(RepublicanNews.org) – The last White House press briefing of November saw an unusual climax when press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stormed out after she was pressed by an African reporter who had not been called to ask a question.
The briefing saw National Security Council spokesman John Kirby answer a range of questions related to the visit of Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço. After Kirby finished answering a question on a different topic, Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba tried to ask a “follow-up”.
Jean-Pierre, whose role is to call on reporters to ask questions of officials during these briefings, ignored Ateba’s pleas and chose a different journalist instead.
Calling out from the press benches, Ateba said it was “so surprising” that Jean-Pierre refused to take a question from an African journalist regarding the visit to the White House by an African leader. He continued to protest, with the press secretary threatening to “end this briefing right now” if Ateba did not cease. A furious Ateba continued to vent his frustrations, causing Jean-Pierre to collect her notes and walk away from the podium.
Despite the efforts of the called-upon reporter to ask their question, Jean-Pierre abruptly ended the press briefing without any further comment.
It’s not the first time that Jean-Pierre and Ateba have clashed in a press briefing. On June 26th, a heated verbal altercation took place between the two where he again criticized her for not calling on him, to which the press secretary described him as “incredibly rude”. Jean-Pierre’s office subsequently threatened to remove his White House press privileges following the debacle.
Lourenço’s visit to the White House marks an important moment in U.S.-Africa relations. Russian and Chinese influence in the region has risen over the past few years, spurred on by military coups in some parts of the continent. The meeting between the Angolan President and Joe Biden comes amid a likely broken pledge by the U.S. President to visit the continent before the end of 2023.
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