and we couldn’t decipher what he said. pic.twitter.com/A86kgdfsuc
— Ed O’Keefe (@edokeefe) September 21, 2021
White House Correspondents’ Association President Steven Portnoy said in a statement that the news organization has filed a formal complaint with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki over the incident.
“The entire editorial component of the U.S. pool went immediately into Jen Psaki’s office to register a formal complaint that no American reporters were recognized for questions in the president’s Oval Office, and that wranglers loudly shouted over the president as he seemed to give an answer to Ed O’Keefe’s question about the situation at the Southern Border,” the statement said. “Biden’s answer could not be heard over the shouting.”
“Psaki was unaware that the incident had occurred, and suggested that she was not in a position to offer an immediate solution,” the statement added.
Portnoy has called for Biden to hold a formal press conference to make up for his continued refusal to cater to the press, which has become a regular issue. Psaki responded to the statement by claiming that Biden “takes questions several times a week.”
As detailed by the Daily Wire, numerous journalists have chimed in to express their anger over Biden’s tightlipped stance and refusal to engage with the media as the country faces multiple crises, ranging from an influx of illegal immigrants at the southern border, to record-high unemployment, and the ongoing pandemic.
- Ashley Parker, the Washington Post: “Worth noting that Biden ran for office promising to restore democracy after 4 years of Trump. But today it was the British leader, NOT the American one, who spotlighted a key tenet of a flourishing democracy — respect for a free press — by taking questions from his press corps.”
- Stephen Miller, the Spectator: “Joe Biden has not taken or answered a single question regarding the border, FDA boosters getting shot down and the drone strike that killed 7 kids. His aides shout down reporters and herds them out of rooms, and the press complies with them.”
- Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg News: “Biden aides shouted over the president in the Oval Office, trying to prevent a back-and-forth between @POTUS and the press corps.”
- Andrew Restuccia, the Wall Street Journal: “A chaotic scene in the Oval Office today as Boris Johnson unexpectedly took questions from British reporters, and White House aides shouted over American reporters as we tried to ask Biden questions.”
- Darren Grimes, GB News: “Boris Johnson took two questions from the British press, President Biden refused to take any, domestic or international. I can well imagine the headlines if Trump did the same, he’d be decried as an ‘authoritarian’, a ‘fascist dictator’ evading scrutiny.