Throughout the Biden presidency, the White House has rarely utilized the backdrop of the Oval Office for public events. And that’s reportedly because the president’s aides want him to stick to the script.
Politico published a report on Thursday about the potential 2024 “rematch” between President Biden and former President Trump. And the while no official announcement has been made with the exception of off-the-cuff remarks from Biden saying he intends to run again, it’s “all systems go” inside the White House with aides and advisers “taking initial steps to mount a bid” despite ongoing health concerns and dismal polling.
BIDEN HAS ONLY DONE ONE MEDIA INTERVIEW SO FAR IN 2022
“He has little choice to say otherwise; an admission that he was making himself a lame duck would dramatically curb his political power,” Politico wrote. “Some Democrats have expressed private hope that Biden will make his final decision soon after this November’s midterms, giving the party plenty of time to prepare for what would likely be a wide-open primary if he opts not to run… On a personal level, moreover, acting promptly is not a Biden strength, sparking fear within the party that an announcement could be delayed until deep into 2023. The one factor that could hasten a decision and all but certainly ensure that Biden runs again: if Donald Trump says he will, too.”
U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at the Curb Event Center at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., October 22, 2020. Chip Somodevilla/Pool via REUTERS
As Politico noted, if Biden does choose to run again, his 2024 campaign would be more “rigorous” since much of his 2020 campaign took place in his Delaware home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Still, some allies and Democrats privately worry that Biden may not be able to handle the rigors of another campaign,” Politico wrote. “A bone he broke in his foot while playing with his dog in late November 2020 still occasionally bothers Biden, resulting in a slower and shorter gait. And the White House has largely abandoned using the Oval Office for press events in part because it can’t be permanently equipped with a teleprompter.”
POLITICO CALLS OUT BIDEN FOR NOT DOING INTERVIEWS: ‘REFLECTS THE BUNKER MENTALITY THIS WHITE HOUSE HAS TAKEN’
“Biden aides prefer the fake White House stage built in the Old Executive Office Building next door for events, sacrificing some of the power of the historic backdrop in favor of an otherwise sterile room that was outfitted with an easily read teleprompter screen,” the report added.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks prior to signing an executive order intended to reduce bureaucracy around government services for the public, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 13, 2021.
The White House has been very guarded when it comes to President Biden’s accessibility to the press.
He has only done one interview with a news organization so far in 2022.
In his first year in office, Biden did just 22 formal sit-downs, compared to Donald Trump’s 92 and Barack Obama’s 156, according to data from Towson University’s White House Transition Project.
NEW YORK TIMES DRAWS ATTENTION TO BIDEN’S ‘LOW-KEY MEDIA STRATEGY,’ FUELING ‘CONCERN’ AMONG ALLIES’
The press has taken notice of Biden’s lack of availability for sit-down interviews, as Politico published a piece last year headlined, “Why Biden’s not doing interviews,” which noted he conducted more formal interviews as vice president than he has through the same period of his current gig.
“Biden’s team is quick to note that he often takes questions from reporters after he does events. Allies of the president are even quicker to note that no one outside of the Washington press corps really cares about press access,” Politico wrote in October. “But the lack of interviews reflects the bunker mentality this White House has taken with the media — particularly the extensive back-and-forths where reporters can follow-up, push, and prod.”
FILE – President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House, Friday, April 1, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
In November, The New York Times drew attention to Biden’s “low-key media strategy,” which had fueled “concern” among his allies.
“He has not sat for interviews with The Associated Press, The New York Times, Reuters, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. Even friendly venues like ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ have gone unvisited,” the Times noted, though Biden did sit down with Times columnist David Brooks.
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The Associated Press also knocked Biden earlier this year for having “shied away” from news conferences and interviews during his first year in office.
“The dynamic has the White House facing questions about whether Biden, who vowed to have the most transparent administration in the nation’s history, is falling short in pulling back the curtain on how his administration operates and missing opportunities to explain his agenda,” the AP wrote in January.
Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @JosephWulfsohn.