In a Wednesday interview Chris Wallace grilled White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on why President Joe Biden seems to be carefully shielded from the press, resulting in her getting visibly agitated.
The tense exchange, which aired on the soon to be defunct CNN+, started with the former FOX host asking, "Why has President Biden been so sheltered from the press?" Watch Psaki grow flustered and increasingly upset while straining to present a smile:
Chris Wallace asked Jen Psaki why Biden has been so sheltered from the press.— Kevin Tober (@KevinTober94) April 20, 2022
Psaki got clearly offended and Wallace actually pushed back! pic.twitter.com/8QHJZPBoxS
The legitimate question came as even Politico admitted this week the Democratic president's "popularity is dangerously low" amid plummeting poll numbers - and as it's increasingly obvious to all that the 79-year old president's mental acumen and ability to communicate coherently at times are becoming impossible to ignore.
Psaki replied tersely to the question: "In what way? He just did a press conference several weeks ago and he takes questions from the press nearly every day."
Wallace hit back with: "I’m gonna come back at you on that," and presented some firm numbers: "In his first year, Joe Biden held two solo news conferences in the White House and he held five on foreign trips. And take a look at this: in his first year, Mr. Biden sat down for 28 interviews with reporters. That compares to 95 in the same period of time for Donald Trump and 162 for Barack Obama. By comparison, Jen, that’s sheltered."
She didn't receive the "sheltered" word choice very well, looking visibly angered by what she perhaps thought was going to be a softball line of questioning...
“No, no,” she rebutted. “Nearly every day at the White House. he takes questions from the White House press corps.”
He cut in: "I’ll tell you exactly why that’s different," Wallace said, pointing out the following...
"Because when you’re standing there, you can a question, you can answer it, you can slough it off and you move on… It in no way compares to sitting down with a reporter for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and having–you can’t move away. You can’t duck it. You gotta sit there and answer the question and the follow up. It’s not the same thing."
Things like the below might explain while Biden's staff is keeping him away from 'spontaneous' interactions with the press:
Biden: “America as a nation can be defined as a single word: f*%#€£... excuse me, I was in the foothills of the Himalayas with Xi Jinping, traveling with him, traveled 17,000 miles when I was Vice President. I don't know that for a fact.” pic.twitter.com/lB0ludhAlM— Carl Zha (@CarlZha) April 9, 2022
Indeed as The Daily Mail has observed of his scant interview appearances of late, "Though Biden often stops to answer reporters' shouted questions while traveling to and from events, the president has only had one sit-down interview this year so far."
"He's also participated in fewer press conferences during his first year in office, holding just nine joint or solo such events," the report continues. "Donald Trump held 21 and Barack Obama 27 during their first years, according to The American Presidency Project."