‘You Don’t Even Have Anyone’: AP Reporter Blows Up Biden Admin Complaint About Senate Confirmations During Briefing

[Screenshots/State Department press briefing]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
Font Size:

A reporter blew up at a Biden State Department official about Senate confirmations at a briefing held Monday.

Associated Press (AP) diplomatic writer Matt Lee confronted the department over its promise to get a new nominee confirmed to serve as the ambassador of Israel, Jordan or Lebanon. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the department has not nominated anyone, adding if there were a nominee, they would see the “same blanket hold” during Senate hearings.

“I’m just curious, because when the secretary said by the end of the summer you won’t have confirmed ambassadors in Egypt, Israel, Jordan or Lebanon. But, I don’t think — unless I’m wrong, please correct me if I’m wrong — that there has been anyone even nominated to replace Tom Nides,” Lee said. “You can’t complain if you don’t have anyone.”

“If we had a nominee today, that nominee would still face the same blanket hold — after that nominee went through the Senate, the regular process,” Miller answered.

“Has the White House nominated anyone?” Lee asked. (RELATED: ‘It’s Ridiculous’: AP Reporter Confronts Biden State Department Official On Adding Mandatory Pronouns To Emails)

“We have not yet nominated, but if you look at the number of—let me finish—if you look at the situation as it exists currently, all the nominees that start today are still backlogged based on what’s happening in the floor. There is a huge backlog,” Miller said.

“I’m not debating that point, I’m just wondering … have there been people nominated for those four posts?” the reporter continued. “But certainly no one for Israel.”

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides stepped down in early summer, leaving the seat vacant. The Biden administration has pushed Senate Republicans to lift a blockade on all but a small number of ambassador nominees since the beginning of the president’s term, NBC News reported.

Lee argued the department is “complaining” while not even nominating anyone for the Senate to nominate. The administration has expressed frustration by the backlog of nominees yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

“You’re complaining about something that gonna happen later this summer and you don’t even have anyone,” Lee said.

“I would be more than happy to withdraw the complaint if the Senate decides to start moving on our ambassadors expeditiously and we can count on the nominee to Israel to be moved through unanimous consent like these typically have been,” Miller said.