The White House announced Friday that President Joe Biden will hold a formal press conference at the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 19, the first since March of 2021.
Biden has held less than half as many press conferences in his first year in office as any five of his most recent predecessors. His first press conference was held March 25 of 2021, and he has also held five solo press conferences throughout the year with three more alongside other heads of state, bringing the total to nine. According to the White House, the conference will mark Biden’s one-year anniversary in office, though reporters will likely focus on numerous roadblocks his administration hit this week.
As the one-year anniversary of the Biden presidency approaches, a Quinnipiac poll put Biden’s approval rating at just 33% on Wednesday, the lowest so far. Biden entered office with a solid 54% approval rating but has consistently slipped in the polls since spring of 2021.
While the White House was hoping to pass Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) and elections agenda in order to turn the situation around, Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, along with 50 Republicans, have made that impossible. Both senators announced their unwillingness to vote to abolish the filibuster Thursday afternoon, even as Biden was on Capitol Hill pushing for its removal. The rule imposes a 60-vote threshold to pass most legislation and makes it virtually impossible for Democrats to push through the BBB or Biden’s effort to federalize America’s election laws.
Hours later on Thursday, the Supreme Court denied Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate, which would have required all businesses with more than 100 employees to subject their workers to either a vaccine requirement or a weekly COVID-19 test.
The White House has faced heavy criticism from reporters for Biden’s lack of availability to the public. The issue was blatantly obvious in September during Biden’s White House meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Following the meeting, U.K. reporters were given the chance to ask questions, while White House staff shouted down members of the U.S. press corps. The incident led to a showdown between White House press secretary Jen Psaki and the White House Correspondents’ Association.
“The entire editorial component of the U.S. pool went immediately into Jen Psaki’s office to register a formal complaint that no American reporters were recognized for questions in the president’s Oval Office and that wranglers loudly shouted over the president as he seemed to give an answer to Ed O’Keefe’s question about the situation at the southern border,” WHCA President Steven Portnoy announced at the time.