Among the many images that Americans will never forget from the botched U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, one continually repeats itself: President Joe Biden or his representatives turning their backs on the media and fleeing questions like sniper fire. The administration’s refusal to answer reporters’ queries and clear desire to evade this rare case of media scrutiny meant that numerous press conferences ended with a volte-face and a quick withdrawal from the room.
Here are five examples and what they mean for our country:
1) The Biden administration’s decision to turn the other cheek began during the president’s first interaction with the media after the fall of Kabul. One day later — on Monday, August 16 — President Joe Biden gave an address putatively accepting blame for the outcome, before blaming former President Donald Trump and the Afghan army. He then left without taking a single question.
Joe Biden paused his vacation for a few minutes to blame the Afghans, Trump, and whoever else he could think of. No fault admitted.
Then he walked away without taking a single question. pic.twitter.com/S31TSBsIp3
— Chris Martin (@chrisjdmartin) August 16, 2021
2) On August 18, President Biden gave an address on the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rates. He then left without taking any questions.
— 🇺🇸For God & Country🇺🇸 (@American_Zealot) August 23, 2021
Biden runs away from reporters as they shout questions on his Afghanistan catastrophe.
Does Biden only do pre-scripted press conferences now? pic.twitter.com/Pq9bSce14c
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) August 23, 2021
4) On Tuesday, August 24, President Biden showed up five hours late for remarks that were originally scheduled for 12 noon. He began the briefing by discussing, not Afghanistan, but the $3.5 trillion budget framework adopted by the House of Representatives. “Before I update you on the meeting that I had with leaders of the G7 earlier today, I want to say a word about the progress we’re making on the Build Back Better agenda here at home,” he said at 5:03 p.m. Eastern time. He then concluded his briefing by ignoring a reporter who asked, “Can you guarantee every American will be out before the troops leave?”
Joe Biden takes a grand total of ZERO questions on Afghanistan, turns his back on America… again. pic.twitter.com/UVTashoKx1
— Bongino Report (@BonginoReport) August 24, 2021
5) On Sunday, August 29, President Biden spoke at the Federal Emergency Management Agency about Hurricane Ida shortly before the storm made landfall. At the end of his remarks, Biden told a reporter, “I’m not supposed to take any questions, but go ahead.”
“Mr. President, on Afghanistan–” said Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs.
“I’m not going to answer Afghanistan now,” Biden said, dismissively waving his right hand at the reporter before slamming it down on the podium.
BIDEN AT FEMA:
President Biden: "I'm not supposed to take any questions but go ahead."
Reporter: "Mr. President, on Afghanistan –"
President Biden: "I'm not going to answer Afghanistan now." pic.twitter.com/lHHnPcIafN
— Forbes (@Forbes) August 29, 2021
Honorable Mention: Secretary of State Anthony Blinken
On Monday, August 30, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced the end of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. As he concluded his speech, a reporter yelled, “Does this administration regret its word that no American would be left behind?“ Secretary Blinken kept walking.
REPORTER: "Does this Administration regret its word that no American would be left behind?"
*Secretary Blinken runs away and closes the doors on reporters and cameras* pic.twitter.com/LO9Vksc79o
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) August 30, 2021
CNN’s Jim Sciutto tweeted his disapproval, saying, “You gotta answer reporter [sic] questions after a speech and a moment like this.”
The president’s pronounced avoidance of media scrutiny drives home a few points:
First, President Biden brings a true top-down mentality to every aspect of his presidency, from the economy to the direction information flows. After Secretary Blinken’s speech, The Washington Post’s military reporter, Dan Lamothe, said the Biden administration seems to prefer “one-way communication with the American people.” Don’t call us; we’ll call you.
Second, the president, who has a notoriously low threshold for negative feedback, leads a White House that is hypercritical of negative media coverage. Multiple Biden administration officials monitored CNN’s coverage of the Bidens’ German Shepherd, Major, biting people at the White House, according to internal emails recently uncovered by Judicial Watch. That dovetails with reports that the Biden administration’s efforts to shape and control news coverage are extreme, even compared to other presidents.
Finally, the Biden White House is worried about substance, not style, on the Afghanistan evacuation. Officials have publicly admitted that they tell President Biden not to take questions from the media, and the president seems to admit they instruct him which reporters to call on. Engaging journalists’ questions “is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times we say, ‘Don’t take questions,’” said White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in May on David Axelrod’s podcast, “The Axe Files.” The sight of President Biden fleeing reporters has become so common that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted out a supercut video of his greatest hits.
He has turned his back on Americans stranded in Afghanistan.
He has turned his back on our allies and partners.
He has turned his back on his duties as Commander-in-Chief. pic.twitter.com/XS0ZQi4j8o
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) August 27, 2021
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.