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Tipsheet

Has Biden Answered an 'Unprecedented' Amount of Press Questions?

Townhall Media

At the White House press briefing Monday, reporters fact-checked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in real-time when she claimed that the ever-inaccessible President Joe Biden answers an "unprecedented" amount of shouted questions.

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CLAIM: Noting the lack of press conferences scheduled for Biden's upcoming trip to Ireland and the overall scarcity of news conferences held "in general" from the Biden White House, a reporter asked Jean-Pierre, "Is the administration trying to protect the president from our questions? Please answer that question if you could." To which, Jean-Pierre claimed: "Absolutely not."

"Then why the lack of any interaction in a formal setting to have a press conference?" the journalist shot back at Jean-Pierre.

"The president many times has stood in front of all of you—has taken questions on his own, because he wanted to see what was on your minds, he wanted to see what questions you all were going to ask him, and he wanted to answer them directly. That has happened multiple times, many times during this administration. And, that will certainly continue to be," Jean-Pierre insisted.

In response, the longtime reporter questioned if Jean-Pierre recognizes that, as it relates to prior administrations, including that of Biden's predecessor, President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama, and President George W. Bush, "this is not the norm."

"The norm is we do get an opportunity, ask the questions to the president about domestic and foreign policy issues in a formal setting at some point, and you choose that point.  But, we haven't had that opportunity in quite some time," the reporter grilled.

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That's when Jean-Pierre asserted, "So I'll say this: It is also unprecedented that a president takes as many shouted questions as this president has. And he has." Jean-Pierre's response was met with a chorus of "No! No! No!" from the room full of reporters.

Not relenting, the seasoned reporter volleyed, "I covered the last administration, and I'll tell you: Almost every day, up until the November 2020 election, Donald Trump took questions practically every day." Laughing off the media's frustration with Biden's continued inaccessibility, Jean-Pierre replied, "We'll certainly get the data and share that with all of you," before moving on.

After Monday's back-and-forth bickering, Jean-Pierre confirmed Tuesday that Biden will not hold a press conference in Ireland.

FACTS: The commander-in-chief, who has been dubbed "Hidin' Biden," has had little engagement with reporters throughout his presidential term, frequently dodging questions and being escorted by his handlers out of question-firing range. On the rare occasion that he does engage with the press, Biden offers one-liners neither of length nor substance, before walking away.

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For instance, in 2021, Biden retreated when he was grilled about rising prices, specifically if Americans should be worried about inflation, and why he "continues to trust" the Taliban given the abrupt takeover of Afghanistan within days of America's withdrawal.

Just two months ago, Biden flat-out refused to address any questions regarding the Chinese spy balloon that hovered above the U.S. earlier this year, once after his Feb. 3 morning speech on the economy and again in the afternoon on his way to Marine One where he strolled past the press gaggle. "Are you worried about the balloon?" reporters yelled as Biden walked across the lawn.

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After delivering public remarks on the U.S. military shooting down several unidentified flying objects, Biden spurned a bombardment of shouted questions. Instead, prior to sauntering away from the media-staging area, Biden scolded the questioning journalists critical of him, requesting that the press be "more polite" moving forward and "give me a break, man!"

As Leah reported, Biden has conducted a record-low level of news conferences. According to tracking of presidential press conferences by the University of California, Santa Barbara, up until late January of this year, Biden has held only 21 press conferences during his entire two years in office, which is the same amount Trump held in 2017, his first year in office, alone.

Meanwhile, Biden has quite lagged in welcoming interviews as well, having only granted less than a third as many interviews as Trump at the same point in his presidency, the New York Post reported. Compared to other past presidents, Biden has accepted far fewer formal interviews, with 58 in his initial two years, versus Obama's 275 and Bush's 89 over the same span of time.

Last month, reporters also erupted in outrage when Jeane-Pierre told the press pool that they'd have the opportunity to question Biden during a White House meeting with the Irish prime minister. Pushing back, one of the disgruntled reporters complained, "But he never answers questions during those periods." After the reporter revolt, Biden ignored questions anyways at a St. Patrick's Day presser alongside the visiting Irish leader despite compiling crises, including the collapses of certain U.S. banks.

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RATING: Jean-Pierre's claim that Biden takes an "unprecedented" number of press questions is FALSE.

Even the mainstream media's foot soldiers are growing frustrated with Biden being unreachable and unwilling to answer questions even in a formal press-conference format, telling Jean-Pierre to her face that what she's maintaining is just not true.

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