Former reporter Bob Woodward has been dogging the footsteps of American presidents since Richard Nixon occupied the Oval Office.
In a newly released book, “Peril,” he and Robert Costa continue dishing dirt on the nation’s chief executives. This saga by the two veteran Washington Post reporters looks at President Donald Trump’s time in office with some bleed over into the early days of President Joe Biden’s term.
The book’s authors say White House aides shield President Joe Biden from unscripted events and long interviews because they fear the president’s testiness and his penchant for mangling statements. “Peril” cited a number of incidents by the gaffe-prone president in the early days of his administration. One memorable one involved a back-and-forth with a CNN reporter, for which Biden later apologized.
President Biden apologized to CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins after losing his temper with her during a June 2021 press conference he gave after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.
“Given his past behavior has not changed, and in that press conference after sitting down with you for several hours, he denied any involvement in cyberattacks, he downplayed human rights abuses; he even refused to say Alexei Navalny’s name,” Collins said to Biden before asking, “So, how does that account to a constructive meeting as President Putin framed it?”
“If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business,” retorted Biden.
“That side of Biden — his tendency to at times be testy or mangle statements — was still with him and now part of his presidency,” the authors wrote. Biden aides told the two reporters that Chief of Staff Ronald Klain and former White House advisor Anita Dunn tried to prevent similar things from happening by keeping him away from “unscripted events or long interviews.”
Indeed, the president didn’t hold his first press conference until he had been in office for 64 days, the longest since any president going back to Calvin Coolidge.
“They called the effect ‘the wall,’ a cocooning of the president,” Woodward and Costa wrote.
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