It has been more than 40 days since President Joe Biden took office, and he has yet to face the press by himself. To date, he has not participated in a single solo press conference and, worse, appears not to have plans to start answering the questions the public and even the Fourth Estate demand.
Responding to queries about Biden’s unwillingness to engage, the White House press secretary answered with her almost ubiquitous dodges. “Not yet, but we will definitely have one,” Jen Psaki said. “We will schedule it, and you’ll be the first to know. ‘Cause you’re pivotal participants in that.”
This lack of communication is fast becoming a symbol of the Biden administration. As Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA, tweeted:
“We’re 40 days into Joe Biden’s term. He hasn’t addressed Congress to lay out his agenda. He hasn’t given a formal press conference. He’s signed 34 Executive Orders. He’s only signed one bill into law—a waiver for his Defense Secretary. But don’t worry—he found time to bomb Syria.”
Yet it is not only a stand-alone press conference that President Biden has been avoiding. The traditional State of the Union address, tentatively slated for Feb. 23, has also been shunted into the long grass. Liberty Nation’s Leesa K. Donner succinctly put the problem in perspective:
“For now, the American public is left to wonder. If the president avoids this opportunity to address Congress on the big stage, one must question if he is ready, willing, and able to carry out the duties he swore to uphold just over a month ago. If the answer to that question is negative, then no speech to inform us of the State of the Union will be necessary – it will become evident soon enough.”
Is Anybody Out There?
Perhaps part of the answer is that nobody is paying much attention to the Biden presidency. Judging by social media engagement, would it even make a difference if the president did meet the press? According to the official White House YouTube page, with just under two million subscribers, each video released gets a mere 36,000 average views.
To put this in perspective, conservative commentator Paul Joseph Watson has a similar number of subscribers but averages 555,000 views per video. The Thomas Sowell channel has just 370,000 subscribers yet averages around half a million views per release.
As Liberty Nation reported shortly after Biden’s inauguration, on the official White House YouTube channel, the down-votes far outweighed the up-votes, but the video-share platform was only too willing to help:
“Within hours of the videos going up, YouTube began removing the ‘dislikes,’ more than 16,000 of them. Speaking to The Epoch Times, the Google-owned video platform stressed that it was only removing activity that it thought to be inauthentic. The spokesperson did not elaborate on how the company determines a genuine downvote.”
If Biden were a newcomer to the D.C. political scene, he could be forgiven for a softly-softly coming-out party with members of the Fourth Estate, but he is no debutante. Biden is a longtime member of the Swamp and has handled – in his past – more press interactions than most.
The role of president is not one in which a lax learning curve is either desirable or expected. About the Four Crises that Biden touted from day one, the American public could, and should, expect a certain amount of communication from the top dog. Psaki’s constant refrain of “circle back” is more than just tedious; it is damaging to public trust and political transparency.
“Basement Joe,” “Hidin’ Biden,” and more were among the monikers applied to candidate Biden. These nicknames – joyously shared by many on the political right – were derided as cheap jibes by an anti-Trump media. But perhaps the journalists in the Biden camp are beginning to rue their defense of Biden’s unique ability to remain incommunicado. As Mark Twain wrote, “The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it.”
A president missing in action is no longer a laughing matter.
Read more from Mark Angelides.