Chaos occurred in the White House briefing room on Tuesday when press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre yelled at reporters, ultimately trying to save Dr. Anthony Fauci from answering questions about the origins of the Chinese coronavirus during his final appearance before retirement.
Fauci, the outgoing chief medical adviser to the White House, spoke about Americans needing to get tested for the Chinese coronavirus before attending Thanksgiving gatherings, adding that “everybody” should be vaccinated and boosted as reporters bombarded him with questions about the origins of the Chinese coronavirus.
As reporters started shouting questions at Fauci, Jean-Pierre stepped in to reprimand reporters who wanted to ask the “best person” about the origins of the Chinese coronavirus, while the press secretary appeared not to call on certain reporters.
“We have a process here. I’m not calling on people who yell and you’re being disrespectful to your colleagues, and you’re being disrespectful to our guests,” Jean-Pierre said while glaring at a reporter in one of the back rows.
“I will not call on you if you yell, and also, you’re taking time off the clock, because Dr. Fauci has to leave in a couple of minutes,” she told the reporters in the room.
“I’m done. I’m not getting into a back and forth with you,” the press secretary added.
Then, entering a back in forth with reporters, Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba argued that they are having a press briefing and she “needs to call from people across the room…She has a valid question.”
Ateba added, “She’s asking about the origin of COVID-19… Dr. Fauci is the best person to answer.”
Jean-Pierre responded by stating, “I hear your question…But we’re not doing it the way you want it… I’m done.”
This incident marks the latest clash between reporters and White House officials.
As the DailyMail noted, “While television journalists in the front rows can expect to ask questions every day, those sitting further back – or coming armed with awkward questions – feel hard done by when their raised hands are ignored.”
Fauci has headed the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, since 1984. He grew infamous during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic from how he handled himself and made recommendations to the public.
During the same press briefing on Tuesday, Fauci said he would “cooperate fully” with any congressional hearings, as Republicans have vowed to investigate him if they took control of the House or Senate.
In fact, in the near future, Fauci is going to have to sit for up to seven hours of sworn testimony answering questions in a deposition in a lawsuit brought on by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.
The two argued that the Biden administration, including Fauci, colluded with social media against Facebook and Twitter to suppress free speech regarding the Chinese coronavirus, such as when someone criticized lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccine mandates.
The case is Missouri ex rel. Schmitt v. Biden, No. 3:22-cv-1213 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.