President Joe Biden has been president for 50 full days and still has yet to hold an in-person press conference with reporters, the longest wait for a president in 100 years.
The drought of press appearances continues despite assurances from White House press secretary Jen Psaki that the president will hold one at some point, but “not yet.” She told reporters Friday that Biden will hold a conference “in the coming weeks,” and before the end of March, but no official date has been set. All 15 of Biden’s predecessors within the last 100 years held solo conferences before 50 days. (RELATED: President Joe Biden Nears 45 Days Without Holding A Press Conference)
President Donald Trump held his first press conference 27 days after gaining office; President Barack Obama held one after just 20 days, and President George W. Bush held his first conference 33 days into his term. Bush was the previous record-holder until Biden’s presidency.
While he has not held a solo press conference, Biden has held several in-person events such as executive order signings where he has taken a handful of questions from reporters.
The closest the president has come to holding a conference was a brief interview with Univision on Feb. 25, in which he answered questions alongside First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. The first lady frequently assisted Biden in answering policy questions throughout the interview, offering qualifiers to the president’s answers on teacher vaccinations and immigration policy. (RELATED: After A Year Of Constant Media Appearances, Gov. Cuomo Is Nowhere To Be Found)
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also confirmed March 1 that Biden will come to his first press conference with a list of reporters to call on. The press office had already been accused of screening questions to Psaki in February.
“Well, typically, any President has a list of people that they’re going to call upon,” Psaki told reporters at the time. “But usually it’s a large number of people who are in the press room, and we certainly hope we’re able to do that in a COVID-safe way.”
The Biden White House has come under fire for transparency issues in recent weeks, particularly after implementing a rule requiring news outlets to pay for coronavirus tests before entering the White House. The tests, which are required to report in the complex, can cost as much as $170 per person.
The White House has agreed, however, to continue covering the cost of testing reporters in the daily press pool, which is on a monthly rotation of a few dozen outlets. Reporters who aren’t working on the pool for a given day would have to pay for testing before being given access.