A new Politico report claims that White House staffers turn off or mute President Joe Biden’s public appearances because the President’s speaking habits and behavior give them anxiety.
The report says that the staffers admitted they did this.
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) September 7, 2021
Politico: ‘Staffers Will Either Mute Him Or Turn Off His Remarks’
Politico reported Tuesday, “When Biden gives public remarks, some White House staffers will either mute him or turn off his remarks, according to White House officials.”
“It’s not that they’re indifferent to what their boss has to say,” Politico noted. “Indeed, their livelihoods are directly invested in it.”
“Rather, they’re filled with anxiety that he’s going to take questions from the press and veer off the West Wing’s carefully orchestrated messaging,” the report added.
Commentators have often wondered about Biden’s habit of telling reporters, “I’m not supposed to take questions” or a similar variation on that sentiment.
“I know people who habitually don’t watch it live for that reason,” one current official told Politico.
Biden often takes question from reporters, as is customary for a president (though sometimes he doesn’t!), and his habit of deviating from White House messaging reportedly frustrates staff. The president has also seen crowds hostile towards him, particularly after the botched Afghanistan evacuations.
Politico reported, “Biden’s advisers have urged him to answer fewer of the questions being shouted at him by reporters covering his events. While the president sometimes obliges and quickly leaves the podium after remarks, he has a tendency to buck those staffers trying to rein him in.”
Joe Biden on tornadoes: "…they don't call them that anymore…" pic.twitter.com/HwkpYzv8bm
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) September 7, 2021
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Biden Often Takes Reporter Questions When Staff Asks Him Not To
Biden said during an address to FEMA last week, “I’m not supposed to take any questions, but go ahead.”
The news outlet added, “A lot of times, we say, ‘Don’t take questions,’” press secretary Jen Psaki told Democratic strategist David Axelrod on his podcast in the spring. ‘But he’s going to do what he wants to do because he’s the president of the United States.’”
Politico also noted that “Biden is well-aware of his reputation as a ‘gaffe machine.”
On Tuesday, Biden said of tornados in New Jersey, that “they don’t call them that anymore.”
“The members of Congress know, from their colleagues in Congress that, uh, you know, the, looks like a tornado, they don’t call them that anymore, that hit the crops and wetlands in the middle of the country, in Iowa and Nevada,” Biden said.
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