- The Washington Times - Monday, January 31, 2022

The White House on Monday ordered the press out of President Biden‘s meeting with the nation’s governors just before he was about to field questions from the state leaders, underscoring the administration’s turbulent relationship with reporters.

At the conclusion of Mr. Biden‘s meeting with U.S. governors at the White House, he announced that he would field their questions.

“They tell me I’m supposed to call on [Utah] Gov. [Spencer] Cox,” Mr. Biden said.

White House aides immediately began ushering the press out of the room, even as they shouted out questions about the Ukraine crisis and the president’s forthcoming nomination to the Supreme Court. Some of the aides shouted over the reporters, ordering them to leave the room.

Mr. Biden has frequently faced criticism for shutting out the press from events.

In December, Mr. Biden left reporters fuming after aides cleared the press before he took questions from governors about the efforts to combat rising COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.

At that meeting, Mr. Biden asked White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients if the governors had any questions. Mr. Zients responded, “I think we are going to clear the press first.”

In September, White House aides rushed out reporters from Mr. Biden‘s meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after only taking questions from members of the British press.

The brouhaha ended with members of the White House press corps filing a formal complaint and White House press secretary Jen Psaki blaming Mr. Johnson for springing an unplanned news conference.

“He called on individuals from his press corps without alerting us to that intention in advance,” Ms. Psaki said at the time.

The White House has repeatedly dismissed complaints that the president is inaccessible to the press, pointing out that he held a nearly two-hour press conference this month.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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