White House Dismisses Press From Biden Conference
President Joe Biden’s administration continued to demonstrate its arduous relationship with the press on Monday.
Biden spoke with governors to discuss ongoing efforts to combat rising COVID-19 cases due to the new omicron variant, afterwards, Biden addressed White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients as to whether the governors had questions.
“I want to thank the governors for their partnership and I mean that sincerely. With that, I will turn it back over to Jeff and I understand you guys might have some questions. Jeff?” Biden asked.
Zients responded by saying “Good. I think we are going to clear the press first,” ushering the press pool out of the room.
Biden has often faced criticism for his response to the press. In several instances when he has taken reporter questions, he has indicated that handlers determine when and who to call on during press events.
Zients’ instruction to clear the press adds to the many officials who seem to limit Biden’s exposure to the media.
Biden was later confronted by the press before leaving the White House on the claim that his administration rejected experts’ plans to increase holiday COVID testing rates. He answered “We didn’t reject it” in defiance of comments made during the conference.
“It is not enough. It’s clearly not enough. If I had – we – had known, we would have gone harder, quicker, if we could have,” Biden said.
During his conference with the governors, Biden spoke with a few GOP politicians who warned him against using federal solutions for state problems. Biden then acknowledged that there is “no federal solution” to the pandemic.
“There is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level,” Biden responded.