White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday conceded President Joe Biden would have a press conference in “coming weeks” and “before the end of the month.”
A recent CNN analysis of the past 100 years shows the 15 most recent presidents have all held a formal solo press conference within 33 days of taking office. This is President Biden’s 44th day in office.
Psaki blamed Biden’s focus on the coronavirus pandemic for the delay, arguing that the president’s time, energy, and focus was on solving the crisis.
“I think the American people would certainly understand if his focus and his energy and his attention has been on ensuring we secure enough vaccines to vaccinate all Americas,” she said.
Since taking office, however, President Biden has spent three weekends away from the White House, including two at his home in Deleware and one at the presidential retreat at Camp David.
Biden’s refusal to host a press conference fits a pattern of behavior exhibited by his staff during his presidential campaign. Despite historic gaps between press conferences, Biden’s campaign staff ignored reporter complaints of his reduced public engagement with the press during the coronavirus pandemic.
Psaki argued president Biden had taken questions a couple of times after events at the White House, noting that he had answered questions from reporters “almost 40 times” since becoming president.
Biden has put a number of presidential traditions on hold since becoming president, citing the coronavirus pandemic and his goal to get a rescue package passed.
Psaki said the traditional presidential speech to a joint session of Congress, typically taking place in February, has been delayed until after Biden’s massive $1.9 trillion American Rescue plan has passed.