President Joke Biden sarcastically told a class of elementary school students Monday during his visit to New Jersey that one of his responsibilities as president is to "avoid" answering questions posed by the media.
At the conclusion of his comments to school at East End Elementary, Biden pointed to members of the press at the back of the classroom before telling the students how he tends to shy away from the media.
"As president, see all these people here? They're with you all the time. They get to ask you all kinds of questions, and you try to figure out how you’re gonna avoid answering them sometimes," Biden said, laughing.
Biden jokes with a student at East End Elementary in NJ that he has to figure out how to avoid answering questions when he’s president. pic.twitter.com/RRoV15BNVf— The Recount (@therecount) October 25, 2021
Since taking office, Biden has routinely been criticized for his lack of media accessibility and for operating under the instruction of White House staff. He has, on a number of occasions, told the White House press corps that he was directed to call on certain reporters for questions following a speech.
"Ladies and gentlemen, they gave me a list here. The first person I was instructed to call on was Kelly O'Donnell from NBC," Biden said at an August press conference.
And during a visit to the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters to speak on the impact of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, the president said, "I'm not supposed to take any questions, but go ahead," before then electing not to answer a reporter when hearing that they were asking about the Afghanistan withdrawal.
But oftentimes, Biden does not field any questions from the press and instead just walks away at the conclusion of his remarks.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has previously admitted to telling Biden not to answer questions from the press.
"He takes questions nearly every day he’s out [with] the press," Psaki told CNN commentator David Axelrod on his podcast back in May.
"A lot of times, we say, 'Don’t take questions,'" she continued. "But he’s going to do what he wants to do because he’s the president of the United States."
Biden has also snapped at reporters when asked a question he does not like. In June, he pointed his finger at CNN's Kaitlan Collins and told her that she was in the "wrong profession" after she asked about his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which she suggested that Biden believed Putin may change his aggressive behavior.
"I'm not confident he'll change his behavior," Biden yelled at Collins. "What in the hell, what do you do all the time?" He later apologized for scolding her.
And on the campaign trail ahead of the 2020 election, Biden accused CBS' Bo Erickson of smearing him after questions were asked about his son Hunter Biden's controversial business dealings.
"I know you’d ask it. I have no response, it’s another smear campaign, right up your alley, those are the questions you always ask," Biden told Erickson when asked about the bombshell New York Post report last year.
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