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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Biden Spox Abruptly Ends Briefing Amid African Reporter’s Questions

'[Y]ou are receiving an African leader, but you can't take a question from an African journalist...'

(Luis CornelioHeadline USA) Tensions escalated during Thursday’s White House press briefing when Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre abruptly terminated the session after Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba pressed for a follow-up question, sparking once another contentious exchange. 

Ateba sought to ask National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby about Angola, but Jean-Pierre appeared disinterested and opted to entertain a different reporter’s query. 

“Can I ask you a follow-up on Angola,” Ateba asked with no success. Expressing surprise at being skipped, Ateba protested, “It is so surprising that you don’t take — you are receiving an African leader, but you can’t take a question from an African journalist.”

Responding to Ateba, Jean-Pierre threatened, “OK, we can end this briefing right now,” she clapped back. “We can end this briefing if it’s not going to be respectful here.” 

Undeterred, Ateba persisted, highlighting his initial Angola question, “You are receiving an African leader, and you don’t take a question,” before Jean-Pierre left the briefing. 

This incident adds to a series of clashes between Ateba and Jean-Pierre. In August 2023, Ateba filed a federal lawsuit against the Biden administration after the revocation of his press credential, along with those of 440 other reporters, effectively limiting their access to the press room, as argued by the Center for American Liberty.

“After months of not receiving answers to his inquiries from the White House press office, Mr. Ateba chose to utilize the only option available to him: speaking up during press briefings,” the lawsuit cited. 

Notably, conflicts between Ateba and Jean-Pierre date back to last year. In a press conference on Nov. 22, 2022, Jean-Pierre scolded Ateba for probing into the origins of COVID-19, stating, “Simon, I’m done. I’m done with you right now.”

In January 2023, Ateba questioned Jean-Pierre’s suitability for the role due to her reluctance to address pressing questions.

Later, in a disconcerting revelation, the White House was caught editing exchanges between Jean-Pierre and Ateba from their YouTube livestream, seemingly attempting to conceal the confrontational exchange.

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