It was the butt of many a right-wing joke during the 2020 campaign that then-candidate Joe Biden appeared to spend the majority of his time in his “basement.” It’s a bit less funny, however, that this pattern seems to be continuing now that he is the leader of the free world.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s now-signature reply to reporters that she’ll have to “circle back” with them has become a source of much humor as well — but could it be because she doesn’t actually have access to the basement?
McEnany said that for her part, she didn’t need a “ton of circling back” with reporters because she always had access to Trump.
“I always knew where my boss stood. Unlike other press secretaries that maybe didn’t have walk-in privileges to the Oval, I could walk in at any time,” McEnany explained to the hosts of Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” on Thursday.
“I always knew where his head was at, so I didn’t have to a ton of circling back because President Trump gave a lot of access to me,” she continued.
McEnany said Biden, who has now set a record for the longest amount of time a president has gone without giving a solo news conference, is continuing a pattern he set on the campaign trail.
“That was his strategy all the way along,” she said. “Hide in the basement, don’t talk to the American people.”
McEnany, a new Fox News analyst, contrasted this with Trump — who not only made himself constantly available to the media, but always seemed to revel in doing so. (In fact, we can all certainly agree the history books about Trump will have a lot to say about his lively relationship with the media, to put it lightly.)
“He was always willing to take questions, always willing to go to the podium, always willing to stop … on his way to the helicopter. Transparency is what he offered, and Joe Biden vowed transparency. Now he’s set a 100-year record for not going to the podium,” McEnany said.
Psaki, bless her heart, has been holding daily news conferences under the stated goal of offering more “transparency” than the outgoing Trump administration, which Fox News noted had forsaken the daily pressers during McEnany’s term.
However, are her notoriously evasive answers indicative that the president’s closest handlers aren’t giving the administration’s own high-ranking staffers the transparency they need to do their jobs?
Could the Psaki “circle back” trick be borne not of a press secretary who is performing poorly, necessarily, but a press secretary who has but limited access to the president?
This is actually a pretty chilling thought. If his own press secretary is given just limited access, in theory, this could be indicative of something much worse than we realized.
We know that Biden himself seems to be willing to talk to the media — and it could be said (bless his heart) seems to have hopes of enjoying the same, albeit far friendlier, regular banter with the media pool as Trump did.
It’s also hard to imagine that he’s the one avoiding Psaki, not her, him. (You can insert your own predictable joke about old Creepy Uncle Joe here.)
His cringe-worthy visit to first lady Jill Biden’s Valentine’s Day craft project on the White House lawn with a gaggle of reporters is evident of a desire on his part to chat with members of the media.
Yet even in this instance, he was still all but being led around by the arm by the good Dr. Biden, whom some have noted seems ever poised to mitigate her husband’s comments these days.
This week, the massive barrier between Biden and the media became all the more conspicuous when a live feed from the White House cut out right after Biden had asked participants in the House Democratic virtual retreat if anyone had any questions.
“And I’m happy to take questions if that’s what I’m supposed to do, Nance,” Biden said to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before his stream was suddenly cut. “Whatever you want me to do.”
While he was referring to lawmakers rather than reporters, his answers to any questions posed to him would have certainly been newsworthy as reporters grow more frustrated with his absence from the public eye.
So who cut the feed?
And who keeps making the call to keep Biden away from the media?
I don’t have to insult your intelligence and tell you these are highly concerning questions to have about the leader of the free world, who — as the opponents of Trump relentlessly reminded us about the commander-in-chief while he was in office — has access to nuclear codes.
I suppose the only question left to ask at this point is: Whatever the heck is going on, for how much longer is the administration going to be able to get away with keeping the president of the United States so mysteriously under wraps?
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