President Joe Biden was finally able to disembark from Air Force One on Monday after he was stuck on board for 30 minutes while airport personnel struggled to get the stairs through the thick snow on the tarmac.
The truck hauling the stairs moved slowly through the thick snow with ground workers helping to push it as a winter storm Frida swept through the capital and forced federal government buildings and schools to close.
Biden, 79, walked down the stairs carefully, one hand on the rail and the other held up to his face to brace himself from the wintry conditions that have brought parts of the East Coast to a halt.
He swayed in the snow as he landed in D.C. faced with the task of trying to reverse disastrous poll numbers that sit in the low 40s, reignite his stalled agenda on Capitol Hill and battle the surge of Omicron that has seen record-breaking rates of infections across the country.
Vice President Kamala Harris is also struggling to define her role and the Democratic Party faces a possible Republican landslide in the 2022 midterm elections.
In an unusual move, a Secret Service agent walked right behind the president on the stairs. Usually they keep a few feet back to stay out of the camera shot. Last March, the president slipped and fell on the stairs while boarding the presidential plane.
The presidential car, known as The Beast, was waiting for him. For the snowy drive back to the White House, Biden used the SUV version of his car instead of the armored limousine. It took the motorcade over an hour to make the journey from Joint Base Andrews. Typically, given that roads are cleared for the president and sirens are blaring, it takes about half that time.
President Joe Biden was finally able to disembark from Air Force One on Monday after he was stuck on board for 30 minutes as airport personnel struggled to get the stairs through the thick snow on the tarmac
Biden, 79, walked down the stairs carefully, one hand on the rail and the other held up to his face to brace himself from the driving snow. Snow rained down hard, causing the president to sway as he made his way off the plane
Biden was stuck on the plane while airport personnel struggled to bring the stair lift through the snow so he could exit
Biden boards his SUV for the drive back to the White House
President Joe Biden’s motorcade parks in the snow outside of the West Wing after delivering him from Joint Base Andrews to the White House
White House staff and reporters walk in the snow outside of the West Wing of the White House
President Biden’s motorcade waits for him by Air Force One
Air Force staff de-ice the president’s plane
At times the motorcade went about 20 mph – it usually speeds along at over 60mph. The convey of cars stopped at one point for six minutes on the snowy road way. Reporters traveling with the motorcade reported their van slipped around on the drive, that trees were downed alongside the road and some cars were stranded on the sidelines.
Biden was one of many D.C. area residents struggling with the heavy snow fall that has blanketed the area. On Capitol Hill, U.S. Capitol Police closed the grounds as snow caused tree branches to fall. As much as 10 inches of snow is forecast for the District of Columbia, northern Virginia and central Maryland.
Additionally COVID cases are causing a mini lockdown across the nation and inflation continues to run rampant, causing a surge in prices of food, energy and rent.
Midterm elections are almost always a referendum on the current president and most modern presidents have seen their party lose seats in Congress during them.
After a bruising holiday week of flight cancellations and record surges in COVID-19 cases, the powerful winter storm Monday further snarled US transport, with nearly 3,500 flights canceled by 10 am on Monday.
Many COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites were closed in Virginia and in Maryland due to the inclement weather.
The snow also grounded President Joe Biden’s helicopter, so he drove to the White House from Andrews Air Force Base in suburban Maryland after a weekend in Delaware.
According to the NWS, the snow storm is expected to affect the East Coast through Thursday at 7 am.
Biden’s low poll numbers come as he tries to coax the Senate into passing his mammoth social safety program, Build Back Better. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin essentially killed it when he announced he could not support it in its current form. He is reportedly open to negotiations, particularly if the enhanced child tax credit extension is limited.
Meanwhile, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced Monday the Senate will vote on filibuster rules changes to advance stalled voting legislation that President Biden is pushing.
Additionally, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the country recorded its highest seven-day average number of cases on January 2, with 413,304 people testing positive for the virus over the past week. At the same time, however, there were 1,350 new deaths on a seven-day average. That number is far lower than the seven-day average recorded at the peak of winter in January 2021, where the US averaged around 3,300 deaths.
The president was returning from his six-day New Year’s holiday break in Wilmington, Delaware, as snow caused the federal government to close and schools to be canceled. He was originally scheduled to fly on Marine One from Delaware straight to the South Lawn of the White House. Instead of he took Air Force One to Joint Base Andrews and took the presidential motorcade back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Additionally, the White House canceled Jen Psaki’s first press briefing of the new year on Monday.
‘Because federal offices in the Washington, DC area are closed, there will be no press briefing today,’ the White House said.
Psaki’s last press briefing was December 23. She did not brief over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Biden, meanwhile, will go ahead with his plan to meet virtually with farmers and ranchers to discuss rising meat prices.
Traffic was forced to wait longer at intersections lining the motorcade route, with Biden’s trip from Joint Base Andrews from the White House taking an hour rather than the usual 30 minutes
The Washington Monument is seen surrounded by thick snow in a photo taken from the press bus in Biden’s motorcade
On Capitol Hill, U.S. Capitol Police closed the grounds as snow caused tree branches to fall
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning until 4 pm EST Monday for certain areas in the East Coast
Trucks and cars slip and slide on the I-495, the Capitol Beltway, in the winter storm that swept Washington D.C.
