If you chose not to watch Joe Biden’s first solo press conference, which was held 64 days into his presidency, you likely missed out on something never to be repeated. Almost certainly, it won’t be repeated by Biden, who had a rough time of it. Although the hour-long back-and forth was tame judged against recent pressers, which included Donald Trump’s being asked by a reporter whether he regrets “all the lying” he has “done to the American people,” Biden came off as frustrated and at times confused.
For starters, he called on reporters from a crib sheet his staff had prepared for him that included headshots and press affiliation. To his credit he pronounced most of the names correctly. When providing answers to questions, including in the all-important area of foreign policy, he read directly from a 3-ringed binder, supplemented by his now-infamous “card,” which he sometimes forgets to bring with him.
The majority of the questions, however, focused on the border crisis. His answers to these were comprised mostly of lies and misstatements, the most egregious of which was his baseless claim that the Trump administration allowed unaccompanied minors to starve to death.
When asked about when he would commit to transparency — to allow journalists access to facilities where “children are packed together to really give the American people a chance to see that” — his reply was one for the ages. “I will commit to transparency,” he said, “as soon as I am in a position to be able to implement what we’re doing right now.” In other words, he will be “transparent” after his administration is able to clean up the mess they’ve made.
Naturally, he had a few “senior” moments, including this gem:
Despite the episode and his generally weak performance, the media for the most part have cut him slack:
Because nothing says crisp press conference like reading foreign policy answers out of a briefing book. https://t.co/WDxcrNpnby
— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 25, 2021