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Tipsheet

Reporter Claims White House Is the 'Least Transparent in Over 50 Years'

The White House via AP

For the 18 months President Joe Biden has been in office, his administration has been notorious for avoiding questions related to the state of the country or Biden himself. 

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National Journal reporter George Condon called out the White House for having the "least transparency in 50 years" and for not holding a press briefing on Biden's health after it was announced the president tested positive for the Wuhan Coronavirus. 

Instead, the administration just issued a public statement. 

"The question is, when will Dr. O'Connor come out? Because to just put out a statement and shield them from questions would be the least transparency of any White House and 50 years on a presidential illness," Condon asked Jean-Pierre. 

Jean-Pierre replied, "Wow, I wholeheartedly disagree on your last statement. Wholeheartedly disagree on your last statement. So, we are doing this very differently, very differently, that I would argue, than the last administration, and I'm happy to have that conversation with you. Number one, we did not see the president because we are following CDC guidance. And the CDC guidance is to make sure that we have minimal contact with the president and allow him to isolate." 

Jean-Pierre continued to argue that the statement about Biden's condition was "transparent" because it still notified the press of his current condition. 

Meanwhile, two other reporters also took aim at the Biden administration. They accused the White House of "playing a game of telephone" after finding out O'Connor would not be holding a physician briefing. 

"Could we get the president's physician here so we can not play the game of telephone?" one reporter asked. 

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Jean-Pierre denied the reporter's accusations. 

"I don't think this is a game of telephone…we put out a statement this morning, we put out a letter from Dr. O'Connor, you have both of us here taking your questions and answering them. You saw a picture of the president, you saw a video of the president. We are doing this very differently, and we are going to continue to provide information for all of you and also the American public," Jean-Pierre told the reporter.  

The other reporter questioned why O'Connor was not physically present at the briefing since it is customary that the president's physician is typically on hand to detail the situation more in-depth. 

"There's obviously a few questions you can't answer about the timeline, about monoclonal antibody treatments, about the medications he's on…why isn't he at the podium right now to answer the question?" the reporter pressed. 

This is not the first time the White House has been called out for not being transparent. Before Karine Jean-Pierre took over former press secretary Jen Psaki's job, Psaki was the queen at "circling back" to questions she didn't know or want to answer. 

Critics slammed Psaki for using the infamous line of "circling back" as a stalling technique with reporters, much like Jean-Pierre does. 

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