State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday bristled at a question by Associated Press reporter Matt Lee who asked whether the Biden administration was “taking credit” for former President Trump’s accomplishments.
The back-and-forth came during a White House press conference in which Mr. Price said multiple companies have “engaged in good faith efforts to wind down activities” related to the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany.
“This is a list that includes over 15 entities and it demonstrates that the legislative goals and our actions are having a good effect,” Mr. Price said.
Mr. Lee, an AP reporter of more than 20 years, asked Mr. Price, “Don’t you think it’s a bit disingenuous to claim credit for the 18 companies winding down? All of this work was done under the previous administration.”
Mr. Price tried to interject several times, but Mr. Lee continued: “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 a sudden decided to say, ‘Oh my God, we better not do anything with Nord Stream 2?’”
“Matt, I am speaking for the —” Mr. Price tried to answer.
“You guys are taking credit for stuff that the previous administration did, right? … Yes or no?” Mr. Lee asked.
“I am speaking for the Department of State,” Mr. Price responded, “the people who have been working this and the people who are working this now were the same people a month ago or the same people three months ago.”
In a follow-up question, Mr. Lee asked whether the Biden administration was “committed to ensuring that that pipeline is not completed.”
“Our position on this has not changed,” Mr. Price responded. “To Matt’s point, we have the same position that the previous administration had. It is a bad deal, it is bad for Europe, it is in contravention of Europe’s own stated energy goals.”
“We’re talking in terms of geopolitics,” he added. “I think we are concerned about the influence that it would allow Russia and the leverage that it would give the Russian regime over some of our closest allies and partners in Europe.”
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 23, 2021