White House press corps erupts as African reporter demands press sec answer his questions

"It’s been seven months, you have not called on me."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

During Monday afternoon’s White House press conference, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre argued with Today News Africa White House correspondent Simon Ateba over his complaints of not being called upon for questions.

Immediately upon entering the room and jokingly asking why the room was more full than previous days as she stood in front of actors from the show Ted Lasso, Jean-Pierre was met with complaints from Ateba.

"We’re not doing this, we’re not doing this," Jean-Pierre said as Ateba began speaking.

"You’ve been discriminating against me and you’ve been discriminating against some people in the briefing room," he added, which was met with shushes from other reporters. "And I’m saying that this is the US. This is not China. This is not Russia."

"You are making a mockery of the First Amendment," he added, later saying, "It’s been seven months, you have not called on me."

"Decorum please," one reporter was heard telling Ateba.

"Fun times, welcome guys," Jean-Pierre told the cast of actors, later adding, "I apologize."

After the cast of actors spoke on mental health, Ateba and Jean-Pierre continued arguing.

"You can’t keep discriminating against some people in the briefing room because you don’t like them," said Ateba.

"So you have a choice," Jean-Pierre began, as Ateba said "this is not China, this is not Russia, this is the United States."

"Decorum," one reporter yelled.

"The rest of us are here too, pal," another reporter said.

"The press corps is tired of dealing with this," another said.

"There are people in the back who don’t get any questions," Ateba said.

After the room calmed down, Jean-Pierre addressed the argument, saying, "as you all know, many of you know, this is the White House press briefing room, a historic room, a room that should have decorum, a room where folks should respect their colleagues and respect the guests that are here."

"And I understand that there's going to be give and take, that's the way the press briefing has gone for decades before me and I will always, always respect that but what I will not why will not appreciate is disrespecting your colleagues and disrespecting guests who are here to talk, we’re here to talk about an incredibly important issue, which is mental health. And what has just occurred this last 10-15 minutes is unacceptable. It is unacceptable. So we're going to so we're either going to continue the briefing or we can just end the briefing right here."

Someone in the crowd responded "no," to which Jean-Pierre said, "Ok, well then, let’s go."


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