Biden Obrador meeting
CNN  — 

The White House announced Monday that President Joe Biden would deliver his first prime-time speech Thursday night to commemorate a year since the Covid-19 pandemic effectively shut down American society.

Which was good! The public needed to hear from their President at that moment – with cases down but worries remaining about another surge as some states relax mask mandates.

What’s far less good is that the White House has still yet to put a solo news conference by Biden on his calendar. That makes him unique among recent presidents. And not in a good way.

As CNN’s Kevin Liptak noted earlier this month:

“As we await word on when President Biden will hold his first solo press conference, an analysis of the past 100 years shows he is behind his 15 most recent predecessors, who all held a solo press conference within 33 days of taking office.” 

His 15 most recent predecessors! That’s a lot!

The response from the White House to this criticism is 1) Biden takes questions from reporters in informal settings and 2) he is laser-focused on the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Which I get! And I also get that simply holding press conferences isn’t a panacea. After all, former President Donald Trump talked to the media more than any modern president, but he lied so often and with such ease that there’s an argument to be made that the country would have bween better off if he hadn’t held nearly as many press availabilities.

Still, those explanations aside, it’s long past time for Biden to answer questions from the White House press corps in a sustained solo news conference. Why? Well, consider what has transpired in the first six weeks of the Biden administration.

Biden has signed more than 50 executive actions – on everything from immigration to a return to the Paris climate accord. He also signed a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus bill, a massive bit of federal spending.

While Biden has largely avoided the press over these first six weeks, he and his administration have done a number of HUGE things – using his executive power and the Democratic majorities in Congress.

The Point: These are decisions that will affect not just Biden’s presidency but the country for years to come. And he should understand the need to explain his thinking to reporters and the country.