Reporter Asks Earnest: If Alan Gross Was at SOTU, Why Wasn’t Bergdahl?


At Thursday’s White House press briefing, Daily Mail reporter Francesca Chambers asked Press Secretary Josh Earnest why recently-freed prisoner Alan Gross was invited to the State of the Union, but Bowe Bergdahl was not.

Bergdahl was freed last year in a prisoner swap with the Taliban, but since then has been called a “deserter” for the actions that led to his capture. On Wednesday, NBC News and Fox News both reported that Bergdahl had been charged with desertion, but the Army disputed claims that he has been charged with desertion.

Amid the conflicting information, Chambers sought to figure out why Gross, who was recently brought back to the U.S. after spending five years in a Cuban prison, was invited to the State of the Union, but Bergdahl was not.

“If it’s patently false that they’re going to charge him [Bergdahl] with desertion, why was he not at the State of the Union?” Chambers asked. “Alan Gross was at the State of the Union — he was someone else who was in a prison for 5 years and released in a prisoner swap — so why was Bowe Bergdahl not at the State of the Union?”

Earnest took issue with how the question was asked, clarifying that Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said it was not “patently false” that he was a charged, but rather “patently false” that a decision had been made as to whether charges will be brought. And that decision, Earnest said, will come from the Pentagon, not the White House.

Watch the video below, via C-SPAN:

[Image via C-SPAN/screengrab]

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