According to White House officials, White House staffers either have to mute President Biden or turn off his remarks when he is publicly speaking. “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 of the West Wing’s carefully orchestrated messaging” reports POLITICO’S self-described West Wing Playbook.
One current official told POLITICO “I know people who habitually don’t watch it live for that reason” referring to the President’s appearances. The inside scoop gives more context to situations such as when Biden quickly leaves a podium after remarks, or when he said, “I’m not supposed to take any questions, but go ahead” after addressing FEMA.
Biden has been referred to as a “gaffe machine” and press secretary Jen Psaki admitted to Democratic strategist David Axelrod on his podcast that “a lot of times, we say, ‘Don’t take questions” to the President.
On the campaign trail he attempted to make a self-deprecating quip to minimize the embarrassment. “No one every doubts that I mean what I say. The problem is, I sometimes say all that I mean.”
POLITICO reports, “The 2020 election may have proved Biden’s point. But lately, his verbal miscues have been causing headaches for him and his team.” Specifically, “Biden has delivered several self-inflicted wounds during freewheeling Q&A sessions that required immediate clean-up.”
For example, “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 an attempt to defend the President, Mike Gwin said in an email, “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…The President deeply values the role of the press – that’s why he regularly takes time to answer their questions in interviews, press conferences, and the dozens of media availabilities he’s done since taking office.”