White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest denied speculation that President Obama was smoking during a visit with the Italian Prime Minister outside the G-7 summit in Germany.
An Instagram photo posted by one of the Italian Prime Ministers staff showed Obama holding a package of what looked like cigarettes, making the image go viral.
“Does he have a pack of cigarettes in his hand?” asked White House reporter April Ryan, referring to the photo.
“He does not,” Earnest replied, adding that he didn’t know what Obama was holding because he wasn’t there.
“You may not be surprised to hear that I have not raised this issue with the president today,” Earnest said.
When Ryan insisted that the photo was “everywhere,” Earnest replied “I’m not sure that’s the way I would describe it.”
As she continued to press Earnest about the photo, he interrupted her.
“I told you they’re not cigarettes, let’s move on,” he concluded shortly.