WASHINGTON, D.C. – After breaking the all-time record for a lack of solo press conference into a new presidency, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Tuesday that Joe Biden will finally be holding his first on March 25… a full 64 days since he was first inaugurated on January 20.
Biden has taken questions from reporters at times, such as after making statements, but he is far behind every other President in modern history in terms of going one-on-one with the press. In comparison, Donald Trump and Barack Obama both held their own first solo press conferences far earlier into their respective terms; Obama at 20 days in and Trump at 27 days in.
Biden now holds the record for number of days into a presidency without a solo press conference.
Pressure had been mounting on Biden to deal with reporters directly, with the White House Correspondents Association President Zeke Miller saying that presidential press conferences are “critical to informing the American people and holding an administration accountable to the public.” In addition, The Washington Post Editorial Board recently stated that “it’s past time for Biden to hold a news conference.”
Some have speculated that the reason for putting off Biden’s first solo press outing has to do with concerns that his cognitive health may be in decline, which would affect the President’s ability to effectively field myriad questions from reporters; former head of George Washington University’s School of Media Frank Sesno was quoted as saying “he’s not great in these news conferences. He rambles. His strongest communication is not extemporaneous.”
Previously, when Psaki has been asked during her daily briefing this past Friday about the potential for a Biden solo press conference, she would often state that the President was too busy with the COVID-19 pandemic, but that a conference would be coming “soon.”