President Joe Biden will hold his first formal press conference since taking office next week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.
Biden, who was sworn in on January 20, has broken with precedent by waiting so long to hold a full question and answer session with journalists.
The White House says that he has frequently answered questions in informal settings instead.
The press conference on March 25 will take place more than 60 days into Biden’s term.
US media outlets both on the left and right have aimed increasingly sharp attacks at the president over the delay, with The Washington Post noting last weekend that Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had given five news conferences by the same point and Barack Obama had given two.
Fox News has made the absence of formal press conferences into a constant headline.
Biden does take small numbers of questions from reporters, however, during daily events.
On Tuesday he answered two questions just before leaving the White House for a trip to Pennsylvania to tout his huge economic stimulus package.
Psaki, who speaks for Biden, gives a lengthy briefing to journalists every day, in contrast to press secretaries during the Trump administration who often went long periods without answering questions — except on Fox News.
Critics suggest that Biden’s team is concerned about the unpredictability of a press conference and that efforts are being made to restrict him to tightly controlled events, like a widely praised speech to the nation last Thursday.
But according to Psaki, Biden has not prioritized a press conference because his first two months in office have been consumed by the massive challenges of getting his $1.9 trillion stimulus package through Congress and ramping up Covid-19 vaccinations to end the pandemic.
“That’s where his time, energy, his focus has been,” Psaki said at one of her briefings.
The White House also says that while Trump spoke often to the media and tweeted at all hours, Biden has merely reverted to a more traditional — and they say reliable — model where his press office runs the messaging.
Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain recently poked fun at the mini-controversy, retweeting a satirical conversation between a husband and wife discussing how they’d received stimulus money, vaccines and good news about schools reopening.
“But I can’t shake the feeling that Biden isn’t holding enough press conferences,” the wife finishes up by saying.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)