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Tipsheet

Why White House Aides Are Frustrated With Biden Now

Screenshot via YouTube

According to a Friday report from Axios, some White House aides are fed up with President Joe Biden's light schedule that's become the norm as the administration seeks to give the gaffe-prone commander in chief the best possible chance of making it through public-facing events without becoming a viral meme. 

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We're all used to the strange whispers and sudden yelling that typify Biden's speeches, as well as his pre-cleared reporters with apparently approved questions being asked at his rare press conferences. As Axios noted in its report, the White House "rarely puts Biden in improvisational settings — or in front of hostile questions from reporters," meaning "it's tough for anyone outside his tight bubble to truly appraise the reality of Biden being the oldest president in U.S. history."

Axios is right and, according to White House aides that spoke anonymously for the report, it's by design — even if that makes running the West Wing tricky. 

"Some White House officials say it's difficult to schedule public or private events with the president in the morning, in the evening, or on weekends," Axios reported. After crunching the numbers, the aides' claims check out.

By the numbers: A breakdown of Biden's schedule so far in 2023 reveals how his staff tries to ensure he's at his best:

  • Only four public events before 10 a.m.
  • Just a dozen public events after 6 p.m. — mostly dinners and receptions with foreign leaders or fundraisers.
  • 12 full weekends with no public events.

The light and limited event schedule for Biden's official calendar is expected to be mirrored in his recently announced reelection bid, continuing his 2020 strategy of waging a campaign from his basement. Axios said as much, explaining that the "White House is basically hiding Biden as he auditions for another term."

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More from Axios' White House sources:

  • Some White House aides privately have compared Biden to an aging king: He has a tight-knit palace guard of longtime aides whose first instinct is to protect him, and not take chances.
  • As president, Biden hasn't done an interview with The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal — a break from decades of presidential precedent.
  • Biden's team points to scores of brief Q&A "interactions" he's had with reporters, along with the access he's given to largely sympathetic social media influencers and others — part of a strategy to help him reach voters by working around traditional media.

The White House's official spokespeople, predictably, are denying what aides told Axios, even though their explanation of the hazards of trying to run a West Wing helmed by an octogenarian mesh with Biden's schedule so far this year. "False," was Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O'Malley Dillon's response to Axios.

Further corroboration for claims that Biden is being sheltered from the public and the press came in March, as Townhall reported at the time, when former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declared that "President Biden does nothing at 9:00 AM." 

What's more, CNN explained in a previous piece about how Biden operates as president that his daily schedule includes a "return to his residence by 7 p.m.," more evidence that evening events are not an option for Biden. 

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It's of little surprise that Biden's handlers prefer to keep him away from cameras, reporters, and the public, however limiting doing so might be. Biden made hiding out in his basement the trademark of his 2020 strategy, and little changed when he took office in 2021. With false anecdotes about his upbringing, claims of disproven travels with Xi Jinping, and his frequent inability to accurately identify members of his own cabinet make keeping Biden hidden an understandable decision. 

It does not, however, make for a competent leader — a reality that has become exceedingly clear with each new and worsening Biden crisis. 

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