With Press Secretary Jen Psaki soon leaving her post on May 13th making way for her deputy Karine Jean-Pierre to take over, it appears the White House has taken advantage of the attention Psaki's impending departure has garnered to limit the exposure of a much more concerning piece of news. According to a report written by Politico, President Biden's aides have decided to abandon the Oval Office for future press events. Needless to say, abandoning the most iconic backdrop of the presidential stage is a stunning decision for the Biden Administration to make. However, the reason behind the decision is even more stunning as it was revealed that the choice to ditch the Oval Office was made because no permanent teleprompter could be installed in the room.
The revelation offered by the report is an apotheosis of sorts of President Biden's marred experience with public speaking during his first term in office. The hatred that the left stewed in during the 2020 election cycle made speculations of Biden's failing mental health an afterthought for the Democratic establishment which hoped to usurp the executive branch from its Republican counterparts. Though former President Donald Trump made note of concerns about Biden's apparently deteriorating cognitive functionality, his failure to drive that point home as the election campaign became more and more contentious was a curious decision given the abundance of fodder Biden's gaffes provided him with.
Since Biden has taken office, the visibility and demands of his position have accelerated the frequency of his episodes of apparent delirium and confusion. This is in spite of Biden's first year in office concluding with him holding fewer news conferences than his last 5 predecessors as well as fewer interviews than the previous 6. Adding insult to injury, Ronald Reagan, the most recent president to hold fewer press conferences than Biden in his first year in office, was hampered by the fact that he was recovering from the failed assassination attempt of John Hinckley Jr. at the time. In total, Biden had only 22 interviews and 9 news conferences, only 6 of which he handled alone without the presence of any foreign leaders he was visiting with at the time. Even when he does meet the press, Biden is typically chastised for refusing to take any questions from them in addition to his propensity to trip over his own tongue.
When Biden has managed to take center stage, it's often been in a staged Oval Office set which in many ways embodies the perceived fallacy of his presidency. At first, the White House's continued problems in dealing with COVID-19 compliance protocols was the most reasonable speculation for why the Biden Administration relied upon the stage set up in an auditorium alongside the West Wing. At least that's the impression outgoing Press Secretary Jen Psaki made when she stated “But because of COVID and because the president wasn’t going to travel as much and not as many people were going to come here, he does a lot of events and actually meetings from there,” when addressing the scenery.
However, in the months since those protocols have been eased, the Biden Administration has continued to rely on the stage despite the poor optics that it presents.“ Biden aides prefer the fake White House stage built in the Old Executive Office Building next door for events, sacrificing some of the power of the historic backdrop in favor of an otherwise sterile room that was outfitted with an easily read teleprompter screen,” according to the Politico report.
Despite the fake White House stage accommodating a teleprompter, President Biden has still managed to fumble over his words and murmur utterly incoherent tangents emblematic of a dementia patient. Some instances, like when he infamously referred to reporter Peter Doocy as a "stupid son of a bitch" on a hot mic have been deflected away from by characterizing them as examples of Biden's devil may care attitude. However, when the President appears unable to distinguish between Ukraine and Iran during high profile events like his first State of the Union Address, it's hard to view any excuses for his continued public speaking gaffes as anything but hapless attempts to calm growing cause for concern. That concern has permeated into the inner circle of the administration according to the Politico report which contained the revelation about Biden's literal need for a teleprompter. The whole of the report went well beyond that in examining the difficulties Biden faces in 2024 if he is indeed to run for re-election, especially given that it could possibly be against his immediate predecessor Donald Trump.
Biden's most recent high profile gaffes have especially come into focus due to the role the US has thrust itself into amidst the increasing turmoil of the war between Russia and Ukraine. Comparisons between the composed and articulate demeanor of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the blabbering and seemingly lost Biden have exacerbated the ridicule. Last week, when attempting to conjure more support for arming Ukraine again Russia, Biden failed to distinguish between the two belligerents of the war stating that his administration "made sure Russia had Javelins." In light of these blunders, perhaps Putin could contend that his American counterpart holding his office is the most ill begotten gain that could be brought into focus amidst the deterioration of relations between the two nations.
With dissatisfaction of Biden's performance as president reaching its peak, the impact of any cognitive decline will be hard to sidestep during any potential re-election campaign. With the Executive Branch completely willing to disregard the nation's history in abandoning the Oval Office to accommodate a bumbling fool, the political climate that decision fosters makes 2024 even more concerning for the Democratic Party than the upcoming midterm elections which are expected to be a disaster for the left side of the false dichotomy of the American political paradigm.