AP Reporter’s Brutal Syria Question for State Department Spokeswoman

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee does not mince words.

At a Thursday press briefing, Lee struggled to understand why Secretary of State John Kerry keeps referring to President Barack Obama’s decision to seek congressional authorization for a military strike on Syria as “courageous.”

And his argument is simple: How is it “courageous” to seek permission for something he believes he can do anyway?

“I don’t understand why he is so full-throatedly in favor of this,” Lee said. “He over the weekend said the president was acting courageously by taking this to Congress, and I don’t understand what is courageous about asking permission for something that you say you don’t need and to do what you believe to be the right thing not just morally but in general.”

“Can you explain why this is a ‘courageous’ move, and why the secretary would call it a ‘courageous’ move?” he asked.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded with the regular White House talking point about how Secretary Kerry believes military action in Syria should be “limited” and that securing congressional approval is a step in the right direction.

State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki speaks regarding the situation in Egypt during the daily press briefing at the US State Department in Washington, DC, August 15, 2013. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

But Lee wasn’t satisfied with this response: “Was there some kind of, like, group spine-removal procedure at the White House over the weekend? I don’t understand. How is this courageous?”

Psaki responded to his remark by reiterating that the White House believes it can go it alone but wants the backing of Congress:

Lee has become known for his pointed and blunt questions during State Department press briefings.

In November 2012, Lee demanded to know why the White House had not rebuked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for referring to Israel as “a terrorist state.”

Further, in April 2013, Lee let State Department Deputy Spokesman Patrick Ventrell know in no uncertain terms that he’s really not impressed with political jargon and non-answers.

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Featured image AP.