NY Post’s Nelson Grills WH Over Biden Family Corruption, Farcical Press Access to Biden

June 1st, 2023 12:37 PM

Wednesday’s White House press briefing featured, among other happenings, a rare feat with not one but two bouts featuring Biden flunkies and the New York Post’s Steven Nelson as well as a sudden curiosity surrounding Tara Reade now that she’s emerged as a flunky herself for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Nelson’s first bout came during National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby’s latest appearance as ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s crutch with Nelson doing what few White House reporters will focus on for more than a few seconds (if at all): Biden family corruption.



After citing the “many developments in the House investigations into the First Family’s international business dealings recently,” Nelson explained how, “[a]mid all of this, there was a Harvard/Harris poll this month that found that 53 percent of the public, including a fourth of Democrats, believe, ‘Joe Biden was involved with his son in an illegal influence peddling scheme.’”

Nelson then asked: “There’s, of course, evidence that the President interacted with his relative’s associates from China, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine, so what do you say to the majority of Americans who believe that the President is himself corrupt?”

Kirby was more than a little incredulous, blurting out “wow” while someone else (perhaps Jean-Pierre) in his vicinity could be heard muttering, “Jesus.” 

After a long pause, Kirby dismissed any impropriety on the part of the Bidens: “The President has spoken to this, and there’s nothing to these claims and as for the — the whistleblower issue that you talked about and the document — I believe the FBI has spoken to that, and you’re going to have to go to them on that.”

In Jean-Pierre’s portion, Nelson reminded her that “the White House Press Office...continues to pre-screen reporters allowed into large indoor events that....under past presidents, were open to all journalists” and that, last year (under his leadership), “73 journalists, including reporters from nearly two thirds of the seats in this room, signed a letter” denouncing the screening and received backing from the White House Correspondents Association. 

Nelson brought even more receipts: “Last July, you said that ending the restrictions were a — was a priority, yet they remain, so I was wondering if you could commit to once and for all doing away with this mysterious pre-screening process.”

Despite promising to make the changes, reporters have remain barred, as Nelson explained back on May 8 when he — as the representative for the country’s fourth-largest paper — was kept out of a Biden event despite there being rows of empty seats.

Jean-Pierre similarly wanted nothing to do with Nelson, telling him her “team” has “responded to you multiple times about how this process work[s],” but “every event is different” and “we always credential as many reporters in the room as possible.”

A few winding sentences of nothingness later, Nelson followed up: “But can you explain why — often so many empty seats? And are you going — are you still committed to rolling back this restriction and ending the pre-screening process?”.

“[T]here is no restriction. Every event is different. Every event plays to the room,” she claimed. “We have expanded credentials...[Y]ou are aware of this. You have experienced this. We have talked to you outside of this briefing room multiple times...[W]e’ve taken this very seriously”.

Elsewhere, CBS’s Nancy Cordes and Time’s Brian Bennett used their time with Kirby to fixate on Reade (click “expand”):

CORDES: Tara Reade, who was an aide to then-Senator Biden back in the ‘90s, and then in two — 2020 accused him of sexual assault, she announced yesterday she’s seeking citizenship in Russia and she feels safer there. Does the White House have any reaction to that announcement, given the accusations that she’s made against President Biden?


CORDES: Does the White House believe that her allegations may have been motivated by her allegiance to/affinity for Russia?


BENNETT: I wanted to ask a follow-up about Tara Reade. Does the White House believe that Tara Reade is part of a Russian influence operation?


BENNETT: Is there — she’s in Russia now.  Is there any thought that maybe she’s in Russia because — and she was interviewed by Maria Butina, who was a — who was jailed in the United States for being a Russian agent. Is there any concern or thought that she may have been influenced by the Russian government?


BENNETT: Have you seen any information that would link her to Russian information operations?

And on the topic of irking Kirby, Newsmax’s James Rosen had a basic question on why the administration hasn’t gone as far as calling regimes in China and/or Russia “evil.” For whatever reason, Kirby took it as an insult (click “expand”)

ROSEN: [T]he colloquy you and I had was about whether China and Russia, or either one, should be considered an evil regime. President Reagan described the Soviet Union as the “locus of evil” in the modern world. George W. Bush referred to an “axis of evil” after 9/11. If you have governments that are running concentration camps or launching unprovoked wars where hundreds of thousands of people are being killed, and the President of the United States calls the leader of that regime a war criminal, I don’t see what it is that prohibits you from calling a spade a spade and saying these are evil regimes, which you refused to do in our earlier colloquy.

KIRBY: Well, I appreciate your advice on policy, and I’ll take that back, James. But the President’s never been one —

ROSEN: It’s a simple question.  Why —

KIRBY: The President — no, no, no, it’s not —

ROSEN: Why don’t you consider these evil regimes?

KIRBY: It’s not — it’s not a simple question, James.  It’s a criticism that you’re posing as a question. You’d like to see us put a label on these two countries, and President Biden just doesn’t conduct foreign policy that way. I think — go look at the National Security Strategy. Go look at the National Defense Strategy.  Take a look at anything that the President has said over his time as Commander-in-Chief about Russia and China. And you’ll — and you’ll see that we’re speaking pretty plainly to the American people and to those countries and those leaders about how we view these — their behavior, their conduct on the world stage, and our relationships with them. We’ve been very, very honest about that.

To see the relevant transcript from the May 31 briefing (including questions from the left via theGrio’s April Ryan and Reuters’s Trevor Hunnicutt on the debt ceiling bill), click here.