White House denies Biden felt ‘upstaged’ by Boris Johnson in Oval Office meeting

‘I think the president has not spent a moment worrying about it,’ Press Secretary says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
,Eric Garcia
Wednesday 22 September 2021 21:04
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Psaki denies Biden was upstaged by Johnson

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has denied that President Joe Biden felt “upstaged” by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in an Oval Office meeting.

Mr Johnson took questions from two British reporters during the meeting on Tuesday, something Ms Psaki said he hadn’t told the Americans that he was planning on doing.

Mr Biden ignored US reporters as they tried to ask questions. Asked by a reporter if Mr Biden felt “upstaged” by Mr Johnson, Ms Psaki said on Wednesday: “I think the president has not spent a moment worrying about it.”

After Mr Johnson had answered questions from British reporters, Mr Biden signalled that it was time for the press corps to leave.

Mr Johnson was speaking about the Good Friday Agreement and ensuring that nothing the United Kingdom does interrupt the accords with Northern Ireland.

“On that point, Joe, we are completely at one. And I think nobody wants to see anything that interrupts or un-balances the Belfast Good Friday,” Mr Johnson said before being cut off.

Biden ignores US reporters as media pushed out of Johnson meeting mid-sentence

Mr Biden’s team began to shepherd out reporters before members of the US media could ask the president any questions and while Mr Johnson was still speaking.

Seung Min Kim, a reporter for The Washington Post, tweeted that the episode was “not good, folks”.

Andrew Restuccia of The Wall Street Journal tweeted that it was “a chaotic scene” as “Boris Johnson unexpectedly took questions from British reporters, and White House aides shouted over American reporters as we tried to ask Biden questions”.

“I think our relationship with the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Johnson is so strong and abiding and we will be able to move forward beyond this, but he called on individuals from his press corps without alerting us to that intention in advance,” Ms Psaki told reporters during a briefing on Wednesday.

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