Jill Biden criticized for blocking reporter access to President: 'Nobody elected her'
As President Joe Biden's classified document scandal continues to swirl, a viral video of a White House event at which first lady Jill Biden was seen steering her husband away from inquisitive reporters has drawn significant criticism, with one GOP lawmaker observing, “nobody elected her,” as Fox News reports.
The controversial moment took place during a Lunar New Year celebration held Thursday at the White House, when a gaggle of journalists attempted to ask the president, among other things, whether he would permit a search of his Rehoboth Beach, Delaware home to determine if additional documents might be there.
Mrs. Biden objects
As Joe and Jill Biden made their way into the party, assembled reporters began peppering the president with questions about the ongoing document scandal, and the query about Rehoboth Beach seemed to mark the limit of what the first lady would permit.
Even before the president had a chance to offer an answer, Mrs. Biden swiftly approached and whisked him toward to doorway leading to the festive gathering. WATCH:
REPORTER: "Will you allow the FBI to search your Rehoboth Beach home?"
Jill Biden gets in the way and ushers Joe along before he answers. pic.twitter.com/fKXQcTyUF5
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) January 26, 2023
It did not take long for the clip to draw the ire of critics who have been repeatedly frustrated by the president's unwillingness to engage on questions of national interest, not to mention his wife's habit of running interference for him with reporters.
One of those who was particularly critical of what occurred at the White House was former Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), who explained his objections during a Friday appearance on Fox & Friends.
Discussing the president's continued reluctance to be part of the back-and-forth with journalists that is part and parcel of his role as commander in chief, Collins declared the situation to have become “concerning.”
Clearly irritated by Jill Biden's role in removing her husband from uncomfortable encounters with the media, Collins added, “[N]obody, frankly, in all fairness to the first lady, nobody elected her to answer questions for the president on issues that the press may have questioned.”
“They may not like the questions. They may not like the answer. But this is what his job is, to answer these questions and to be part of the process of people understanding,” Collins continued. “But really, I would rather prefer Jill Biden not be shielding the president from questions, because I want to know if the president can actually answer the questions.”
Not the first time
Thursday's awkward moments at the White House did not represent the first instance in which Jill Biden swooped in to stop her husband from saying something potentially cringeworthy – or worse – to curious reporters.
In March of 2022, as Fox News noted at the time, the Bidens were walking outside the White House when a reporter asked the president how he squares his support of abortion rights with his professed Catholic faith. WATCH:
REPORTER: "As a Catholic, why do you support abortion?"
BIDEN: "I don't want to get in a debate with you on theology, but you know...I'm not going to make a judgement for other people."
REPORTER: "But you're Catholic!" pic.twitter.com/KR7njW1cW9
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) March 2, 2022
As can be seen in the video, the president began to offer a response, saying, “I don't want to get into a debate with you on theology, but you know, well anyway, I'm not going to make a judgment for other people,” and when pressed further by the reporter, Jill Biden approached and pulled on his arm in what appeared to be a signal for him to stop talking.
It is not just Jill Biden who has been given the unenviable task of steering the president away from potentially damaging exchanges with the press, as was apparent back in April during the White House Easter Egg roll.
As the New York Post noted at the time, Biden was walking among guests and assembled journalists at the event when he received a hard-hitting question from Afghan reporter Nazira Karimi.
Biden reportedly began to attempt an answer, saying, “Pakistan should not and Afghanistan should be – people should be free,” and that was when an individual dressed in an Easter Bunny costume quickly appeared to usher the president away from the inquiring journalist.
Based on a photo tweeted from the White House taken either before or immediately after the event, the president's costumed savior appeared to be administration press staffer Meghan Hays, a fact suggestive to many of the severe unease Biden's unscripted moments seem to cause those working for and with him.