Building on what has become an especially infuriating pattern in recent months, President Joe Biden on Thursday once again blatantly ignored reporters’ questions, turned his back on assembled journalists, and walked out of an event at which he delivered a set of scripted remarks on COVID-19, as Fox News reports, leaving observers to wonder just how much longer such conduct can continue.
Addressing the press corps from a bizarre, faux White House set that sits in an auditorium space in the Old Executive Office Building that has become the subject of online ridicule, Biden gave his speech, telegraphed his talking points, and swiftly turned tail and fled the barrage of questions coming his way.
The scene prompted John Roberts of Fox News to comment, “President Biden walking away there without taking any questions from the press corps assembled,” a sentence that has been an all-too-familiar refrain since the current president took office.
As Fox News noted, the frequency with which Biden has refused to engage with reporters seems to have increased in recent days, as a disappointing September jobs report and other negative economic trends including gas prices and supply chain problems continue to dog the administration.
Media and political commentator Joe Concha blasted what is apparently the commander in chief’s prevailing modus operandi, opining on Twitter after a Wednesday example of the habit, “President Biden addresses supply chain issue in scripted remarks without taking one question. Again. His handlers simply won’t allow it, and it speaks volumes he doesn’t have the confidence in his own arguments not to override them.”
Biden’s propensity to run from serious questioning was particularly jarring back in August when, after delivering a speech on the disastrous U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, he deliberately ignored the shouts of reporters seeking clarity on the deteriorating conditions in the ground in that country and the fate of Americans and allies left behind.
The clear discomfort White House staffers have any time there is a possibility that Biden may speak in an off-the-cuff manner was also laid bare last month during an Oval Office meeting between the American president and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as the Washington Times reported.
The moment Biden began offering an answer to an immigration-related question from a journalist, administration aides leaped into action and shouted down additional questions, rendering the president’s initial answer unintelligible.
As a result of the chaos that ensued, members of the White House press pool saw little choice but to lodge a formal complaint due to the fact that aides permitted British journalists to ask questions of the two leaders, while American reporters were not, according to The Hill. However, considering this week’s performances, Biden’s handlers seem determined to do whatever is necessary to prevent the sort of embarrassing – even dangerous – miscues for which their boss is known.