The White House was forced to issue a correction after Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre falsely claimed that Joe Biden has taken more questions from the press than former Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush combined.
Jean-Pierre made the false claim during Tuesday’s press briefing when reporters grilled her on President Biden’s lack of interaction with the media.
Biden refuses to sit for interviews and does not hold press conferences where reporters can go back and forth with him as Trump did all the time and Obama did frequently.
Reporters asked Jean-Pierre why Biden refuses to speak with the press.
Jean-Pierre responded by saying:
“The President regularly — and takes questions from the press informally — informally as well at different locations and different formats. Right before he got on Air Force One, he took about five very newsy questions for all of you, which I think was very important for all of you.
“The informal and informative Q&A that President Biden engages in the — in with the press corps is more than — more than the last three Presidents.
“If you think about the informal questions and the formal questions.
“And I told — I mentioned to all of you yesterday that we actually had some — some data to share.
“It’s more than Presidents Trump; it’s more than Obama — Obama — combined.
“And here you go. To your question, he has answered over 320 questions, and that’s not even including more — more formal press conference and interviews.
“So look, we’re going to try and — we’re going to keep — be consistent in his engagement with reporters.”
The White House was forced to replace each instance Jean-Pierre said “questions” with “question-and-answer sessions.”
In place of Jean-Pierre’s claim that Biden had taken more questions than Trump, Obama, and Bush, unnamed WH officials also added: “in the first 20 months of their presidencies.”
She tried to make the same claims during a press conference earlier but was called out by a reporter, as Slay News reported.
JON DECKER: And then the second question has to do with the lack of a press conference during the President’s upcoming trip and the lack of press conference that we see in general from this White House.
I represent a news organization that owns 113 television stations. 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
JEAN-PIERRE: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
JON DECKER: Then why the lack of any interaction in a formal setting to have a press conference?
JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, the President takes shouted questions. I —
JON DECKER: In a formal — in a formal setting.
JEAN-PIERRE: I understand. Jon, I understand.
JON DECKER: Yeah. Okay. Yeah.
JEAN-PIERRE: 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.
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. 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.
JON DECKER: You recognize — just one last thing.
JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, sure.
JON DECKER: Just to button it up. You recognize that as it relates to prior administrations, the President’s predecessor, President Obama, President George W. Bush — I’ve been here long enough to have covered President Bill Clinton — this 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.
JEAN-PIERRE: So I’ll say this: It is also unprecedented that a President takes as many shouted questions as this President has. And he has.
JON DECKER: No.
REPORTER: No, no, no, no.
JON DECKER: I covered the last administration, and I’ll tell you: Almost every day, up until…
JEAN-PIERRE: Okay, well, we’ll get —
JON DECKER: — the November 2020 election, Donald Trump took questions practically every day!
JEAN-PIERRE: We’ll certainly — we’ll certainly get the data and share that with all of you.
I hear — Jon —
JON DECKER: Yes.
JEAN-PIERRE: — I hear your question. I heard Zeke’s question. I hear you. I hear you on the press conference — on a formal press conference.
We get this probably every couple of months when you guys ask us about a formal press conference. I don’t have anything to share with all of you at this time. And — and I’ll just — I’ll just leave it there.
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