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Biden ignores reporters at summit with Canada and Mexico after Psaki touts availability


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President Biden did not respond to questions from reporters at the summit of a trilateral summit with the leaders of Mexico and Canada on Thursday – shortly after White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed that Biden regularly answered questions from the press.

Earlier Thursday, it was not clear whether Biden was aware his team had deleted the traditional press conference with visiting world leaders. At a morning bill signing event, Biden declined to answer a shouted question, assuring reporters, “I’ll be happy to answer your questions after meeting with all of the executives.”

But reporters were stunned just before 6 p.m. when Biden broke his promise.

The meeting with Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the East Room of the White House was closed to the press without the US president answering a single question.

Instead, the three leaders took turns giving opening remarks before Biden asked U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to speak.

“Thank you,” replied Sullivan. “We’re just going to give the press a few minutes to leave the room before the meeting begins. “

As reporters bellowed questions, a junior White House press secretary shouted at them to go, “Let’s go! Thanks thanks !

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – NOVEMBER 02: US President Joe Biden listens to speakers during the World Leaders Summit session “Accelerating Innovation and Deployment of Clean Technology” on the third day of COP26 on November 02, 2021 in Glasgow, in Scotland. (Photo by Ian Forsyth / Getty Images)
((Photo by Ian Forsyth / Getty Images))

Biden answered questions ahead of his meeting with Trudeau, the summit’s first scheduled event, but declined to do so before his one-on-one with Obrador later in the day.

Following the Biden-Trudeau meeting, Psaki was asked why the White House decided to “break with tradition” by not holding a post-summit press conference.

“I would say, first of all, that I don’t think it’s that outrageous in terms of the backstory,” replied the press secretary.

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“I would like to note that in the past three weeks the president has held two press conferences – three, if you count the one after announcing the signing of the bipartite infrastructure bill, where he responded to a number of questions, ”Psaki added. “He has also, including today, answered questions from reporters at least 10 times in total this month.”

“There was a change in the schedule as and when things moved, as it sometimes does,” she continued. “As you know, he [Biden] today signed three important pieces of legislation – important for law enforcement – which enjoyed wide bipartisan support. It has moved everything later in the day and times are changing and adjusting, but you saw him answer questions just a few minutes ago [with Trudeau]. “

Biden ignores reporters at summit with Canada and Mexico after Psaki touts availability

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a press conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, October 6, 2021. REUTERS / Patrick Doyle

CBS News Radio reporter Steven Portnoy, head of the White House Correspondents Association, pressed Psaki later in the briefing about Biden’s remark, saying “I think I heard him say that ‘he would answer questions after meeting with the leaders today “and asked him” Should we expect a press conference tonight or tomorrow? ” “

“You can ask questions in any format, can’t you? Psaki shot at it. “I don’t think you need a formal embroidered chair for this.”

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Moments later, Biden sat down alongside Obrador and chose not to answer shouted questions about immigration.

Although Biden regularly answers questions from reporters, he’s only used to answering one or two questions at a time and has given far fewer interviews than his predecessors.

His staff were also forced to correct some of his erroneous comments when he exited the script. On Tuesday, Biden was asked about reports that the United States might not send a diplomatic delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympics.

“I am the delegation,” Biden said.

White House spokesman Chris Meagher told reporters Wednesday that “the president did not provide an update in his response last night.”

Biden ignores reporters at summit with Canada and Mexico after Psaki touts availability

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, speaks during a press conference in the James S. Brady Press Room of the White House in Washington, DC, United States, Friday, November 12, 2021. Psaki said President Biden was then due to hold a press conference after meeting with Mexican and Canadian leaders next week.
(Chris Kleponis / CNP / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In the White House and on trips abroad, reporters have repeatedly complained about the lack of access when covering the president. On Wednesday, Psaki had insisted that Biden’s criticism for not holding formal press conferences was “misunderstood.”

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“I think I have to say I think it’s more of an issue with the White House press corps, because it’s their job to be… it’s of concern to the American public,” he said. the press secretary told Politico’s Anita Kumar at an event hosted by the outlet’s Women Rule Exchange. “They see the president answering questions several times a week, they see him speaking and providing updates.”


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