President Joe Biden promised reporters he would be holding a previously unannounced “major press conference” Friday, causing White House staffers to scramble to clear up his statement.
Biden mentioned the “major press conference” towards the end of his remarks to reporters at an economic policy meeting with a cabinet official. There were no press conferences on Biden’s public schedule, and White House staff did not immediately respond to questions from on-site reporters about the announcement.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do and I’m doing a major press conference this afternoon, but I love y’all but I’d like to ask you to leave so we can get down to business,” Biden said, according to CNN . (RELATED: Hunter Biden’s Legal Team Reportedly At Odds With White House)
Less than an hour later, a White House spokesperson told CNN that Biden was referring to an MSNBC interview previously scheduled for Friday at 10 p.m.
The president then went on a surprise trip to a taco restaurant in Washington, D.C., for Cinco de Mayo.
Get in, folks.
We’re going to lunch. pic.twitter.com/ehsgHuFW7J
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 5, 2023
Biden has rarely held press conferences during his administration, sparking frustration from reporters at the lack of access to him. The president has shied away from solo White House briefings much more often than his predecessors, according to data compiled by political scientist Martha Kumar, the New York Post reported. (RELATED: ‘Clearly Rigged’: White House Reporters ‘Disgusted’ By Biden Using List Of Approved Outlets)
Biden held a joint press conference with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on April 27, but took questions from two pre-selected U.S. reporters and was spotted with a notecard showing at least one question beforehand.
His last major press conference was held in November, where he stuck to a preselected list of 10 journalists for questions. Previously, he held a two-hour presser to mark the one-year anniversary of his presidency.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has argued at press briefings that Biden speaks to reporters often and claims the Biden administration holds frequent press conferences.