OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
First lady Jill Biden let her husband and his aides have it after she felt they allowed a 2022 press conference to go on too long and demanded to know why someone did not end it sooner.
According to a new book, Jill asked: “Where were you guys? ‘Where was the person who was going to end the press conference?”
In her upcoming book “American Woman,” which explores modern first ladies, author Katie Rogers reveals that Jill Biden confronted President Biden and his aides following the Jan. 19, 2022, news conference commemorating his first year in office. During the nearly two-hour conference, Biden discussed various issues but occasionally stumbled over facts and reacted strongly to a reporter who cited his remarks comparing political adversaries to segregationists, Fox News reported.
“She had watched the news conference, and the look on her face told everyone in the room — from the president on down — that they had some explaining to do,” Rogers wrote in the excerpt reported by Axios. “‘Why didn’t anyone stop that?’ she demanded.”
Rogers wrote that the first lady’s hostile reaction even cowered her husband into silence.
“Everyone stayed silent, looking at one another, and then at her, and back to one another. That included the most powerful man in the world. Her husband essentially played along, not offering an answer, even though aides had slipped him a card suggesting he end the press conference,” Rogers wrote.
Rogers added in her own account for The New York Times that officials “later apologized to her, according to an account of the episode shared by a person in the room.”
The book depicts Jill Biden as her husband’s “fiercest protector” and goes on to suggest that she wants to help protect him from difficult situations. Rogers added that the first lady knows “how much the job is draining him,” noting further that he brings briefing books back to the first family residence every evening.
The reports on the book come at a challenging time for the White House, which has been grappling with concerns about the president’s advanced age. Biden recently delivered a rare nationally televised primetime speech and press conference on Thursday night in response to alleged significant memory lapses during his interview for a special counsel report regarding his handling of classified documents.
The press conference, which did not go well, followed the release of Counsel Robert Hur’s damning report regarding Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified information. Hur’s 388-page report, which took the White House by surprise and sent shockwaves through the administration, documented Biden’s memory loss dating back nearly a decade, which clearly puts him in 25th Amendment territory.
“Mr. Biden will likely present himself to the jury, as he did during his interview with our office, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” Hur wrote in explaining his rationale for refusing prosecution. “…It would be difficult to convince a jury they should convict him – by then a former president who will be at least well into his eighties – of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”
“Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” the report said, adding that Biden also could not recall the years he served as vice president or the year his son, Beau, died of brain cancer.
Per the Washington Examiner, here is a partial list of references that Hur made regarding Biden’s declining mental capacity and memory; they touch on Biden’s past positions and the president’s work with a ghostwriter, Mark Zwonitzer, for his 2017 memoir, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose”:
— “Mr. Biden’s memory was significantly limited, both during his recorded interviews with the ghostwriter in 2017, and in his interview with our office in 2023.”
— “We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
— “Mr. Biden’s memory also appeared to have significant limitations — both at the time he spoke to Zwonitzer in 2017, as evidenced by their recorded conversations, and today, as evidenced by his recorded interview with our office. Mr. Biden’s recorded conversations with Zwonitzer from 2017 are often painfully slow, with Mr. Biden struggling to remember events and straining at times to read and relay his own notebook entries.”
— “In his interview with our office, Mr. Biden’s memory was worse. He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘If it was 2013 — when did I stop being vice president?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘In 2009, am I still vice president?’).”