President Joe Biden will hold his first formal news conference on March 25, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.
While the president has periodically taken questions from reporters, Biden has been under increased fire from conservative news outlets — as well as some political allies — for waiting longer than some predecessors to hold a media availability after taking office.
Should the March 25 date hold, Biden will have gone more than two full months without holding a news conference to start his tenure. Recent past presidents have typically done so within their first month as a good-faith gesture toward the free press.
The White House is stepping up its media presence as part of an effort to promote the recently enacted $1.9 trillion stimulus package and tout the continual progress in scaling up coronavirus vaccinations. On Tuesday, Biden traveled to Pennsylvania, and other emissaries are also spreading out across the country as part of a planned blitz.
The Biden administration initially won plaudits for reinstating daily press briefings, a practice that atrophied under former President Donald Trump, who preferred to act as his own spokesperson and often engaged with reporters in freewheeling exchanges that caused heartburn for his administration.
Earlier in his political career, Biden had a reputation for committing gaffes, and he and his team had been cautious to ensure message discipline on the campaign trail and during the first weeks of his presidency. However, the president has at times strayed, with his comments that states rushing to lift Covid-related restrictions were exhibiting “ neanderthal thinking. ”
The derisive remark stoked Republican outrage for days as Congress worked to push through the relief package.