CNN+ anchor Chris Wallace pressed White House press secretary Jen Psaki about why President Joe Biden is “sheltered from the press” in an exclusive Wednesday interview.
“Why has President Joe Biden been so sheltered from the press?” Wallace asked.
“In what way? He just did a press conference several weeks ago and he takes questions from the press nearly everyday,” Psaki asked.
Wallace pointed out that in his first year, Biden only held two solo press conferences at the White House and five on foreign trips. Within that time frame, he also participated in 28 interviews with reporters. Former President Donald Trump attended 95 interviews in the same period, while former President Barack Obama was interviewed 162 times.
“By comparison, Jen, that’s sheltered,” he said.
“The statistic you didn’t include there, Chris, is how many times did he take questions from reporters at the White House,” Psaki pushed back. “I think it was about double the amount of Trump. Nearly everyday at the White House, he takes questions from the White House press corps. Two questions, three questions, eight questions. But why is that different?”
“I’ll tell you exactly why that’s different, because when you’re standing there you can take a question, you can answer it, you can sluff it off and you move on,” Wallace said. “It in no way compares, and oftentimes, he gives a partial answer and walks away. It in no way compares to sitting down with a reporter for 20-30 minutes and having a ‘you can’t move away,’ you can’t duck it.”
Psaki argued Biden’s way of engaging with the press “makes sense to him” because he is emulating the way he communicated with reporters during his time in the Senate. Psaki claimed that he has engaged with reporters after events 2-3 times more than his predecessors, giving journalists the opportunity to ask questions several times a week.
The president held his most recent press conference on March 24 in the NATO Headquarters in Belgium. He has had a history of quickly answering reporters’ questions and ignoring questions from the press.