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White House denies Biden received questions in advance at press conference

The White House on Thursday denied that President Biden was given questions in advance of a press conference with the South Korean president after a photo showed him holding a card with information about a reporter and the outline of a question about semiconductor manufacturing. 

A photo that went viral on Thursday showed a close up of the card, featuring the name and photo of a Los Angeles Times reporter who was first to ask Biden a question. 

The card also gave an outline of a question, reading: “How are YOU squaring YOUR domestic priorities — like reshoring semiconductors manufacturing — with alliance-based foreign policy?” 

The question, asked by White House correspondent Courtney Submaranian, was not word-for-word the same as what was printed on the card. She asked if rules against expanding chip manufacturing in China was “damaging a key ally in the competition with China to help your domestic politics ahead of the election.” 

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, asked Thursday about the image, said it’s “entirely normal” for the president to be briefed ahead of time on which reporters will be asking a question “and issues we expect they might ask about.”

But she denied that Biden had advanced knowledge of the specific question. 

“We do not have specific questions in advance. That’s not something we do,” Jean-Pierre said. “And in fact, I would point out that the question that was asked was different than what was on the card that you all saw.” 

“And again, look, we have these press conferences, the president takes you questions. Our job is to get a sense of what you all want to ask him… so that we are all, not just him, we are all prepared to take that seriously,” Jean-Pierre continued. 

In addition to The Los Angeles Times, a correspondent for ABC News was given the opportunity to ask a question on Wednesday. Biden also responded to a shouted question from a Fox News reporter as he and the South Korean president were preparing to go back inside the White House. 

It is not uncommon for presidents to have notes in front of them during press conferences or other events, and former President Trump frequently had his notes photographed and analyzed for the hand-written annotations he made on the papers. 

Biden’s use of such notations has drawn particular scrutiny from conservatives who have already questioned whether he has the mental acuity to do the job.

Biden, who is 80, was the oldest president to be sworn-in when he took the oath of office in January 2021. He announced this week he will seek a second term.  

Source: The Hill

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