Workers clear snow from the sidewalks adjacent to the White House
A man from Austin, Texas, braves the wintry conditions to take a selfie at the White House with his family
Forecast Map of Winter Storm Frida moving across the East Coast, with up to 10 inches of snow forecast in areas
Forecast Map of Winter Storm Frida – Large winter weather system moving across Washington DC and the mid-atlantic Monday January 3
Two girls visiting from Boulder, Colorado, enjoy the flurries as a winter storm delivers heavy snow to the Capitol in Washington
President Joe Biden boarded Air Force One in the snow to travel from his New Year’s break in Wilmington, Del., back to Washington D.C.
Up to 10 inches of snow is forecast for Washington D.C. and the surrounding area
The decision to cancel Psaki’s press briefing came after the White House Correspondents Association decided to scale down the number of reporters in the White House press briefing room as the Omicron variant of COVID continues to cause a spike in case numbers.
Washington D.C. has become a hot spot for the disease with one of the highest case rates and hospitalization rates in the nation. In Virginia and Maryland, the highest case spikes are in the DC suburbs.
‘Given the virulence of the spread, medical experts have once again advised that it would be prudent to substantially reduce the number of people working in the cramped, poorly ventilated workspace that we share,’ WHCA president Steven Portnoy wrote in a message to correspondents on Sunday evening.
The 49 seats in the briefing room has been decreased to 14, a practice that was in place during the height of the pandemic in order to maintain social distancing and help contain the spread of COVID.
Over the past few weeks, the correspondents association has encouraged reporters to wear N95 masks and not to come to the White House unless necessary for work. There have been a few breakthrough cases of COVID among the reporters who cover President Joe Biden.
The WHCA will review the arrangement and the latest COVID figures later this month to determine if the reduced seating needs to remain in place.
The White House imposed those severe limits on the room’s capacity for the first time on March 16, 2020, when the pandemic caused the country to shut down. Capacity in the press room was increased to 50 percent, or 24 seats, on May 24. It returned to full capacity in June 2021.
AOC’s ex-communications director says Biden is ‘old as s***’, ‘deeply unpopular’, has been ‘largely ineffective’ and the Democrats will get ‘demolished’ in the midterms
Corbin Trent (right, pictured with Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 when he worked as her communications director) co-founded Justice Democrats, the progressive group that discovered and backed the firebrand lawmaker’s successful primary bid against former New York Rep. Joe Crowley
Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s former communications director tore into President Joe Biden over the weekend, calling the 79-year-old commander-in-chief ‘old as s***’ and predicting he’ll get Democrats ‘demolished’ in this year’s November midterms.
Corbin Trent, who worked in the Democrat firebrand’s Congressional office and then her re-election campaign before abruptly departing in March 2020, told Politico that Biden is ‘deeply unpopular’ and vulnerable to a left-wing primary challenge.
‘People will smell opportunity, and D.C. is filled with people who want to be president,’ he said.
‘He’s deeply unpopular. He’s old as shit. He’s largely been ineffective, unless we’re counting judges or whatever the hell inside-baseball scorecard we’re using. And I think he’ll probably get demolished in the midterms.’
Trent co-founded the progressive group Justice Democrats, which guided Ocasio-Cortez to her stunning upset victory against former New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley.
He also worked for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, the latter of which posed a significant challenge to Biden’s own White House bid.
Multiple polls have projected Republicans taking back control of Congress in November. Last year’s off-year races, which were seen by some as a referendum on Biden’s first year, saw Democrats finish with a lackluster performance in multiple state legislatures, local offices and even lose the governorship of Virginia.
Another fellow Sanders alum, the Vermont senator’s former presidential campaign manager Jeff Weaver, told Politico that Biden is certain to face a primary opponent but said the possibility only grew likely after Senator Joe Manchin delivered a massive blow to his Build Back Better bill last month.
‘Will there be a progressive challenger? Yes,’ Weaver said.
He added that an opponent on the left would be more a symbol of progressives’ rising popularity than a rebuke of Biden’s presidency.
‘Progressives are ultimately ascendant. And if nothing else, a progressive running who gets a lot of support will demonstrate that the ideas that the progressive movement embraces are, in fact, popular,’ Weaver said.
But rather than a big name challenger like Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Cory Booker, one progressive is quoted in the report predicting lower-profile Democrats will come to the forefront.
Snow falls at the White House on Monday. Winter storm Frida has closed schools and shut government officers in D.C.
The White House as snow falls in Washington D.C.
Snow caused the federal government to shut down on Monday – above the White House in the snow fall
Meanwhile, the capacity of the 49-seat White House briefing room will be decreased to 14 reporters as COVID cases are on the rise (above, Psaki briefs a smaller capacity room on March 4)
The press room had its capacity reduced during Donald Trump’s administration when the country was on lockdown for COVID; it returned to normal capacity in June 2021
Snow blows sideways in gusty wind as a woman strolls with a dog at Federal Hill Park
View of a stranded car on the highway as major winter snow storm hitting the Northern Virginia area cripples traffic at the start of the work week in the new year
View of a stranded bus as a major winter snow storm hitting the Northern Virginia area cripples traffic at the start of the work week in the new year
A street is covered in snow in Bethesda, Maryland on January 3, 2022. – A winter storm is bringing heavy snow to Washington, DC and the mid-Atlantic region on Monday
Lily Siu, left, and Maya Siu play on a snow-covered playground at Federal Hill Park, Monday, January 3, 2022, in Baltimore
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning until 4 pm EST Monday for certain areas in the East Coast