White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest admitted Thursday that President Obama has at times been frustrated by tough and frequent questions from the media during his time in office.
A reporter asked Earnest at the White House daily press briefing whether Obama watched Donald Trump's press conference on Wednesday and what he thought of the president-elect's strong reaction to some of the questions.
Earnest said that he did not know whether Obama had seen the press conference before pivoting to his own experience in the White House press office during the Obama administration. Earnest said there have been several situations in which he and some of his White House colleagues did not agree with the way that certain journalists have chosen to ask the president questions.
"Sometimes we have been frustrated by the number of questions that are asked in one exchange," Earnest said. "Sometimes we've been frustrated that questions include either questionable or inaccurate premises. In some cases we've been frustrated that the line of questioning from a number of journalists has been focused on the same thing."
"There are other occasions where I've expressed to journalists some frustration with their decision to interrupt the president as he's giving his answer to try to press him more forcefully, and there have even been occasions where the president himself has betrayed a little frustration about that," Earnest added.
Earnest then tried to downplay those frustrations by talking about how he could not recall a scenario in which he was tempted to throw a reporter out of the room.
Earnest's comment appeared to be a jab at Trump's press conference, where CNN reporter Jim Acosta claimed that incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer threatened to throw him out of the room for interrupting the president-elect.
Despite Earnest's frustration with some questions from the media, he admitted near the end of his answer that tough questions are important for democracy.
"But ultimately this exchange of ideas is good for the country. This questioning of people in authority by independent journalists is important to our democracy. That is what ensures the health of our democracy," Earnest said.