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Forget Basement Campaign — It’s Been A Whole Basement Presidency For Joe Biden

Critics of President Joe Biden are beginning to dust off allegations of a “basement movement” now that the 2024 election cycle is in full swing, but the low-profile, press-free campaign is a sign that Biden is president. It would be a good fit for how he has operated throughout his tenure. .

While Biden was running for president in 2020, the now 81-year-old criticized for running He likes to call it a “basement campaign.” Stayed When making media appearances, he worked from his home studio, and his gatherings with few participants were limited. Now, as the 2024 elections approach, the same is true. criticism teeth bubbling After Biden avoids traditional year-end press conference and opts out of prime time super ball interview.

Biden is entering his fourth year in office. average According to data compiled by the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, press conferences are held approximately 11 times a year.Biden's average This is the lowest since former President Ronald Reagan, who served as president from 1981 to 1989 and held an average of 5.8 press conferences a year.

Historian Barbara Perry, co-chair of the Presidential Oral History Program at the University of Virginia's Miller Center, told the Daily Caller that the similarities between Biden and Reagan are no coincidence.

“I don't think it's just a coincidence that these two presidents have an aging element. And I'm not saying he's going to fail because he's not Compos Mentis. I'm not saying that at all. No. What I'm saying is, I don't think it's a coincidence that in many cases, as presidents get older, they try to do less of this kind of press work. Eisenhower was the third and oldest president, famous for his

“I think that's part of what happens when you have an older president. It's about being able to react instantly and be responsive, to be honest. It's the press that applies pressure and asks questions. Instead, they ask pressing questions, sometimes adversarial, or at least pointed, to give the president controversial ideas about what they're doing and why. Sometimes we ask them to explain why they're doing something like that,” Perry continued.

In addition to ignoring press conferences, Biden has participated in fewer interviews with media organizations than his predecessor. according to Go to NBC News. Since taking office in 2021, Biden has given 86 interviews with media outlets, according to a tally by NBC. Former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama conducted 300 and 422 interviews, respectively, during the same period of their respective presidencies, surpassing Biden's numbers.

When Biden has held sit-down interviews with the media, his administration has often chosen nontraditional paths, sometimes eschewing tough journalists in favor of celebrities.the president gave an interview weather channelCBS News.” 60 minutes, ryan seacrest and comedian Conan O'Brien.

In 2024, Biden has already given up media opportunities. Biden declined to do a prime-time Super Bowl interview for the second year in a row. CNN reported that his campaign said it wanted to give Americans a break from politics during the game. But the NFL is notoriously political. playing Black national anthem played before American national anthem; players wear helmet stickers read “End racism” and “It takes all of us.”

“We're becoming less traditional because fewer people are getting their news from traditional outlets,” a Biden campaign official told CNN.

This year's Super Bowl was the most-watched program in television history.

Biden spoke after speaking about border plans being debated in Congress. promised He told reporters on February 5 that he would return sometime during the week to answer questions. That same week, the president unexpectedly held a press conference and addressed the special counsel's report released that day, which discussed the president's physical and mental condition. The report was widely condemned after Biden confused the presidents of Egypt and Mexico and slammed reporters who asked about their ages.

Biden again promised to answer questions from reporters following remarks in Congress regarding the Ukraine funding impasse.White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre fired More questions about the president's promises.

“On Tuesday, President Biden said, 'I'm not going to answer your questions today.' I'll answer them tomorrow and the day after,” a reporter asked Jean-Pierre during a press conference. “What was he talking about?”

“He was out yesterday and took some questions from some people,” Jean-Pierre said, referring to when the president told the media he was giving up questioning for Lent. . Biden also repeated “Happy Valentine's Day” when asked about mysterious national security threats.

“So, how are you doing today?” the reporter followed up.

“I have nothing to share today beyond what you all know. I have nothing to add to his public schedule,” Jean-Pierre followed.

Republican strategist Mark R. Weaver cited the quick-witted nature of press conferences as a reason for Biden to cut back on them.

“It can be a bit like playing table tennis. So, in these gags, a reporter can serve a ping pong ball towards himself, and he can hit it back once, but the next shot or He can't take the next shot. He'll leave before then. So [for example a reporter] You'll say “Mr.” Mr. President, why are prices still so high? 'And he can have the first reaction of, “Well, that's because the Republicans in Congress are right,'' and we get the first reaction,'' Weaver said.

“But then the reporter said, 'No, Mr. President, did you know, you did this policy, you canceled student loans, and you changed this monetary policy, what do you have to say about that? ’ and he grumbles and walks away. He can’t take a second shot,” Weaver continued.

The White House dismissed questions about the president's lack of interaction with the press during a February news conference.

“The numbers show that President Biden has given approximately 33 press conferences. Compare this to Obama's 66 years and Donald Trump's 52 years at this point in his presidency. Let's take a look. Can you explain to me why the president isn't doing more?'' a reporter asked Jean-Pierre on February 12.

“We're always going to be looking for ways for the president to make public appearances — outside of press conferences, of course — and we've found some non-traditional ways. We believe it is important to try to meet Americans where they are,” Jean-Pierre responded.

“In terms of press conferences, when the time is right, we're certainly going to do press conferences. But it's about the ability of this president to communicate with the press corps, with White, with the White House press corps, with other reporters, with the American people. “That doesn't mean we don't engage with journalists who have different, different ways of communicating. We think that's important as well,” the press secretary continued, adding that while Biden was on the road, reporters asked him questions. I pointed out the number of times I received this.

Biden appears willing to speak to the press on a voluntary basis, whether on the road or after a speech.

As of October 17, 2023, Biden has had 492 private “chats” with the press, more than any other president other than Trump, The Washington Post reported. . report. As of February 20, presidents interact with the press about 131 times a year on average, according to the American Presidency Project. This number is lower than President Trump's, but much higher than President Obama, who interacted with the press an average of 25 times a year.

Perry spoke about the time he attended an event at the White House in December 2022 and had the opportunity to speak with the president. Perry told the Daily Caller that Biden's strength lies in more personal and unexpected interactions.

“For about 10 to 15 years, between standing on stage looking a little tired and coming down and talking to every single person standing behind the velvet rope, he would make faces. So, I think that part is unfortunate, but the fact that he didn't do many activities like meeting and greeting each other or pushing for physical relationships when he was younger is one of his strengths. That's why,” Perry told the Daily Caller. .

The Washington Post previously reported that President Biden has continued to make efforts to reach Americans through social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, even as he holds fewer press conferences. Biden and his administration have relied heavily on social media influencers to reach young people throughout his presidency, but social media gives the White House more control over the president's message. Some people claim that it will.

“I also think it's important to point out that news organizations these days may be more confrontational than at other times in the past, in part because they're trying to keep up with social media.” Perry pointed out. “So, certainly the press was at odds with President Reagan, and it was at odds with President Nixon, and I compare him to someone like Trump, who really hated the press. Joe Biden I don't think he hates the media, but he probably misses the days when he could confront them head-on.”

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