Trump declining to take questions on China trip 'was embarrassing', says ex-Obama press secretary

It was 'at the Chinese insistence there were no questions today', said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders 

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Thursday 09 November 2017 16:39
comments
China's President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump attend a state dinner in Beijing (Thomas Peter/Pool Photo via AP)
China's President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump attend a state dinner in Beijing (Thomas Peter/Pool Photo via AP)

It’s “embarrassing” that President Donald Trump did not take questions from reporters during his first trip to China, an ex-spokesman for former President Barack Obama has said.

Jay Carney, who served as White House Press Secretary from 2011 to 2014, suggested the Chinese frequently tried to limit press accessibility when Mr Obama visited Beijing.

“The Chinese try this every time,” Mr Carney tweeted. “It’s a test of will and principle. Letting them dictate press access is an embarrassing capitulation.”

“I once had to tell Chinese officials that Pres. Obama would not show up for the press avail unless there would be a Q&A,” he added. “They backed down.”

During an appearance on Thursday alongside his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Mr Trump declined to take questions from reporters.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was “at the Chinese insistence there were no questions today”.

Mr Obama did not take questions during his first visit to China, according to CNN, but former presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton did.

Mr Trump has frequently attacked the media, calling coverage he doesn't like “fake news”.

In August, Mr Trump launched a “real news” series on his Facebook page – viewed by critics as another effort by the President to discredit traditional, independent news organisations.

Tom Rosenstiel, the executive director of the American Press Institute, said the programme “smacks of state-run news, and we’re not supposed to have state-run news in the United States of America.”

Mr Trump is currently on his first trip to Asia as President. During meetings with leaders, he is expected to discuss how to resolve the conflict over North Korea’s expanding nuclear and ballistic weapons programme.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments