The White House did not let sleeping dogs lie after the president faced criticism for ending a press conference early in Vietnam by telling reporters that he was headed to bed.
Mr Biden has repeatedly been criticised by figures on the right for his age and mental acuity as the 2024 race heats up. The most recent bout of criticism followed the president telling reporters at a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam: “I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go to bed.”
But notable White House staffers have stood up for the president in an effort to put the “Sleepy Joe” moniker to rest.
White House Deputy Communications Director Herbie Ziskend posted Mr Biden’s busy 11 September schedule, which included meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, visiting the John McCain memorial, flying to Anchorage, Alaska, and then heading to Washington, DC.
Mr Ziskend mocked critics by sarcastically referencing Donald Trump’s criticism of Mr Biden during the 2020 election campaign, writing, “Hanging in the basement.”
Governor Ron DeSantis said during the first GOP primary debate last month: “I’m not letting Biden hang out in the basement this time.”
Last week, Iowa Republican Sen Joni Ernst echoed that sentiment, telling Fox News: “President Biden needs to get out of Delaware and Washington, D.C., go see the rest of the United States…For heaven’s sake, Biden’s got to get out of the basement.”
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton also defended the president, writing on X: “Here on Earth, we saw the President start his day in India at the G20, end the day in Hanoi with a substantive & detailed 40-minute press conference at 9pm, and continue to answer questions—including from @cnn—as he departed. What will be enough?”
Ms Dalton posted her caption alongside an article from CNN about Mr Biden ending the news conference abruptly.
Similarly, White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt reacted to a Daily Beast social media caption that read: “Amid rising concerns among voters about his age, President Joe Biden wrapped up his post-G20 summit presser on Sunday night by telling reporters he was ‘going to bed.’” Mr LaBolt sarcastically responded, “Presidents shall never sleep. Not even at night after days of marathon meetings overseas. Sage guidance from The Daily Beast. Next up in the series: Presidents shall never eat.”
In the same vein, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre thanked Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy after he appeared to offer some sympathy for Mr Biden’s busy schedule.
The president, 80, has been facing a barrage of doubts over whether he is fit to serve a second term. In a recent Wall Street Journal poll, 46 per cent of participants said that former President Donald Trump, 77, is mentally up for the presidency while only 36 per cent said the same of Mr Biden.