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Tipsheet

White House Claims Biden Speaks for Himself... After He Got Caught with a Q&A Cheat Sheet

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The White House and President Biden have spent the week flip-flopping like a fish out of water when it comes to what President Biden says, who he's speaking for, and what it means. After the communications nightmare that was his trip to Europe last week, several Biden statements needed to be walked back by the White House or other senior officials in the Biden administration — as Guy dove into here

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Then after returning from Europe, Biden was again stepping in it while answering reporters' questions on Monday in an event that was supposed to be about his budget for the next fiscal year but devolved into another communications mess that saw him double-down on his comments regarding Vladimir Putin's future as the leader of Russia — rather than stick to what the White House's position has been apparently independent from the President's stated belief. 

Even worse, Biden's handlers had given their boss a very simple cheat sheet before Monday's press conference which had the easiest of talking points on it — Biden was to say that his statement in Poland about Putin remaining in power was merely personal frustration and his words were not a signal of a change in U.S. policy toward Russia's leader. But he didn't stick to the script that was apparently provided to him... and that created more problems on Tuesday.

White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield stated in her press briefing Tuesday that "Only President Biden decides what President Biden is going to say."

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Bedingfield is right, but only partially — President Biden has proven that he cannot be managed. He will say whatever he wants, however damaging it may be to his administration's work to maintain consistent or on-topic messaging. But how can the White House — which just got caught telling Biden what to say after he said the wrong thing — claim that Biden decides what he's going to say? 

She could have simply explained, whether true or not, that the cheat sheet Biden was photographed with in Monday's Q&A with the press was merely a simplified reiteration of what President Biden, in consultation with the White House communications team, had decided was his administration's position. It would have contradicted what Biden himself said in Poland, but it might have flown a bit better than what she claimed. 

But whatever Bedingfield said on Tuesday, this week is hardly the first time Biden's statements while talking with reporters have raised questions about who is really pulling the strings in the West Wing. As Townhall has covered previously, Biden has frequently used lists of pre-cleared reporters to choose who gets to ask him questions — presumably those who will keep questions friendly and related to what Biden has prepared for. President Biden has also repeatedly said, somewhat ominously, that he will "be in trouble" with his staff for answering questions from unapproved reporters on unknown topics — again begging the question of who's really deciding what the president says and to whom he says it. And even when Biden does supposedly face the American people, as in a CNN town hall event, the "real" Americans and their questions were pre-screened, again likely so Biden could be prepped on what to say.

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It's been fairly obvious for awhile — since the days Biden was kept in his basement by campaign staff in 2020, to his odd statements about how he'll be in trouble with his handlers since taking office, and as seen in the clean up his administration has to do whenever he truly speaks his mind — that what Biden says is not entirely up to him. It's the result of attempts by his staff to keep him from making gaffes that all too often fail to curtail his own confusing commentary. 

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