(JustPatriots.com)- On Friday, Jen Psaki’s farewell news conference with the White House press pool was a mess, with one reporter heckling the outgoing press secretary.
As Psaki proceeded to congratulate members of the Biden administration and accept questions from the audience, Simon Ateba, the top White House correspondent for Today News Africa, could be heard shouting from the rear of the press briefing room.
Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller tried to open the briefing by asking Psaki about the chronic infant formula scarcity. Ateba butted in to ask why Psaki does not take questions from “across the room.”
When Psaki failed to acknowledge, Ateba yelled again, claiming she hadn’t taken questions from around the room in 15 months.
Psaki seemed to take in stride Ateba’s lack of briefing room etiquette, but the turmoil continued minutes later when Ateba began yelling over his colleagues.
He repeatedly requested, “Jen, may I ask you a question from the back?”
As Ateba’s disruptions continued, his colleagues in the press briefing room got increasingly irritated. NPR’s Tamara Keith swung around in her seat and urged him to shut up.
“Simon, please stop,” she could be heard begging.
Ateba stubbornly maintained his campaign, shouting down other reporters who were questioning Psaki.
When Psaki had had enough, she remarked, “Simon, if you can respect your colleagues and other media in here, it would be highly appreciated.”
Following Ateba’s outburst, NBC News’ Peter Alexander indicated that he would only ask two questions to give his colleagues more time to interrogate the leaving press secretary. White House reporters have always maintained an unwritten rule of only asking the administration’s spokeswoman two questions.
Psaki and Ateba had argued numerous times before the Friday rant.
Psaki has been reprimanded for only taking questions from reporters in the first few rows of the briefing room, usually ignoring international news outlets like Ateba.
Ateba, yelling over his colleagues, accused Psaki of lying to the media about coronavirus-related travel restrictions in December.
“You are stating something that is untrue,” Ateba shouted at Psaki.
Ateba has also been known to disrupt White House briefings and has characterized COVID-19 travel restrictions as “racist.”