White House: Press are removed from Covid press conference
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President Biden met with 25 governors on Monday to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, telling the political leaders that there was “no federal solution” to COVID-19 and that he would “have your back”. But JMr Biden was accused of avoiding media scrutiny again after the White House press pool was cleared out before he took questions from governors. The President also admitted his administration should have done more to introduce rapid testing kits.
Mr Biden spoke with the US governors during a virtual meeting on Monday but video emerged showing reporters being cleared from the room before he took questions.
Journalist Curtis Houck explained on Twitter how the White House coordinator, Jeff Zients, removed the correspondents.
Mr Zients is responsible for the White House’s Covid response and it is unclear whether the move was due to Covid safety.
However, commentators on the video remember how Mr Biden has been accused of avoiding reporters and media scrutiny before, with @Stellalulu12 on Twitter writing: “What a bizarre presidency.”
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Mr Biden also gave a Covid briefing before Christmas where he urged the country to come forward for their vaccinations.
But the President shocked viewers after he raised his voice at a reporter who quizzed him on his Build Back Better plans – telling them he was not “joking” about parents being unable to afford to support their child.
As he concluded, he remarked he was not supposed to take questions from reporters.
Earlier this year, Boris Johnson visited the US where he delivered a speech to the UN and met with Mr Biden in the Oval Office.
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However, after the Prime Minister took questions from the UK press in the White House, handlers immediately rushed the reporters out of the room to stop them grilling Mr Biden.
White House correspondents wrote an official complaint to Press Secretary Jen Psaki, claiming Mr Biden was deliberately avoiding public scrutiny.
At the virtual meeting on Monday, Mr Biden vowed to do more to increase the US coronavirus testing capability.
Reports of long queues around the country began to emerge as Americans struggled to get tests before Christmas.
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Mr Biden remarked he “clearly” had more work to do and said he should have started work sooner.
The White House is planning on distributing 500,000 Covid home tests across the country in January.
As Mr Biden left the White House to travel to their holiday home in Delaware, the President briefly spoke with reporters on the south lawn.
A report from Vanity Fair suggested Mr Biden rejected plans in October for ramping up Covid home testing kits in the lead up to Christmas.
He was asked: “Why did your administration reject the holiday testing surge in October? Does the buck stop with you there?”
Mr Biden bluntly told journalists “We didn’t reject it” before walking away.
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