President Biden will hold his first news conference as commander-in-chief Thursday at 1:15 p.m. EDT in the East Room of the White House.
The conference will be streamed on Fox News Channel and Fox News Digital.
Biden's first press conference comes over two months into the new administration, a delay that raised eyebrows in the media world.
Donald Trump waited 27 days into his presidency to hold a press conference, Barack Obama waited just 20 days before holding one, and George W. Bush waited 33 days before taking questions from the press in a formal setting.
The White House defended Biden, noting he has taken brief questions in informal settings.
"The president takes questions several times a week," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. "Which is an opportunity for the people covering the White House to ask him about whatever news is happening on any given day."
Biden's first face-off with reporters comes on the heels of a surge in migrants at the southern border and two deadly mass shootings, which prompted Democratic calls for gun control measures. The White House has already said Biden will be pursuing executive action on gun control, in addition to legislative pathways.
President Biden is set to hold his first formal press conference after delaying for more than nine weeks. His former boss, President Obama, held his first press conference after just three weeks in office, while his predecessor, President Trump, did it in four weeks. For a president who received more votes than any other candidate in U.S. history, Biden's delay in meeting the press has only added anticipation and hype to an event that otherwise could have been a one-day story.
The White House press corps will have plenty of potential tough-but-fair questions from which to choose, ranging from the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border to the recently passed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package to the president's promise as a candidate to unify the country. Here are 10 questions I would ask:
Mr. President, when the governors of Texas and Mississippi lifted mask mandates in their states, you described that as "Neanderthal thinking," yet you’re allowing COVID-positive migrants by the hundreds into the general U.S. population without quarantine. Isn’t that the very definition of a super-spreader event?
Mr. President, you said your $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package needed to pass in order to fully reopen schools. Yet, almost all of the money allocated won’t be spent until next year, when the pandemic likely will be over, largely due to the vaccines you inherited. What do you say to parents asking why you continue to defy the science, and your own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, in not fully reopening now?
Mr. President, you told CNN last month that your administration didn't have a vaccine when you entered office, yet you received two doses, in December and January. Your vice president said the administration had to start from scratch on vaccine distribution, yet nearly one million doses already were being administered on Inauguration Day. Why are you misleading the American public? And why don't you give your predecessor the credit he and his administration deserve on Operation Warp Speed?
Mr. President, you ran as the unity candidate to be, in your words, "a president of all Americans." You said you would fight as hard for those who didn't vote for you as those who did. Yet, your COVID-19 relief package, wherein by some estimates 91 percent of the package doesn’t go to COVID-19 relief, was passed without any concessions to Republicans. You’ve also signed dozens of executive actions, which you said as a candidate represented the actions of a dictator by bypassing Congress. Do your actions as a president match your words as a candidate?
Mr. President, you said your administration would be honest, open and transparent with the press. Yet you waited nine weeks to hold a formal press conference. You rarely take any questions after live events. You imposed a media blackout on overcrowded migrant facilities at the border. Do you believe these actions back-up your promise of transparency and openness?
Mr. President, during the Obama presidency, you said you were always the last person in the room with him. During your presidency, who is the last person in the room with you?
Mr. President, you told ABC News on March 16 that "anybody making more than $400,000 will see a small to a significant tax increase. If you make less than $400,000, you won’t see one single penny in additional federal tax." Your press secretary confirmed after the interview that the $400,000 threshold was for families and not individuals, which is what you pledged during the campaign. Families therefore means the $400,000 threshold has been cut in half from your campaign promise. Why the bait-and-switch?
Mr. President, is it a good idea to raise taxes in any capacity while the economy is still recovering?
Mr. President, in addition to your recent $1.9 trillion stimulus bill passing, the administration is considering $3 trillion more for an infrastructure bill that includes non-infrastructure-related items such as free community college, equality and climate change. With all of these trillions being added to the federal budget, how does all of this get paid for and who ultimately pays for it?
Mr. President, you signed an executive order on your fist day in office to halt completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline, resulting in thousands of jobs being lost amid a pandemic. Your climate czar, John Kerry, said those workers could construct solar panels instead. What is your plan to restore these jobs?
These aren't gotcha questions. Nor are they unfair or devoid of facts. The president has waited longer than any president in 100 years to face questions from the press. Hopefully, reporters will do their job, which is to hold our leaders accountable, particularly in situations like this.
All eyes will be on the 46th president tomorrow, including those of our adversaries in China, Russia and Iran. How Biden performs will show the country and the world whether he's truly up to the job by defending his positions and policies without assistance from a script on a teleprompter. It will also tell us whether there was a good reason why the president has been left off this stage for as long as he has.
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