People are concerned when Biden appears to wander away from reporter asking China question

President Joe Biden, the oldest man to ever serve as president, is facing scrutiny after he seemingly wandered away from a podium.

The president was delivering a speech about artificial intelligence in the Roosevelt Room early Friday afternoon when he suddenly ended the speech and started walking toward the exit.

“So I want to thank you all. And they’re about to go down to a meeting, which I’ll catch up with them later. So thank you, thank you, thank you,” he said before walking away.

Watch:

As he stepped away from the podium, a reporter asked, “Mr. President, can you tell us about the hacking of cabinet officials by China and the threshold of concern you have about that, sir?”

The president ignored the question and asked his staff, “Ready? How we getting these guys down there?”

This clip has since gone viral and inspired a bevy of responses, one of them being concern about his failing health.

“He wanders into a room with cameras, unleashes a string of mostly unintelligible words and his staff spends the next week telling us what Joe said. The same thing happened at my grandma’s house in her twilight years,” one critic tweeted.

“She would wander into the room, say, ‘I smell apple pie, should we have some.’ and then wander off again. Then we would discuss how Grandma was doing that day. We certainly didn’t run the country with her,” the critic added.

The criticism was based on the assumption that the president had no idea what was going on in the clip above.

See more concerns below:

But not everybody had the same interpretation. Some critics believed Biden knew exactly what he was doing — running away to avoid a tough question about China.

“Anytime some[one] asked something relevant the whole administration just walks away. Look at Kirby and Jean Pierre. They have pulled this multiple times,” one critic tweeted.

“Arrogant just turns around and walks away from anyone asking him a question. Sick of everyone protecting him,” another added.

See more criticism below:

It’s not clear at this point whether he’d just wandered off or whether he’d purposefully set off to avoid having to answer a tough question. The president does admittedly have a track record of doing both.

Just for clarification, the reporter who’d asked about “the hacking of cabinet officials by China” had been talking about a Wall Street Journal report published days earlier.

“U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and senior officials at the State Department were victims of a newly discovered Chinese hacking campaign, American officials said Wednesday, a targeted spying effort in the spring that coincided with a Biden administration push to soothe rising tensions with Beijing,” the report reads.

“The breaches of unclassified email systems, which some officials and experts said may have required extraordinary technical expertise to pull off, raise new alarms about the ability of Chinese hackers to orchestrate more sophisticated attacks and come at a fragile point in U.S.-China relations,” it continues.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also has a habit of avoiding tough questions.

Politico noted in an article published last year that she hides behind the Hatch Act to avoid answering them. The Hatch Act prohibits members of the government from espousing political positions. And so when asked a tough question, sometimes Jean-Pierre claims she can’t answer because she’d violate the law.

“I think reporters get the feeling that it’s a way to avoid having to answer some delicate questions. You can almost feel the entire briefing room rolling their eyes when they hear the Hatch Act drop,” one White House journalist told Politico.

Vivek Saxena

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