Pressure builds for Biden to hold press conference after video cuts him off as he offers to answer questions

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Nathan Place
·2 min read
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<p>Forty-three days into his presidency, Joe Biden has yet to hold a formal White House press conference.</p> (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Forty-three days into his presidency, Joe Biden has yet to hold a formal White House press conference.

(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Pressure is growing for President Biden to hold a press conference on his own, after his last attempt to answer questions was abruptly cut off by a White House video feed.

Some analysts expect Biden to hold a solo presser when he has some especially good news to report, such as the passage of his pandemic stimulus bill. The Senate is set to debate the bill this week.

“I’m happy to take questions if that’s what I’m supposed to do, Nance,” the president told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the end of a virtual meeting with her caucus, broadcast on the White House YouTube page. A few seconds later, the White House logo appeared and the video ended.

The footage has since gone viral, with one clip on Twitter receiving over 1.5 million views.

Biden is now 43 days into his presidency, but has yet to hold the kind of traditional White House press conference at which the president answers reporters’ questions himself. President Trump, by comparison, held his first such press conference 27 days in, and President Obama did so on day 20.

The president has answered questions from reporters on some occasions, though not at a formal press conference. He has spoken off the cuff at announcements in the Oval Office and at signings of executive orders, events at which reporters sometimes shout out questions at the end.

On Wednesday, for example, Biden answered an impromptu question at the end of an Oval Office meeting about cancer research, when a reporter asked about a rocket attack in Iraq.

The president’s critics, however, are accepting no substitutes for a formal, “solo” press conference.

“Where’s Joe?” Kayleigh McEnany, the final press secretary of the Trump administration, asked on Fox News. “Joe Biden needs to step up. We need to hear from him. He needs to engage in the transparency that he promised us.”

The White House’s current press secretary, Jen Psaki, has pushed back against such criticism.

“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,” she told CNN on Wednesday.

Psaki herself has held frequent press conferences at the White House, hosting 17 of them just in the past month.

Some analysts expect Biden to hold a solo presser when he has some especially good news to report, such as the passage of his pandemic stimulus bill. The Senate is set to debate the bill this week.

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