It’s bad enough when you can’t seem to convince the country that you’re really the president, but it’s awkward when you can’t convince your own staffers of it.
Biden is unhappy about a pattern that has developed inside the West Wing. He makes a clear and succinct statement — only to have aides rush to explain that he actually meant something else. The so-called clean-up campaign, he has told advisers, undermines him and smothers the authenticity that fueled his rise. Worse, it feeds a Republican talking point that he’s not fully in command.
Can’t imagine why they would think that.
While it’s far from unusual for aides and staffers to sideline and undermine the guy at the top. Listen to the Reagan story about how hard it was to get, Tear down this wall into the speech sometime. But Biden brought it on himself by filling his administration with Obama vets who despise him nearly as much as their boss did.
Add on the Elizabeth Warren people and the lifers who were also the bane of the Trump administration and you have a formula for being ignored.
But Biden also brings it on himself by saying things that constantly need to be walked back.
The issue came to a head when Biden ad-libbed during a speech in Poland that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” Within minutes, Biden’s aides tried to walk back his comments, saying he hadn’t called for Putin’s removal and that U.S. policy was unchanged. Biden was furious that his remarks were being seen as unreliable, arguing that he speaks genuinely and reminding his staff that he’s the one who is president.
Those reminders don’t seem to have worked because he’s not the president, just the guy in front of the teleprompter.