Just before the Christmas holiday in 2018, then-President Donald Trump canceled his planned vacation to his Mar-a-Lago resort, citing the partial government shutdown: ‘I will not be going to Florida because of the Shutdown — Staying in the White House! #MAGA.’ The administration determined it would be poor optics for the president to spend 16 days in sunny Florida during a major political standoff.
President Joe Biden has refused to take the same approach, even as his poorly planned withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan led to the Taliban’s rapid ascent to power and the stranding of thousands of American citizens in Kabul. As I wrote previously, we did not see the President for nearly three days as the Taliban seized the capital city. He split his time between his home in Delaware and Camp David during a pre-planned August vacation. The administration finally trotted Biden out for a 10-minute speech defending the withdrawal on Monday, after which he took no questions and quickly returned to Camp David. Since then, the President’s appearances have been few and far between.
After four years of one of the most accessible presidencies in modern history — daily tweets, near-daily press scrums, constant television and radio interviews and the like — Biden’s constant disappearances seem unusual enough. Add in the fact that we are in the midst of an international crisis, and it’s hard not to wonder if something is wrong.
The President did not have any public events from his Monday speech until Wednesday evening, when he delivered remarks on the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden spent much of his time attacking Florida governor Ron DeSantis and took no questions on the situation in Afghanistan. However, he partook in a rare sit-down interview with former Clinton press secretary and current ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos, which was then aggressively fact-checked, even by the mainstream media.
Biden took another break from speaking to the public on Thursday. The press was informed that the President was scheduled to return to Wilmington, Delaware on Friday evening and remain there for the weekend. The White House later said that, actually, Biden would not go to Delaware. It is still not clear if Biden will remain at the White House through the entire weekend. Over the past week, his schedule seems to change at a moment’s notice, leaving reporters and the public confused as to where he is going to be on any given day.
On Friday afternoon, Biden spoke again on Afghanistan from the White House, and it became very clear why the administration is so reticent to have the public hear from the Commander-in-Chief. The President was almost a full hour late to his scheduled remarks, which were again filled with inaccuracies. He falsely asserted that no American citizens have had a difficult time getting to the Kabul airport. He incorrectly declared that America’s allies abroad are not upset with how he handled leaving Afghanistan. He claimed there are no members of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Biden then appeared to fumble details about the administration’s attempts to help Americans get home, turning around and asking secretary of state Antony Blinken for an assist. The President took just five questions from corporate media outlets after his speech and then abruptly ended the event.
The White House called a press lid on the day just minutes after the conclusion of Biden’s speech.
President Joe Biden has repeatedly shown a complete failure to lead during the biggest scandal since he took office. He has spun the Narrative, misstated facts and appeared to woefully misunderstand the issue at hand. That is, when he is even willing to speak publicly and candidly about the situation. It is times like these, when physical rigor and mental endurance are indispensable, that ‘Sleepy Joe’ appears completely unfit for his job.