Group 4 Created with Sketch.

Snippet of NPR's Up First: President Biden Holds First Major Solo Press Conference

Play Audio
Add to Playlist
Share Report
Found on these Playlists
Add to Playlist
Full Description
Back to Top
President Biden holds his first solo press conference today.
Back to Top
president. Biden holds his first solo press conference today after 64 days in office. He's taken quick questions from reporters on his way in or out of the White House. That happens all the time, but he's been criticized by some of the White House press corps for not doing more. And this is the first formal extended opportunity for journalists to press the president on a range of issues. We have got one of our members of the White House press corps with us this morning. NPR White House correspondent Tamara. Hi, Tam. Good morning. Is it really unusual for President to wait this long to take questions in this particular setting? Yeah. I went back to Truman, and every president going back that far held their first solo press conference earlier than this. You know, Biden has taken an approach to the presidency of, uh, you know, trying to be boring compared to President Trump, making it so that he isn't a president, that the American people have to think about every hour of every day. But, you know, he also promised transparency and holding a formal press conference has traditionally been part of that traditional press conferences, though, are also high risk, not necessarily high reward situations for presidents. For the president, from the president's point of view. Yeah, for the president, for the press corps, different story. And, you know, he came in wanting to pass this big $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill, and there was not a lot of leeway to get that through. Now that it's past, he wants to promote it and also wants to sell the next thing the so called build back. Better Plan. So that explains the timing. He's just been a lot more disciplined, right? Not to say that he's been unavailable like he has a Steve noted, answered questions. From time to time right? He has done scripted speeches on on most work days. But coming off of Trump, who in his final years was especially verbose, It just feels like a lot less. I checked in with the folks at fact base who track words spoken by the president of the United States. And compared to this period in Trump's presidency, Biden has only spoken or been on camera about 30% less than Trump was. So let's talk about one of the issues likely to come up today. Yesterday, Biden administration officials visited a shelter housing unaccompanied minors at the southern border. They finally let a press camera in just one. Was the White House trying to get ahead of this press conference and the questions they know we're coming? Yeah, I mean, they didn't explicitly say that, but it does seem convenient that this happened just the day before. Biden also announced yesterday that he's putting Vice President Harris in charge of working with Mexico and some Central American countries to stem the tide of migrants. And someone at this press conference is going to ask him if this is a crisis, a word that the White House has been loath to use. You know, the White House and this administration has had difficulty settling on a clear and concise message. And, uh, this press conference is going to be yet another opportunity for Biden to try to settle on a message. They've been saying the borders are closed, but they also readily acknowledge that they are still accepting unaccompanied minors and some families, and just that this is a situation that they're not happy with, but that there isn't a quick fix right, and we should just take off other issues. Clearly, he's going to have to take questions about the pandemic, absolutely, and the delivery of vaccines and his July 4th goal and whether that is under promising and over delivering also about masks and foreign policy. There was a North Korean missile tests, the war of words with Russia and China. Heck, he may even get asked about his dogs, who had to leave the White House and are back after some training in Delaware. So many issues. NPR's Tamara Keith. We appreciate you, thanks.