You have to give the Biden administration credit, given that Democrats typically go on ad nauseam about transparency, even though skeptics understand it’s all a ruse — this was a favorite catchphrase in the Obama administration, which set records for denying Freedom of Information Act requests.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki openly admitted that President Biden — who can be a walking gaffe machine — taking impromptu questions from reporters “is not something we recommend.”
The surprisingly candid remark came during an interview on David Axelrod’s podcast “The Axe Files,” which aired on Thursday.
Obama’s former henchman, now a CNN political commentator, asked Psaki if it gives her “heartburn” to see 78-year-old Biden “roll around in the [White House] hallways doing impromptu interviews.”
The question was prompted by Biden running into CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins at the White House earlier this year and fielding a question.
“I think the thing that’s interesting is that he actually takes questions. I mean he took questions — I mean, he did have a mini press conference yesterday. He takes questions nearly every day,” Psaki said.
“That is not something we recommend,” she continued. “In fact, a lot of times we say, ‘Don’t take questions,’ you know, but he’s going to do what he wants to do because he is the president of the United States.”
While some in the White House press pool fawn over Psaki, she didn’t exactly return the sentiment while talking about her job responsibilities.
“We’re never gonna satisfy the White House press corps and their desires for access, and I think there have been mistakes made in the past of trying to do that,” she said.
She went on to say that they try to “not get pulled in by distractions,” saying there are days when the press would be asking about [Rep.] Liz Cheney and [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell and [Rep.] Marjorie Taylor Greene.”
“The first time I traveled with him, he took questions from the pool three times that day and I thought, ‘Am I going to be fired when I get back?'” Psaki said, adding that Biden “likes the press corps and likes that back and forth engagement.”
Why wouldn’t he? There are plenty who argue that these are the folks who got Biden elected in the first place, that he is “their guy.” They’ve certainly proven that they are willing to run interference for him — see the overwhelmed southern border.
Speaking of the border, Psaki said the crisis in not an “important issue,” stating that they try to use Biden’s time to focus on “what the public cares about.” Naturally, she assumed the privilege to decide what’s important to the public.
“The public cares about the pandemic, the economy. We’re often asked why don’t you go to the border?” she said. “Important issues, we’re focused on it. What percentage of the public is focused on the border, a much smaller percentage than is focused on the pandemic and economy.”
Psaki was taking advantage of the opportunity to establish the narrative that Biden makes himself fully available to the media, though reality says otherwise.
The president took 65 days to hold his first solo press conference, the longest time a newly elected president has gone without holding one since former President Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s. Coolidge was often called “silent Cal.”
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