President Biden shut down an extremely rare back-and-forth with reporters on Tuesday afternoon – claiming if he continued to take questions from them, he would be “in trouble.”
The shocking interaction between Biden and reporters came after the president spoke about new federal health guidelines on mask-wearing for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals.
Biden answered a few shouted questions from gathered reporters at the White House before finally catching himself and realizing that was probably something he shouldn’t be doing.
“I’m sorry,” he said, after listening to questions about his own mask-wearing and a potential summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “This is the last question I’ll take, and I’m really gonna be in trouble.”
It wasn’t clear what Biden meant, although he’s known for self-deprecation over his history of gaffes.
“Who will Biden ‘get in trouble’ with for taking basic press questions? He’s the PRESIDENT!” Ricochet’s Lyndsey Fifield tweeted.
While it’s not clear if I’ts been Biden’s own choice or if his handlers have barred him from speaking to the press – since becoming president has been more reserved, limiting his engagements with the media to one solo press conference and occasional impromptu question-and-answer sessions like Tuesday’s.
While White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has held daily press briefings, reporters have expressed frustration at times for a lack of transparency on border issues and the lack of access overall to Biden.
The Washington Post’s Fact-Checker, breaking down the 67 falsehoods it had recorded from him during his first 100 days, noted the number was partly a function of how Biden “rarely faces reporters or speaks off the cuff.”
Biden repeated CDC guidelines about people continuing to wear masks indoors, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated, while saying vaccinated people can gather outside without one. He continued to advise any Americans who have not received a vaccine to get one as soon as possible.
Asked why people who aren’t vaccinated should still wear masks outdoors, given the risk of transmission is extremely low, Biden said, “because the science indicates that the most certain way to make sure it doesn’t spread is if both people have been vaccinated, and you’re outside.”
Biden, meanwhile, is set to give the biggest speech of his rocky presidency to date on Wednesday. The president is expected to lay out his agenda for the rest of his time in office during a primetime address to a joint session of Congress.
Biden is also expected to lay out a proposal for yet another spending bill, which he will call the “American Families Plan.” This will be a follow-up to his “American Jobs Plan,” which the White House has sold as an infrastructure bill, and the “American Rescue Plan,” which was a stimulus aimed at providing relief from the coronavirus pandemic.
Presidents who recently assumed office deliver an address to a joint session of Congress because they have not been in office for very long. Biden’s speech, however, is taking place later than most new presidents in recent years. Former President Trump, for example, spoke two months sooner on Feb. 28, 2017.
Author: Andrew Phoegle