President Joe Biden addressed the House Democrats 2021 Issues Conference on Wednesday and, at the end of the virtual event, said that he would be happy to take questions from Democrats just before the White House bizarrely cut his feed.
Biden has not held a formal press conference since he entered office six weeks ago on January 20. Instead, he has taken questions from reporters and has issued very limited, often scripted, responses.
The virtual conference was kicked off by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Biden went over the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill which is now working its way through Congress and stressed its importance.
At the very end of the video conference, Biden signaled he was ready to take questions: “I’m happy to take questions, if that’s what I’m supposed to do, Nance,” he addressed Pelosi, who had a perpetual smile plastered on her face and just sat there. Biden said:
(Video Credit: NBC News)
“Whatever you want me to do,” Biden added. That’s when the feed abruptly got cut off. This was ironically after Biden urged Democrats to help “restore faith” in government.
The president’s critics are demanding that Biden hold a full press conference. Former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany pointed out on Tuesday that both former Presidents Trump and Obama had met with the press by this time during their presidencies – Obama met with the press 20 days after taking office while Trump did so 27 days after being inaugurated.
The White House has also not scheduled a date for the president to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress.
McEnany asked on Fox News: “My question is: where’s Joe?”
“It’s been 41 days – at this point, President Trump had multiple press appearances, press conferences – President Barack Obama had as well,” she noted.
“Joe Biden needs to step up. We need to hear from him. He needs to engage in the transparency that he promised us: he has not thus far,” McEnany stated.
CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak said on Wednesday in a note to his colleagues: “As we await word on when President Biden will hold his first solo press conference, an analysis of the past 100 years shows he is behind his 15 most recent predecessors, who all held a solo press conference within 33 days of taking office.” Thursday marks Biden’s 43rd day in office.
“While he has taken questions from reporters on a few occasions, including during sprays and a more formal Q&A session following an event in January, he has not held a formal press conference,” Liptak commented. “That includes both a solo press conference or a 2+2 news conference during his two virtual ‘bilateral’ meetings with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.”
using @Presidency_Proj at UCSB database of presidential news conferences https://t.co/EKBxFoODkl
— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) March 3, 2021
Fox News conservative commentator Dan Gainor quipped: “He’s like the opposite of the Energizer Bunny. He hides out. It’s his leftist policies that keep on going.”
He also said: “It would be easy to make a joke about the president being in his dotage here.”
“Only this is the anti-Trump strategy that got Biden into the White House. Don’t tweet. Don’t say controversial things. Don’t be seen as doing much in public at all,” Gainor remarked.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is running cover for Biden: “We look forward to holding a full formal press conference, but in the meantime, the President takes questions from the reporters covering the White House regularly, including this morning.”
“And his focus day in and day out is on getting the pandemic under control and putting people back to work. That’s what people elected him to do,” she deflected.
Psaki recently said, “not yet,” when she was asked when the president would hold his first press conference.
Commenters on social media seem to believe that Biden is being “protected.” One flatly stated: “Politics aside, this is VERY WORRYING.”
The Daily Signal’s Tim Murtaugh finds it suspicious – he tweeted: “This is pretty amazing. Biden actually says he’ll take questions. Obviously that was not the game plan because the White House went right to a graphic instead. Not sure what went on here, but it looks like a real fear of unscripted Biden.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert cut to the chase:
After these first 43 days, I’m starting to see why no one let Biden do anything meaningful for 47 years.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) March 4, 2021
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