U.S. State Dept spokesperson Price to step down after two years
By Simon Lewis
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price will step down this month after more than two years and take up a new position reporting to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the secretary said on Tuesday.
Price was sworn in as spokesperson on Jan. 20, 2021, the day Joe Biden was inaugurated as president. His service was marked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the chaotic withdrawal of diplomats and other personnel from Afghanistan.
In a statement, Blinken said Price held more than 200 briefings with journalists, acting as a face and voice of U.S. foreign policy.
"Ned has helped the U.S. government defend and promote press freedom around the globe and modeled the transparency and openness we advocate for in other countries. His contributions will benefit the department long after his service," Blinken said.
Shaun Tandon, president of the State Department Correspondents' Association, praised Price for restoring the department's daily press briefings and facing reporters' scrutiny, as in the case of the Afghan pullout.
The department responsible for U.S. diplomacy held briefings only sporadically during the administration of former President Donald Trump.
"Thanks to Ned, the Daily Press Briefing now seems routine and that is how it should be — it offers an opportunity for press from around the world to question the foreign policy of the United States, often critically, and requires the State Department to defend it," Tandon said in a statement. "It is a tribute to the health of American democracy."
(Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Chris Reese and Daniel Wallis)