President Joe Biden is the first executive in 40 years to come to this point in his term without holding a formal question and answer session, such as a news conference or Oval Office address.
“It reflects a White House media strategy meant both to reserve major media set-pieces for the celebration of a legislative victory and to limit unforced errors from a historically gaffe-prone politician,” the Associated Press (AP) reported Saturday.
The president chooses to take questions nearly as often as many of his recent predecessors, but usually takes one or two informal inquiries in a hurried setting toward the end of events, the article continued:
In a sharp contrast with the previous administration, the White House is exerting extreme message discipline, empowering staff to speak but doing so with caution. Recalling both Biden’s largely leak-free campaign and the buttoned-up Obama administration, the new White House team has carefully managed the president’s appearances, trying to lower the temperature from Donald Trump’s Washington and to save a big media moment to mark what could soon be a signature accomplishment: passage of the COVID-19 bill.
On Wednesday, CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted, “An analysis of the past 100 years shows President Biden’s 15 most recent predecessors all held a formal solo press conference within 33 days of taking office. Biden has not and it’s day 42”:
.@Kevinliptakcnn notes that an analysis of the past 100 years shows President Biden’s 15 most recent predecessors all held a formal solo press conference within 33 days of taking office. Biden has not and it’s day 42.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 3, 2021
In addition, Biden’s staff members have reportedly prescreened reporters before White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s briefings to look at questions they planned to ask her, according to the Daily Beast.
“It remains unclear which, if any, reporters cooperated with the administration’s inquiries. Leaders of the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) have reportedly urged reporters not to accommodate the administration in that capacity,” according to Breitbart News.
On Thursday, Psaki defended the president’s comparison of some Republican governors to Neanderthals for lifting their state’s mask mandates.
“How does comparing someone to a Neanderthal help convince them to change course and get on board with your public health message?” a journalist asked during the press briefing.
“The behavior of a Neanderthal, just to be very clear,” Psaki said. “The behavior of.”
She then added Biden’s comment was a “reflection of his frustration and exasperation” that citizens are not wearing masks.