It took barely one minute Thursday to bring White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to a boil after one reporter refused to stop asking a question.
The reporter, who was identified by Mediaite as Simon Ateba, the chief White House correspondent for Today News Africa, took advantage of a momentary pause after Jean-Pierre had pointed at the next reporter who she would recognize.
“Can you take a question on the U.S.-Africa Summit?” the reporter asked repeatedly. The summit, in which leaders of multiple African nations will be in Washington, is scheduled from Dec. 13 to Dec. 15, according to the State Department.
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As noted by the White House transcript of the exchange, and heard in the background of the video, another reporter was trying to ask a question throughout the back-and-forth.
Jean-Pierre pointed at the reporter she wanted to recognize, and tried to encourage the reporter to ask a question, but Ateba would not relent.
“Can you take a question on the U.S.-Africa Summit?” he said.
Jean-Pierre continued to point and smile and tell the chosen reporter to speak, but Ateba kept talking.
“Karine, would it be so hard to take a question on the U.S.-Africa Summit, when the president is meeting 50 African leaders — the biggest gathering of leaders of his administration? Why is it hard for you to give me a question?” Ateba said.
The two then took turns interrupting each other as Jean-Pierre’s visible frustration mounted.
“It is not hard. I’ve answered … I …,” Jean-Pierre began.
Ateba responded, “No, it is hard, because it’s been months. You don’t …”
“Would you let me answer the question? Or are you going to …” Jean-Pierre replied.
Ateba replied that he did not want to yell, at which point the briefing devolved into multiple people speaking at once.
Jean-Pierre then told Ateba she had just tried to answer his question, but “you wouldn’t let me, sir.”
Undeterred, Ateba tried again, saying, “so let me ask you a question on the U.S.-Africa Summit.”
That pushed Jean-Pierre over the edge.
“No, I just … I literally just tried to answer your question. You shut me down. So now your colleague is going to …” she began.
Ateba objected again. “OK, so let me ask the question first, before you answer it,” he said.
The briefing book slammed shut.
“OK. Thanks, everybody. I’ll see you tomorrow,” Jean-Pierre said, and walked away.
Ateba and Jean-Pierre have clashed before. During a Nov. 22 briefing that included Dr. Anthony Fauci, Ateba tried to ask a question about the origins of COVID-19, only to be stymied by Jean-Pierre, according to a White House transcript of the session.
“You call on the same people every single time,” Ateba said then.
“You’re being — you’re being disrespectful to your colleagues, and you’re being disrespectful to our guests. I will not call on you if you yell,” she said.
“Simon, I’m done. I’m done with you right now,” she said, later telling him, “You’re taking time away from your colleagues.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.