The “Briefing Room” section of the White House’s website is invaluable material for anyone who follows our 46th president, be it closely or casually.
Not because there are any words of wisdom to be found in there, mind you. It’s mostly statements from and transcripts of top administration officials and mouthpieces: President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. And if you’re searching that corner of the web for some sagacity, it’ll take a while.
Rather, it provides the official (if perhaps not correct) answers to America’s favorite new game show: “What the Heck is Uncle Joe Saying?”
Now, granted, Joe Biden has been making gaffes for quite some time now. (Here at The Western Journal, we’ve been chronicling them since the beginning of his campaign — and noted that his downward mental spiral made him unfit to be president. We’ll keep on bringing America that truth, and you can help us by subscribing.)
Lately, however, those gaffes have becoming a bit less coherent. We’ve moved far beyond “lying, dog-faced pony soldier” (still my personal favorite, BTW) and into a frightening terra nova where the putative leader of the free world oft sounds like Bob Dylan coming to after anesthesia.
For instance, take Monday’s edition of “What the Heck is Uncle Joe Saying?”
Here’s the setup: Biden and Harris were in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building receiving a briefing on the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps you’ve seen the pictures:
JUST IN – First image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. pic.twitter.com/8RdH1InYe1
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) July 11, 2022
As the presentation was wrapping up, NASA administrator Bill Nelson noted the import of the telescope — and the international effort that went into producing it.
“There’s another thing that you’re going to find with this telescope: It is going to be so precise, you’re going to see whether or not planets, because of the chemical composition that we can determine with this telescope of their atmosphere, if those planets are habitable,” he said.
“And when you look at something as big as this is, we are going to be able to answer questions that we don’t even know what the questions are yet. This is what’s happening, and it’s because of this wonderful team that’s out here, part of that team led by Thomas Zurbuchen. It was in trouble financially five years ago. He took it over. He got Greg Robinson, that you’re going to meet, to direct it. And the result is what you’ve seen.
“So, what an incredible team — joined, by the way, with our international partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency,” he continued. “So this is an international endeavor.”
The video is below. Now, quick — can you guess what the heck Uncle Joe is saying?
The best one of the guys on our assignment team could do was “I wonder what the presslikenouzolthelplaces?” His managing editor couldn’t even venture a guess. Neither could that editor’s wife, for that matter.
I don’t mean to brag, but I won the office pool on this one — at least according to the Briefing Room transcript.
Here’s what the president is supposed to have said: “It’s amazing. I wonder what the press is like in those other places.” It’s not as satisfying as nailing a tough Final Jeopardy, but I’ll take it.
This word salad still only kind of sort of makes sense. What is the press like in those other places? Probably the same as it is in the U.S.: That amazing picture from the telescope, followed by a lot of technical details no one really understands but sound pretty cool.
Is Biden under the impression the Canadians have never heard of the concept of a space telescope and that the CBC is going to be running 24-hour coverage of this just-unveiled miracle thingamabob?
I suppose you could argue Biden’s quote makes sense in context because this is right before reporters were ushered out of the room — but this won’t take its place in the pantheon of great lines in the history of the American space program, that’s for sure.
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” (President John F. Kennedy, May 25, 1961)
“One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” (Apollo 11 Mission Commander Neil Armstrong, July 20, 1969)
“It’s amazing. I wonder what the press is like in those other places.” (Joe Biden, Monday.)
One of these things is not like the other, as the “Sesame Street” crowd is fond of saying.
Of course, there’s no guarantee this is what Biden actually said or meant to say. The White House transcripts of our current president are an inexact science, often filled with crossed-out words and curious elisions.
For instance, imagine being the official scorers for this episode of “What the Heck is Uncle Joe Saying?” from back in April:
Is everything okay?
— HARRISFAULKNER (@HARRISFAULKNER) April 29, 2022
The transcript on that occasion: “In addition to this supplemental funding, I’m also sending to Congress a comprehensive package of — that will enhance our underlying effort to
accommodate [hold accountable] the Russian oligarchs and make sure we take their — take their ill-begotten gains,” it read.
“Ha, we’re going to ‘accommodate’ them,” the transcript continues. “We’re going to seize their yachts, their luxury homes, and other ill-begotten gains of Putin’s kleptoc- — yeah — kleptocracy and klep- — the guys who are the kleptocracies. (Laughs.)”
This is all very funny until it gets serious — and the fact these clips pop up so often this is practically a daily game show should worry every one of us. Joe Biden has already pledged to run for president in 2024. I’d personally like to hear him say the year “2024” three times fast before committing to the run, but whatever.
Perhaps Monday’s bit of mush-mouthedness wasn’t the most indecipherable of them all — even if I was the only one at TWJ who could understand it — but it was still more slurring and inscrutability for a man who can afford little of either when he’s two years away from trying to convince American voters to co-sign his leadership for another four years.
He has zero margin left for moments like these. There’s only so much of this game show we can take.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
CORRECTION, July 13, 2022: We have corrected the year of Neil Armstrong’s quote from the Apollo 11 mission to 1969.
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