OPINION | This article contains commentary that reflects the author's opinion.
A video is going viral of White House Correspondent Simon Ateba confronting Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre over President Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents.
She is accused of refusing to answer questions on the issue. Ateba, who works for Today News Africa, is a foreign reporter from Cameroon.
Ateba argued that Jean-Pierre wasn’t fit for the job after she repeatedly refused to answer questions about Biden’s scandal.
Ateba said, “Karine, since you don’t have any answers to the classified documents, you don’t seem a good fit for this job. We do not seem to have any answers from you.”
#WATCH | Reporter slams WH Press Sec over #ClassifiedDocuments scandal:
“You don't seem a good fit for this job.” pic.twitter.com/6CO8As7lFz
— El American (@ElAmerican_) January 25, 2023
Back in December, he asked her, “Why is it so hard to give me a question?”
Ateba said, “Karine Jean-Pierre should be ashamed of herself.”
“How bad can discrimination get? Even when President Biden is hosting 50 African leaders, she cannot give a question to the African reporter in the room. Shameful.”
In November, Ateba said, “If you’re going to hold a press briefing, you need to call on people across the room. She has a valid question. She’s asking about the origin of COVID … Fauci’s the best person to answer this question.”
Jean-Pierre answered, “I hear the question, but we’re not doing this the way you want it. This is disrespectful. Simon, I’m done. I’m done with you right now. You’re taking time away from your colleagues.”
Fox News contributor Joe Concha made a similar argument.
“Karine Jean-Pierre has shown that she is not qualified for this job at this level,” he said. “We’ve seen that now over the last couple of months, because she keeps saying over and over again — as if she’s almost programmed, like she has no ability to think extemporaneously — that the president ‘takes these documents very seriously.’”
“In one press conference, she’s literally said that line 17 times. And at the same time, she talks about how transparent the administration has been with the public – while not answering questions. You’re telling me there isn’t one person that took a log of who was going in and out to see the sitting president of the United States? I have a very hard time believing that,” Concha said.
Former New York federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy said “she’s actually making the situation worse.”
Jean-Pierre began working as the White House press secretary on May 13, 2022. She is the first Black person and the first openly LGBT person to be White House press secretary.
Before becoming press secretary, she served as the deputy press secretary to her predecessor Jen Psaki from 2021 to 2022.
She was also the chief of staff for U.S. vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris during the 2020 presidential campaign.
Prior to joining the Biden–Harris administration, she was the senior advisor and national spokeswoman for the progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org.
She has also worked as a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC as well as a lecturer at Columbia University.