A number of White House staff members reportedly routinely skip watching President Joe Biden’s press conferences and speeches live over fears of what he may say.
Biden’s remarks, which often veer off-script or result in verbal flubs and false information, are a source of “anxiety” for staffers in the White House. Some apparently prefer to forgo watching the president live and learn about any potential issues later, a strategy they claim saves them the mental anguish of listening to Biden screw up in real-time.
As Politico reports:
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. 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.
“I know people who habitually don’t watch it live for that reason,” said one current official.
White House staff often recommend that the president not take questions. At times, Biden goes against their advice and breaks out of the tightly controlled media environment his press team attempts to organize, the report noted.
Even when he remains in the confines of his aides’ directions, he still flubs comments or pushes false information, according to Politico. On several occasions, Biden has been caught using a preselected list of reporters to call on during press conferences put together by his staff.
Politico recounted a list of Biden’s “verbal miscues” and “self-inflicted wounds”:
The 2020 election may have proved Biden’s point. But lately, his verbal miscues have been causing headaches for him and his team. Biden has delivered several self-inflicted wounds during freewheeling Q&A sessions that required immediate clean-up. On Afghanistan, he told reporters that a Taliban takeover of the country was “highly unlikely,” said Al Qaeda was “gone” from Afghanistan when it wasn’t, and declared that he’d seen “no question of our credibility” from allies when there had been a lot.
Biden has even flubbed scripted remarks, such as when he said the administration had evacuated 90 percent of Americans from Afghanistan when he was supposed to say 98 percent.
In several instances, Biden has been caught making claims that he should have known were false before he made them, raising questions as to whether the president knowingly lies to the American people to bolster his message or image. In remarks to Jewish leaders last week, Biden claimed to have visited Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the site of a mass shooting in 2018 that killed 11 people.
“I used to think that hate could be defeated, it could be wiped out. But I learned a long time ago, it can’t. It only hides. It hides. It hides under the rocks. And given any oxygen at all, it comes out. It’s a minority view, but it comes out, and it comes outraging. And it’s been given too much oxygen in the last four, five, seven, 10 years, and it has seen itself, whether it was – I remember spending time at the – you know, going to the – you know, the Tree of Life Synagogue, speaking with the – just –,” Biden said, leaving the thought unfinished, according to CNN. “It just is amazing these things are happening – happening in America.”
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