President Biden’s First Press Conference

The Story:

More than two months into the Presidency of Joseph Biden, after a period of rising complaints about how the new President has isolated himself too completely from press and public, Biden held his first formal press conference on Thursday, March 25. The conference was widely deemed boring: which, in the administration’s view, is itself a successful outcome.

Background:

Biden is prone to gaffes, such as his use of an obscenity (“this is a big f**king deal”) into a live microphone during a bill-signing ceremony while he was Vice President. His critics likely hoped the first press conference would result in some such gaffe. In fact, he has self-deprecatingly called himself a “gaffe machine.” But for the most part, that machine had only a very limited output on this stage. He seemed to say at one point that he joined the Senate 120 years ago: it was almost half a century ago, and it may legitimately seem like six score years to him! The moment passed.

The Thing to Know:

Remarkably, none of the reporters present asked about the pandemic. There were plenty of other subjects: control of the border with Mexico; his thoughts on a second term; the filibuster rules in the US Senate. Optimists may see this as a sign of a return to the normalcy of pre-Covid politics.

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