U.S. Special Envoy for Kosovo Richard Grenell criticized reporters on Friday, during a press conference in the White House Press briefing room.
Grenell grew frustrated with the press as he came to discuss the agreement with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti to normalize economic relations between the two countries.
As usual, most White House reporters used their time to ask about the political questions of the day, including The Atlantic story accusing President Trump of calling American dead soldiers “losers” and “suckers.”
Grenell berated reporters for ignoring the significance of the deal with Kosovo and Serbia.
“I don’t know if you can find it on a map, but this is atrocious, I have to tell you guys,” he said. “You might be too young to understand what this issue is about; maybe the older journalists should step up and say this is a big deal.”
Grenell told reporters that they had lost their credibility with the American people.
“I’m astounded at what happens in Washington, DC, and especially in this room. I got to tell you, get substantive, maybe it’s too complicated of an issue for you all,” he said.
NBC’s Peter Alexander protested Grenell’s comments, noting that it was the first time that reporters had the chance to speak with the officials present for the announcement.
“You guys don’t understand what’s happening outside of Washington, DC,” Grenell continued. “People aren’t listening to you anymore. It’s really a crisis in journalism, and I think it’s because people are too young to understand issues like Kosovo and Serbia.”
“I don’t think any of us came here for a lecture about our questioning,” Reuters reporter Jeff Mason replied.
Grenell ultimately led a discussion about the details of the Kosovo-Serbia deal and said that American and European businesses were prepared to invest more in the region thanks to the agreement.
“That is something that has never been tried,” he said. “We have been stuck on literally verbs and symbolism in terms of negotiations on the politics and we’re going to try something new.”
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