President Joe Biden thought he was showing his critics that he was a competent leader by conducting his first solo news conference — instead, he showed the world he needed crib sheets just to get through it.
During Thursday’s news conference, the 78-year-old president shuffled through pre-printed cards, some with headings of key topics and relevant statistics and another with journalists’ headshots and identities, Fox News reported.
The much-anticipated event came more than 60 days into his presidency — later than any president in a century — and was only for 25, hand-picked journalists asking a handful of questions.
Still, Biden apparently couldn’t manage it without his cards to tell him what to say and who to call on.
“President Biden leaned on detailed notes, photos of journalists at first formal news conference,” a user on Twitter said with a photo of one of the cards in Biden’s hand with the heading “Infrastructure” with statistics about the U.S. and subheadings about “China” and “Bridges.”
President Biden leaned on detailed notes, photos of journalists at first formal news conference. pic.twitter.com/uE8wLJLnVu
— Jack Blaine (@JackBlaine3) March 26, 2021
Another card featured photos of journalists and listed their names and respective news outlets.
Some appeared to have been crossed out completely while others had a circled number next to the headshot, leading to speculation about what the markings meant.
Biden’s press conference cheat sheet with headshots of reporters — Why are some of the squares crossed out? pic.twitter.com/H1Pru1GACu
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) March 26, 2021
Daily Wire host Candace Owens also advanced her theory and blasted Biden in a tweet Thursday.
“Joe Biden had a cheat sheet with the names and faces marked of which journalists to call on, and he knew EXACTLY what questions would be asked of him,” Owens charged.
“That was not a press conference—that was a play put on by bad faith actors in a pseudo-democracy,” she wrote.
Joe Biden had a cheat sheet with the names and faces marked of which journalists to call on, and he knew EXACTLY what questions would be asked of him.
That was not a press conference—that was a play put on by bad faith actors in a pseudo-democracy. pic.twitter.com/ee56Xcg63M
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) March 26, 2021
While there’s no proof that Biden had the questions in advance, the portion of the card pictured does show that one journalist is number nine and there were only 10 reporters called on at the news conference.
But the fact that he would need a card to tell him who’s who it all is highly unusual.
Fox News contributor Joe Concha pointed out on “Fox & Friends” Friday that this was especially notable for a politician who has spent nearly half a century in Washington, D.C.
“You would think by now he would know who the Associated Press reporter is, or who the PBS reporter is or who the NBC reporter is,” Concha told the hosts.
“He didn’t seem to know who the Fox reporter is because he didn’t call on Peter Doocy,” he joked as the reporter was not one of Biden’s chosen few to get to ask a question.
“His handlers decided that of the 10 reporters he’d call on, he wouldn’t call on the highest-rated network in cable, so that makes a lot of sense — unless you’re actually afraid of the question which seems to be the case.”
Concha said that the questions Biden fielded were “not even softballs, but mostly grapefruits that were tossed to the president” except one tough question on the border crisis.
He also pointed out how it looked bad that “the leader of the free world needs to look down at not just like a notecard with maybe a theme, just a bullet point here and there, but notes that look like Cliff’s Notes.”
“He was reading from them directly at times,” Concha continued.
“That does not reflect well to our adversaries in China, in Russia, in Iran,” he observed, adding “it was a very uncomfortable thing to watch yesterday.”
By all accounts, it seemed as if the event was heavily choreographed and tightly controlled, but Biden still had trouble looking alert and even keeping his train of thought (thank goodness there were no stairs to navigate this time, at least).
While a White House press secretary will often come equipped with a binder of information, it’s unusual for presidents and fits into a broader pattern of troubling signs that Biden may not be fit for office.
It almost seems cruel to pick apart an elderly man because he can’t remember names, faces, and facts — except that this man is the leader of the free world.
He’s the one with the nuclear weapon launch codes, the one who meets with foreign leaders and demonstrates strength and competence on behalf of the U.S. to the world.
Instead, he appeared weak and frail, even in a setting carefully curated to give him the best advantage.
It’s likely whoever advised him to wait so long to give his first conference knew this — plus, they needed time to print those handy cards.
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