Pressed on why President Joe Biden, who has been in office for 45 days, is not hosting White House press conferences independently like other presidents, a spokesman said Friday (March 5) that Biden will hold a press conference at the end of March.
Before Biden, 15 predecessors have hosted press conferences about a month (33 days or less) after taking office as president. If Biden hosts his first White House press conference by the end of March, it will be more than two months after his inauguration as president.
Asked Friday by reporters why Biden has not hosted a news conference 45 days after his inauguration, when other presidents have done so, some multiple times, White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s answer was a bit off the mark at first.
Biden has been answering questions several times a week, she said.
“He did take questions twice yesterday, and it’s an opportunity for people who cover the White House to ask him about what’s going on any given day.” Psaki said at a regular White House press conference. “We expect to have a press conference in the next few weeks, before the end of this month, and we’re in the process of setting a final date. Once we determine that, we’ll let you know.”
Psaki went on to explain that President Biden came to office “in the midst of two historic crises,” a pandemic not seen in decades and a recession that put 10 million people out of work (the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis).
The U.S. economy was hit hard by the state lockdowns triggered by the New Coronavirus pandemic, but prior to the Epidemic, the U.S. economy was experiencing record growth and employment.
According to the “Trump Administration Accomplishments” summary released by the Donald Trump Administration on Jan. 17, the U.S. gained 7 million new jobs before the epidemic hit, more than three times the number predicted by government experts. Middle-class household income rose by nearly $6,000, more than five times the gains made during the entire Obama-Biden Administration. The unemployment rate reached 3.5 percent, the lowest point in half a century. For the 40th consecutive month, there were more job openings than new hires.
In addition, the largest number of Americans in history reported being employed, with nearly 160 million people; the number of people claiming unemployment insurance as a percentage of the population is at an all-Time low. Every metropolitan area in the U.S. saw incomes rise for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Psaki added, “I think the American people will understand if Biden’s focus, his energy and his attention has been on making sure we get enough vaccine, getting all Americans vaccinated, which we will do by the end of May, and then moving forward with a bailout program that provides direct payments to nearly 160 million Americans.”
The work on the subject of the vaccine development program began and was largely completed during the Trump administration. Both the Trump-era deputy health secretary and the current director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s top scientific institution, have publicly expressed their displeasure with the Biden administration – which has taken full credit for vaccine development, production and distribution – on its own.
Apparently the White House reporter was not satisfied with Psaki’s answer either. Reporters continued to press that Biden taking questions every week was not what the media wanted, and that Biden had not given the media half as long a press conference.
“We might be able to ask two questions and then get kicked out. So why can’t he stand and answer questions from the media? Is it because he’s too busy?” A White House correspondent for a media outlet pressed.
Psaki said, “He (Biden) did answer questions, I believe, by count, almost 40 times. I would say his focus is on getting recovery and relief to the American people. He looks forward to continuing to talk to all of you and other members of the media who are not here today, and we will let you know as soon as the press conference is finalized.”
For the most part since Biden took office, he has answered reporters’ questions by taking one or two questions at a time, a big difference from former President Trump, who usually interacted with the media after a formal press conference and then took a dozen questions.