White House Correspondents Push Back After Joe Biden Grouses Over Reporters Not “Playing By The Rules”

The White House Correspondents’ Association is objecting to the notion that reporters agreed to any restrictions on the types of questions they could ask of President Joe Biden at a press conference earlier today at the G7 summit in Italy.

Appearing at the press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Biden took a question from Bloomberg’s Josh Wingrove.

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Wingrove asked the president if he would give his assessment of Hamas’ response to the latest ceasefire proposal. “Do you believe that they are trying to work towards a deal or is this response against a deal?” Wingrove asked.

Biden responded, “I wish you guys would play by the rules a little bit. I’m here to talk about a critical situation in Ukraine and you asked me about another subject.” Earlier in the press conference, Colleen Long of the Associated Press asked a Ukraine-related question and another one about his son Hunter’s conviction.

The president said he would answer the question about Hamas in detail later, but said that, when it comes to the ceasefire deal, “the biggest hangup so far is Hamas refusing to sign on even though they have submitted something similar. Whether it comes to fruition remains to be seen.”

NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, later issued a statement pushing back on the notion that reporters had agreed to a set of “rules” on what could be asked.

“The White House Correspondents’ Association believes it is in the public interest to make clear that at a presidential press conference, at home or abroad, there are no preconditions regarding question topics.

“While the White House does determine the number of reporters the president will recognize, it is up to professional journalists to decide what to ask. Any leader may prefer that reporters ask only one question or ask only about a topic that is of most interest to the president or another world leader, but a free press functions independently.”

She added, “WHCA would welcome more opportunities to pose a range of questions to the president in a press conference setting.”

At the press conference, Biden said of his son, “I”m extremely proud of my son Hunter. He has overcome an addiction. He’s one of the brightest, most decent men I know. … I said I will abide by the jury decision. I will do that, and I will not pardon him.”

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