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The White House has abandoned plans for President Biden to hold a press conference Thursday with the visiting leaders of Mexico and Canada after his aides were left scrambling to clean up a series of misstatements. Biden is deteriorating very rapidly. Biden failed to take any questions.
Biden, who turns 79 on Saturday, is known for going off-script and on Tuesday made imprecise remarks on Taiwan, the 2020 Olympics and his selection of a Federal Reserve chairman, forcing a mop-up operation by his spokespeople. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last week that there would be a press conference when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador visit DC, before the plan was scrapped. “He’s going to be holding [meetings] with both of the leaders tomorrow. There will be pool sprays at the top of each of those. And then the North American Leaders Summit, where we’ll have a pool spray at the top of that,” White House spokesman Chris Meagher told reporters on Air Force One.
Justin Sink, a reporter for Bloomberg News, pressed Meagher on the reason for the change of plans. Pool sprays sometimes — but not always — feature questions from reporters. For example, Biden declined to take questions at a September pool spray in the Oval Office with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, even though the visiting leader chose to answer queries. “If Jen said that this is going to happen and there’s long-standing precedent of this happening and the most recent data point is yesterday where you guys had to clean up not only this Olympic comment, but his comment on the timing for the Fed and his Taiwan comment, is the worry that you don’t want the president taking questions? And if not, I think the best way to satisfy that would be to have the president out there tomorrow,” Sink said.
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