Some staffers in the Biden White House would rather miss their boss speak in public than endure another gaffe, according to a new report.
Anxiety about what President Joe Biden might say if he takes questions from the media drives some in the White House to mute him or turn off his public appearances altogether, Politico reported Tuesday, citing White House officials.
“I know people who habitually don’t watch it live for that reason,” an unnamed official told the outlet for the report, which focused on occasions when Biden strayed from messaging crafted by the West Wing.
Biden has made frequent flubs during press events and other public appearances by losing his line of thinking, stumbling , and forgetting names.
On Tuesday, Biden asserted during a briefing about the damage incurred from Hurricane Ida that tornadoes are called something else now.
“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. It’s just across the board,” Biden said at a press conference in New Jersey.
Biden occasionally shrugs off reporters’ inquiries by telling the press that his staff directed him not to take questions, suggesting officials seek to minimize the number of those incidents.
Michael Gwin, the director of Rapid Response for the White House, told the Washington Examiner that Biden “deeply values” the press’ role and asserted that Biden frequently makes himself available for questioning.
“As the president has shown over and over since he announced his candidacy more than two years ago, he’s the most effective communicator for his vision and his agenda,” Gwin said in a statement.
Some Republicans have seized on Biden’s verbal miscues and overall posture, saying his public appearances indicate the 78-year-old president is out of his league.
“I think he’s either going to resign — they’re going to convince him to resign from office at some point in the near future for medical issues — or they’re going to have to use the 25th Amendment to get rid of this man,” Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson, a former White House physician, said in July.