White House denies Jean-Pierre hung up on radio host

The White House is denying that press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre hung up on a North Carolina radio show Tuesday when asked whether President Biden has “dementia,” but the host of the show is sticking to his guns in claiming that she did.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates not only rejected the assertion but also claimed the show added sound effects to accentuate the alleged hangup.

“As she often does when the President travels, Karine had multiple back-to-back interviews with radio stations who were each offered 7 minutes. Once the agreed-upon time was over, she called into the next interview so everyone could get their full time. This particular station chose not to air the full interview and instead artificially attached a sound effect that our phones do not make when calls end,” Bates said in a statement.

During the interview, WBT News Director Mark Garrison said, “When I told a number of people that I was talking to you today — it was interesting, though, they all said, ‘Would you please just ask her: Does the President have dementia?’ So before I move on from it: Does he?”

KJP pushed back to say that was “an incredibly offensive question to ask.”

“Let me very clear about this. For the past several years, the president’s physician has laid out very, in a comprehensive way, the president’s health. This is a president — if you watch him every day, if you really pay attention to his record and what he has done — you will see exactly how focused he has been on the American people, how historic his actions have been,” she said.

“And so I’m not even going to truly, truly really, you know, take the premise of your question. I think it is incredibly insulting. And so we can, you know, we can move on to the next question,” Jean-Pierre continued.

After responding to a question about the price of gas and groceries, Jean-Pierre cut the interview short, “And with that, thank you so much, Mark. Have an amazing, amazing day.”

A dial tone was heard on air and the radio hosts audibly expressed surprise, suggesting that the president’s spokesperson had hung up on them.

In a phone interview with Fox News, Garrison remained convinced that Jean-Pierre hung up over what she deemed to be an offensive question about Biden’s mental agility.

“There is no question in my mind she hung up,” Garrison said. “I mean, look, I’ve done lots of these kinds of interviews before where people are on a tight schedule and when you begin to run out of time, they simply say, ‘Look, I’m sorry, I’ve got to go, have a nice day’ and usually there’s a quick ‘goodbye, thank you very much.’ There was none of that. It was like, ‘Have a wonderful day,’ click.”

“What surprised me was that she said she was so offended by the question,” he added. “The fact that it almost caught her by surprise, I was stunned by that really.”

Tom Tillison


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