Why Were You Allowed to Stay?: Puzzled Reporters Grill Earnest on Briefing Room Evacuation
The White House press corps questioned Josh Earnest at length this afternoon after reporters had to evacuate the briefing room due to a bomb threat.
The questions started pouring in after Earnest said that during the brief evacuation, he sheltered in his office nearby.
Josh @PressSec Earnest getting heat from press corp about the evacuation of the briefing room - why press evacuated and not president?
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) June 9, 2015
Ed Henry pointed out on "The Real Story" soon after that the briefing room is in close proximity to other offices, where staffers remained.
After the press corps returned, many reporters wanted to know how Earnest and other White House staffers would have been safe there if a bomb had actually gone off in the briefing room.
Jonathan Karl of ABC News told Earnest, "it's hard to imagine why a bomb threat that would necessitate evacuating this entire room wouldn't affect the rest of this West Wing complex. It's not a very large complex."
Earnest said he could not "account for" why he was allowed to stay in the building.
Julie Pace of Associated Press asked whether there is some sort of "bomb-proofing [or] fire-proofing" that exists between the briefing room and the nearby offices.
Earnest referred the question to the Secret Service.
Correspondent April Ryan kept up the questioning, saying it seemed like a "very serious scenario," yet White House staff remained in the building, while the press went outside.
"There's something not jibing and not mixing. It just seems odd," she noted.
Earnest answered that only the Secret Service can answer those questions.
He said President Obama was in the White House at the time, but was not moved.
For 10 or so minutes, Earnest tried to move the briefing along to other topics to no avail.
Watch the exchange above.