President Barack Obama delivered a harsh rebuke to CBS News reporter Major Garrett on Wednesday in response to a question about whether the United States is acknowledging the plight of four American hostages in Iran despite the successful nuclear agreement. Now, the CBS White House correspondent has responded to the President’s sharp words, standing by his commitment to asking the tough questions.
Obama held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to field questions about the Iran deal. While most of the press conference went smoothly, things became somewhat heated when Garrett asked, “Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscious of this nation, the strength of this nation, unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?”
“The notion that I am content as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails…” Obama replied, pausing and gesturing exasperatedly. “Major, that’s nonsense, and you should know better. I’ve met with the families of some of this folks. Nobody’s content. And our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try and get them out.” Obama grew visibly upset and quickly finished his answer before moving on.
Later Wednesday evening, Garrett appeared on CBSN to react to the harsh treatment from the president. He did not seem too fazed: “Sometimes you have to take a scolding from a president to get to an answer. That’s part of my job.” However, Garrett took the opportunity to criticize Obama for the way he handled the situation, as well as to clarify the reason behind his question.
“My question did not suggest he was content with the captivity of those four Americans,” Garrett explained. “My question was about the contentment, or the satisfaction, or the realization that it was necessary within the context of this deal to leave them unaccounted for. That was the essence of the question. Clearly it struck a nerve. That was my intention …. Was it provocative? Yes. Was it intended to be as such? Absolutely.”
— CBSN (@CBSNLive) July 15, 2015