Biden anger toward ‘elites’ in MSNBC interview raises eyebrows

Biden anger toward ‘elites’ in MSNBC interview raises eyebrows

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On an MSNBC program that’s a favorite of the Washington and New York liberal establishment, President Biden blasted “elites” in the Democratic Party on Monday who are trying to force him out of the 2024 race. And some critics and media observers sympathetic to him aren’t buying it.

As he wrapped up a lengthy phone-in interview on “Morning Joe,” Biden challenged his own party doubters as he emphatically declared he was staying in the 2024 race.

“I’m getting so frustrated by the elites,” he told MSNBC hosts and Biden supporters Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. “Now I’m not talking about you guys, but by the elites in the party who — they know so much more. If any of these guys don’t think I should run, run against me. Go ahead, announce for president. Challenge me at the convention.”

Earlier in the interview, Brzezinski name-dropped outlets who want him to step aside amid concerns about his viability against former President Trump, such as The New York Times, The Economist, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Boston Globe. There have also been some House Democrats who have called for him to not seek re-election, as well as prominent liberal names like Tim Ryan, James Carville and David Axelrod.


President Biden phones into MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on July 8, 2024.

“They’re big names, but I don’t care what those big names think!” Biden said. “They were wrong in 2020! They were wrong in 2022 about the red wave! They’re wrong in 2024! Come out with me, watch people react. You make a judgment!”

NBC’s Chuck Todd was skeptical about Biden’s rhetoric afterward, noting that Biden had sailed to the Democratic nomination without a serious challenger. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., voiced concerns about Biden’s age and health as part of his primary campaign, but he never remotely threatened the president’s chances of winning the nomination.

“Biden’s anger at ‘elites’ is a bit misplaced,” Todd wrote on X. “Without the ‘elites,’ he would have had a serious primary foe. Without the ‘elites,’ the No Labels effort would have a compelling ticket. Arguably, it’s the ‘elites’ who put too much faith in Biden that got the Dems in this position.”

“Ding ding ding,” The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta agreed. “The ‘elites’ assured Biden’s nomination by refusing to go on-the-record with the grave concerns they whispered in private.”

Indeed, what was once considered a taboo media subject has exploded into the open since Biden’s halting debate showing last month. Reports of his behind-the-scenes decline have come flooding out of the same media outlets that had decried recent videos of Biden looking confused as “cheap fakes,” blasted The Wall Street Journal’s story on Biden’s cognitive issues a month earlier and assailed Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report in February that questioned Biden’s memory.


Chuck Todd

NBC’s Chuck Todd said Biden’s rhetoric against “elites” was misplaced, given how they protected him as he sailed to the Democratic nomination.

Biden’s overtures to the party base by casting his critics as out of touch is a political ploy, Politico’s Jonathan Martin wrote Monday.

“It’s a playbook Biden has turned to in the past, portraying his detractors as mostly elite white liberals who are out of step with the more diverse and working-class grassroots of the party,” Martin wrote. “That’s what propelled his nomination after a string of setbacks in 2020. It’s his only path to survival now.”

Fox News contributor Joe Concha isn’t buying the populist talk.

“Beyond ironic that the career politician … is trying to position himself like Trump as a populist fighting against the swamp,” he told Fox News Digital.

It’s not just liberal media members like New York Times columnists who’ve said Biden is a liability and can’t beat Trump. Prominent Democratic donors like Abigail Disney have threatened to withhold money in a game of chicken if Biden doesn’t give up the nomination, which he clinched months ago. 

Those donors could be considered among the “elites” Biden railed against on Monday who he says don’t carry the same weight with him as the American people. But Biden spoke directly to donors on a call shortly after his MSNBC interview concluded, one reporter noted.

“It’s kind of funny that Biden spent the morning railing against ‘elites’ — and then immediately ran to take questions from his biggest donors… even as he hasn’t taken questions from voters in a town hall event since 2021,” journalist Gabe Fleisher wrote on X.


New York Times debate headlines

A list of negative opinion pieces published by The New York Times following the Trump V. Biden debate. (Screenshot/New York Times)

A who’s who of liberal media figures, including Biden’s close friend Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, The Washington Post’s David Ignatius and The Atlantic’s Mark Leibovich, have said the risk was too great for Biden to stay in the race since he faltered against Trump at the debate.

If the quick evolution of the host of “Morning Joe” was any indicator, they can likely be counted on for their support down the stretch if Biden is their only hope to deny Trump another term.

Scarborough suggested the day after last month’s debate debacle that it may be time for Biden to step aside, asking, “If he were CEO and he turned in a performance like that, would any corporation in America, any Fortune 500 corporation in America keep him on as CEO?”

Yet a week later, after returning from a vacation, he encouraged Democrats to “take a deep breath” and not make a hasty decision. On Monday, Scarborough said Biden could now credibly say he’s fighting “media elites” as he defies calls to step down. 

This came after Brzezinski gave a lengthy monologue last week, while Scarborough was absent, imploring people to not underestimate Biden and saying “counting him out is always a mistake.”

A White House spokesman told Fox News Digital that Biden performed well in the MSNBC interview and said the president did not use notes while on the call.


The Biden campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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