Fireworks Go Off Between KJP & Reporter
In a heated exchange at the White House press briefing on Wednesday, New York Post reporter Steven Nelson chided White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for refusing to call on him.
Nelson spoke up during the press conference, expressing his frustration that he has not been called on in two seasons. He pointedly told Jean-Pierre, “You haven’t called on me in two seasons, Karine.”
In response, Jean-Pierre coolly replied, “And I’m not calling on you today.” She attempted to move on, instructing another reporter in the room to go ahead with their question, but Nelson was not willing to let it go.
“You should be ashamed of that,” Nelson rebuked. “That shows disrespect to a free and independent media, to blacklist one of our country’s largest and most widely read newspapers, Karine … that shows contempt for a free and independent press.”
REPORTER (@stevennelson10): "You haven't called on me in two seasons, Karine!"
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: "I'm not calling on you today!"
REPORTER: "You should be ashamed of that! That shows disrespect to a free and independent media!" pic.twitter.com/YVCrTmgxKy
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 11, 2023
Despite Nelson’s strong words, Jean-Pierre refused to engage in the argument. She repeated her instruction for another reporter to ask their question, saying, “Go ahead,” but Nelson was persistent.
He continued to call out Jean-Pierre for not calling on him and suggested that she was showing contempt for the press by avoiding his questions. Video clips of the exchange quickly went viral on social media, garnering attention from the Republican National Committee and other commentators.
In response to the posts, Nelson defended the New York Post, stating, “The [New York Post] is our country’s oldest daily newspaper. We have 4th-largest print circulation and only NY Times has more web traffic.”
The @NYPost is our country's oldest daily newspaper. We have 4th-largest print circulation and only NY Times has more web traffic@PressSec last called on me in May, and on a colleague in July. The May exchange was also about press freedom issues: https://t.co/lNhoE8KSfD https://t.co/4FdRDZvlQ3
— Steven Nelson (@stevennelson10) October 11, 2023
Nelson also pointed out that this was not the first time he has been ignored by Jean-Pierre. In fact, her last response to him was in May when he asked about concerns over press access at large indoor events with President Joe Biden. Jean-Pierre insisted that there was no restriction, but Nelson’s question went unanswered.
Since then, Nelson has repeatedly attempted to ask Jean-Pierre questions during press briefings, but has been ignored. In September, he asked about Biden interacting with his son Hunter’s foreign business associates, but the press secretary walked out of the room without addressing the question.
"Can you explain why the president interacted with so many of his son's foreign business associates!? More than half of voters told CNN they believe the president was involved and he lied! You can't have a response to that, Karine?"
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: *walks out* pic.twitter.com/mSusQmrNbh
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 13, 2023
Nelson’s exchanges with Jean-Pierre are not the only examples of her icy confrontations with the media. Fox News reporter Peter Doocy has also been met with tense exchanges, including one in May where Jean-Pierre asked for “the dramatics” to “come down a little bit” after Doocy asked about illegal immigration.
As press secretary, Jean-Pierre is responsible for communicating with the media on behalf of the White House. However, her refusal to address certain reporters and their questions has drawn criticism for being a violation of press freedom.