President Joe Biden came into office on a pledge of “transparency,” but just over a month later, he is facing increased scrutiny from both sides of the aisle as even some progressives are calling for his administration to be more open.
In the latest development, the president is facing bipartisan opprobrium for reportedly declining to release White House visitor logs.
“Regularly releasing the attendee lists”
The White House provided a statement to Politico regarding the decision, asserting: “Virtual meetings will not be subject to release — in the same way that previous administrations didn’t release phone logs — but we’re planning on regularly releasing the attendee lists for in-person meetings at the White House.”
For many critics, however, the excuses seem like little more than stonewalling that undermines Biden’s promise to be a trustworthy president “for all Americans.”
Since the early days of his presidential campaign, he faced pushback from those who felt he was suffering from cognitive troubles based on a series of gaffes and public missteps.
Those issues have continued in the weeks since his inauguration, including his recent struggle to read names from his prepared statement and his utterance of a telling question: “What am I doing here?”
Meanwhile, he has neglected to host a solo news conference as his schedule has not been shared online. Furthermore, the White House comment line has reportedly been shut down and questions from reporters are generally few and far between.
“An obligation across the government”
To critics, the Biden administration has all the hallmarks of a proverbial emperor with no clothes who is being protected from potentially embarrassing public appearances.
Progressives have seldom gone so far as to acknowledge the issues, but one left-leaning group is now calling on Biden to step it up a bit.
“They need to keep ‘showing their work’ by opening Cabinet meetings, disclosing information and using political capital to emphasize that being ‘open by default’ isn’t just an option but an obligation across the government,” asserted Digital Democracy Project advocate Alex Howard.
It seems that the Biden administration is rattled by the increasing scrutiny, as evidenced in White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s terse response to a reporter’s recent question.
During a press conference on Monday, she snapped: “He’s meeting with members of the Senate virtually today. There, I’ve released it for you. What else would you like to know?”