White House defends press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre amid increasing tensions with reporters

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Tensions between reporters and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre have only grown following President Biden’s weak debate performance, according to a recent report. 

“We were spoiled with Jen,” a White House reporter told Axios, referencing Biden’s former press secretary Jen Psaki. “She made that first year and a half a joy.”

The briefing room erupted Monday after Jean-Pierre repeatedly would not confirm the name of Dr. Kevin Cannard — a neurologist who specializes in Parkinson’s disease. Cannard met several times with Biden’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, in the White House over the past year.


The White House revealed that the meeting between Cannard and O’Connor was for a neurological exam as part of Biden’s annual physical.

Multiple reporters, particularly CBS’ Ed O’Keefe, called Jean-Pierre out for avoiding naming the doctor in one of the most confrontational moments of her tenure. 

The two got into a lengthy back and forth, with O’Keefe getting an assist from NBC correspondent Kelly O’Donnell, the current president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, who also stressed that Cannard’s visitor logs are public.

“There’s no reason to go back and forth with me in this aggressive way,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. 

White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told Fox News Digital that Jean-Pierre “takes hard questions day in and day out, giving thorough answers and representing President Biden and his agenda for the American people with grace and integrity.”

“President Biden has done over 47 interviews this year alone and more gaggles with the White House press corps than almost any modern president – over 580,” Bates said in a statement. “He has also proudly fought for the rights of journalists in the world and spoken forcefully about the ‘critical’ role of the press in American democracy – rather than slander them as ‘enemies of the people.'” 


White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks at briefing

“In line with those values,” the statement continued, “his team reinstated daily press briefings and works hard to be informative and factual, including by releasing more documentation on policy than at any time in American history.” 

“We also take care to listen to reporters as they honor their important role of seeking more information,” Bates said. “Joe Biden has always said that it is fair for reporters to ask about his age and has always confidently put his values and agenda to the American people.”

A senior White House official also defended Jean-Pierre, telling Fox News Digital in a statement: “She spends more time with the President than her family, and he provides a lot of information to her. Some reporters have disliked that she does not leak.”  

Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report. 

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