President Joe Biden is reportedly steamed at his plunging approval ratings – especially one fact in particular.
“He’s now lower than [Donald] Trump, and he’s really twisted about it,” an unnamed source close to the White House told NBC News, which reports the president is “rattled” by how quickly and completely Americans have lost confidence in his leadership.
The result could be a major shakeup in the White House, with multiple people telling the network that chief of staff Ron Klain will be out after the coming midterms, when the GOP is expected to retake the House and possibly the Senate in a looming “red wave” election.
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Even normally friendly audiences are turning hostile.
NBC News said Biden’s hearing it when he’s behind closed doors, at private events featuring some of his biggest backers.
“People confront him,” a top Democratic donor told NBC News, saying they’ve witnessed such confrontations at fundraisers. “All he’s hearing is ‘Why can’t you get anything done?’”
Klain, according to CNN, told aides in January of a plan to raise interest in the president by holding monthly town hall events.
In the more than five months since, however, he hasn’t held any… instead favoring scripted events that generate little attention from the press or interest with the public.
“You are thinking: Why are we doing this?” one person familiar with the White House told CNN.
Aides are also unhappy with the events he’s held next door to the White House featuring digital backgrounds on a “virtual” set.
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“World’s most interactive man and we’re going to have him conduct the presidency from the set of Jeopardy,” an unnamed contact close to the White House told CNN.
But critics say his aides have the wrong focus – because the issue isn’t getting him out more, or helping him get his message across to voters.
It’s far deeper.
“Messaging is not his problem, however,” wrote TownHall political editor Guy Benson. “His problem is results. His problem is how he’s approached the presidency. His problem is reality.”
His reality problems began last summer, which started off with an approval rating near 50 percent as the coronavirus pandemic seemed to be on the downswing.
But there were already some gray clouds: inflation was rising… the delta variant was kicking in… and he was promising an orderly withdrawal from an Afghanistan where the Taliban were supposedly years away from becoming a threat.
Everyone knows what happened next: Inflation, delta and the Taliban all surged.
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By mid-August, his approval rating was underwater, and it hasn’t recovered. He’s currently tied with his lowest-ever rating, with just 40.8 percent approving of the job he’s done, according to the latest averages on FiveThirtyEight.
That’s behind every single modern president at this point in their presidencies except Gerald Ford, who was immediately unpopular after one of his first moves was a pardon for his predecessor, Richard Nixon.
Biden is even behind Jimmy Carter – and, as the unnamed advisor noted in that candid NBC News report, he’s nearly a full point behind Trump.
His aides have tried everything to bring him back from the brink.
Almost a month ago, they even initiated a “reboot” to raise his profile and his popularity ahead of the midterms.
His numbers only fell further amid continued high inflation – especially high gas prices as summer travel gets underway – and yet another coronavirus variant causing a new surge in cases.
That’s continue to feed dissatisfaction among voters – and that could open the door to a challenge in 2024… not just from Trump on the GOP ticket, but from within his own party during the primaries.
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As a result, the biggest guessing game in Washington right now is not who Biden might run against in ’24.
It’s whether or not he runs at all.
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News. He is an outspoken conservative and a survival expert.