'Freaking the F*** Out': White House Has Blame-Game Meltdown Over Biden Crisis

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Say, maybe it wasn't such a hot idea by the Bidens to blame White House advisers and debate preppers for Joe's cognitive collapse Thursday night after all. That spin came directly from the Camp David emergency family meeting, when the Bidens decided to go all-out in  finding scapegoats for the president's aphasiac performance. They took aim at Ron Klain and Anita Dunn in particular, for supposedly failing to prepare Biden for the CNN debate.


That got almost instant blowback from someone one step removed from inside the house, former press secretary Jen Psaki:

... including Obama, Clinton and Biden is absurd.  It was a bad debate.  I have no doubt they were tough, strategic and direct. (Believe me I have seen them in action) but prep does not always determine the outcome. Biden was bad. Important convos about what happens next. But if you are directing your ire at “prep” you are not talking about the right things.

Psaki usually serves to carry Biden's water in her media appearances, so this sharp retort raised a number of eyebrows. "Important convos about what happens next" is exactly what the blame-the-preppers spin was designed to prevent. The Bidens had apparently strategized that throwing a few trusted friends under the bus would assuage the media and allow them to get back to normal.

Instead, the attack on insiders seems to have touched off a leak-fest mutiny in all phases of Team Biden. David wrote about the New York Times' report on whispers from insiders around Biden expressing concern about his cognitive capacity. but Axios follows that up with another dam break of betrayed insiders in the White House and the campaign:


Officials on President Biden's White House and campaign staffs say they're feeling rage, sadness, frustration and resolve over his debate performance and his team's response to it, more than a dozen White House and campaign aides told Axios.

Why it matters: Biden's performance at the debate has left many of his own aides worried about his mental fitness, and angry about what they see as a lack of candor from Biden's senior aides. ...

Axios granted several Biden officials anonymity to describe the atmosphere in the White House and on the campaign in the days since the debate.

  • One Biden confidante told Axios: "For everyone who really cares about Biden and his legacy, the debate was just painful to watch."
  • "It's dark," said an official involved in the campaign. "It feels like there is zero leadership or information. People are being told to keep their heads down and keep working, but they're not seeing the president or being given any reason why they should have faith in him."

Axios' Alex Thompson depicts an angrier White House and campaign than the NYT article suggests. Perhaps that's because the Bidens decided to shift blame onto the people around them, and clearly without even bothering to engage them first in that strategy. Now the problem isn't just that Biden is only good for Dr. Pepper hours during the day, but that there isn't anyone else providing leadership while the Bidens blame the help for their own failures.


It turns out that Hunter and Jill are no better at strategic thinking than Joe, even on the latter's best day. The impression from both articles -- and the timing in which they emerged -- is that the Bidens poured gasoline on a fire rather than douse it, and are themselves too incompetent to grasp it. 

So what's next? The appearance of chaos in a rudderless White House won't build any confidence among Democrats of any stripe, let alone the establishment leaders who might have to make a tough call about Biden's campaign -- and perhaps his presidency. The first order of business might be to get Hunter out of the family business, or at least this phase of it, and look for someone that can calm everyone down. That normally would be the job of the president's chief of staff, Jeffrey Zients ... whose name never comes up at all in either story. Where the hell is Zients in all of this, and what exactly is he doing?

For one thing, he's spending his time attempting to jolly along Democrat leadership in the House and Senate, because Biden wasn't talking to them either:

Four days after his disastrous debate performance, President Joe Biden still hadn’t personally called top Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill to shore up support, five sources told NBC News, though White House chief of staff Jeff Zients was making calls.

Biden’s team has been working to quash questions swirling in the party about whether he can continue in the race against former President Donald Trump. Yet there’s growing frustration at the president’s inner circle for being overly “insulated,” said a Democratic lawmaker, who added that Biden isn’t doing the type of personal outreach they’d expect.

Biden hasn’t personally reached out to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, both New York Democrats, or to other Hill leaders after his halting debate — a decision that has stunned some lawmakers.


In other words, it's an ungodly meltdown, which Democrat governors will have to confront when they meet with Biden tomorrow. Or Zients ... or Hunter ... or someone

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