Scott Jennings, a CNN contributor and Republican campaign adviser, is a former special assistant to President George W. Bush and a former campaign adviser to Sen. Mitch McConnell. He is a partner at RunSwitch Public Relations in Louisville, Kentucky. Follow him on Twitter @ScottJenningsKY. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion articles on CNN.
(CNN)Watching President Joe Biden’s first press conference today, all I could think was that his performance showed there’s little chance he is running for reelection — despite the fact that he said his “expectation” was to do so. He equivocated on this matter when CNN’s Kaitlan Collins followed up later.
Scott JenningsOver the course of an hour or so, his most coherent moments seemed to come when he looked down to read directly from his policy note cards. He frequently became lost in thought or sucked into a word salad when he looked up to riff or go off script.On immigration, Biden appeared not to understand how his campaign rhetoric and presidential policies are impacting the surge of migrants and unaccompanied minors at the southern border right now. And he was only willing to commit to full transparency for journalists in border facilities at a later date — yet to be determined.Biden also said the filibuster was being abused, apparently not recognizing that his own party, a minority in the US Senate for the last six years, used it quite liberally during the Trump administration.In fact, he took it a step further and said he agreed with former President Barack Obama that the filibuster was “a relic of the Jim Crow era.” Does he not remember his 2005 Senate speech passionately defending the filibuster?Read More”I think it may be one of the most important speeches for historical purposes that I will have given in the 32 years since I have been in the Senate,” Biden said at the time. “At its core, the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or a bill — it’s about compromise and moderation,” he explained.If he now believes the filibuster is inherently racist, or is being “abused,” does he also believe he was previously defending a racist congressional tool? Does he think Democrats who have taken advantage of the filibuster tactic have been engaging in racist or abusive activity since 2014, when Republicans won back the majority in the Senate? Does he think it was racist or abusive for Democrats to filibuster a bill on police reform from South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a Black Republican in the Senate, last year?Get our free weekly newsletter
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The hypocrisy is outrageous. Overall, this press conference was boring, with few other notable headlines to mention. I suppose this is exactly what Biden intends — to be the exact opposite of his predecessor, whose wild press conferences generated days and days’ worth of outrage and coverage. We won’t be talking about this press conference by Friday morning, and that is likely how Biden wants it. And I suspect we won’t see another one of these for quite some time.