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'Is he really in charge?': Cornyn tweet about Biden draws scorn, White House response

Nicole Cobler, Austin American-Statesman
·3 min read
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AUSTIN – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, drew attention Monday for a series of tweets on President Joe Biden's media strategy, asking if the president "is really in charge."

Cornyn, quoting a Politico article about Biden's media presence, shared the article early Monday: "The president is not doing cable news interviews. Tweets from his account are limited and, when they come, unimaginably conventional. The public comments are largely scripted. Biden has opted for fewer sit down interviews with mainstream outlets and reporters."

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In a following tweet, Cornyn asked, "Invites the question: is he really in charge?"

More: Biden 'prepared to negotiate' size, taxes with lawmakers on $2.25 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan

Critics leapt at the tweet, which garnered hundreds of retweets, likes and replies by Monday afternoon and a response from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

“I can confirm the president of the United States does not spend his time tweeting conspiracy theories,” Psaki said. “He spends his time working for the American people.”

The response seemed to take aim at former President Donald Trump who often tweeted conspiracy theories, false or misleading claims, especially in his final months in office as he alleged, without evidence, that the 2020 election had been stolen.

His Twitter claims often were flagged as being false or misleading and then became so outlandish in his final days in the White House that the social media company banished him from the platform.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, arrives for votes on President Joe Biden's cabinet nominees, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, arrives for votes on President Joe Biden's cabinet nominees, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.

Congressional Democrats and political analysts also jumped on the Cornyn tweet.

“You would think you would (be) lauding Biden for this,” replied Matthew Dowd, an aide to former President George W. Bush. “So you are criticizing him for actually spending time on his actual job? Maybe you could consider doing that.”

"Can the President govern without sending crazy tweets in the middle of the night, one of the highest ranking Republicans in the Senate asks? Yes, it turns out he can," Rep. Don Beyer, D-Virginia, tweeted.

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"No one else in America is worried abt Biden’s Tweet game!" said Rep. Marc Veasey, a Fort Worth Democrat. "The (Senate) doesn’t get it: it’s a relief that Trump and his tweeting are done!"

When a reporter noted that Cornyn's initial tweet was quoting directly from the Politico article, he replied: "Thanks. I posted the whole story so people can read it for themselves, and highlighted a couple of excerpts."

Cornyn's spokesman Drew Brandewie fired back at critics Monday, saying Democrats and the media often analyzed Trump's media strategy.

"In 2018, a Paul Waldman column ran in your publication entitled 'Is Donald Trump even in charge of this government?'" Brandewie tweeted in response a Washington Post analysis. "So it's OK when it's a Republican president, but not when it's a Democrat? Got it."

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This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: John Cornyn tweet on Biden draws criticism, White House response