Her morning routine: working out with a side of Morning Joe!
Aides say the president is not a religious viewer of any particular cable news program. But if there’s one he watches with regularity, it’s Morning Joe. Unlike Trump, who started tweeting before most of Washington woke up, Biden doesn’t usually watch that 6 a.m. first thing — or angrily tweet about Mika — but he does tune in often. while riding the exercise bike around 7 a.m. And we are told he is in touch with some of the hosts occasionally and has occasionally passed on positive feedback about what they have said. For example, he let Joe Scarborough know he liked his description of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) as “having rocks in his head.”
There’s a small TV in the Oval Office
When people walk into the Oval Office, they may notice the five presidential portraits hanging above the fireplace or the grandeur of the historic Resolute Desk — but not the small television. That’s the point. The TV monitor sits behind Biden on another desk topped with picture frames, encased in a gold frame itself in order to be unobtrusive. But when there aren’t any news cameras or dignitaries in there, the 10- or 12-inch screen is often on and tuned to CNN. Although Biden doesn’t spend hours in his private dining room glued to a big screen like his predecessor was, several current and former White House officials have told me the president will keep tabs on his secret screen behind his office and would react to the blanket during less formal meetings with staff. Televisions outside the Oval and aboard Air Force One are also almost always on CNN during the day, not “the quad,” the four boxes available in the building for personnel who wish keep tabs on all major cable networks simultaneously.
He calls the people he sees on TV
The way to indulge Trump was simple: just say nice things about him on TV. Biden isn’t as insecure — and easily won over — as his predecessor, but he’s been known to occasionally pick up the phone to personally thank people who articulate helpful messages on TV, whether it’s hosts (Al Sharpton has received such calls) or panelists. Last summer, as the Democrats’ big spending package languished in Congress, Biden called Jim Messina after seeing him on MSNBC defending the administration’s agenda. According to people familiar with these calls, Biden will often seek comment or advice from reporters and politicians he calls.
And he has his favorites
It’s safe to say that Biden doesn’t stay up late in Lincoln’s bedroom to chat with Sean Hannity after his show. The president’s closest relationship with members of the media is with his contemporaries, the reporters and commentators he reads and interacts with from his years in the Senate. The group includes Time columnists David Brooks and Thomas L. Friedman, both of whom have had audiences with Biden at times, and Mike Barnicle, the regular and longtime Morning Joe columnist. He also maintained relations with the New Yorker‘s Evan Osnos, who turned a lengthy interview with Biden during the early quarantined basement days of his campaign into a book. He occasionally discussed foreign policy with Friedman, who met Biden when he was a senator on a 10-day trip to the Middle East. Earlier this year, Friedman even managed to convince Biden to give him a short statement – on a Saturday! — on the pro-democracy protests in Israel, which he used in a column. “This is the first time I can remember an American president ever weighing in on an internal Israeli debate about the very character of the country’s democracy,” he wrote.
It is a type of printing
Biden has the same push alerts on his cellphone as the rest of us, but he’s a traditionalist when it comes to newspapers. When he took office in 2021, he asked his assistants to ensure that the printed editions of the New York Times, Washington Post And the wall street journal were available to him in the White House Residence and West Wing, according to multiple administration officials. Papers are delivered very early in the morning to staff in the Executive Residence and the West Wing, officials said. No one has yet seen him autograph clippings with a Sharpie and send them to friends.
He plays his own music videos (like everyone in Washington)
Each White House compiles daily clips for the president and his top aides. But we’re told Biden is particularly interested in the local that people across the country are reading. When he returns home from an event, Air Force One staff members print local media articles that cover his appearances for him to read on the plane. And every day inside the West Wing, the staff secretary’s office gathers a binder of national, local and front-page news clips, including black, Latino and AAPI-focused media. Aides who have spent time with the president also said he often jots down a referenced article during a cable news segment and asks a staffer to print it out for him. When he was vice president, his clips also included reporting from Delaware, and we’re told he always keeps tabs on local happenings.
But he don’t like the cover
In his occasional comments to reporters, Biden betrayed frustration with the media coverage of him at large, complaining that “you guys” probably won’t be covering the cause or the topic he’s eager to talk about right now- there. (In several instances, he refused to answer shouted questions on topics unrelated to the event at which he is speaking.) Aides, concerned in part about the speaker’s ability to hear shouted questions under the roar of rotor blades of Marine One, have limited situations where the president is confronted – and perhaps enticed – by a horde of frenzied journalists. Unlike many of his predecessors, Biden has cultivated few relationships with reporters through meetings and confidential conversations. And the one time he visited the press booth aboard Air Force One, which Trump has done on a regular basis, his off-the-record comments included complaints about his coverage. He has rarely seized on a specific report publicly, but some have eluded him – including a story last summer by the New York Times‘ Peter Baker has said his age is becoming “an uncomfortable issue”, several people around the president have confirmed.
While the president has affirmed the importance of the independence of the press and its role in a democracy – (you won’t hear the “enemies of the people” bursts from him) – he often grumbles in private that the Media coverage is too focused on his predecessor and other short-lived controversies and feels that the media failed to focus on the historical nature and real impact of his legislative achievements. He also complains to staffers, especially those who oversee communications, about the lack of people standing up for him on cable TV, something those plotting his re-election campaign hope to remedy with a more robust surrogate operation.