Despite the White House offering several venues fit for presidential remarks — including the Oval Office, the East Room, the State Dining Room and even the Brady Press Briefing Room — the administration has increasingly opted to use the model set up in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, across from the executive mansion itself.
In recent weeks, Biden has used the venue for getting a COVID-19 booster shot, as well as for virtual meetings — whether with CEOs on raising the federal debt ceiling, world leaders on the pandemic and climate change, or FEMA staff on the progress of Hurricane Ida — and remarks on Aug. 23 in which he urged employers to adopt vaccine mandates.
According to the White House website, the South Court Auditorium has been used for 36 official events involving Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris fewer than nine months into their term of office. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield have also used the set for events.
The set caused a social media frenzy Wednesday during Biden’s call with CEOs when viewers noted a digitally created view of the White House Rose Garden behind one of the cutout windows.
Former President Donald Trump’s adviser Stephen Miller suggested on Twitter that the auditorium was chosen “because it allows him [Biden] to read a script directly from a face-on monitor (& w/out teleprompter glass that can be seen on camera).”
Other social media users ridiculed the president for using a “literal game show set,” while others accused him of deliberately trying to deceive Americans into thinking he was in the White House.
“Why did the White House build a literal game show set complete with fake windows for Joe Biden???” tweeted Abigail Marone, press secretary for Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), summing up the views of many. “So weird.”