Biden Broadcast Media Director Mariel Saez LEAVES White House
Mariel Saez, the White House director of broadcast media, is expected to step down after a year on the job as President Biden ramps up travel and attempts to change his interactions with the media amid low approval ratings.
Saez, who also worked on the presidential campaign and Biden’s inaugural committee, will leave in the coming weeks, CNN reported.
His departure comes from a mostly stable White House communications team after a tenure leading officials to TV success, and follows a string of departures from Vice President Kamala Harris’ office.
The White House has taken steps to prevent a similar narrative from taking hold in its own shop – providing taped quotes from Saez and communications director Kate Bedingfield praising his “dedication” and “strategic advice”.
“It has been an honor to serve the President as Director of Broadcast Media, and I am grateful to my talented and dedicated colleagues in the White House and throughout the administration who have worked hand-in-hand with me to communicate the priorities of the president through the broadcast media,” Saez said in a statement.
Mariel Saez, the White House director of broadcast media, is stepping down. His departure comes as Biden’s approval rating swings into the 1940s
News of his departure comes just weeks before Biden is due to deliver his State of the Union address, an event that also includes a traditional luncheon with top TV presenters.
Biden sat down for an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt that aired during the Super Bowl, with parts the network dribbled past amid the Ukraine crisis and Biden’s search for a Supreme Court nominee.
A media critic from the key state of Arizona wrote a column titled, ‘Joe Biden’s Super Bowl interview with Lester Holt went by so fast you might have missed it’, with many nuggets of key news already distributed in advance.
The president has also dabbled in local television interviews, amid low approval ratings and an inability to get his message across amid regular White House speeches and brief combat exchanges with the media.
Biden’s broadcast interactions are designed to bypass the Washington, DC-based media “filter.”
News of his departure came after Biden’s interview with NBC, which aired a clip during the Super Bowl
Biden also tried to circumvent the DC filter with local TV interviews
Vice President Kamala Harris saw the departure of a series of aides, including chief spokesman Symone Sanders
Biden’s meeting with NBC’s Lester Holt followed a rare press conference in January, where he vowed to get out more in the country to “go out and talk to the public.”
Biden held a rare press conference last month, speaking for nearly two hours. At that event, he signaled a shift in communications strategy, with his approval numbers consistently in the 40s and the midterm elections less than a year away.
‘Number one: I get out of this place more often. I’m going to come out and talk to the public,’ Biden said. However, with international challenges and the ongoing pandemic, Biden has been unable to get out of town on anything other than short day trips of about one a week.
Saez helped arrange 2,700 interviews to help the Biden administration make its case. His tweet catalog some of them, like Small Business Administration official Gina Raimondo, who reacted to a jump in inflation to an annualized rate of 7.5% last week.
Raimondo said nearly a third of January’s jump was due to used car prices impacted by supply chain issues.
Biden’s approval was just 41% in the RealClearPolitics average, after developing a negative net rating last summer.
The broadcast station has long hours, to allow it to do interviews that start as early as 5:30 a.m. or can be broadcast on the 11 p.m. local news. Before joining the White House, she served as assistant to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for a decade.
Saez’s departure follows a series of departures from Vice President Kamala Harris’s staff, including Harris chief spokesperson Symone Sanders, communications director Ashely Etienne and a handful of other departures.
Harris’s chief speechwriter, Kate Childs Graham, is stepping down and is expected to leave at the end of the month.
White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield praised Saez in a statement to CNN.
“Mariel has been an invaluable member of our team, and her strategic guidance and counsel, strong network relationships, hard work and dedication have served the President, Vice President and the entire administration so well. Biden-Harris,” Bedingfield said. “She has immense talent and an incomparable teammate, and she will be sorely missed.”