President Joe Biden has gone 42 days without holding a solo press conference, longer than all three of nearest predecessors.
The drought of press appearances continues despite assurances from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki that the president will hold one at some point, but “not yet.” President Donald Trump held his first press conference 27 days after gaining office; President Barack Obama held one after just 20 days, and President George W. Bush held his first conference 32 days into his term.
The closest Biden has come to holding a conference was a brief interview with Univision on Feb. 25, in which he answered questions alongside First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. The first lady frequently assisted Biden in answering policy questions throughout the interview, offering qualifiers to the president’s answers on teacher vaccinations and immigration policy.
Biden’s unavailability is hardly new, however. Trump made Biden’s infrequent media appearances a highlight of his re-election campaign, arguing that Biden was running for president “from his basement.”
The Republican National Committee is also capitalizing on the long break, clipping videos and making memes harping on Biden’s unavailability.
Psaki also confirmed on Monday that Biden will come to his first press conference with a list of reporters to call on. The press office has already been accused of screening questions to Psaki in February.
“Well, typically, any President has a list of people that they’re going to call upon,” Psaki told reporters Monday. “But usually it’s a large number of people who are in the press room, and we certainly hope we’re able to do that in a COVID-safe way.”