Joe Biden long ago set a record for the most time a new president has gone without holding a press conference. The extent of his press interactions to this point have been one-liners and sarcasm directed at reporters like Fox News’ Peter Doocy. There have been no follow-ups, no tough questions answered, nor a hint of pressure to actually stand up for an hour and be transparent with the American people.
With the pressure on, Biden’s team finally committed to a press conference, something that is normally a routine function of the presidency. That it took this long is bad enough, but new details of just how “prepared” Biden is trying to be make matters even worse.
"Behind the scenes, though, aides have taken the event seriously enough to hold a mock session with the president earlier this week."
— Susie Moore (@SmoosieQ) March 25, 2021
This isn’t a presidential debate. It’s not the State of the Union. It’s not even a meeting with a head of state. It’s a run-of-the-mill press conference like all presidents hold from time to time. That’s why all of this has been so disconcerting. You aren’t supposed to wait over 60 days to hold one once you take office, and you certainly aren’t supposed to be holding mock pressers in an attempt to preemptively formulate answers. The entire point of the presser is that it’s supposed to be raw and transparent. That Biden’s team is doing all this is telling, and it points to something being very wrong with Biden’s abilities to cognitively function in a normal environment.
Worse, while Trump, Obama, and Bush operating in traditional fashion, answering questions off the cuff and in an informal matter, Biden is apparently loading up a three-ring binder with answers to a range of topics for himself to reference. This guy can’t even hold a simple press conference without a cheat sheet. It’s astonishing.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Jen Psaki hasn’t already been out there mining for what questions are going to be asked. Despite the fact that the president is vaccinated, as are all the reporters who attend these conferences, they are using COVID as an excuse to limit the number of reporters in the room. They will be “socially distanced,” and there’s no doubt Biden will be very careful about who he actually calls on. In other words, don’t expect Peter Doocy to get recognized. You can bet most questions will be softballs.
None of this is normal. Having weeks of preparation for a single presser is not normal. Needing a three-ring binder of notes in 14 point font to answer basic questions is not normal. But nothing about Biden’s presidency has been normal thus far.