OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is suggesting Joe Biden has not visited the southern border because there is reportedly low public interest in the matter.
During an episode of “The Axe Files” podcast, hosted by David Axelrod, Psaki touched on the situation at the border and why the president has not visited.
“What we’ve tried to do in general in thinking about how we use his time, is really think about what the public cares about. The public cares about the pandemic, the economy. We’re often asked, ‘Why doesn’t he go to the border?’ Important issue. We’re focused on it,” Psaki said.
She added, “What percentage of the public is focused on the border? A much smaller percentage than who’s focused on the pandemic and the economy. So that may be maddening, but, you know, that’s what we try to do.”
At another point in the interview, Psaki admitted that the White House Communications staff has advised Biden to duck some questions from the media.
“That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times we say ‘don’t take questions,'” she said. “But he’s going to do what he wants to do because he’s the president of the United States.”
Listen to Psaki’s interview below:
During that same interview, Psaki said she plans to step down either later this year or early next year.
“I think it’s going to be time for somebody else to have this job, in a year from now or about a year from now,” Psaki said.
Other takeaways from the podcast, summarized by CNN:
— Psaki defends Biden’s accessibility to the press corps while saying, of the times he spontaneously fields questions, “that is not something we recommend.” She says, “In fact, a lot of times we say ‘Don’t take questions,’ you know, but he’s going to do what he wants to do because he’s the president.”
— Psaki says, bluntly, “We’re never going to satisfy the White House press corps and their desires for access. And I think there have been mistakes made in the past of trying to do that.”
— Another candid comment: “We’re often asked, ‘Why doesn’t he go to the border?’ Important issue. We’re focused on it. What percentage of the public is focused on the border? A much smaller percentage than who’s focused on the pandemic and the economy. So that may be maddening, but, you know, that’s what we try to do.”
So, Psaki admitted that (1) Biden won’t visit the border because he thinks Americans don’t really care; (2) Psaki admitted that the press team advises Biden not to take any questions from reporters that they have not already screened; and (3) Psaki is planning to step down in the near future.