Some WH Staffers Mute Biden on TV, Anxious He Will Make More Gaffes

Some WH Staffers Mute Biden on TV, Anxious He Will Make More Gaffes joe biden speaks into mics in east room President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House on August 26, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By Solange Reyner | Wednesday, 08 September 2021 01:26 PM

Some White House staffers have muted or turned off the TV when President Joe Biden gives public remarks because they anticipate him making a blunder or trailing off, according to Politico.

"I know people who habitually don’t watch it live for that reason," one current official told the news outlet.

Biden has been known to make public gaffes and in the past few months has been more freewheeling with his remarks. In July, he accused Facebook of killing people because of the misinformation spread on the social media site about COVID-19 vaccines. In June, after he announced an agreement was reached with GOP senators on an infrastructure deal, he backtracked and said he would only sign it if Congress also passed a multi-trillion-dollar package focused on "human infrastructure" programs like subsidized childcare, climate change, and home caregiving.

"If they don't (both) come, I'm not signing it. Real simple," Biden said.

He quickly walked back those remarks.

The president also this year claimed that 90% of Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan had gotten out and that he had come to the Senate 120 years ago.

Some Biden staffers want him to take fewer questions, according to Politico.

"A lot of times, we say, 'Don’t take questions,'" press secretary Jen Psaki told Democrat strategist David Axelrod on his podcast in the spring. "But he’s going to do what he wants to do because he’s the president of the United States."

And taking questions is part of the job.

"As the President has shown over and over since he announced his candidacy more than two years ago, he's the most effective communicator for his vision and his agenda," rapid response director Michael Gwin told Politico's West Wing Playbook. "The President deeply values the role of the press – that's why he regularly takes time to answer their questions in interviews, press conferences, and the dozens of media availabilities he's done since taking office."

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