The media’s access to Joe Biden has been much more constrained than it was with his predecessor in the White House, prompting questions about just how tightly the president’s communications team is holding onto his leash.
Biden only made matters worse Wednesday when he admitted to reporters at a White House event that he wasn’t “supposed” to be answering their questions off-the-cuff, as Breitbart reported.
“I’m supposed to leave”
Biden’s comments reportedly came on the tail-end of a presser on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic and the federal government’s vaccination efforts.
Following his prepared remarks, Biden fielded a few short questions on topics including rising gas prices and shortages, increasing violence in the Middle East, and his recent meetings with members of Congress to discuss his infrastructure spending proposals.
Pressed on that last topic as he attempted to walk away from the podium, Biden returned and said with a sheepish grin: “You guys are bad. I’m not supposed to be answering all these questions.”
“I’m supposed to leave,” the president added, “but I can’t resist your questions.”
According to Breitbart, Biden answered a final inquiry before calling the event to a close. Take a look:
“Don’t take questions”
Biden’s comments only added to speculation — and criticism — that started swirling after his press secretary, Jen Psaki, said on a podcast that she and her team hope to minimize the president’s spontaneous interactions with journalists.
That’s “not something we recommend,” Psaki told CNN’s David Axelrod, according to the New York Post.
“A lot of times, we say, ‘Don’t take questions,'” she admitted, but noted that Biden is “going to do what he wants to do because he’s the president of the United States.”
Psaki also said Biden “likes the press corps and likes that back-and-forth and that engagement,” and claimed the president “takes questions nearly every day he’s out [with] the press,” as the Post reported. But as Americans keep waiting for answers on a host of issues from the coronavirus to the crisis at the U.S.–Mexico border, talk is cheap. If Biden wants to establish a reputation for transparency, he sure has a funny way of showing it.