Joe Biden was captured on camera standing alone and looking frustrated as officials flocked around Barack Obama during his first return trip to the White House since leaving office.
President Biden, 79, was filmed raising his hands in the air in apparent exasperation as he wandered aimlessly after he was side-lined for his predecessor at the event on Tuesday.
Obama came to the White House today, immediately got mobbed, and no one wanted to talk to Biden. pic.twitter.com/69B2H92XVV
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) April 5, 2022
Prior to the event, the President wrote on Twitter that he was looking forward to seeing Obama.
“It’s an honour to welcome my friend President Barack Obama back to the White House. I look forward to discussing the big step we’re announcing today that would expand coverage under the Affordable Care Act for families and lower healthcare costs for hard working Americans,” he said.
However, when footage of the event surfaced online, commentators described the exchange between Biden and Obama as “sad” and “humiliating”. The clip, posted by the GOP, was shared widely online with Mr Biden’s critics citing it as further evidence of his unpopularity among the American people.
In another clip, Mr Biden was seen standing behind Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris as they shook hands with people. The president had earlier been standing beside Obama, Ms Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others before leaving the group to search for someone in the room.
This is the saddest, most pathetic thing pic.twitter.com/LZ78iWAFHu
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 5, 2022
“Why did Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, and the entire reception line at the White House just completely snub Joe Biden?” one Tweet read.
Why did Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, and the entire reception line at the White House just completely snub Joe Biden?
— Paul A. Szypula (@Bubblebathgirl) April 6, 2022
This is – without peer – the most humiliating, emasculating thing I’ve ever watched. Obama and Harris literally ignore Joe Biden today at the White House. It’s not that we don’t understand Biden is weak and was never in charge. This is just the painful, visual proof. pic.twitter.com/Z6EEGMoa3N
— Chris Stigall (@ChrisStigall) April 6, 2022
Political Analyst Brit Hume said that supporters and opponents of the President could see how “sad” the clip was. “Obama is too busy enjoying the adulation to even turn around,” he said.
“Who is actually running the country? Can somebody tell me please!” another input read.
Does Biden now regret inviting Obama to the White House?pic.twitter.com/E0FvZxAgvq
— Ben Owen (@hrkbenowen) April 5, 2022
You don't have to be a Biden supporter to recognize how sad this clip is, with the president trying in vain to get the attention of the former president. Obama is too busy enjoying the adulation to even turn around. https://t.co/WeNSKg4uVj
— Brit Hume (@brithume) April 6, 2022
Very curious about which White House staffers thought it was a good idea to have Obama attend and inevitably upstage Biden in the first place. This was obviously going to happen. https://t.co/u1qviyVL7v
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) April 6, 2022
Mr Biden could then be seen turning back to gauge how busy Mr Obama was, before gesturing to his Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, to join him on the stage. As Mr Biden and Ms Haaland walked back to Mr Obama, the former president appeared to snub them, saying he would join them later.
However, some said the clip was being shared selectively and said a longer view showed that Biden was simply looking for the Secretary to come to the stage.
Pro tip: D or R, when a video is cut down to barely any length it's nearly always to make it look worse than it is.
Reality: Biden wanted Sec. Haaland to connect with President Obama. Looks for her. Spots her. Sees Obama is busy talking. Goes and gets her.
Literally nothing. pic.twitter.com/bIiq2DZhkl
— Old Rant Dump (@TrumpinTheShark) April 5, 2022
The former president, in his address, began by jokingly referring to Biden as “Vice President,” drawing laughter from the crowd. The two men then hugged.
Obama added: “That was a joke. That was all set up. My president, Joe Biden.”
Biden continued the joke as he took to the podium, introducing himself with self-deprecating humour as “Barack Obama’s Vice President” and “Jill Biden’s husband”. Biden, who had earlier hosted Obama for lunch, joked that the two men did not know who should sit where.
Biden’s approval rating is currently at an all-time low of 40 per cent, according to Real Clear Politics’ polling average. With the cost-of-living crisis soaring for ordinary Americans and Russia’s war in Ukraine raging on, other polls have put Mr Biden’s popularity even lower.
A recent Marist College poll put Mr Biden’s approval at a dismal 39 percent, a decrease from 47 percent at the start of March.