Biden met with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the White House where the two discussed an array of issues. Johnson took several questions but when Biden as asked questions, White House aides promptly escorted reporters out of the Oval Office.
CBS reporter Ed O’Keefe described how the situation unfolded.
“IN THE OVAL OFFICE… @POTUS Biden and British PM @BorisJohnson meet to discuss pandemic, trade and other issues. Johnson took 3 questions. White House aides shouted down U.S. attempts to ask questions. I asked Biden about southern border and we couldn’t decipher what he said,” he wrote.
He also described attempting to ask Biden a question on the southern border but being unable to hear the answer due to aides’ shouting.
“As we were leaving, I asked the president for his reaction to the situation on the southern border. Due to shouting by White House aides, the noise of everyone leaving, and the president wearing his mask, we could not make out his answer,” O’Keefe tweeted.
He later updated that they could later make out the words “violence is not justified” but little else in Biden’s answer.
Several other reporters aired their grievances and called out the White House over their behavior.
Washington Post reporter Seung Min Kim described the situation as “Not good, folks.”
“A chaotic scene in the Oval Office today as Boris Johnson unexpectedly took questions from British reporters, and White House aides shouted over American reporters as we tried to ask Biden questions,” Wall Street Journal reporter Andrew Restuccia said.
Daily Mirror editor Pippa Crerar also added “White House colleagues might be interested to know the British press thought aides shouting was totally out of order. An unwelcome lack of accountability…”
Shortly after the incident, it was reported that the press pool immediately filed a formal complaint to press secretary Jen Psaki’s office.
“US @WhiteHousepress pool immediately protests Oval Office treatment. (This dispatch from radio pooler and @whca president @stevenportnoy.),” Voice of America journalist Steve Herman reported.
“The entire editorial component of the US pool went immediately into Jen Psaki’s office to register a formal complaint that no American reporters were recognized for questions in the president’s Oval Office, and that wranglers loudly shouted over the president as he seemed to give an answer to Ed O’Keefe’s question about the situation at the Southern Border. Biden’s answer could not be heard over the shouting,” the statement reads. “Psaki was unaware that the incident had occurred, and suggested that she was not in position to offer an immediate solution. Your pooler requested a press conference. Psaki suggested the president takes questions several times a week.”
Biden and his White House have been criticized by the press for the lack of transparency and access to the president.