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Most of us were not confident in Joe Biden’s ability to handle the presidency in the best of circumstances, and given the shaky start he’s had, it’s no wonder his handlers have been keeping him under wraps as much as possible. He went a ridiculous amount of time before holding a press conference or addressing Congress, and many of us who were calling out his cognitive decline during the campaign have felt, unfortunately, vindication.
And we got some more on Wednesday when Joe Biden admitted to reporters that he’s “not supposed to” answer their questions.
Biden had been answering questions about a number of issues before attempting to leave, but reporters weren’t finished, and Biden paused before saying, “You guys are bad. I’m not supposed to be answering all these questions. I’m supposed to leave. But I can’t resist your questions.”
Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by the unprecedented transparency of the Trump administration, but when Biden says he’s “not supposed to” answer so many questions, isn’t it hard not to question why and be concerned about it? Remember, this remark comes a week after press secretary Jen Psaki revealed to David Axelrod on his podcast that she doesn’t like Biden taking questions. “That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times we say ‘don’t take questions’… But he’s going to do what he wants to do because he’s the president of the United States.” Biden has also commented in the past that he would “be in trouble” for answering questions. Last month he attempted to leave a briefing after just three questions before being coaxed back by reporters. “Look, I’m sorry. I’m going to — this is the last question I’ll take, and I’ve ha- — I’m really going to be in trouble,” he said.
He made similar comments during a CNN town hall in February. “I’m going to get in trouble,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “I was supposed to only talk two minutes in an answer.”
“I’m going to say something that’s going to get me in trouble,” he added later. “Which, I couldn’t go through a whole show without doing that.”
This isn’t funny or amusing. Legitimate questions about Biden’s cognitive decline have been raised for years, and yet he’s now president. Worse yet, he jokes about this like it’s actually funny, like it’s the punchline to a joke. I guess the White House thinks that his inability to answer questions off-script without getting “in trouble” is supposed to make us feel confident about his ability to hold the office he chose to pursue.