Today marks the 64th day in a row that President Joe Biden has not addressed reporters in an unscripted, unrehearsed setting. No American president in over 100 years has gone that long and with Biden, it’s especially concerning given the escalating crisis on the border and a number of other issues facing this country.
Biden and his handlers have to be nervous heading into Thursday night’s presser, where the president is likely to be quickly overwhelmed with questions surrounding the border crisis. Of course, the president would prefer to talk about his COVID-19 relief package, but he’ll quickly find out that America doesn’t give a rip about it, nor does the press.
Reuters has the details:
President Joe Biden is expected on Thursday to lay out a new goal for U.S. vaccinations against COVID-19 at his first formal White House news conference, where topics will likely include immigration, infrastructure, gun control and foreign relations.
Biden, who has taken questions from reporters in other settings since taking office on Jan. 20, may face sharp queries on a recent rise in asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, plans to share coronavirus vaccines with other countries, and efforts to keep Americans safe from mass shootings.
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Aides have been drafting potential questions and answers for the Democratic president in recent days to prepare for the Thursday event, slated to begin at 1:15 p.m. (1715 GMT).
Just a few dozen journalists from news outlets selected by the White House Correspondents’ Association will be on hand in the East Room, because of restrictions related to the pandemic.
Biden’s news conference is likely to offer a sharp contrast to the marathon sparring sessions his predecessor, Donald Trump, held with reporters, where the Republican president’s insults and off-the-cuff remarks regularly made news. Ratings for the major cable television networks have dipped since Trump left the White House.
At 78, Biden is the oldest person to take office as U.S. president, and his political opponents will be looking for signs he has become less sharp with age.
Biden’s popularity has remained high in his first two months in office, after a $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed Congress and millions were inoculated against the coronavirus with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
A March 17-18 Reuters/Ipsos poll showed 59% of adults in the United States approving of Biden’s overall job performance and 35% disapproving.
Biden said last week that his goal of having 100 million vaccine shots administered was being met early and promised to announce a new goal this week, which he is likely to do on Thursday.
The president will also face questions about his plans to advance gun control after two deadly mass shootings in less than a week. On Tuesday, Biden called for a ban on assault weapons and urged lawmakers to pass tighter gun control measures, but Republican support for such action is low.
Biden’s next big legislative package could also come up. He is expected to unveil a roughly $3 trillion bill to boost U.S. infrastructure during a trip to Pittsburgh next week.
Only time will tell if Biden manages to hold it together and how many questions his handlers will allow him to take. I don’t think it’s Biden who’s hesitant to talk — I think the concern is with his handlers, who are presumably aware of the fact that Biden can’t seem to maintain coherence after a few sentences.
Either way, it should be an interesting night in America.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org