It’s sure looking like President Biden’s handlers are protecting him from the press.
Wednesday, he joined a virtual House Democratic Caucus event with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, delivered some 10 minutes of some prepared remarks and then invited questions — at which point his microphone and camera feed got cut off.
Yes, he seemed a bit confused about the agenda, saying, “So I want to thank you all. I really mean it . . . I want to thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you,” and then: “And I’m happy to take questions if that’s what you — I’m supposed to do, Nance. Whatever you want me to do.”
That’s when his outgoing stream switched to a “Thank you for joining” screen.
Whoever rushed to cut the president off was doing him no favors, but rather inviting questions about when, if ever, he’ll do a public give-and-take that allows for truly challenging questions.
Biden has already gone longer than any president in a century without holding a solo press conference. The 15 prior chief executives held a solo press conference within 33 days of taking office, according to a CNN analysis of data from the American Presidency Project.
President Donald Trump held his first solo press conference 27 days after taking office; President Barack Obama, 20 days into the job. Thursday marked Biden’s 43rd day in office.
This follows a campaign where he was almost never in any potentially spontaneous situation, and showed up in public at all only when he’d had ample opportunity to rest. But he doesn’t have the excuse of the pandemic anymore — certainly not when politicians by the thousands are doing virtual press conferences.
The American people need to know their president is fully engaged with his job, and fit to do normal give-and-take on his own. Otherwise, you’re going to start hearing a lot more about the 25th Amendment.