State Department spokesman, Ned Price, had a heated exchange with an Associated Press reporter during a briefing on Monday suggesting President Joe Biden was taking credit for a policy started under former president Donald Trump’s administration.
Price started the briefing by highlighting a report sent to Congress, naming 18 mostly Western companies that have engaged in “good faith efforts” to scale back their involvement in Nord Stream 2, a controversial $11 billion pipeline project designed to transmit Russian natural gas to Germany, according to Fox News.
Fox News reported that “Kremlin critics have said the project would double the amount of natural gas imported from Russia. If completed, it would leave Europe more dependent on Russian energy than ever before. The poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny has revitalized calls for the project to be abandoned.”
At the press conference, Price seemed to imply that the Biden administration’s efforts had led to the development on Nord Stream 2, he announced that the aforementioned entities have wound down their activities in the pipeline project and demonstrated that Biden and Congress’s strategy have been “working to good effect,” according to the report.
That’s when Associated Press reporter Matt Lee challenged Price, telling him that all of this work had begun 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 doing anything with Nord Stream 2,” Lee said. “You guys are taking credit for stuff the previous administration did. Yes or no?”
In response, Price, noticeably flustered, said, ‘I am speaking for the Department of State, the people who have been working this. The people who are working this now were the same people a month ago [and] the same people three months ago.’