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President Joe Biden’s approval ratings have been in a freefall for nearly a year, now reaching a level that is below that of his predecessor.
And he’s reportedly not very happy about it.
What’s more, according to NBC, he also isn’t pleased with being undermined after nearly every major policy statement he makes, becoming particularly peeved by aides and underlings who quickly ‘correct the record’ and ‘explain what he really meant.’
The outlet reports:
Biden is rattled by his sinking approval ratings and is looking to regain voters’ confidence that he can provide the sure-handed leadership he promised during the campaign, people close to the president say.
Crises have piled up in ways that have at times made the Biden White House look flat-footed: record inflation, high gas prices, a rise in Covid case numbers — and now a Texas school massacre that is one more horrific reminder that he has been unable to get Congress to pass legislation to curb gun violence. Democratic leaders are at a loss about how he can revive his prospects by November, when midterm elections may cost his party control of Congress.
“I don’t know what’s required here,” said Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., whose endorsement in the 2020 Democratic primaries helped rescue Biden’s struggling candidacy. “But I do know the poll numbers have been stuck where they are for far too long.”
The report went on to say that it’s likely major staff shake-ups are looming on the horizon, probably after the midterms.
“They came in with the most daunting set of challenges arguably since Franklin D. Roosevelt, only to then be hit by a perfect storm of crises, from Ukraine to inflation to the supply chain to baby formula,” said Chris Whipple, the author of a book about White House chiefs of staff who is now writing a book about the Biden presidency. “What’s next? Locusts?”
Apparently, Biden wonders something similar.
“I’ve heard him say recently that he used to say about President Obama’s tenure that everything landed on his desk but locusts, and now he understands how that feels,” a White House official said.
“Biden is frustrated. If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” said a person close to the president.
The report adds:
Beyond policy, 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.
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.
Asked about the staff’s practice of clarifying Biden’s remarks, the official said: “We don’t say anything that the president doesn’t want us to say.”
But all said Biden’s anger and resentment appear to be having an effect on the Democratic Party, with individual members warring among themselves and pointing fingers as his administration’s failures to make progress on a number of key issues as hurting their chances to maintain congressional control in the fall.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., is indicative of Democrat frustration. She told NBC News the White House has failed to put forward what she has described as an “intellectually honest” plan to combat inflation, the number one issue among Americans, according to several recent surveys. A bill the House passed recently to crack down on alleged gas price gouging isn’t an answer, she said, even as experts warned price-fixing would only exacerbate price spikes because they would lead oil companies to produce less.
“If I sound frustrated, it’s because I hear from my constituents,” Murphy said. “They’re struggling. This is not a time for political games. It’s not the time for finding bogeymen.”