White House Tears Into New York Post, Other Outlets For New Biden 'Freeze' Claim

Deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said the Post's ethics "could deal with a little unfreezing."
US President Joe Biden speaks onstage during a campaign fundraiser at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles on June 15, 2024.
US President Joe Biden speaks onstage during a campaign fundraiser at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles on June 15, 2024.
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates accused the New York Post, amid other right-wing media, of “disrespecting” its readers by misrepresenting a video of President Joe Biden supposedly “freezing” at a Los Angeles fundraiser.

Conservative outlets ran with a clip of Biden waving and then standing calmly for a moment as he took in the applause at a gala headlined by George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Barbra Streisand on Saturday. Former President Barack Obama is seen briefly grabbing Biden’s hand and saying something to him with a smile. The two men then walk off the stage, Obama’s hand on Biden’s shoulder.

The Post said the incumbent “appeared to freeze up” and “had to be led offstage” by Obama.

Last week, conservative media broadcast an edited clip of Biden sitting down at a D-Day ceremony, claiming falsely that Biden was trying to sit on a nonexistent chair. The Post also published a story calling Biden the “Meander in Chief,” suggesting that he wandered away from a skydiving exhibition. In reality, he was advancing toward a parachute rigger.

On Sunday, Bates denounced conservative outlets for pushing a similar narrative as the race between Biden and former President Donald Trump heats up, with their first debate a little more than a week away.

“Fresh off being fact checked by at least 6 mainstream outlets for lying about @POTUS with cheap fakes, Rupert Murdoch’s sad little super pac, the New York Post, is back to disrespecting it’s readers & itself once again,” Bates wrote on X, the former Twitter. “Their ethical standards could deal with a little unfreezing.”

Bates compared the tabloid’s headline to those at the Daily Mail and the Russian state agency Tass, which used the same kind of “freezing” language in covering the incident. Bates wrote that they “all got the same cheap fake memo.”

“By pretending the President taking in an applauding crowd for a few seconds is somehow wrong, all they’re really admitting is ― once again ― is they can’t take on the leadership that’s fuelling the strongest economic growth in the world & bringing violent crime to a 50 year low,” Bates wrote.

While both candidates have committed their share of gaffes on the campaign trail, polls indicate that many voters perceive Biden to be more cognitively frail than Trump. This might explain Bates’ multi-post response in the wake of the LA event, which raised more than $30 million for Biden. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel interviewed Biden and Obama as part of the gala.


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