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Internal Drama and Leaks Shake the White House After Biden’s Debate Performance

  • July 10, 2024
  • 4 min read
Internal Drama and Leaks Shake the White House After Biden’s Debate Performance

President Joe Biden’s recent debate performance has ignited a wave of internal strife, information leaks, and doubts within the White House, exposing cracks in a Biden administration previously celebrated for its discipline and cohesion.

A Turbulent Turn for a Steady Administration

For over three years, the Biden administration had been a model of restraint, focusing on policy and maintaining a tight lid on internal criticism. Aides kept any dissatisfaction under wraps, but recent events have shattered this calm facade. The debate on June 27, where Biden’s performance was notably shaky, has led to a rare public blame game, leaks of private conversations, and heightened scrutiny of his son Hunter Biden’s presence at the White House.

Press Secretary Acknowledges Unprecedented Scrutiny

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed the extraordinary pressure on Biden and his team on Tuesday. “It has been an unprecedented time,” she remarked, referring to the scrutiny over the president’s age and mental capacity that threatens his reelection bid. “We are meeting a new moment that has never really existed before.”

Public Criticism and Internal Concerns

The fallout from the debate has been significant. There have been leaks of private calls between Biden and Democrats, and anonymous White House officials have expressed concerns about Biden’s capability to perform his duties. Additionally, a radio journalist’s resignation followed revelations that the Biden campaign had provided her and another reporter with interview questions.

Capitol Hill and Party Discontent

The turmoil extends to Capitol Hill, where a few House Democrats have openly called for Biden to step aside. Behind closed doors, other members express similar concerns, adding to the overall atmosphere of unease.

Biden’s Determination and Administration’s Response

Despite the criticism, Biden remains adamant about staying in the race. Andrew Bates, a senior deputy press secretary, emphasised Biden’s achievements, stating he had “restored compassion, honesty, and competence to the Oval Office” and led the most diverse administration in history.

“The staff are deeply proud of him and each other and know the key is to focus on the work and the American people, not the noise,” Bates said.

Maintaining a Buttoned-Up Administration

Biden’s administration aimed to contrast the leaky and chaotic Trump White House, fostering deep loyalty among Biden’s inner circle. However, the recent debate performance drew public criticism from even his staunch supporters, like former White House communications director Kate Bedingfield.

Speaking on CNN, Bedingfield said, “It was a really disappointing debate performance from Joe Biden. I don’t think there’s any other way to slice it.”

Family Support and Hunter Biden’s Influence

In the wake of the debate, Biden’s family, particularly Hunter Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, encouraged him to remain in the race, questioning whether his staff had prepared him adequately. Biden has taken responsibility, stating, “the debate disaster was nobody’s fault but mine.”

Hunter Biden’s presence at the White House has raised concerns among some who worry about his influence on the president. These concerns have been heightened by Hunter’s impending sentencing on three felony convictions in a gun case.

Strategy and Second-Guessing

Biden’s long-term strategy of limiting public interactions, particularly with journalists, has also come under scrutiny. Bates defended the strategy, noting Biden’s frequent engagement with the public and media, though he has granted fewer interviews than his predecessors.

White House officials have anonymously voiced concerns about Biden’s abilities in various national media outlets. Despite these internal issues, Jean-Pierre insists that the administration does not engage in finding or silencing dissenters, contrasting with the previous administration’s approach.

Efforts to Boost Morale Amidst Missteps

In an attempt to boost morale, Biden’s Chief of Staff Jeff Zients encouraged White House aides to ignore the “noise” and focus on their work. However, public missteps have continued, such as Jean-Pierre’s conflicting statements about Biden’s health.

Controversies in Media Relations

The recent resignation of a radio host, after it was revealed that the Biden campaign fed questions to interviewers, further damaged the administration’s credibility. Former White House communications official Michael LaRosa criticized the communications team for their “misguided and BAD media relations practices.”

As the 2024 election approaches, it remains to be seen whether this period of internal drama will be a temporary lapse or a continuing challenge for Biden and his administration.

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