International relations between a number of allies have become frayed in recent days following the announcement of a trilateral agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.
Biden met with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week, after which Johnson fielded questions from British reporters in attendance but Biden managed to yet again escape an encounter with the press.
“We don’t get anything”
He reportedly told the prime minister “good luck” in response to a question about taking questions after the meeting. White House staff interjected a short time later by ushering all reporters out of the room.
The U.S. president managed to reply that “the violence is unacceptable” after CBS News reporter Ed O’Keefe shouted a question related to the ongoing border crisis.
Biden’s apparent snub did not go unnoticed, with one reporter complaining that his behavior was “absurd” and that “two British reporters get questions and we don’t get anything.”
White House correspondents made their frustrations known in other ways, including in the form of a subsequent complaint to press secretary Jen Psaki.
This incident is just the latest in a series of events pointing to the conclusion that Biden’s handlers seem to be working diligently to limit his exposure to the press.
“Something’s going on here”
In the wake of a chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan last month, the president made one such remark in response to a reporter’s shouted query.
“I’m not supposed to take any questions, but go ahead,” Biden said, backtracking a moment later to declare that he was “not going to answer Afghanistan now.”
Of course, it might not be surprising that White House aides are concerned about what the gaffe-prone president might utter if given a long leash. He has faced mounting scrutiny for his perceived state of cognitive decline with many critics speculating that he is not mentally fit for the job.
U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), who formerly served as the White House physician, is among those who want to see proof that Biden is up to the task.
“I’ve been saying that something’s going on here,” Jackson said in July. “I was saying this when he was candidate Joe Biden, and I’ve been saying that it’s only going to get worse, and guess what. We’re watching that happen right before our eyes right now.”