A White House Counsel spokesman was taken aback Friday when a reporter took issue with his credentials and asked for his boss to take over because he had given “factually incorrect” information.
The White House press briefing attempted to discredit observations in Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report that have renewed questions about President Biden’s mental acuity. Ian Sams, spokesman for the White House Counsel’s Office, said the report cleared Biden of any wrongdoing related to his handling of classified documents, but offered sharp criticism of Hur’s description of the president as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
“Unfortunately, the gratuitous remarks that the former attorney general talked about have naturally caught headlines in all of your attention,” Sams told reporters at the briefing. “They’re wrong and they’re inaccurate.”
However, Sams himself was called out for being inaccurate.
An awkward moment happened at a White House press briefing where a reporter took issue with a spokesman’s credentials and asked for a better replacement to take over.
“Two questions just for clarity,” Jon Decker, the White House correspondent for Gray Television, began. “You’re from the White House Counsel’s office, correct? But you’re not a lawyer, correct?”
Sams replied affirmatively to both and said, “I’m a spokesperson.”
The reporter then asked to speak with Sams’ boss in his stead, “Any chance that we’ll get the White House counsel to come out here and answer questions directly?”
Sams, visibly taken off guard, asked, “Should I be offended by that?” He stammered in surprise, “What? I mean, come on.”
“I get offended all the time,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre assured Sams.
Spokesman for the White House Counsel’s Office Ian Sams speak during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 9, 2024. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
“You did say something that was factually incorrect, Ian,” the reporter pressed. “There has been a previous special counsel-“
“Jon, finish your question, please,” Jean-Pierre interrupted.
“I was asked to come today by your colleagues in the press corps, and we happily obliged,” Sams said.
Decker appeared to take issue with Sams claiming twice earlier that Hur was “the first special counsel investigation ever that hasn’t indicted anyone,” which the spokesman attributed as the reason why the report included “gratuitous and inappropriate criticisms of the president.”
“We are in a very pressurized political environment and when you are the first special counsel in history not to indict anybody, there is pressure to criticize and to make, you know, statements that maybe otherwise you wouldn’t make,” he said.
As Sams gave the podium up to Jean-Pierre, Decker pointed out, “There was a previous special counsel probe that did not result in indictments, by the way, the Hamilton Jordan case.”
Jordan was accused of cocaine use while White House chief of staff for former President Carter, but a special prosecutor declined to indict him after an investigation.
Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.
Alexander Hall is an associate editor for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to Alexander.firstname.lastname@example.org.