The chaos swirling since Biden’s debate mishap is causing cracks in a White House known for its discipline

WASHINGTON — The internal drama. The leaks. The second-guessing. The pressure and chaos swirling since Joe Biden’s disastrous debate performance are causing cracks in a White House that has so far been characterized by discipline and loyalty.

For more than three years, the Biden administration has been a largely reserved and staid operation, defined more by its emphasis on policy delivery and avoiding palace intrigue. Aides have typically kept any criticism of their boss or their work out of the public eye. But not recently.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reflected Tuesday on the extraordinary moment for the president and his team, as questions about the 81-year-old’s age and mental agility threaten to derail his reelection dreams. “This has been an unprecedented time,” she said of the president’s examination. “We’re facing a new moment that has never existed before.”

” READ MORE: Here’s where Pennsylvania’s Democratic congressional caucuses stand on whether Biden should remain the nominee

Biden’s volatile performance in the June 27 debate led to an unusually public barrage of accusations, leaks of private phone calls between the president and Democrats and questions about his son Hunter Biden’s presence in the White House. It prompted current White House officials to anonymously air concerns about Biden’s ability to do the job and even led to the departure of a radio journalist after it was revealed that the Biden campaign had fed her and another reporter questions for the interview.

That’s not to mention the drama unfolding on Capitol Hill, where a handful of House Democrats have publicly called on Biden to resign and others are agonizing behind closed doors over whether to publicly oppose the president as party leaders try to bully members into submission.

Biden has made it clear that he is not withdrawing from the race, and the wave of criticism may be dying down, but it is not yet clear whether the drama in the White House is a temporary blip or will continue as the country heads toward the 2024 election.

” READ MORE: Vice President Kamala Harris to visit Philadelphia on Saturday as Biden campaign tries to revive

Andrew Bates, senior deputy press secretary, said Biden has “restored compassion, integrity and competence to the Oval Office” and built the most diverse administration in history.

“While President Biden fought for and delivered the strongest performance of any administration in modern times, there hasn’t been a single week when Washington didn’t doubt him and his team,” Bates said. “The workforce is deeply proud of him and each other, and they know that the key is to focus on the work and the American people, not the noise.”

” READ MORE: President Biden, desperate for support, went to Philadelphia church to ‘feel the love’

The air of tight elegance in the Biden White House was deliberate—he wanted his administration to be seen as a return to normal government operations after Trump’s leaky White Housewhen ill-considered strategies made front pages and details of private meetings appeared publicly, sometimes while still in progress.

It was also a reflection of the deep loyalty of Biden’s inner circle, many of whose high-ranking advisers had worked with the president for decades.

Biden’s debate performance drew a surprising amount of criticism from some of his biggest fans, including former White House communications director Kate Bedingfield, who appeared on a cable news panel immediately after the game.

“It was a really disappointing debate performance for Joe Biden. I don’t think there’s any other way to describe it. His biggest problem was proving to the American people that he has the energy, the stamina — and he didn’t do that,” she told CNN.

” READ MORE: ‘Save Democracy’: Gavin Newsom Endorses Biden in Bucks County Amid Panic Over President’s Competence

Privately, his aides and allies were stunned by Biden’s debate performance and wondered whether the campaign could be saved, especially as negative reviews continued to pour in.

At Camp David the weekend after the debate, Biden’s family — notably Hunter Biden and first lady Jill Biden — encouraged the president to stay in the race and wondered whether his campaign had adequately prepared him. (Biden, for his part, was adamant that the debate disaster was “nobody’s fault but mine.”)

Soon after, the presence of Hunter Biden — awaiting sentencing on three weapons charges — in the White House alarmed some people who worried about his influence over his father, according to two Democrats close to the White House who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue.

And doubts have been raised about Biden’s long-term strategy of limiting public interactions, especially with reporters, under a mandate led by senior aides. Biden has given fewer interviews than his newfangled predecessors and held fewer news conferences than any president since Ronald Reagan.

Bates said the strategy “is and has been about the American people hearing directly from Joe Biden.” He noted that Biden gave an interview Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” took questions from reporters more than 580 times and has traveled the country talking directly to people.

” READ MORE: Could Josh Shapiro replace Joe Biden? Unlikely, but here’s what all the fuss is about.

White House officials have recently aired concerns about the president and his ability to break stories in national media. One official who raised the alarm in The New York Times sounded a bit like “Anonymous,” the Trump staffer who signaled dissatisfaction with Trump’s presidency in a New York Times editorial and later went public with his grievances.

“It’s not like the previous administration, where we were trying to figure out who was talking or leaking, that’s not what we’re doing here,” Jean-Pierre said when asked about the official’s comments. “Everybody has their own opinion.”

She added that she had never heard anyone express criticism similar to that appearing in the publications.

In a bid to boost staff morale, Biden’s chief of staff, Jeff Zients, urged White House aides at an all-hands meeting last week to tune out the “noise” and focus on the task of governing.

There were also public stumbles. Jean-Pierre told reporters Biden He had not been seen by a doctor since the physical, but the president later told campaign staff in a private conversation that he had been examined by a doctor because he felt unwell after returning from an exhausting trip abroad.

White House aides have for days refused to explain the reasons behind the neurologist’s repeated visits to the White House, which have raised speculation about Biden’s treatment, and Jean-Pierre misspoke when speaking about the issue Tuesday.

On Sunday, the radio host resigned after learning that she and another reporter from another station had asked Biden questions sent to them by the campaign.

” READ MORE: WURD CEO accuses Biden campaign of ‘fast-tracking’ radio station, says Lawful-Sanders wasn’t fired

The interviews were supposed to be part of an effort to restore confidence in Biden’s ability not only to govern for another four years but also to run a successful campaign, but the release of the information only intensified criticism that he was struggling to handle unscripted questions.

After news broke that the White House had shared draft questions with reporters, former White House communications official Michael LaRosa released a withering public rebuke:

“Just when you thought the president’s communications teams had lost all credibility… they are going down the drain and are determined to continue to humiliate the president and the First Family with misguided and BAD media relations practices that are undermining his standing by the day.”

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Latest Posts