by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden is having trouble hiding his frustration with reporters as pressure mounts on him at home over his stalled legislative agenda and abroad due to escalating Russia-NATO tensions over Ukraine.
But Biden’s outbursts, most recently in response to a pair of Fox News correspondents, are at odds with his campaign promise to normalize White House-media relations after former President Donald Trump repeatedly called individuals and organizations the “enemy of the people.”
Friction between presidents, their aides, and the press “is a tale as old as time,” according to Eric Schultz, a spokesman for former President Barack Obama’s administration. Obama similarly clashed with reporters and outlets.
Yet Schultz defended Biden from Trump-media comparisons. Instead, he was adamant that Biden and his communications team had “full respect for the role journalists play in democracy, the importance of the first amendment, and the value of telling the truth.”
“Reporters, in turn, should look across the political spectrum and be careful about what fights they pick and what’s important to them,” Schultz told the Washington Examiner.
Republicans, however, have already begun citing Biden’s temper as another reason why he is unfit for office before the 2022 midterm elections. They contend that Biden’s anger management has worsened since his “disastrous” second stand-alone White House news conference last week.
“Joe Biden’s press conference went so badly [that it] looks like he’s decided to never answer questions again,” Republican National Committee spokesman Tommy Pigott said. “Given that Biden essentially gave the green light to an invasion of Ukraine and has been wrong about inflation for months, he should be answering more questions, not less.”
Whitney Robertson, a spokeswoman for Republican opposition research firm America Rising, also circulated a memo regarding Biden’s past “rude” or “profane” run-ins with reporters, even voters.