CNN’s Jeff Zeleny stunningly accused President Joe Biden’s advisors of “screaming at him to stop” taking questions and claimed he had never seen aides so protective of a president.
The CNN Chief National Affairs correspondent opened during CNN’s coverage of Biden’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin by noting that the president wanted to set his own narrative following the meeting.
“We have seen President Biden do that pretty well,” he said, but then bluntly questioned Biden being handled in regards to answering questions from the press.
“What we have not seen him do is answer questions like that without his aides screaming at him to stop. I have never seen a president, covering the last four of them, who was so protected by his aides in terms of often not wanting him to answer some questions,” Zeleny added.
Zeleny also called it “Classic Joe Biden” over his ripping into his CNN colleague’s “perfectly legitimate question” during a tense altercation between the president and CNN’s Kaitlan Collins at a press conference.
“That was classic Joe Biden, we saw that occasionally during the campaign, I’ve seen it on Capitol Hill. Staffers who have worked for Joe Biden for a long time have seen a flash of temper, but he also realized it was inappropriate, could perhaps be viewed as sexist, so he clearly wanted to clean it up and lighten the mood and take it off the table before getting on a plane, as all of the images and the narrative was set. He wanted to take that off the table,” he explained.
The comments from Zeleny took place on Wednesday following Biden’s meeting with Vladimir Putin and the exchange with Collins. Biden barked at her, saying “What the hell?” when she asked him about Putin.
(Video Credit: GOP War Room | CNN)
“I’m not confident I’ll change his behavior. What do you do all the time?” Biden lashed out in anger. He walked up to the reporter with one finger up for emphasis and told her that she was “in the wrong business” following her question concerning why he was confident that Putin will “change his behavior.”
“When did I say I was confident? I said … What I said was – let’s get it straight,” Biden snapped. “I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world. I’m not confident of anything. I’m just stating the facts.”
The president apologized later before getting on his plane to return home: “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy with the last answer I gave,” he said outside Air Force One.
Collins stated she was “just doing my job” and then told Biden he didn’t need to apologize but said she appreciated that he did.
Since taking office, it has frequently been speculated that Biden is controlled by his press advisors on what to say and not say to journalists. He’s also apparently given a list of reporters to call upon.
Not for the first time, Biden joked at the G7 summit press conference on Sunday that he would get in trouble for answering questions from the press.
After taking a question following the summit, Biden remarked: “I’m sorry, I’m going to get in trouble with staff if I don’t do this the right way.”
He repeated the answer as he walked away from the presser amid more questions being tossed his way: “‘I’m going to get in trouble with my staff,’ he stated to the press pack. ‘Yeah, go ahead. But I can pretend that I didn’t answer you.'”
The incidents are a repeat of another remark made by Biden in May at the White House. After a series of meetings on vaccines and infrastructure, Biden noted to the press: “I’m not supposed to be answering all these questions.” He was also cut off at the end of a Zoom meeting before he could take questions from Democrats.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has previously commented that she frequently urges Biden to refrain from speaking with the media and taking questions.
“He takes questions nearly every day he’s out from the press,” Psaki remarked in May on a podcast with David Axelrod. “That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times, we say, ‘Don’t take questions.'”
Denizens of Twitter were shocked that Zeleny went there on Biden:
Slowly catching on?
— Daniel Vicsik (@DanielVicsik) June 16, 2021
Holy shit did @cnn just admit that?
— It’s MAGA SZN ! #MAGA (@JustHere4LivePD) June 16, 2021
Well CNN and MSNBC et al, your propaganda helped get him elected. Enjoy the spoils of your spoilage.
There was a time when you were respected.
— Chuckler (@Thinkthenpost1) June 16, 2021
Wow @CNN is reporting real news now?
— Bill (@shitBill72) June 16, 2021
CNN has a “no sh*t sherlock” moment of clarity.
— dankbubba, citizen neanderthal Tex-arCA (@dank1j) June 16, 2021
Wow; when you’re losing CNN it’s all over with. Time for JB to suffer the predicted “set back” so the cackling hen VP can be anointed POTUS.
— Ignatius Mortimer (@IgnatiusMortim1) June 16, 2021
And when he does answer questions, they give him a list of approved ones. He’s not in charge. Who’s pulling the strings behind the scenes? Why are the “journalists” not asking these questions?
— Katie Gutenkauf (@sunstar749) June 16, 2021
Because his aides know he is not of sound mind and they are scared to hell the world will find out if they let him speak freely
— OriginalMarko (@DragonMarko1) June 16, 2021
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