In an awkward exchange, reporters asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki why President Joe Biden was disrespectful and criticized American media in public and in the presence of other world leaders.
One reporter asked Psaki during Monday’s press briefing about one of his comments made while sitting next to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“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. Can you explain why the American president was criticizing U.S. reporters in that setting?” the reporter asked.
Psaki condescendingly responded, “Well, I would note first that he took questions on Friday and he took questions again today. 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.”
While Psaki defended the President saying he was not trying to take “a hard cut at the members of the media” the reporter mentioned another incident when Biden was with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the Oval Office last week.
The reporter questioned why the U.S. press was shouted down and escorted out of the room by senior White House aides after Johnson took two questions from British reporters. “Is the president hesitant to take questions when he’s sitting next to a foreign leader in the oval office? Can we expect him to do that in the future?”
Psaki’s only defense was to repeat that questions had been accepted by Biden on Friday and that he has taken questions while “next to a foreign leader many, many times in the past.”
Questions on Biden’s behavior with world leaders come after weeks of questioning Psaki on why President Biden has taken very few questions from the press in recent weeks. Last week the press called for president Biden to hold a formal press conference.