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President Joe Biden is reportedly ‘frustrated’ with how his administration is running and being perceived, according to an article citing more than two dozen Democrats and officials
President Joe Biden is reportedly ‘frustrated’ at how his White House is being run less than two years into his administration, with the commander-in-chief apparently weary of the steady ‘clean-up campaign’ his aides have instituted for his off-the-cuff comments and ‘twisted’ by approval ratings lower than Donald Trump’s.
The president was also not told about the current baby formula shortage until just this month, despite economics experts claiming it had been building up to the crisis point for a long time, according to an extensive new NBC News report published on Tuesday.
It’s the latest supply crisis that Republicans and other Biden critics have been knocking him over for not being quicker to act.
It also suggests the Biden administration is headed for yet another staff shake-up, with Chief of Staff Ron Klain – known for putting up a vociferous defense of his boss on Twitter – expected to leave after November’s midterm elections.
Biden’s search for a potent midterm strategy to help Democrats keep their razor-thin control of Congress is also reportedly gaining urgency, even as the president grows more unpopular in the polls.
‘He shares the view that we haven’t landed on a winning midterm message…And he’s putting a lot of pressure on people to figure out what that is,’ an unnamed White House adviser told NBC.
Even House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, a close ally of Biden’s whose endorsement helped the president clinch his 2020 primary race, conceded the president’s struggles.
‘I don’t know what’s required here,’ Clyburn said. ‘But I do know the poll numbers have been stuck where they are for far too long.’
An author who is writing a book about the current administration, Chris Whipple, conceded Biden had come to office with ‘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.’
It comes as his 40.7 approval rating is now lower than Donald Trump’s was at this point in his term – by roughly one percent
But Tuesday’s report still paints a picture of a commander-in-chief who appeared to have thought his decades of experience in the Senate would have given him an edge only to be left struggling with back-to-back public relations crises.
The president also reportedly griped to aides about the amount of negative coverage he’s received and the lack of Democrats on television defending him.
But he’s also complained about the way aides treat his public comments, the report claims, particularly ad-libbed statements that cause a stir in the headlines and they’ve been forced to walk back.
He reportedly thinks repeat corrections undermine his stature. One recent instance is highlighted in which an impassioned Biden said, after meeting with Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion, that Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘cannot remain in power.’
Senior administration officials right up to State Secretary Antony Blinken immediately leapt to say the president was not calling for regime change in Russia.
‘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,’ NBC’s report states.
The president was also reportedly angered that he was only told about the baby formula shortage this month – despite economists warning of the looming threat earlier
His staff might face another shakeup soon too on the heels of Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s departure, with reports that Chief of Staff Ron Klain might leave after November’s elections
A White House official told the outlet: ‘We don’t say anything that the president doesn’t want us to say.’
And deputy press secretary Andrew Bates also weighed in on Tuesday morning, pointing out on Twitter that ‘No comments elaborating on POTUS remarks are given without his expressed approval.’
Biden is also particularly sensitive over his low approval rating, which has been sinking below his disapproval numbers since the American military’s evacuation of Afghanistan in August 2021.
‘He’s now lower than Trump, and he’s really twisted about it,’ someone close to the administration said.
The president is backed by 40.7 percent of Americans as of Tuesday while 54.1 percent disapprove, according to FiveThirtyEight’s average of multiple recent polls.
That’s now lower than every one of his predecessors at this point in their terms since the end of World War II.
Trump, who had long been an exception to that benchmark, now appears to have surpassed his Democrat rival. The ex-president’s approval rating was 41.6 percent at this point in his tenure, slightly above Biden’s.
And despite declaring late last year, ‘I don’t look at the polls,’ one person mentioned in the Tuesday report claimed that the president actually gets weekly briefings on where he stands with ‘key demographics’ – and another said he was reportedly baffled to be sliding back with suburban woman who were critical to his 2020 victory.
A White House official denied Biden’s vexation with the polls, claiming instead that ‘What he’s pushing for is to make a sharper case for all that we have accomplished thus far.’
But among the biggest changes Biden could be faced with next is finding a new Chief of Staff – with Klain’s reportedly planned departure window coming out weeks after Press Secretary Jen Psaki left her role and joined left-wing network MSNBC.
One person cited in the report claims to have heard Klain discuss leaving, but senior White House communications adviser Remi Yamamoto said on the record: ‘As Ron has said publicly, he has not set a time frame, and this is not a discussion on the top of anyone’s mind here.’
Potential replacements could be Biden confidante Anita Dunn, White House counselor Steve Ricchetti or domestic policy director Susan Rice.
Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who lost his re-election bid last year to Republican Glenn Youngkin, also reportedly spoke to the White House about a senior role in the administration after his defeat last fall.