Biden’s ‘small presence’ in own presidency fuels questions about who’s actually in charge

Former President Donald Trump and others on the right have often suggested for one reason or another that President Joe Biden simply isn’t capable of effectively managing his own administration, prompting the recurring question: “Who is really in charge?”

Along those lines, conservative pundit Rich Lowry took stock of Biden’s “conspicuously small presence in his own presidency” in a recent op-ed for the New York Post, contrasting the commander-in-chief’s tendency to be missing-in-action with most other presidents in the modern era.

Where is Joe?

Writing Friday, Lowry suggested that few Americans outside of the D.C. Beltway and the mainstream media seem to care little about what Biden is doing, and pointed as evidence to the rather dismal ratings the president received in a recent CNN town hall event, as well as for his first joint address to Congress a few months ago.

Compared to Trump’s “constant, impossible-to-ignore cocktail of provocation and political melodrama,” Biden has shown himself to be “the Olympic badminton competition after a WWE match; he’s elevator music after a heavy metal concert; he’s the sparkler after a fireworks display,” the columnist wrote.

Lowry went on to suggest that Biden’s presidency is less like other modern presidents and more akin to those of a century or more ago, when presidents “were neither seen nor heard.”

That could, of course, be a deliberate strategy on the part of the White House, given Biden’s propensity for gaffes and less-than-enthusiastic appeal. It may also be part of a plan to keep the president insulated from potential blowback and blame if the progressive agenda his team is pushing ends up sparking a Republican takeover in the midterm elections.

It’s a legitimate question

Nonetheless, Lowry noted that the apparent strategy also bears risks, among them the appearance that Biden isn’t really in charge.

Of course, Democrats and media pundits are quickly incensed whenever somebody on the right questions whether President Biden is actually in charge, but Dan McLaughlin of National Review wrote in April that such a question has been par for the course for at least the past three Republican presidencies.

Thus, in keeping with tradition, we feel compelled to ask, if not Biden, then who is actually running the show in the White House?

Who’s really in charge?

To be sure, there are a few theories, some more plausible than others. The U.K.’s Sunday Times reported in May that the running joke inside D.C. is that White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain is actually the “president” in everything but title.

In February, Fox News host Sean Hannity wondered aloud if Vice President Kamala Harris was actually in charge, while Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo suggested that former President Barack Obama is actually the one pulling the strings.

In actuality, we may never know the truth. But until Biden starts showing up in the spotlight for more than just photo ops, skeptics will keep asking the question.

Latest News