Speed Reads

press distress

Biden has gone longer without a formal news conference than any president in the past 100 years

Thursday is President Biden's 50th day in office, and he'll be marking the occasion with a speech on the anniversary of the pandemic in the U.S.

But Biden has so far only given remarks like these, making official statements and speeches, but so far failing to schedule a formal solo press conference to allow reporters to ask questions. As ABC News reports, "Biden has gone longer without facing extended questions from reporters than any of his 15 predecessors over the past 100 years."

Former President George W. Bush waited 33 days into his tenure to hold a press conference, the previous record. Most other presidents held them within days or weeks. Former President Donald Trump held his first 27 days into his time in office.

Last week, the White House promised Biden would hold a press conference within the month of March, but a date isn't yet set.

Of course, Biden has taken some questions from reporters at times. In January, he took eight questions after commenting on a recently-signed executive order. And he's answered one or two questions at a time at a few different Oval Office events. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has pointed to those instances while answering questions about the lack of a presser. Psaki, meanwhile, has held a daily press briefing where reporters ask questions. She has said Biden's "focus and his energy and his attention" is on the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines, leaving him with little time for other events.

"It's not a substitute for the more normal press conference to just have the president take a few questions in passing," Mike McCurry, a press secretary for President Bill Clinton, told ABC.

CNN Business speculates Biden might be more willing to go ahead with press conferences now that his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill has passed.