Biden bubble: How first lady Jill and staff 'protect' president from White House press

 Three years into Joe Biden's presidency, journalists covering the administration know what to expect when First Lady Jill Biden steps in: Nothing.

The 81-year-old president has held the fewest press conferences or formal interviews of any modern commander-in-chief — with Biden viewing a walk from his Marine One helicopter on the White House South Lawn as his best chance to get something out for the press corps. goes. face time.

When Biden is alone, it is very easy to bombard him with shouting questions, sometimes turning up to exchanges around midnight – despite the ineffective lighting of the TV allowing him to see his One has to hold one's hand to protect one's eyes from glare.

However, 72-year-old Jill's presence on such trips is a dead giveaway that there will be no question, the first lady makes sure to hold her husband's hand across the lawn.

Jill Biden shields President from direct questions about his health, age: 'He has lived history'

Jill Biden's role in shielding her husband from members of the media has come under new scrutiny after special counsel Robert Hur described the president as "an elderly man with a failing memory" in a report released Thursday.

Biden has held only three solo White House press conferences since taking office in January 2021. Most recently, in November 2022, Jill arrived at the last minute and was seated at the very front of the State Dining Room by a strong aide — who positioned her so reporters couldn't see the first lady hurrying away from her husband at any time. Was she insisting to step back or not?

Such precautions may be needed after Biden's second White House press conference in January 2022, a marathon affair in which the president droned on for nearly two hours and made numerous factual errors and notable mistakes.

At that presser, Biden suggested that a "minor intrusion" by Russia into Ukraine would lead to a minimal U.S. response, which surprised officials in Kiev and suggested that the president gave Vladimir Putin the "green light" to invade. Was – which he did weeks later.

"Why didn't anyone stop him?" Jill Biden became angry at her aides and demanded an explanation for her husband's abandonment of her to the world, according to excerpts from New York Times correspondent Katie Rogers' upcoming book, reported by Axios on Friday.

Rogers writes, "Everyone remained silent, looked at each other, and then at him, and then back at each other." “It included the most powerful man in the world.

"Her husband essentially played along, not responding, even after aides handed him a card suggesting he end the press conference," the book further says.

The first lady has also taken on the role of stage manager for her husband, holding Joe's hand at an event last month to commemorate the Jan. 6, 2021, anniversary of the Capitol riot, following repeated incidents of the president hesitating or wandering off. Was thrown off the stage. After commenting in the wrong direction.

At the same January 2022 press conference that brought so much pain to the first lady, then-press secretary Jen Psaki — wearing a distinctive pink blazer — stood up after about an hour in an apparent effort to end the proceedings.

Psaki sat back down as Biden continued to take questions, only to stand up again 20 minutes later and walk to a door about 50 feet away from the press seating area, about 40 feet away, in another apparent attempt to end the questioning. Continued for minutes. ,

But the most infamous staff interference occurred at the White House Easter Egg Roll in April 2022, when Meghan Hayes, then-director of messaging planning, wearing an Easter Bunny costume, barged in to prevent Biden from answering an Afghan journalist's question and guided him Did. away from the rope line.

The White House press office has also played its role, instituting a byzantine prescreening process to choose which journalists are allowed to attend large indoor events that were open to all under the previous administration – making it Complaints were made that those most aligned with the administration were the most likely to do so. The invitation should be extended.

The prescreening was relaxed in the summer of 2022 after protests from members of the press corps, but returned ahead of Biden's last-minute response to Hur's report Thursday night. Digital RSVP forms were issued just minutes before the hastily scheduled event in the White House Diplomatic Reception Room, and some journalists were denied access to the relatively small venue on the grounds of the Executive Mansion.

Despite all precautions, Biden's tendency to say the wrong thing did not remain hidden for long.

For example, at that White House press conference in November 2022, Biden said he would take questions from 10 reporters from a list of pre-approved names, but moved on after calling only nine — after a cruel mistake in which He said Russian troops were preparing to pull out of the Iraqi city of Fallujah when he meant the Ukrainian city of Kherson.

Those slips have increased in recent weeks, in which Biden has mixed the names of current foreign leaders with those of their dead predecessors. On Sunday, he told a Las Vegas audience that he had recently spoken to the late French President Francois Mitterrand, who died in 1996. In Manhattan on Wednesday, Biden reminded donors that he had discussed the Capitol riot with German on January 6, 2021. Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who last held the post in 1998 and died in 2017.

Thursday night, moments after insisting "I know what I'm doing" in response to the Hur report, Biden misidentified Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as "the President of Mexico." .

The president has not held a press conference of any size since the APEC summit in November, where he appeared confused standing shoulder to shoulder with other world leaders and mispronounced the name of the venue.

That same month, his re-election campaign launched Operation "Bubble Wrap", which insiders told The New York Times was intended to protect the president from his unpleasant travels and stumbles – whether on stage or while boarding Air Force One. .

1 comment:

  1. Jill Biden said of Joe Biden, 'He has lived history'
    She meant to say, 'He's history'


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