Remember that time Hillary Clinton started campaigning for president in 2015 to much applause. Since announcing, had handlers walking alongside her carrying a rope to keep reporters back at her first public event?
Yeah, President Joe Biden is even more standoffish from the media than that. He wouldn’t want to answer questions without knowing them in advance and reading them off the cue card when you might not even remember what decade it is. And especially not when there are nagging questions about your administration, even if you have all your faculties and wits about you.
The young Joe Biden of yesteryear was like Donald Trump while campaigning and as president. He was constantly soaking up the attention, answering questions with reporters, chatting everybody up, always happy to speak with people. Biden is a man who loves the sound of his voice. It’s hard to be sure if there’s a sweeter sound in the world to Joe.
Now, as president, with all eyes on him, Joe gives speeches and press conferences, and as soon as the teleprompter finishes rolling, he thanks everybody and runs off the stage like Napoleon Dynamite, but without doing the wicked incredible dance for everyone first. It’s just, “I’m going to wreck every business with 100 employees or more and stomp all over the constitution,” then he high tails it off the stage while the press pool shouts questions.
Recently, the president was giving a speech about Covid-19, the economy, and his multi-trillion-dollar spending plans for other people’s money. As he wrapped up the speech, Joe Biden did what he nearly always does now and just started walking out of the room. The press pool swelled with shouted questions, but one could be overheard on the mics louder than all the others.
The reporter asked what the president thinks about the impact of celebrities like Nicki Minaj spreading misinformation about vaccines. The platinum-selling recording and touring musical artist has recently become a vaccine skeptic, inciting anti-vaccine mandate protests in Atlanta and elsewhere across the United States with her statements. But Joe Biden was already nearly out the door by the time the reporter finished her question.
What would Joe try to answer that question for the press pool? He would have to beat up on a successful, young black woman who was outspoken about her own beliefs and making her own decisions about her own body. Would that have helped the president out any? Of course not, which is why he dodges questions at the end of press conferences.
But politicians, not just Joe, all of them, should ask themselves: why be the kind of politician in the first place that has to run when reporters want to ask a question? Why not be the politician who’s looking forward to questions because your actions will leave you and your answers looking honorable when journalists have questions that the American people want to know the answers to?