Biden describes life at the White House: 'A gilded cage'

President Joe Biden says he’s still getting used to the trappings of the office four weeks into his presidency

Via AP news wire
Wednesday 17 February 2021 04:22
Biden
Biden

Four weeks into his presidency Joe Biden says he’s still getting used to the trappings of the office

Biden offered a frank description of what it’s like to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. during his CNN town hall Tuesday night, referencing past presidents who have spoken of the building as “a little like a gilded cage.”

“I get up in the morning and look at Jill and say, ‘Where the hell are we?’” Biden joked, adding that he wasn't used to household staff waiting on him.

“I find myself extremely self-conscious,” Biden added, saying he was unaccustomed to someone “handing me my suitcoat.”

Biden’s working-class upbringing in Scranton, Pennsylvania, has long been a central part of his political brand. He most recently lived in a large house in the Wilmington, Delaware, suburbs.

The White House features a spacious lawn that has an unimpeded view of the Washington and Lincoln Monuments, but is otherwise surrounded by high fencing and a small army of guards. Biden said it’s “totally different” from the vice president’s residence, set on 80 acres and offering ample room to swim, explore and exercise in greater privacy.

The former vice president said he’d been in the Oval Office 100 times or more over the years, but had never been to the residential areas of the White House.

Even if the residence still feels new, Biden suggested he's already settled deeply into the work of the presidency.

“Sometimes, because things are moving so fast, not because of the burden, it feels like four years,” Biden said. “It’s not because of the burden, it’s because there’s so much happening, that you’re focused on, you’re constantly focusing on one problem or opportunity.”

Biden confirmed he had picked up the phone to talk with one or more of his predecessors but declined to say who.

He added: “By the way, all of them have, with one exception, picked up the phone and called me as well.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in