President Biden on Wednesday spoke to a half-empty auditorium while doing a live CNN “town hall” event in Ohio.
The more than dozen empty rows weren’t apparent to television viewers thanks to flattering shots that appeared to show a full, non-distanced crowd packing the front rows — in a striking visual display of normalcy after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions.
But a member of the traveling White House press pool shared a photo from the back of the room, revealing that, in fact, the venue was far from packed at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati.
“The audience for the @[email protected] ‘town hall’ is all seated in forward rows. Back of the auditorium is empty,” tweeted Voice of America reporter Steve Herman, along with a photo.
The image of empty seats was discordant with Biden’s attempt to project confidence in overcoming the coronavirus pandemic, including his assertion, “this is not a pandemic.”
President Joe Biden insists “this is not a pandemic,” while discussing rising COVID-19 cases from the Delta variant during CNN’s “town hall” event
AFP via Getty Images
It’s unclear if the room was half-full due to concerns about the virus or due to a lack of public interest. A White House official referred an inquiry to CNN.
CNN spokespeople did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Former President Donald Trump routinely mocked Biden during last year’s presidential campaign for drawing small audiences — even before the pandemic — compared to his own rallies that generally featured tens of thousands of fired-up fans.
The White House has not confirmed whether there were capacity limits during CNN’s “town hall” event with President Joe Biden.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
“Biden comes to Florida, you have like 12, 13 people. You know, they do the circles. And he has a hard time filling up the circles. Here we probably have 30,000 people or so,” Trump told a roaring crowd in Jacksonville, Fla., in September.