On Thursday afternoon, President Joe Biden held his first solo press conference from the White House, his 64th day since taking office. While the president has taken questions from and even interacted with reporters on past occasions, this was the first press conference. In keeping with tradition, he took his first question from the Associated Press and he answered a range of questions from the state of the novel coronavirus pandemic to climate change to gun control to the situation at the southern border.
President Biden, when asked, also announced that he does plan to run for re-election in 2024, but added that he doesn’t expect to look that far into the future.
The reactions to the press conference began to come in even as President Biden was at the podium, and those reactions were as divided as the nation.
NBC’s Kate Snow (@tvkatesnow) wrote, “Purely as a news event… this is quite a press conference. So many headlines to choose from.”
“Normal, mature, detailed answers so far from President Biden during this press conference. What exactly were they expecting?” noted @mmpadellan.
Media Matters for America editor Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) wrote, “Great, detailed 5-min answer on immigration.”
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“Biden press conference so far: he’s doing fine. Rambling a bit, pivoting to key messages but sounding sensible and on top of his brief, and he’s managed 15 minutes without insulting any of the journalists which makes a change from the last guy,” noted political analyst Arieh Kovler (@ariehkovler).
@JRHorsting added, “If you think about the first Biden press conference in terms of honesty & accomplishments, it’s the first real press conference in over 4 years.”
“10 minutes in, I’d say Biden’s handling his press conference pretty darned well,” posted author Tom Ashbrook (@TomAshbrook).
While many saw it as a solid first press conference, just as many were as quick to call out the president, who at times seemed to stumble and loose his train of thought.
Author Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) posted, “Too bad the ‘Fact Checkers’ won’t be spending any time correcting the record on Joe Biden’s press conference lies.”
“This is not a press conference. This is a scripted reality television show. #bidenpressconference,” wrote conservative pundit Todd Starnes (@toddstarnes).
Conservative strategist Alex Bruesewitz (@alexbruesewitz) offered a blunt assessment of the press conference. He wrote, “Now we all know why Joe Biden hasn’t been doing any press conferences. This is so hard to watch. Back to the basement you go, Joe!”
Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) wrote, “President Biden begins his first press conference by touting the rate of vaccines being administered, a feet solely made possible by President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed.”
“Joe Biden is reading from democratic talking points notebook. Notice he is looking down reading from a notebook like a press secretary,” said attorney and author Leo Terrell (@TheLeoTerrell).
Some of the criticism wasn’t even directed at the president but at the media for its coverage of the event.
“The media is treating Joe Biden’s first press conference like it’s the State of the Union or some kind of landmark speech. It’s a press conference. How pathetic,” wrote Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) of Newsmax.
Scott Dworkin (@funder) of The Democratic Coalition took a shot across the bow of conservatives, “Republicans are already furious about President Biden’s press conference. They’re just not sure about what yet. But they’re ready to be super mad.”
Many also found humor in the event, and this included Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert), who posted, “Biden’s first press conference is today. I’d tell him to ‘break a leg,’ but I’m afraid he’d take it literally.”
Various memes were also posted and made the rounds on Twitter.
The official Twitter account for The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) responded to former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer who called out Biden. “You’re right, a president should enter a press conference the same way America entered Iraq: with absolutely zero plan”