State Department spokesman Ned Price clashed with a reporter during a press conference at the White House on Monday.
The tense exchange erupted as Price boasted of the government’s efforts to reduce the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.
Price said 18 companies, mostly Western, have made “good faith efforts to lessen” their involvement with Nord Stream 2.
“It demonstrates that legislative goals and our actions are having a good effect,” Price said of the United States’ bipartisan opposition to the project since the time of former President Donald Trump.
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee then intruded.
“You’ve only been in office for a month, right? Are you telling me that in the past four weeks these 18 companies have suddenly decided to say, ‘Oh my God! We better do nothing with Nord Stream 2, ”said Lee.
“You are taking credit for things that the previous government did. Yes or No?”
Price and Lee talked for several seconds, before the State Department spokesman could say he was just speaking on behalf of those who work in the department he represents.
“The people who worked on it, the people who are working now, were the same people a month ago, they were the same people three months ago,” said Price.