Though the president delivered his first prime time address Thursday to speak about the country’s progress in defeating the coronavirus pandemic, the more than seven-week stretch is the longest period a new president has gone without meeting with the press in the last 100 years, reported the Washington Post.
The White House said last week that Biden will hold a press conference before the end of the month, justifying his lengthy absence from the podium by saying he regularly takes questions from reporters in informal settings.
“The president takes questions several times a week,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week. “[W]hich is an opportunity for the people covering the White House to ask him about whatever news is happening on any given day.”
She added that the president has been directing his “energy” and focus into getting Americans through the pandemic by getting shots in their arms and passing the American Rescue Plan.
Despite the unusual timing of his entry into the White House, Biden has frustrated the White House Correspondents Association. President Zeke Miller told Vanity Fair last week that press conferences are “critical to informing the American people and holding an administration accountable.”
The Washington Post Editorial Board also condemned the president saying “it’s past time for Biden to hold a news conference.”
Donald Trump, whose administration was frequently criticized for its irregular communication with the press, held his first news conference after just one week from the start of his presidency.
Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both formally met with the press nine days after entering office, while Barack Obama waited for 20 days, reported the Post.