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White House spokeswoman says it’s ‘ridiculous’ that some say Biden’s staff has to treat him like at toddler

 September 6, 2023

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, during a Tuesday briefing, showed visible discomfort when asked about Democratic voters' concerns regarding President Joe Biden's age and allegations from a soon-to-be-released book suggesting the administration staff handles him "like a toddler," as Fox News reported.

Peter Doocy from the network posed a challenging query to Jean-Pierre, asking, "President Biden is the oldest president in U.S. history. Why does White House staff treat him like a baby?"

Jean-Pierre immediately countered, emphasizing, "No one treats the president of the United States, the commander in chief, like a baby. That's ridiculous. It's a ridiculous claim."

Referencing a New Book

Doocy brought to light excerpts from an upcoming publication by The Atlantic's Franklin Foer, titled The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden's White House and the Struggle for America's Future. The author mentions a specific instance after Biden's seemingly audacious stance on Russia in March 2022, in which the president purportedly expressed frustrations to acquaintances about feeling belittled.

Drawing parallels with past presidents, Biden is quoted in the book as having mused, "Was John Kennedy ever babied like that?"

Jean-Pierre mentioned that such occurrences are not commonplace, and she added that she wouldn't be addressing them from the briefing room podium.

She continued, explaining that the focus should be on how Biden's wisdom and experience played a pivotal role in uniting democracies against authoritarian regimes.

Attempting to steer the conversation to upcoming diplomatic engagements, Jean-Pierre alluded to Biden's impending visit to the G20 summit in India.

Addressing Public Perception

However, Doocy shifted the topic to a fresh Wall Street Journal survey indicating a notable sentiment among Democrats, wherein a significant two-thirds believed Biden might be too advanced in age for another presidential run.

Jean-Pierre emphasized her awareness and knowledge of the situation, underscoring the president's wisdom and experience.

She said, "I can speak to a president who has experience. I can speak to a president who has done historic – has taken historic action and has delivered in historic pieces of legislation. And that's important."

The press secretary enthusiastically highlighted Biden's milestones in infrastructure, prescription drug pricing, and the Inflation Reduction Act. Jean-Pierre concluded, "The president continues to prevail."

Biden's Controversial Statement and the Aftermath

In the early stages of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, President Biden delivered what was intended to be a defining speech in support of Kyiv, according to Foer. This address in March held great significance for Biden.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, played a pivotal role in encouraging the president during the speech's drafting phase. Drawing a parallel to an iconic moment from history, Milley said to Biden, "This is your, 'Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall speech.'" The reference was to former President Ronald Reagan's influential statement during the waning days of the Cold War, as the New York Post reported.

However, Biden's speech did not exactly go as planned. Instead of concluding with the predetermined ending, Biden made an impromptu remark that seemed to call for the ouster of Russian President Vladimir Putin: "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power."

In the wake of this unexpected statement, the White House staff swiftly intervened to provide clarification on the president's words. They did this without Biden's input, which, according to Foer's book, led to feelings of discontentment from the president. Instead of acknowledging his oversight, Biden felt aggrieved by his team, believing they gave the impression they were rectifying his blunder.

Foer notes, "Rather than owning his failure, he fumed to his friends about how he was treated like a toddler."