White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stormed out of the briefing room Thursday as Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba confronted her on not taking his questions.
Ateba yelled out a question about the upcoming U.S. Africa Summit, where President Joe Biden intends to meet with 50 African leaders. The White House reporter confronted her on why she will not take a question about the summit.
“Why is it so hard to give me a question?” he asked.
“It is not hard, would you let me answer the question?” she began, before he began talking. The press secretary attempted to call on a separate reporter.
Ateba continued to ask why she will not take his question, causing Jean-Pierre to snap.
“I just tried and you wouldn’t let me, sir,” she said. “So your colleague is gonna ask a question.”
The press secretary abruptly ended the briefing and stormed out of the room as Ateba continued asking why he cannot get a question answered. (RELATED: Press Corps Explodes As KJP Publicly Berates Daily Caller Reporter)
Ateba told the Daily Caller that it is “shameful” that the press secretary cannot take a question about the president hosting 50 African leaders from an African reporter.
“Karine Jean-Pierre should be ashamed of herself,” Ateba told the Daily Caller. “How bad can discrimination get? Even when President Biden is hosting 50 African leaders, she cannot give a question to the African reporter in the room. Shameful.”
The reporter has persistently confronted both Jean-Pierre and former White House press secretary Jen Psaki for calling on a select few reporters to ask questions. During White House senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci’s last briefing on Nov. 22, Ateba told Jean-Pierre that she should answer a question posed by Daily Caller White House correspondent Diana Glebova about the origins of COVID.
“If you’re going to hold a press briefing, you need to call on people across the room,” Ateba told the press secretary. “She has a valid question. She’s asking about the origin of COVID … Fauci’s the best person to answer this question.”
“I hear the question, but we’re not doing this the way you want it,” Jean-Pierre said. “This is disrespectful. Simon, I’m done. I’m done with you right now. You’re taking time away from your colleagues.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) sent Ateba an expulsion threat for derailing Psaki’s final briefing in May for not taking his questions. The White House reporter criticized the White House’s “heartbreaking” and “disgusting” treatment of him given that the U.S. is supposed to uphold the freedom of press.
“I am the victim here and I am being treated so unfairly by WHCA,” he said in response to the expulsion threat. “It is sad and it is heartbreaking. America is the greatest country in the world and no country comes even close. Here in the United States, press freedom is respected, or so I thought, or so I was made to believe.”
“Am I not worth asking a question at least once a month? Am I not being in the room when President Biden receives President Kenyatta of Kenya? Am I less? Is that what press freedom is?” he continued.