Biden Grumps at Media as Election Pressure Mounts

Joe Biden had terse exchanges with reporters at a press conference with Kenya's president

From testy exchanges with reporters to outright silence, the pressure of Joe Biden’s US presidential election battle with Donald Trump appears to be straining his relationship with the media.

While the 81-year-old Biden has never shown his predecessor’s outright hostility to journalists, the Democrat has recently appeared to lose his cool with the press.

His increasing irritability coincides with a recent rash of polls showing him trailing his scandal-tainted Republican rival with less than six months until the November 5 vote.

The most recent example was a grumpy exchange with a reporter at a White House press conference on Thursday with visiting Kenyan President William Ruto.

Biden called on a reporter who said “two questions, if I may” — to which Biden sharply replied: “No. One.”

There was laughter in the gilded East Room, but when the reporter tried his luck with his second question Biden made it clear he wasn’t joking.

“You guys never keep the deal, but that’s ok,” said Biden.

Clamming up

Then there have been frequent digs at the media, which Biden and his campaign feel overplay polls that show him doing badly.

“While the press doesn’t to want write about it, the momentum is clearly in our favor,” Biden said during a fundraiser at the house of former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in California.

Hours later he repeated his criticism of the press almost word for word at an event in Seattle.

The following weekend, when asked by reporters how he celebrated Mothers Day as he left church in Delaware, Biden quipped: “I prayed for you all.”

Just as telling is that Biden — who has given few major press conferences since taking office and only rarely gives interviews — is clamming up even more.

Until recently he would stop to answer questions on the way to his helicopter at the White House or under the wing of Air Force One, but those exchanges have largely stopped.

That’s partly because Biden has in recent months been surrounded by aides as he walks to the chopper — itself part of a White House strategy to distract from his increasingly unsteady gait amid what it believes is an unfair focus on the media on his age over that of Trump, who is just four years younger.

Biden’s frustration has only grown as a series of recent polls show Trump leading him in many key battleground states, despite the Republican spending much of the time in a criminal hush money trial.

One New York Times/Siena survey showed Trump leading by double-digits in two states that Biden won in 2020, Nevada and Georgia.

Biden and his campaign insist that modern polling doesn’t accurately reflect the situation, overplaying Trump support among people who may not actually vote.

‘Raring to go’

But the recent drip-drip of bad polls is particularly bruising for Biden as it reverses a slight uptick since a bravado State of the Union speech in March.

During that time his campaign adopted a strategy of “Let Joe Be Joe,” which instead of shielding a president who’s long been famed for gaffes saw him hit the campaign trail hard and step up full-frontal attacks on “loser” Trump.

Biden’s attitude is reflected by his campaign, which has stepped up criticism of the media for failing to notice the positive economic numbers on jobs and growth.

The White House has been open in saying they seek new paths such as social media, including TikTok, to reach the many voters who no longer rely on traditional TV and print media for their news.

Biden would also be far from the first president who ends up as no fan of the press. From Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama, many presidents have sought ways around coverage that they think is unfair.

Biden will have a major opportunity to do just that and speak directly to voters in the first of two scheduled presidential debates with Trump on June 27.

His campaign says it’s ready, and released an ad narrated by Hollywood legend Robert De Niro on Friday to begin the build-up.

“Joe Biden will hold Donald Trump accountable,” campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon said. “And he’s raring to go.”


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