President Joe Biden has decided to skip the traditional sit-down interview before Sunday's Super Bowl.
The 81-year-old president, who faces a tough re-election fight, declined an interview with CBS, the network that will broadcast this year's big game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.
Variety first reported the White House's decision, with communications director Ben LaBolt telling the network, “We hope viewers enjoy watching what they tuned in – the game,” without providing further explanation.
This is the second year in a row that Biden has skipped the interview.
Last year, the decision was attributed to conservative-leaning Fox News, which made the request when Fox aired the game.
President Joe Biden will not sit down for an interview that will air before Sunday's Super Bowl, once a presidential tradition. He was photographed on Sunday headlining a campaign event in Las Vegas, which will host the Super Bowl a week later
President Joe Biden participated in the interviews in 2021 and 2022. In 2021, he met with CBS's Norah O'Donnell. CBS rebroadcast the Super Bowl, but the White House rejected the session
In 2021 and 2022, Biden participated in question-and-answer sessions, first with CBS's Norah O'Donnell and then with NBC's Lester Holt.
Former President Donald Trump also skipped a pregame interview but spent his first months in office arguing with the NFL over some players' decision to kneel during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial inequality.
Trump, now running for the White House again, indicated he would play along and do the interview again.
“The corrupt Joe Biden just announced he won't be doing the big Super Bowl interview.” “Great decision, he can't put two sentences together,” Trump commented on Truth Social Monday. “I WOULD LIKE TO REPLACE HIM – would be “RATINGS GOLD!”,” said the ex-president and hopeful for 2024.
Overall, Biden has shied away from media exposure, opting to answer questions from reporters in less formal settings — such as when he leaves the White House to board Marine One on the South Lawn.
He did not attend a year-end press conference in 2023 – and rarely participates in television or print interviews.
Biden's last two television interviews were with First Lady Jill Biden, with Al Roker during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and with Ryan Seacrest for his New Year's Eve broadcast.
Previously, his most recent major appearance was a 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley that aired in mid-October.
Former President Donald Trump responded to President Joe Biden's decision to skip the Super Bowl interview by saying it was a “great decision” because “he couldn't put two sentences together” and agreed to take Biden's place to take
Biden participated in 86 interviews during his first three years in office, according to figures compiled by Martha Kumar, a professor emeritus of political science at Towson University who studies White House communications.
By comparison, there were 300 interviews that Trump participated in and 422 that President Barack Obama conducted during his first three years in the White House.
With polls weak and the Republican primary coming to a close and former President Donald Trump the Republican Party's likely nominee, some Democrats fear Biden will play it safe.
“He's probably trying to avoid tough questions about Gaza and the border, but I think he's making a mistake,” a Democratic strategist who asked not to be named told .
“This should be an opportunity for him to condemn House Republicans for blocking aid to Israel and preventing a bipartisan immigration deal,” the source adds. “He has to go on the offensive because he will no longer be able to start the election campaign from the basement.”
Other Democrats didn't see this as a missed opportunity.
“There are three types of people who watch the Super Bowl.” Those who care about the actual game, those who care about the commercials, and those who care about the halftime show. “I have not yet met an audience that is interested in the presidential interview,” emphasized Democratic strategist Rodell Mollineau, partner at Rokk Solutions.
President Joe Biden (right) met with NBC's Lester Holt (left) in February 2022 for an interview, some of which aired before the Super Bowl that year. Biden's snub of the Super Bowl interview last year was attributed to the Fox News question
However, Biden may be missing out on an even larger bloc of voters this year by skipping the interview.
While interest in the Super Bowl is always high, this year's game will also attract legions of “Swifties” as Taylor Swift's boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, will be on the field and is expected to is there.
Swift entered politics in 2018, supporting Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn's Democratic opponent, Phil Bredesen, in Tennessee.
In 2020, she publicly supported Biden.
Trump allies are already worried about her supporting Biden in 2024, now that Swift has become a mega-star.
Rolling Stone reported last week that the MAGA world is preparing a “holy war” against the pop star.
Fox News host Jesse Watters said last month that Swift was a “front person for a hidden political agenda.”
On his primetime show, he said that “about four years ago, the Pentagon's Phychological Operations Division was created to make Taylor Swift an asset.”
Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh responded to the wild claim by saying, “As far as this conspiracy theory is concerned, we will shake it down.”
Former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy – who dropped out of the race and endorsed Trump – said on X in late January that the Super Bowl was being rigged in the Chiefs' favor to help Biden's re-election efforts.
“I wonder who's going to win the Super Bowl next month. And I wonder if there's going to be a lot of support for the president this fall from an artificially culturally supported couple,” Ramaswamy mused. “Just some wild speculation here. Let’s see how it ages in the next 8 months.”