August 26, 2013 | by Chris Johnson
Carney ducks questions on Manning, bisexual roundtable
White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, Gay News, Washington Blade

White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney refused to answer questions about Chelsea Manning or an upcoming bisexual issues roundtable (Washington Blade file photo by Damien Salas).

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney refused to answer to questions on Monday regarding the treatment of U.S. Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning in prison or the administration’s upcoming closed-door session on bisexual issues.

Under questioning from the Washington Blade, Carney wouldn’t respond to an inquiry on whether President Obama would take into consideration the additional hardship Manning would face in prison for being transgender in deciding whether to grant her a presidential pardon.

“I’m not going to speculate about that, Chris,” Carney said.

Similarly, Carney refused to respond to a second question on why, as the Blade first reported, the White House intended to hold an off-the-record, closed-to-the-press session on bisexual issues on Sept. 23.

“You know, I just don’t have anything information for you on that,” Carney said.

At that point, Fox News’ Ed Henry interrupted with a question on the Keystone Pipeline, preventing the Blade from asking any follow-ups on Manning or the bisexual roundtable.

Last week, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama “would consider” a clemency petition for Manning “like any other application.” Earnest added he wouldn’t get ahead of the process.

That White House response was before Manning came out as trans.

According to NBC News, Manning won’t have access to hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery while being incarcerated at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

A partial transcript of the event follows:

Washington Blade: Two questions on some very different topics. First on Chelsea Manning, who came out as transgender after being sentenced to 35 years in prison, the Army prison to which she’s been assigned doesn’t provide hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery. Would the President weigh the hardship Chelsea Manning would face because of her gender identity as a factor in a decision to grant her a presidential pardon?

Carney: I’m not going to speculate about that, Chris.

Blade: Okay. And also, as I first reported earlier based on an invitation that was leaked to me, the White House is going to be holding a closed-door roundtable on bisexual issues on September 23rd. I just wanted to know what made the White House decide to hold this event and at that time?

Carney: You know, I just don’t have any information for you on that.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Thank you very much for asking the White House the question! Next time ask if PFC Manning's extreme harsh treatment for almost ONE YEAR! will be mitigated by a reduction to Time Served? Thank you again!

  • Thank you Chris for your continued coverage on the upcoming bisexual discussion slated to take place at the White House. Frankly, I am surprised that this hasn't elicited a little more outrage from within the bisexual community as to how all this is being handled. Here we have a discussion taking place about issues of our concern to our community and we have no idea who the stakeholders in the discussion will be or what the official agenda is going to be. The handling of this, to me, is reminiscent of how discussions of concern surrounding the LGBT as a community in the early days as a whole went down. Remember when everyone was fighting for a place at the table? Well, it seems we have the same thing happening here. A forward thinking discussion for our community that the community hasn't been adequately been briefed on and that we're supposed to automatically entrust that our voice and our concerns are being appropriately handled by all those involved – whoever they may be. Why isn't this causing more people to speak up? Why isn't there more discussion?
    Please keep doing the good work you're doing and hopefully we'll get more specifics as to exactly what kind of discussion is being had with respect to our community.

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