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White House Slams Claims Biden Froze at L.A. Fundraiser

White House Slams Claims Biden Froze at L.A. Fundraiser

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday dismissed speculation that President Biden froze while standing in the stage lights and had to be guided to an exit by former President Barack Obama at the end of an A-list Hollywood fundraiser on Saturday night.

“Let’s not forget President Obama, President Biden have a relationship. They are friends. They’re like family to each other, and I think that’s what you saw,” she told reporters during a press briefing in response to a question posed by The Daily Mail in reference to a viral clip shared by The Hollywood Reporter. “You saw the President put his hand…on the back of President Biden and they walked off the stage after taking questions or at an event taking questions from Jimmy Kimmel. That is what you saw.”

There’s been a tidal wave of theories, attacks and deliberation about exactly what people think they saw from the stage after this reporter shared a 42-second clip captured in the fundraiser’s final moments. Conservative supporters of Biden’s Republican nemesis Donald Trump are using the clip to allege that Biden’s mental acuity remains in question, while Democrats are dismissing it as much ado about nothing.

After moderator Jimmy Kimmel thanked both presidents for their participation and shouted out an audience filled with “teachers and doctors and nurses” and other professionals “optimistic about the future,” Biden and Obama waved to the audience. Obama began to make his way toward the exit but then noticed that Biden lingering on the stage for a period just under 10 seconds. Obama can be seen grabbing Biden’s wrist and leading him off stage with his hand on his shoulder.

While some believe that the exchange is open for interpretation, it didn’t take long for the clip to go viral and for theories to emerge. Was it a case of longtime political allies soaking up the scene and a lengthy standing ovation before shuffling off together before the curtain falls? Or did Biden get caught in another moment similar to what happened at a recent Juneteeth concert at the White House?

The New York Post was the first major publication to run with a story based on the video on Sunday with a headline that read, “Biden appears to freeze up, has to be led off stage by Obama at mega-bucks L.A. fundraiser.” Dozens of outlets followed and the discourse on X, formerly Twitter, hit warp speed. Piers Morgan reposted this reporter’s video and it has since been viewed north of 10 million times. Then came the rebuttals.

Andrew Bates, White House senior deputy press secretary and deputy assistant to the president, blasted the Post in a series of tweets, seen below. “Their ethical standards could deal with a little unfreezing,” Bates wrote in response to the article, which spawned solely from THR’s video reporting from the event.

Bates also pointed out that Sunday’s headline came on the heels of similar reports out of the G7 Summit that were proven to be edited videos designed to show Biden out of context from a larger scene and made his behavior appear questionable. Specifically about the fundraiser though, Bates posted, “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 fueling the strongest economic growth in the world & bringing violent crime to a 50 year low.”

Obama’s senior advisor Eric Schultz also responded on X by posting, “This did not happen.”

During today’s briefing, Jean-Pierre also took aim was at the other recent clips that have circulated, including the one in question from the fundraiser as well as the Juneteenth celebration and the G7 Summit. She provided a more general statement by lumping them together as manipulated videos. “Instead of talking about the president’s performance in office, and what I mean by that is his legislative wins, what he’s been able to do for the American people across the country, we’re seeing these deep fakes, these manipulated videos,” she continued. “It is, again, done in bad faith.”

Exits aside, there was plenty of other news that surfaced from Saturday night’s fundraiser. George Clooney and Julia Roberts revealed a record-setting haul that turned out to be north of $30 million. Jack Black went viral for wearing “kick ass American flag overalls” with a “Dark Brandon” t-shirt. Jimmy Kimmel, who moderated the 40-minute Biden and Barack Obama chat, coined nicknames for Biden’s Republican nemesis Donald Trump, calling him everything from “Orange Julius Caesar” to “Donye West.”

Biden underscored the importance of the upcoming election by focusing on the Supreme Court, saying the ruling body has never been so far out of step with the American people, while Obama pulled no punches in pointing out Trump’s freshly stamped criminal record with 34 felonies. “We’ve normalized behavior that used to be disqualified.” First Lady Jill Biden praised her husband’s character and said Trump is only running for a second term “to give himself absolute power.” Barbra Streisand delivered a long speech and Sheryl Lee Ralph returned to the stage where she won an Emmy to sing “God Bless America.”

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