In his first official briefing as White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest wasn’t granted a grace period by reporters who asked some hard-hitting questions and expected answers.
The former deputy press secretary – who has, over the years, filled in for former press secretary Jay Carney – fielded questions Monday and all was progressing evenly until he was asked to confirm a report out of Moscow about President Barack Obama and Russian leader Vladmir Putin discussing Ukraine, according to The Washington Post.
In confirming the report, Earnest drew criticism from media who pointed out he hadn’t mentioned the world leaders’ exchange earlier.
"Alexis [Simendinger, of Real Clear Politics], you don’t have to get all exercised about this," Earnest said to the reporter.
Following the interaction with Simendinger, Earnest reportedly left the room while reporters voiced complaints.
Suffice it to say, the press corps isn’t going to pump their collective, metaphorical breaks anytime soon for Earnest, who told Politico’s Mike Allen he’s assuming the @PressSec handle.
Earnest started working for Obama in March 2007 as his Iowa communications director, according to his yet-to-be-updated bio on WhiteHouse.gov.
Opinions and observations about Earnest’s first official day flooded Twitter:
New press secretary Josh Earnest’s first briefing at White House turns testy http://t.co/PhTATZhq3B— Nidhish Kumar (@Nidhish___Kumar) June 23, 2014
Prescient Mike McCurry: "You always get a little bit of a honeymoon coming out and it lasts about 10 seconds" http://t.co/obqOvTXlSI— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) June 23, 2014
First official press briefing for Josh Earnest as White House press secretary. pic.twitter.com/GWRFMSB2NG— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) June 23, 2014
"We would certainly support" a federal law on family leave, WH press sec & father-to-be Josh Earnest says.— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) June 23, 2014
Colbert: "What a name for a press secretary - Josh Earnest. His name literally means 'just kidding, but seriously'." http://t.co/zPmzMDjit2— David Ford (@ItsDavidFord) June 23, 2014