Awkward: Bidens late for Christmas tree lighting, audience ordered to repeat welcoming applause

Awkward: Bidens late for Christmas tree lighting, audience ordered to repeat welcoming applause
Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

The Bidens were on Biden time last night as they arrived at their designated spot for the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. They were late. They were late enough that the host of the ceremony held on The Ellipse in President’s Park south of the White House had to ask the audience to re-do their applause after the First Couple’s introduction.

Last night was the 99th annual National Christmas Tree lighting. Is it too much to ask that Biden’s keepers get him outside on time to flip a switch? Apparently so, and it turned out to be a moment more awkward than usual for Sleepy Joe. The host, rapper and actor LL Cool J, teed up the president and Jill with an introduction. His wording was odd but probably written by a White House staffer. LL Cool J asked the audience to welcome “our literal host, our actual host to this very American celebration – President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.” The audience applauded and then there was nothing. The walk-on music played. And played. Masked adults moved around in front of the staged outdoor setting. The ASL interpreter just stands on stage. Finally, LL Cool J addresses the audience and acknowledged the audience all stood and applauded patriotically, with respect for the office as you’re supposed to, and then said they’d do it again. He asked them to sit back down – “It’ll be fun!” – and then asked for “a lot of applause” as he re-introduced the Bidens. Yikes.

The ceremony was televised and streamed so this was a huge embarrassment for a White House that insists that every movement of Joe Biden be scripted. His staff won’t even let him answer reporter questions after speeches, for crying out loud, or so he says. They seat him at a small desk in a fake room in the White House, a television set for effect, for signing ceremonies and for delivering remarks on various topics. I’m old enough to remember when Democrats enjoyed mocking Trump as the television celebrity president. This administration has Hollywood production written all over it. This time it blew up in their face. Jen Psaki must have been clutching her pearls.

Biden’s remarks were rote, including introducing himself as Jill’s husband like that joke never gets old. He thanked Interior Secretary Deb Haaland for her introduction and wished her a happy birthday. Kamala and Doug were there, too.

“My name is Joe Biden. I am Jill Biden’s husband. On behalf of Jill and Kamala and Doug, we welcome you to the National Christmas Tree lighting.

Thanks to the Interior secretary, Deb Haaland, for that introduction and her leadership. She has made me look awful good in my judgments. It is wonderful to join you here on your birthday, madam secretary. Happy birthday.

Also, thanks to the National Park Service and Foundation that takes such great care of our national parks and the 1,300 students around the country who created the ornaments that decorate the trees representing our states and our territories.

And a special thanks to tonight’s host, LL Cool J. I’ll tell you what, man, he looks like he can still play, and I’m not talking about instruments. I’m talking about football or something. The man is — you know, anyway, I tell you what.

Well, at least he didn’t call LL Cool J clean and articulate.

Toward the end of his remarks, Biden acknowledged his Catholic faith. Earlier in the day, he voiced his support of Roe v Wade. He compartmentalizes his religion apparently. Also earlier in the day, Biden called Dr. Fauci the president during a speech at NIH. Biden brings the cringe.

We know Biden isn’t fully there and is quick to cede power to others. He doesn’t have to joke about it, though, because to most Americans it is an alarming reality.

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David Strom 5:21 PM on March 31, 2023