Members of the White House Press Corps raised concerns about their limited access to President Joe Biden during Monday's press briefing, which included a brief appearance from the Easter Bunny.
Reporters questioned White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the president's upcoming trip to Ireland and inquired if he planned to address their questions soon.
Gray TV White House correspondent Jon Decker directly questioned Jean-Pierre, pointing out that there were no scheduled press conferences in the U.S. or abroad. Decker asked if the administration was trying to shield the president from the media's questions. Jean-Pierre firmly denied the allegations.
“I represent a news organization that owns 113 television stations. And a question that I’m often asked — and I don’t know the answer to, so I’ll ask you that question: Is the administration trying to protect the president from our questions? Please answer that question if you could,” he asked.
“Absolutely not. Absolutely not,” Jean-Pierre replied.
The discussion continued as Decker pressed on the absence of any formal press conferences. Jean-Pierre responded, stating that the president answers shouted questions, but Decker emphasized the importance of a formal setting. Jean-Pierre acknowledged the concern and repeated that she had no information about upcoming press conferences.
Decker noted that the current situation deviated from the norm established by previous administrations, including Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Typically, the press would have the opportunity to ask questions on domestic and foreign policy issues in a formal setting.
Jean-Pierre attempted to argue that it was also unprecedented for Biden to take as many shouted questions from reporters.
Decker countered her claim, referencing his coverage of the previous administration, and stated that former President Donald Trump took questions nearly every day until the November 2020 election. Jean-Pierre eventually moved on, acknowledging the press corps' desire for a formal press conference but providing no additional information.
“I hear you. I hear you on the press conference — on a formal press conference,” said Jean-Pierre. “We get this probably every couple of months when you guys ask us about a formal press conference. I don’t have anything to share with all of you at this time. And — and I’ll just — I’ll just leave it there.”
Fox News anchor Dana Perino later questioned the purpose of the White House Press Corps traveling to Ireland with the president if they were not going to be allowed to ask questions.