White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre abruptly cut off questions and stormed off in a huff after another clash with reporter Simon Ateba.
During Thursday’s daily press briefing, the prickly diversity hire lost her composure when the Today News Africa correspondent pressed her over why she wasn’t calling on him when he was trying to ask a question.
The exchange that ended with Jean-Pierre angrily picking up her binder and stomping away took place while National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was fielding questions on the White House visit of Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço who met with President Joe Biden.
“Can I ask you a follow-up on Angola?” Ateba asked Kirby, who has frequently pitched in to do the heavy lifting that’s beyond the capability of the former MoveOn.org national spokesperson who was tabbed as Jen Psaki’s replacement.
The historic first black lesbian immigrant press secretary ignored Ateba, calling on another reporter as she has often done as a part of her rude and insulting behavior toward the foreign journalist.
“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,” Ateba said.
“OK, we can end this briefing right now,” Jean-Pierre snapped over the reporter’s protests, continuing to press Biden’s mouthpiece as another reporter who was called instead of him was trying to ask a question.
“We can end this briefing if it’s not going to be respectful here,” Jean-Pierre said as another reporter audibly grumbled, “Oh, my God.”
“You are receiving an African leader, and you don’t take a question,” Ateba protested as Jean-Pierre grabbed her notebook and angrily stalked off.
“Thanks, everybody,” she said, bolting the room like a petulant, overgrown child.
“It’s a shame that @WhiteHouse @PressSecbKarine Jean-Pierre decided to abruptly end the press briefing rather than take a question from me after a year. Even when President Biden is hosting an African leader like the President of Angola today, the White House does not take a question from the African journalist in the room,” Ateba later wrote on X.
It’s a shame that @WhiteHouse @PressSec Karine Jean-Pierre decided to abruptly end the press briefing rather than take a question from me after a year. Even when President Biden is hosting an African leader like the President of Angola today, the White House does not take a… pic.twitter.com/O8YfrzGa0L
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) November 30, 2023
“I am highly disappointed and even heartbroken that in the citadel of democracy, and in the most powerful house in the world, I’m being discriminated against for a year for trying to do my job while journalist colleagues remain silent. May God help me,” he wrote.
The incident was just the latest in a series with the bad blood between the two boiling over earlier this year when Ateba sued Jean-Pierre and the Secret Service over unconstitutionally revoking his press badge after a series of confrontations. One of them was when the Cameroon native sparred with her after she brought in the cast of Apple TV’s “Ted Lasso,” accusing her of making a “mockery of the First Amendment” for refusing to call on him.
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