President Joe Biden has a reputation for being unwilling — or perhaps unable — to field questions directly from members of the press, which is evident in the historically low number of news conferences he has conducted since entering office more than two years ago.
Comparing Biden’s record to that of his most recent predecessors, the contrast is stark. Former President Donald Trump held 88 press conferences during his four-year term and Barack Obama held nearly twice that many during his two terms. Biden, on the other hand, had conducted a paltry 21 during his first two years in office.
This week, a reporter confronted White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on that issue, and her response did little to reassure many Americans.
“I represent a news organization that owns 113 television stations,” the reporter began. “And a question that I’m often asked, and I don’t know the answer to, so I’ll ask you that question: Is the administration trying to protect the president from our questions?”
Jean-Pierre shot back with an “absolutely not,” but the reporter was not finished.
“So why the lack of any interaction in a formal setting to have a press conference?” he continued.
The press secretary launched into a meandering response in which she claimed that he frequently takes “shouted questions” from reporters — despite ample evidence that he has no qualms about simply walking away from reporters who ask questions he does not feel like addressing.
CRYBABY: Biden says he won't answer ANY questions because the reporters aren't "polite" enough. pic.twitter.com/J8en3nVB5a
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 16, 2023
“I’ve dealt with this question about three times already,” Jean-Pierre added. “I understand that it is … the job of you all to ask this question to me, totally get that. And that’s not a problem at all. But certainly the president, many times, has stood in front of all of you, has taken questions on his own, because he wanted to see what was on your minds. He wanted to see what the questions you all were going to ask him. And he wanted to answer them directly.”
Although she claimed that Biden’s supposed willingness to take questions “will certainly continue to be” the case, she acknowledged: “When it comes to a formal press conference, I don’t have anything to share with you at this time.”