State Department spokesman Ned Price clashed with an AP reporter during a press briefing at the White House on Monday.
The tense exchange erupted as Price bragged about the administration’s efforts to scale back the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany.
Price started the briefing by telling reporters that the US has seen progress from European companies moving out of the pipeline from Russia to Germany.
In a report required by Congress, the State Department named 18 mostly Western companies that would not be subject to sanctions.
The companies made ‘good-faith efforts to wind down activities related to Nord Stream 2,’ Price told reporters. ‘This demonstrates that the legislative goals and our actions are having a good effect,’ he said of bipartisan US opposition to the project dating back to Trump’s time.
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee jumped in and challenged Price for suggesting that President Joe Biden was responsible for a policy that had started under the Trump administration.
“You guys have only been in office for a month, right? Are you telling me that in the last four weeks these 18 companies all of the sudden decided to say, ‘Oh my God! We better not be doing anything with Nord Stream 2,” Lee said.
“You guys are taking credit for stuff the previous administration did. Yes or no?”
Price and Lee argued for several seconds, before the State Department spokesman was able to say he was merely speaking on behalf of those who work at the department he represents.
“The people who have been working this, the people who are working this now, were the same people a month ago, were the same people three months ago,” Price said.