President Joe Biden struggles with sit-down interviews. On Friday, the White House pulled the executive gaffe machine out of the traditional pre-Super Bowl sit-down with the network airing the game — which, this year, is Fox News.
Biden aides had attempted to circumvent the primary network by scheduling an interview with Fox Soul, a small streaming platform aimed at black Americans owned by the same parent company as Fox News.
“The President was looking forward to an interview with Fox Soul to discuss the Super Bowl, the State of the Union, and critical issues impacting the everyday lives of Black Americans,” wrote White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a morning tweet. “We’ve been informed that Fox Corp has asked for the interview to be cancelled.”
It is customary for the president to grant an interview to the network broadcasting the Super Bowl ahead of the championship football game. Last year, President Biden sat down with NBC’s Lester Holt. The president has yet to offer a sit-down with Fox News, now more than halfway through his first term. In 2014, even President Barack Obama sat down with Bill O’Reilly.
Variety Magazine was first to report this year’s Super Bowl interview was likely off.
“With just three days to go before the Kansas City Chiefs square off against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, the White House has yet to commit to the traditional interview between the President of the United States and the news division of the media company broadcasting the gridiron classic,” Variety reported Thursday afternoon. “Fox News attached no conditions to the exchange according to a person familiar with the matter, which has been a staple of the event (more or less) since President Barack Obama started doing it in 2009.”
Biden has struggled in interviews since his time as vice president, contradicting the White House platform on same-sex marriage in 2012. On the campaign trail in 2020, then-candidate Biden had trouble getting through interviews from his own basement.
In 2021, a stumbling sit-down conversation with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was so unnerving to lawmakers on Capitol Hill that Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty demanded a release of the raw tape. A year later, Biden made comments about militarily defending Taiwan on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that the White House immediately walked back.
According to Variety, Fox News 6 p.m. anchor Bret Baier was a top contender for this year’s coveted Super Bowl assignment.
The interview would have come days after the president delivered his third address to a joint Congress on Tuesday night. The error-riddled speech accused Republicans of rabid partisanship while the commander-in-chief claimed credit for the return of jobs eliminated by the Democrats’ coronavirus lockdowns.