President Joe Biden has been in office for 44 days now without holding an official press conference and even left-leaning media critics have taken notice. This marks the longest stretch at the start of a presidency in at least a century.
In a recent analysis by CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak, at least 15 of Biden’s predecessors have held a press conference within 33 days in office. In the past, President Barack Obama was eager to push his recovery plan and President Donald Trump talked about the incredible progress that’s been made, and Joe Biden? He’s somewhere in the basement prepping for softball questions.
President Biden has used the role of journalism to criticize former President Trump’s hostile relationship with the media, yet has kept his own appearance in the White House under tight control. As long as he’s kept out of the limelight, he can’t generate too much “controversy.” He’s already passed 34 controversial executive orders, 13 presidential memoranda, 16 proclamations, and three notices, as well as ordering airstrikes in Syria.
“The reluctance to hold a presser recalls the time last summer and early fall when then-candidate Biden largely holed up in his Wilmington, Del., home while the coronavirus and the presidential campaign were churning. Biden set up a studio in his home and took part in media interviews and talks with supporters and voters via virtual meetings from his basement, tightly controlling which reporters got to ask a question, if at all,” said New York Post reporter Mark Moore.
CNN’s Jake Tapper even tweeted out the analysis revealed by Liptak, noting at the time that “Biden has not and it’s day 42.” Others such as Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Rep. Andy Biggs called out Biden for the lack of transparency and asked if there was something else going on that was stopping him from being transparent with the American people. Republican Party Communications Director Michael Ahrens even highlighted a clip of a controversial comment President Biden made about the unfolding crisis at the border.
When a reporter asked Biden if there was a crisis on the border, he responded “no.” While border experts said a day with 1,000 apprehensions at the border was a “relatively bad number,” there have been days under the Biden Administration where over 4,000 illegal aliens have been apprehended in a single day.
No wonder they haven't let him do a press conference. https://t.co/mCkooNEmki
— Michael Ahrens (@michaelahrens) March 2, 2021
The closest President Biden ever came to holding a solo press conference was a brief interview alongside First Lady Dr. Jill Biden with Univision on Feb. 25. The first lady assisted Biden in answering policy questions, as well as adding on to the president’s answers on teacher vaccinations and immigration policy.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked when Biden would hold a press conference, but responded that she “won’t have a date for you at this point in time.” She’s previously talked about bringing truth and transparency back to the briefing room and rebuilding trust with the American people but has taken action aligned with those words.
On the White House website, comment lines have been shut down, there are no citizen petitions available, and the White House has not released any visitor logs. President Biden has also kept his schedule from being posted online. They have not scheduled a date for Biden to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress, either.
Conservative strategist Chris Barron asked what the president has to fear in a formal setting. “It’s surprising Biden hasn’t held a press conference. What on earth would lead the Biden team to think that the mainstream media would be even remotely interested in asking tough questions? It’s truly pathetic that the Biden team doesn’t even trust the president to hit softballs,” he said.
It’s not surprising that the President has gotten away with this for so long. The Biden Administration knows that the media will carry the narrative for him no matter what.