White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted in an interview on Thursday that she privately tries to discourage Joe Biden from taking questions from the press, as reported by the New York Post.
Psaki made the admission on former Obama adviser David Axelrod’s podcast, “The Axe Files,” confessing that “A lot of times, we say ‘don’t take questions.’ But he’s going to do what he wants, because he’s the president of the United States.”
“He takes questions nearly every day he’s out with the press,” Psaki added falsely. Biden infamously refused to hold a press conference for 64 days after his inauguration, marking the longest such period without a presidential press conference since World War I.
Axelrod reserved some criticism for Biden, claiming that “his strength is that he says what’s on his mind, and his weakness is he says what’s on his mind, and sometimes that’s not helpful.” Citing one such example, Axelrod recalled an incident where Biden outright disclosed in a chance encounter with CNN’s Kaitlin Collins that a $15 minimum wage hike would most likely not make it into his $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill.
“It must have given you a lot of heartburn,” Axelrod commented, “and made you ask yourself, ‘Why are we allowing him to roll around in the hallways doing impromptu interviews?”
Psaki then claimed that the White House’s response to press inquiries and certain questions is supposedly related to the “most important” issues. She claimed that “the public cares about the pandemic and the economy…you know, we’re often asked, ‘why doesn’t he go to the border?’…What percentage of the public is focused on the border? A much smaller percentage than is focused on the pandemic and the economy.”
This is also false, as polling has indicated that a significant portion of the population does, in fact, care about the border crisis, and the issue consistently represents the one aspect in which his approval ratings are the lowest. A recent AP poll found that 56 percent of voters disapprove of Biden’s stances on immigration, and 55 percent disapprove of his handling of the border crisis. Biden was also criticized for not mentioning the border crisis in his address to a joint session of Congress, which marked his 99th day in office.