The chaos created by Biden’s debate stumble is causing cracks in the White House

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Representative image of US President Joe Biden | Photo credit: Reuters

The pressure and chaos since US President Joe Biden’s disastrous debate performance are creating cracks in the White House that until now has been characterized by discipline and loyalty.

For more than three years, the Biden administration has largely been a subdued and sedate operation, defined more by an emphasis on showcasing policy and avoiding palace intrigue. Assistants generally kept any criticism of their boss or their job out of the public eye. Not lately though.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reflected Tuesday on this extraordinary moment for the president and his team, as questions about the 81-year-old’s age and mental capacity threaten to torpedo his re-election dreams. “It’s been an unprecedented time,” she said of the investigation into the president. “We meet a new moment that has never really existed before.â€

Public blame game

Biden’s shaky debate performance on June 27 has led to an unusually public blame game, the leaking of private phone conversations between the president and Democrats and questions about his son Hunter Biden’s presence in the White House. It has prompted current White House officials to anonymously express concerns about the president’s ability to do the job and even led to the departure of a radio journalist after details emerged that the Biden campaign another press person had fed interview questions.

Not to mention all the drama unfolding on Capitol Hill, where a handful of House Democrats have publicly called on the president to step aside and others are wringing their hands behind closed doors over whether they have to speak out against him publicly, while the party leaders are trying to do so. inform members.

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Mr. Biden has been adamant that he is not leaving the race, and the chorus of criticism may be dying down, but it is not yet clear whether the White House drama has been a temporary setback or will continue as the nation heads toward 2024 runs. election.

Andrew Bates, a senior deputy press secretary, said Mr. Biden had “restored the compassion, fairness and competence of the Oval Office” and built the most diverse government in history.

But aides and allies were quietly shocked by how Biden performed in the debate, wondering whether the campaign could be saved, especially as negative reviews continued to pour in.

There have also been public missteps. Ms. Jean-Pierre told the press that Mr. Biden had not been seen by his doctor since his physical, but the president later told campaign aides during a private call that he had been seen by his doctor after feeling ill while returning from a debilitating back pain. travel abroad.

White House aides refused for days to explain a neurologist’s repeated visits to the White House that had led to speculation that Mr. Biden was receiving treatment, and Mr. Jean-Pierre misspoke when speaking about the matter on Tuesday .

On Sunday, a radio host left her job following news that she and another interviewer at another station had asked Mr. Biden questions submitted to them by the campaign.

The interviews were intended as part of an effort to restore confidence in Mr. Biden’s ability not only to govern for the next four years, but also to campaign successfully, but the revelation only added to the criticism that he could not handle unwritten questions.

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