White House Briefing Erupts as Jean-Pierre Exits Stage Following Reporter’s Inquiry

Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Press Secretary, angrily stormed out of a press briefing on Thursday after an African reporter pressed her on why she hadn’t been asked to ask him a question.

This is the latest clash between Jean-Pierre, and Simon Ateba from Today News Africa. Ateba accused the White House of discrimination in June of denying him the right to ask questions at the briefings.

“Can you give me a brief update on Angola?” Ateba asked National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby a follow-up question after he had finished answering a reporter’s questions on a different subject.

Kirby answered previous questions about the visit of Angolan president Joao Manuel Lourenco, who visited the White House on Thursday.

Jean-Pierre ignored Ateba and instead called on another reporter to ask Kirby questions.

After being passed over, Ateba said: “It’s so shocking that you didn’t answer — you’re receiving an African leader but you couldn’t even take a question.

Jean-Pierre replied, “OK, this briefing can be ended now.” Ateba protested.

Ateba continued to speak as Jean-Pierre, the reporter who had been called upon by Jean Pierre, attempted to ask a question.

Jean-Pierre stepped up to the podium, as a reporter was heard murmuring, “Oh, my god.”

Ateba continued, “You’re receiving an African leader and you don’t take any questions,” Jean-Pierre cut him off, took up her notes, and walked away.

She said, “Thanks everyone,” as she left the room.

Jean-Pierre also cut off a reporter who tried to ask a second question while she was walking away.

“No, Thank you all,” she said.

Ateba was threatened by the White House earlier this year, with the loss of his media privileges. This followed a heated exchange between Ateba and Jean-Pierre at the press conference on June 26, when Ateba criticized Jean-Pierre for not allowing her to ask him any questions.

“You are incredibly rude.” Ateba was told by Jean-Pierre that she was being rude. She then threatened to terminate the press conference if Ateba didn’t stop interrupting.

In a letter shared by the reporter on social media Jean-Pierre’s office addressed Ateba directly, criticizing him for the interruption.