(by Emily Jacobs, New York Post) — Aides to President Biden hurried the traveling press corps away as they shouted questions at an unresponsive commander-in-chief in Washington Tuesday — his 48th day in office without holding a solo press conference.
The incident occurred toward the end of a visit by Biden to W.S. Jenks & Son, a hardware store in the nation’s capital that benefited from his temporary extension for smaller businesses of the Paycheck Protection Program.
After quietly watching Biden interact with store owners and employees for about 10 minutes, reporters (as is expected) began [calling out] a series of questions at him to no avail.
Immediately after, handlers for the 46th president began yelling back assertively, “Come on, press, you gotta go,” as the entire gaggle of reporters was quickly removed from the scene.
Biden, who was standing about 15 to 20 feet away from the press pool, did not flinch or answer a single one of the myriad shouted questions, including one on the burgeoning immigration crisis at the southern border (due to President Biden’s open border policies).
Tuesday not only marks the 48th day of Biden’s presidency, it also marks the longest a commander-in-chief has gone in recent history without holding a solo press conference.
Biden has gone longer than his 15 most recent predecessors — going back 100 years — without taking questions from the press in the more official forum.
All 15 prior presidents held a solo press conference within 33 days of taking office, according to a CNN analysis of data from the American Presidency Project.
President Donald Trump held his first solo press conference 27 days after taking office, while President Barack Obama held one 20 days into the job.
Biden, meanwhile, has neglected to hold a single one, and that does not appear to be changing in the immediate future.
When pressed about the matter at a briefing Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki argued that the president was too busy managing the “historic crises” linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He’s answered questions. I believe that count is almost 40 times,” she said. “And I would say that his focus, again, is on getting recovery and relief to the American people and he looks forward to continuing to engage with all of you and to members of the — other members of the media who aren’t here today, and we’ll look forward to letting you know as soon as the press conference is set.”
The commander-in-chief has spoken to reporters briefly before boarding the presidential aircraft and has taken some questions from the press after making public statements about the coronavirus and other matters.
He has not, however, faced reporters alone since becoming leader of the free world.
A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on the president’s refusal to hold a briefing.
Published at nypost .com. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from the New York Post.
BEFORE answering the questions, see “Background” and watch the videos under “Resources” below.
NOTE: The White House press corps is the group of journalists, correspondents, and members of the media usually assigned to the White House to cover the president, White House events, and news briefings. Its offices are located in the West Wing. The traveling press corps are those journalists who travel with the president to cover his various public appearances.
1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. (In this article, 1st and 2nd paragraphs). List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)
2. a) How did President Biden’s aides react to the press corps’ questions?
b) President Biden was visiting a small business he helped. Why do you think his aides did not allow the press any interaction with the president?
3. a) How did President Biden respond to the press?
b) What do you think of the president’s response?
4. What is significant about President Biden’s refusal/failure to as of yet hold a solo press conference (where the president would answer the media’s questions about particular policies)? Be specific.
5. a) How did President Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki explain the president’s reason for not holding any solo press conferences?
b) What do you think of this explanation?
6. Consider the following:
- Joe Biden has been in office well over 40 years – as a Senator, then for two terms as Barack Obama’s vice president. He has headed many important committees as a Senator. He has vast experience as a public speaker and politician. He has never been shy or inarticulate or known to avoid the press.
- It has been speculated since before the election that President Biden has some type of dementia or cognitive disorder. – And that is why it is difficult for him to answer questions live (that he can no longer “think on his feet”).
- A president’s first speech to Congress is not called a State of the Union, but an address to a joint session of Congress. It is generally an opportunity to lay out long-term policy themes as well as shorter-term legislative goals. It is always given sometime in February. On Jan. 14, President Biden said, “Next month, in my first appearance before a joint session of Congress, I will lay out my ‘Build Back Better’ recovery plan.”
- When asked in February about why the President’s address to Congress had no date, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “it was never planned to be in February, and we don’t have a date for a joint session at this point.”
- It was recently announced that President Biden will address the American people on Thursday night about Covid-19 (unknown if this will be a taped or live speech).
a) What do you think the White House Press Corps should be asking/reporting about the President’s lack of Q&A with the press? Explain your answer.
b) How confident do you think congressional Democrats are that President Biden is able to speak clearly and articulately at live events? Explain your answer.
c) Do you think the president is purposely being protected from direct discussions with the media? Explain your answer.
Did you know? The Biden administration shut down the comments section under all videos on the White House YouTube page. There is no reason given – just the standard note “Comments are turned off.”
How will President Biden compare to former presidents in solo press conferences held? See numbers at the American Presidency Project.
Toward the end of a visit by Biden to W.S. Jenks & Son, as soon as the press begin to ask Biden questions, immediately his handler cuts them off, saying “Come on press, we’re gonna move out.”
Prior to the March 9 hardware store visit, on March 3 President Biden Participated in a Virtual Event on Covid with the House Democratic Caucus.
He concluded his remarks by offering to take questions, but the White House then immediately cut off the president’s live feed. Just before he was cut off and the screen displayed an image of the White House with the message “Thank you for joining,” President Biden had said,
“So I want to thank you all. I really mean it from the bottom — I want to thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
And I’m happy to take questions if that’s what you — I’m supposed to do, Nance. Whatever you want me to do.”
Watch the clip below:
Biden says he’ll take questions and immediately video call is cut off:
NOTE: The text of this virtual meeting is part of official U.S. record and WhiteHouse.gov includes the president’s offer to answer questions. However, the video posted at the White House YouTube page has the entire 15 minute virtual meeting, but cuts off with President Biden’s last “Thank you.” His offer to take questions is cut out of the White House video.
Watch the entire Democratic event to learn about President Biden and the Democrats’ plan for saving Americans from Covid – named “The American Rescue Plan.”
How inspired are you by this plan?
Daily “Answers” emails are provided for Daily News Articles, Tuesday’s World Events and Friday’s News Quiz.