President Joe Biden goes out to comment on COVID-19 during an event at the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus on Monday, September 27, 2021 in Washington. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci) Evan Vucci / AP
President Joe Biden received his third vaccination against COVID-19 on live television last Monday, but the event sparked widespread speculation about the room where the event was held, better known as the South Court Auditorium.
Since 2012, South Court has served as the White House‘s de facto location for high profile events that require additional camera access.
The auditorium itself was built during a renovation of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, a large building that houses both the Vice President’s ceremonial offices and workrooms for the hundreds of White House officials who do not have offices in the White House itself. It’s right next to the West Wing on the White House grounds.
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âThe South Court Auditorium essentially replaced the auditorium in the same building that had been used by Presidents for decades. It was known as Room 450, âsaid Martha Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project and professor of politics at Towson University, the Washington Examiner. âYou have to drag yourself up the stairs because the small elevators would only take a limited number of people. This means that you often have to walk and had the luxury of an elevator. With its easy accessibility, the South Court site was welcomed by everyone. “
Former White House Events Director Josh King claims the use of South Court is the latest iteration of “PoliOptics, a mix of politics and optics” used by “every modern president.”
“Every week in Washington has an element of theater and drama that one side or the other is working to get the most out of visual storytelling,” explained King. “Presidents can fly across the country – or even around the world – on Air Force One for a photo worth putting on the margins of US newspapers.”
âSo how did the mechanics of the event production and the auditorium itself contribute to coverage across the board?â He continues. âMost days the South Court Auditorium is an ordinary stadium-style meeting room with four or five rows of seats; Space in the back of the room for cameras on tripods; a small buffer area in front of the stage for still photographers to capture the key moment and practical backstage doors for easy entry and exit of the headmaster. “
Former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump used South Court to make high-profile political announcements, but Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris use the space even more than their predecessors. Biden and Harris often host virtual policy meetings with a multitude of attendees that would have been held in person at the White House or EEOB conference rooms prior to the coronavirus. These events range from the President’s climate summits with overseas leaders to business meetings with local business leaders, are covered in depth by the White House press pool, and feature a rotating selection of sets, backdrops, flags, and other signage to coincide with each event.
Still, some anti-Vaxx social media users, including Turning Point USA Executive Director Charlie Kirk, claimed that Biden’s vaccine booster event was evidence that the government was trying to convince the American public.
“Nothing is real with these people, it’s all just smoke and mirrors,” tweeted Kirk. “But should we trust them with all of our personal health decisions?”
Other user posted photos from the event labeled “Fake President. Fake Jab. Fake News”.
Numerous online fact-checkers found the above claims about Biden’s event categorically incorrect. Politifact noted that the set Biden was sitting in front of had been used at another event in South Court the week before.
A White House official also told the Washington Examiner that the conspiracies surrounding Biden’s COVID-19 boosters were not worth answering.
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“These are the people who are preventing the country from defeating this pandemic,” said this official. “There is no need for this kind of nonsense, but the President and the White House will continue to try to protect as many Americans as possible, regardless of their personal beliefs, as he promised during the campaign.”
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Keywords: News, Joe Biden, White House, Coronavirus
Original author: Christian Datoc
Original location: The White House theater you never knew existed