Between the run-up to the midterms and President Biden’s lengthy foreign trip, White House briefings have been few and far between. But there was one Tuesday and it devolved into a near riot with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre repeatedly excoriating Daily Caller’s Diana Glebova and her defenders when she tried to shout questions to Dr. Tony Fauci about his role in the origins of COVID-19.
Glebova had a point to intervene considering questions for Fauci looked like this from ABC’s Karen Travers: “You became a household name in large part because of your appearance is here at the early stages of COVID. What do you want Americans to remember about your service in government?”
Glebova interjected after Fauci’s answer, asking what he was doing in relation to the “investigations into the origins of COVID,” but Fauci and Jean-Pierre ignored it.
Fast-forward and there was more stupidity from the likes of theGrio’s April Ryan lamenting that the country isn’t “talking about mask-wearing” anymore since “[m]asks and the word masks have become a pejorative in some parts of this nation,” and thus invited him to “talk about the importance of mask-wearing as you’re worried about the holidays and people gathering together.”
After Fauci insisted masks were one of “multiple actions...to protect ourselves” and Ryan followed up on masks “being a pejorative,” Glebova tried again to bring up “the origins of COVID.” Ryan promptly screeched at Glebova: “Don’t be disrespectful.”
Jean-Pierre said the same, so the New York Post’s Steven Nelson intervened and called on Fauci to given them “an answer.” Jean-Pierre squashed that, saying she didn’t call on him either.
Round three was where the rubber met the road as Jean-Pierre tried to go to CNN’s Jeremy Diamond as a security blanket. Glebovashouted her question, which led Jean-Pierre to explode:
Hold on a second. We have a process here. I am not calling out on people who yell and 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. And also, you’re taking time off the clock because Dr. Fauci has to leave in a couple minutes.
Things continued to spiral as Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba joined in by saying she had “a great question.” Amidst that, Nelson joined in and demanded Fauci answer why the NIH was still funding the shady group tied to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, EcoHealth Alliance (click “expand”):
JEAN-PIERRE: I’m done. I’m —
JEAN-PIERRE: — not getting in a back-and-forth with you. Go ahead, Jeremy.
DIAMOND: Thanks, Dr. Fauci —
GLEBOVA: You didn’t give an answer to the question.
SIMON ATEBA: But — but she’s asking — she’s asking a great question.
GLEBOVA: It’s a valid question.
RYAN: You’re not being [INAUDIBLE]
JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Jeremy. Go ahead, Jeremy.
ATEBA [TO RYAN]: You asked your question. You should allow her to ask her question.
JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Jeremy. Jeremy —
ATEBA: She’s asking a valid question —
JEAN-PIERRE: — it’s Jeremy — it’s Jeremy —
ATEBA: — of Dr. Fauci about the origin of COVID-19.
JEAN-PIERRE: — it is not — it is not your turn.
NELSON: Why are you still funding EcoHealth —
JEAN-PIERRE: It is not your turn.
NELSON: — Alliance, Dr. Fauci?
ATEBA: You — you call on —
RYAN: You’re not being professional.
ATEBA: — the same people. That’s not the thing.
NELSON: Why are they getting millions of dollars?
ATEBA: You — you can’t have a press briefing. You need to call on people from across the room. She has a valid question. She’s asking about the origin of COVID —
JEAN-PIERRE: I hear the question.
ATEBA: — and Dr. Fauci’s the best person to answer that question.
JEAN-PIERRE: I hear your question, but we’re not doing this the way you want it. This is disrespectful.
Things eventually wound down when, after Ateba said this was about access for the entire room, Jean-Pierre snapped while also going back to Diamond: “I’m done. Simon, I’m done. I’m — Simon, I’m done. I’m done with you right now...You’re taking time away from your colleagues.”
Of course, Biden stooge Mike Memoli of NBC did get a semi-relevant question answered when he asked Fauci how he was “preparing for the likelihood of aggressive oversight from House Republicans.”
Doocy Time made a brief return when he pressed Jha on reports of shortages on key antibiotics and antivirals (click “expand”):
DOOCY: So, Dr. Fauci said that it is not surprising there's this rebound effect with the flu this season. Why then does it seem like the country is caught so flat-footed by it?
JHA: What do you mean caught flat-footed by it?
DOOCY: Well, people in this country are struggling to get basic antibiotics and antivirals. Why?
JHA: So, I'm not sure what — what — so, we have plenty of Paxlovid. There's — I've not heard people struggling.
DOOCY: Not — not COVID. The flu and RSV.
JHA: So, I don’t know what antivirals your thinking about for RSV. Not — there aren't any that I'm aware of. There is a monoclonal that's for very, very high-risk children. We have that. We have plenty of that, so I don't think anybody’s struggling. I'm not aware of anybody struggling to get the monoclonal for high-risk children, immunocompromised children. But —
DOOCY: There’s a CNN headline today.
DOOCY: “Shortages of antivirals and antibiotics compound the stress of a rough season for viral illnesses in kids.”
JHA: Again, I'd have to look at the specifics, what I would say is, we often see shortages of individual antibiotics. I'm not — I'm not aware of antivirals that are in shortage. The single most important thing that — that. People need to do to protect themselves in this moment where we have a lot of flu, still have a decent amount of RSV, still got a good amount of COVID, the single most important thing we need to do is get vaccinated. It keeps you out of the hospital. It protects — it keeps you from getting particularly sick. We have plenty of flu vaccines. We have plenty of COVID vaccines, We have plenty of COVID antivirals. As I said, I think the country is ready. We're ready to support hospitals that are getting into trouble. We have been working with jurisdictions over the last month, meeting with them. If — if hospitals need help, we've offered that and we stand ready to help hospitals get through this moment.
In Jean-Pierre’s portion, not a single reporter corrected Jean-Pierre when she falsely claimed Republicans and possible House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has “no plan” and “do nothing except do political stunts.”
At the end of the briefing, The Washington Post’s Toluse Olorunnipa and the Daily Mail’s Rob Crilly pressed Jean-Pierre on this past weekend’s White House wedding that was closed to the media and the revelation with it that bride Naomi Biden has been living at the White House.
On both counts, Jean-Pierre wanted nothing to do with them and, for Crilly, she angrily denounced these questions because this event (at one of the most famous taxpayer-funded homes on the planet) was no one’s business since it wasn’t “a national security meeting” or anything related to the economy.
To see the relevant transcript from November 22’s briefing (including more softballs from a left-wing reporter inviting Fauci to trash the Trump administration and COVID coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha offering a warning shot to Twitter’s Elon Musk), click here.