White House Staffers ‘Scared’ of Biden, Admit He Isn’t ‘Pleasant’ While Being Briefed – ‘Perfect Storm’

We now have a new scapegoat for who or what’s to blame for President Joe Biden’s apocalyptically bad Thursday night debate performance.

Just in case you haven’t been keeping up, here’s a short list of what everyone’s blamed it on thus far: a cold, a slow start, jet lag, the “Gish gallop” and a just-plain-bad-night.

The new one, however, actually bears some semblance of truth (besides the fact that the leader of the free world is self-evidently senile):

In a Politico report Tuesday, several insiders blamed Biden’s inner coterie for insulating him from news that he might find problematic, given that the 81-year-old president can get cantankerous when given information from the outside that pierces the small group of advisers he’s kept around him.

“Over the course of his presidency, Joe Biden’s small clutch of advisers have built an increasingly protective circle around him, limiting his exposure to the media and outside advice — an effort to manage public perceptions of the oldest person to ever hold the office and tightly control his political operation,” Politico noted.


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“But inside the White House, Biden’s growing limitations were becoming apparent long before his meltdown in last week’s debate, with the senior team’s management of the president growing more strictly controlled as his term has gone on.”

How controlled? Sources described being told what to tell the president and what not to tell him, because nobody wanted the guy angry.

“It’s like, ‘You can’t include that, that will set him off,’ or ‘Put that in, he likes that,’” one senior Biden official told Politico.

“It’s a Rorschach test, not a briefing. Because he is not a pleasant person to be around when he’s being briefed. It’s very difficult, and people are scared s***less of him.”

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Biden’s senior team, which includes adviser Anita Dunn, former chief of staff Ron Klain and aides like Mike Donilon, Steve Ricchetti and Bruce Reed were mentioned as those who not only helped oversee debate prep but also kept reality from Biden and Biden from reality.

“He doesn’t take advice from anyone other than those few top aides, and it becomes a perfect storm because he just gets more and more isolated from their efforts to control it,” the anonymous senior official told Politico.

Indeed, blame from outside the White House has already fallen at the feet of the inner circle of Biden’s team, although mainly for their debate prep with the president.

“The whole planning, preparation was political malpractice,” said Democratic mega-donor John Morgan, the Florida-based trial attorney, said in an interview, pointing fingers at those within Biden’s inner circle. “I think he has a misplaced trust in these three people, and I believe he has from the inception.”

An unnamed Democratic operative agreed.


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“It’s the same people — he has not changed those people for 40 years,” the operative told Politico. “All these guys running the campaign from the White House is not working.”

Yet, Biden continues to say he’s not blaming the prep team for mishandling the run-up to the debate — which, indeed, might be part of the problem, both in terms of realizing what went wrong and any sort of realistic path forward that involves Biden as Democratic nominee and president for four more years.

“The number of people who have access to the president has gotten smaller and smaller and smaller. They’ve been digging deeper into the bunker for months now,” said one Democratic strategist in a battleground state.

And, he added “the more you get into the bunker, the less you listen to anyone.”

Moreover, White House staffers said they had no idea the proposal for the debates with Donald Trump were forthcoming, with the negotiations and planning dictated by — you guessed it — Biden’s inner circle of confidants.

“Everyone was told this was for the best,” a Biden White House staffer said told Politico.

“Now, it’s the worst possible outcome. And we’re all trying to figure out why the people who know him best and make all the decisions didn’t seem to anticipate that this might happen.”

Moreover, the inner circle apparently believed this had nothing to do with the increasingly frail 81-year-old guy who had to have information curated for him, lest he become “unpleasant,” but his political opposition.

“The fact is, there wasn’t an open dialogue about whether he should run except for the people who would benefit from him running,” a Democratic operative close to the Biden campaign told Politico.

His people, the operative said, were convinced “that this was going to be about Trump, not about Biden, and at the end of the day, people just wouldn’t vote for Trump. But here we are, we’re sitting in July, and the race is about Biden, and it’s about a trait you can’t fix.”

Whoops. That kind of myopia sounds like a far more credible explanation for Thursday’s implosion than a cold or that gosh-darned “Gish Gallop.” And, much like Biden, it’s not something that can be transformed easily between now and Election Day. Nice work, everyone.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).


Morristown, New Jersey


Catholic University of America

Languages Spoken

English, Spanish

Topics of Expertise

American Politics, World Politics, Culture

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