The White House press briefing went haywire today when Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre lost control of the room. Apparently, Angolan TV anchor Hariana Veras felt snubbed (it's not the first time) when she wasn't called on, and proceeded to interrupt the reporter who was up — Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade — not once, not twice, not thrice, but, well, I lost track, but it was a lot. (See first video below.)
"You're not being respectful," Jean-Pierre said to Veras after the first time she butted in (see first video below).
But her admonishment fell on deaf ears. "Respect your colleagues," Jean-Pierre said, and then again, "Respect your colleagues." But Veras, who has a history of feeling dissed by Jean-Pierre (see second video below), continued on her quest to be heard, not giving her colleague, reporter Johnson, a chance to finish a thought.
"I'm sorry Chris, you're going to have to start from the beginning, because there was some disrespect happening," Jean-Pierre tried again. But it was hopeless, as he never did get past the beginning, at least not in this clip:
But there's more to the story between Jean-Pierre and Veras than the above footage tells. Today's chaotic scene follows an incident a few weeks ago when Veras accused Jean-Pierre of ignoring African reporters. "One question for Africa, Karine," she requested on Aug. 9, hoping to get Jean Pierre's attention. When Jean-Pierre said she'd circle back to the anchor later, Veras replied, "Why do we always have to beg for questions? … Africans deserve questions as well, Karine. Come on!"
And when Jean-Pierre had a chance to make it up to Veras, scanning the room to choose another raised hand, she passed up Veras yet again for another reporter's question. And Veras wasn't having it. "We have been asking for questions, Karine, every time. And even when you give questions to [Today News Africa's] Simon [Ateba] it's because he forced," said Veras. "We don't need to force for questions. We also deserve to have a question. Do you have something against African reporters?"