(CNSNews.com) – At Monday’s White House press briefing, a reporter asked spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre about “the lack of a press conference during the president’s upcoming trip (to Ireland)” — and the lack of press conferences “in general from this White House.”
The reporter told Jean-Pierre, “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.”
“Absolutely not. Absolutely not,” Jean-Pierre insisted.
“So why the lack of any interaction in a formal setting to have a press conference?” the reporter asked.
“I mean, the president takes shouted questions,” Jean-Pierre said:
“I understand. John, I understand. I understand. I have dealt with this question about three times already. I understand 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 stood in front of all of you, has taken questions on his own because he wanted to see what was all 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.”
The reporter, pointing to previous presidents, told Jean-Pierre, “This is not the norm. The norm is, we do get an opportunity to 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.”
“So I’ll say this,” Jean-Pierre said:
“It is also unprecedented that a president takes as many shouted questions as this president has…John, 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 I’ll just leave it there.”
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