President Biden addressed a semi-empty auditorium Wednesday while holding a live CNN “City Hall” event in Ohio.
The more than a dozen empty rows were not visible to television viewers thanks to flattering footage that appeared to show a full, undisclosed crowd in the front rows – in a powerful visual representation of normality after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions .
But members of the traveling White House press pool shared photos from the back of the room, showing that the venue at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati was indeed far from crowded.
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Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Epstein, who traveled with Biden as a news service representative, tweeted a picture of “[w]what Biden CNN City Hall looks like from the back of the auditorium “
Voice of America reporter Steve Herman, the radio pool reporter for the trip, tweeted a similar picture showing that the “[b]The hall is empty. “
Herman also posted a video showing other angles where viewers were missing from their seats.
The empty seat image contradicted Biden’s attempt to instill confidence in overcoming the coronavirus pandemic, including his “This is not a pandemic” claim.
It’s unclear whether the room was half full due to concerns about the virus or a lack of public interest. A White House official forwarded an investigation to CNN.
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CNN spokeswoman Lauren Pratapas told the Post, “This was a typical audience size for a CNN town hall.” She did not give the reason for the small crowd.
Former President Donald Trump routinely mocked Biden during last year’s presidential campaign for attracting a small audience – even before the pandemic – compared to his own rallies, which generally attracted tens of thousands of enthusiastic fans.
“Biden is coming to Florida, you have 12, 13 people. You know they do the circles. And he’s having a hard time filling the circles. We have probably 30,000 or so people here, ”Trump told a roaring crowd in Jacksonville, Florida, in September.
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