According to a report, the first lady ripped into White House staffers after failing to interrupt the second solo press conference conducted by President Biden in January – when her husband continued answering questions even as Jen Psaki signaled the president to conclude the conference.
Jill Biden confronted senior members of the president’s staff demanding to know who was supposed to end the conference. The New York Times said, “She pointedly asked the group, which included the president, why nobody stepped in to stop it, according to a person who was in the room. Where was the person, she demanded, who was supposed to end the news conference?”
In the Jan. 19 press conference, President Biden was asked about tensions between Washington and Moscow over the Ukraine war and the supply chain crisis that was creating a nationwide shortage of goods. As he took questions from a pre-selected list of journalists and then from the floor, one reporter asked about Americans’ concerns about his mental health.
The Times reported that the first lady protected her husband before the midterm elections, describing how she became a favored presidential surrogate, said NY Post. In addition, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was vetted by the first lady. Jill Biden “was also involved in the hiring of [Joe Biden’s] press staff and other senior aides,” the media outlet reported.
An inquiry about which specific aides Jill Biden was involved in hiring was not immediately answered by the White House, according to The Daily Caller. In an apparent bid to end the press conference in January, Psaki stood up after the president had been fielding questions for about an hour.
About 20 minutes later after Psaki first appeared to try to end the interview, the president continued, prompting her to get up and walk to a door about 50 feet away. As soon as the president finished, he asked his small audience of 30 reporters – who were limited due to the pandemic, but were not required to observe social distancing guidelines – how long they would like him to continue. After checking his watch, Biden said he would continue for another 20 minutes. However, he ended up staying for 30 minutes.
As Joe Biden has come under scrutiny for being led off stage by the first lady and appearing to be physically taken away from reporters by the Easter Bunny, Jill Biden’s influence within the White House is of particular concern.
Jill Biden has frequently traveled to states such as Georgia and Florida for the campaign as Joe Biden’s poll numbers remain underwater weeks before the mid-terms.
Melania Trump and Michelle Obama both opted to stay away from intense politics before the midterm elections, whereas the first lady did the opposite.
As part of his press conference, Biden speculated that the American response to a “minor incursion” into Ukraine would be muted, and he predicted that Vladimir Putin would be able to defeat Kyiv in the end.