Reporters grilled White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre after President Joe Biden was caught red-handed using cheat sheet notes that appeared to contain a Los Angeles Times reporter’s question in advance.
“The LA Times said their reporter did not submit any questions before yesterday’s press conference. So to people who saw that pocket card, can you explain how that ended up there and why the president needed something like that?” Fox News White House Correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked.
Jean-Pierre responded, claiming it was “entirely normal” for a president to know the reporter’s questions in advance.
“It is entirely normal for a president to be briefed on reporters who will be asking questions at a press conference and issues that we expect they might ask about,” she said, adding, “And of course, we would note those issues to him would likely come up.”
Jean-Pierre insisted that the White House does not give out specific questions for reporters to ask, claiming that the question asked was not the same as the one on the card— or she means it was just not word for word. Another reporter also demanded to know if Biden was briefed on any other questions or knew the topics ahead of time, which Jean-Pierre declined to answer. Instead, she remained neutral, saying that the president is often told things he may be asked.
“As someone who is part of the prep briefing with the president for these press conferences, as his press secretary, we talk about an array of topics that could potentially come up. And that’s what we do,” she said. “At the end, there were shouted questions, and he took those shouted questions. But we also had a sense that ‘hey, we might get something on the debt ceiling.’ Which makes a lot of sense; it’s part of the news of the day.”
On Wednesday, Biden was caught with a paper titled “Reporter Q&A,” which had a list of talking points, a photo of the LA Times reporter, and her job title. The cheat sheet also contained a handwritten text reading “Question #1” that was underlined and circled at the top of the page.