Australian Reporter ‘Startled’ by Biden Press Team’s Aggressive Aversion to Questions
An Australian reporter who covered President Biden's speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday was "shocked" at how aggressively the press pool was being handled by the White House communications team.
Pooler-designate, France24's Washington correspondent, Kethevane Gorjestani, reported that she was "asked by a very surprised Australian reporter whether WH Wranglers are always strict enough to initiate the pool without questions," according to a press conference by Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Biden and his press team have been criticized for a withdrawn, questionable approach. His first press conference as president didn't take place until March 25, more than a month after his two youngest predecessors.
In recent days, given the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan, the government has opted for a particularly opaque approach. After major speeches on August 16, August 18, August 31 and September 9, Biden did not answer questions from the press.
In addition, the President has often pointed out the reluctance of his staff to speak to him aside during prepared statements.
"We don't recommend that," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a podcast appearance on answering questions. "In fact, we often say 'don't take questions,'" she added.
When Biden asked questions about Afghanistan on Aug. 26, he beat them by stating, "You gave me a list here, the first person to call was Kelly O'Donnell, NBC."
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