Friday 22 December 2023

White House Covers For Biden On Lack Of Year-End Press Conference

 The White House ran cover for President Joe Biden on Thursday when pressed on why the commander in chief has not held a traditional year-end news conference.

“Traditionally, the president will hold a year-end press conference and talk about his record, make the case directly to the American people — defend some of the policy action he has taken. The president, since it’s December 21st, doesn’t seem to be doing that this year,” a reporter said in an exchange with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

“Can you explain why he doesn’t want to defend his record to the American people and make his case for his record to the American people directly?” the journalist asked.

Jean-Pierre said Biden has spoken to the public during his travels and noted that Biden did hold a news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — a joint appearance that took place in Washington, D.C., a little more than a week ago.

“I think that any time the president travels and is in front of the American people, he does that. He did that in Wisconsin when he talked about ‘Bidenomics.’ He talked about small businesses and how that’s a pillar of ‘Bidenomics’ and investing in America. So, you heard him do that directly to the American people,” Jean-Pierre said.

“Look, he does every — we — we make an effort to do a press conference as often as possible, whether it’s here, at home, or abroad,” she added. “As you know, he held a two-plus-two with President Zelensky, which I think was an incredibly powerful, important moment for the American people to see what we have been doing to help the brave people of Ukraine fight against tyranny, fight against the aggression from Russia. And you saw him do that right alongside President Zelensky.”

Jean-Pierre also insisted that Biden was “very engaged” with members of the media who traveled with him on Wednesday.

“He engaged with them three times: took questions, made a really important statement about Venezuela and the hostage situation,” she said. “And so, this is something that we really make an effort to do. And — and, you know — and we will continue to do that in 2024: do as many … press conference[s] as possible, abroad and at home.”

Biden is running for re-election next year amid low approval numbers and concerns about his fitness to serve a second term given his age (81), tendency to lose his train of thought while speaking, and stumbles. Biden’s average number of press conferences per year trails the 22 mark held by former President Donald Trump, who is also running for a second term in 2024, by roughly half, according to The American Presidency Project.

The reporter followed up by grilling Jean-Pierre on why Biden’s public schedule for Thursday lacked any press events when the calendar appeared to be pretty light.


Jean-Pierre repeated that Biden “made time” to talk to the press the previous day, including about the Venezuela prisoner swap, and “spoke directly to the American people” about what he has done for the economy.

“And we will make the effort to do press conferences here, at home, and abroad as well, just like we did last week,” she added.

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