Before we go any further, some context: The average person neither knows nor cares who the White House communications director is. It is a bit of inside baseball that won’t change a single mind about Biden and how he is doing as president.
But that doesn’t mean this series of changes in the press shop don’t matter. They do — and here’s why: Bedingfield and her team help shape Biden’s message — both day-to-day and in the longer-term.
Changing up that team means uncertainty in the message department, which comes at a challenging time for Biden.
“Top Democrats complain the President isn’t acting with — or perhaps is even capable of — the urgency the moment demands.
“‘Rudderless, aimless and hopeless’ is how one member of Congress described the White House.”
That piece was the latest in a series of stories raising questions — and concerns — about what, exactly, the White House is doing these days.
“Several officials say Biden’s tendency to berate advisers when he’s displeased with how a situation is being handled or when events go off poorly has trickled down the ranks in the West Wing, leaving several mid-level aides feeling blamed for failings despite lacking any real ability to influence the building’s decision-making. That’s contributed to some of the recent staff departures, according to people familiar.”
So, Biden is frustrated because the message is bad and chaotic. He lashes out at staff for it. That makes them more likely to leave. Which creates a bad and chaotic messaging department. It’s a vicious circle.
If you want to look on the brightest side for Biden, you can make the case that Biden has a messaging problem — not organized or urgent enough — and that the departures of senior communications strategists is addition by subtraction.
I mean, maybe? But the overall impression created at the moment by the Biden White House is listless and lost. And that’s never a good look.