WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, President Joe Biden visited W.S. Jenks & Son, the oldest hardware store in Washington D.C. to take a tour and discuss the success of his recent change to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides a safety net to small businesses in the form of forgivable loans during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden was accompanied by the White House press corps – a group of journalists, correspondents, and members of the media usually assigned to cover the President – who looked on as he walked around the store and spoke with store owners and employees. But after 10 minutes or so, reporters began attempting to ask Biden questions; questions that were ignored, once again drumming up the fact that, 48 days into his term, the President has yet to hold a solo press conference or have any significant one-on-one time with the press.
Reporters at Biden’s visit to W.S. Jenks & Son soon began shouting their questions at Biden – who continued to not respond, despite standing only 15 to 20 feet away – leading to his handlers quickly removing them all from the scene, saying “Come on, press, you gotta go.” Some questions concerned the ongoing migrant crisis at the southern border.
Biden has taken questions from reporters at times, such as after making statements, but he is already being compared to his predecessors, Donald Trump and Barack Obama, both of whom held their own first solo press conferences far earlier into their respective terms; Obama at 20 days in and Trump at 27 days in.
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Biden, meanwhile, now holds the record for number of days into a presidency without a solo press conference.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was recently asked again during her daily briefing this past Friday about the potential for a Biden solo press conference, but stated that the President was too busy with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He’s answered questions. I believe that count is almost 40 times,” she said. “And I would say that his focus, again, is on getting recovery and relief to the American people and he looks forward to continuing to engage with all of you and other members of the media who aren’t here today, and we’ll look forward to letting you know as soon as the press conference is set.”