The White House heavily controlled which reporters had access to President Joe Biden’s remarks on “aerial objects” Thursday, telling the media to “comply,” and asking reporters — including the Daily Caller’s correspondent — to leave the room.
Biden’s remarks were scheduled for 2:00 p.m., and reporters were notified less than an hour before that they would need a “pre-credentialed” pass to attend the press conference. Biden’s team walked the press over to the South Court Auditorium, where the remarks were to be delivered, at approximately 1:50 p.m.
When reporters entered the auditorium, White House staff approached every correspondent and pressed each of them to show an email containing a “pre-credential,” as there was not enough space in the room.
There were approximately 23 open seats in the auditorium, enough space to accommodate everyone.
Despite the space, White House staff told reporters to “comply” with the rules.
The email indicating who had been “pre-credentialed” had been sent out while reporters were being escorted to the auditorium, and a handful of reporters were asked to leave and wait in the hallway until they could be escorted back to the White House.
The reporters that were asked to leave included correspondents from the Daily Caller, the New York Post and Fox News Radio.
The New York Post’s Steven Nelson refused to leave the room after being asked repeatedly by White House staff, pointing out that there was plenty of space for everyone. Other reporters in the room applauded his comebacks, and staffers eventually let him stay.
Biden did not answer any questions from the press after his remarks on the recent “aerial objects” shot down by the U.S. military but did choose to respond to a shouted question from Nelson.
“Is your ability to deal with China compromised by your family’s business relations in China?” Nelson asked Biden.
“Give me a break, man,” the president responded.
As the press continued to shout questions about the Chinese spy balloon, Biden started walking away.
“Come to my office and ask a question, we can have more polite people,” Biden told reporters.
Questions about who gets access to “pre-credentialed” passes have persisted throughout the Biden administration, with Nelson leading an effort in June to persuade the White House to stop blocking reporters from the East Room and South Court Auditorium.
“The current method of allowing a limited number of reporters into these events is not only restrictive and antithetical to the concept of a free press, but it has been done without any transparent process into how reporters are selected to cover these events,” the letter said. “We are all left wondering who is making these decisions and what are the criteria on which they are based?” (RELATED: Nearly 70 Journalists Sign Letter Demanding White House Reopen To Press)
I was not given credentials to enter Biden/Macron presser on account of “space limitations.”
Reporters in the room told me there was plenty of space in the back and empty chairs.
The WH did not respond when asked how they decide who gets credentialed. pic.twitter.com/WJFl5BUNPG
— Diana Glebova (@DianaGlebova) December 1, 2022
The White House refused to tell the Caller how they determine which reporters get access to “pre-credentialed” passes. The Caller was also blocked from accessing Biden’s press briefing with French President Emmanuel Macron in December.