There was an awkward end to the House Democrats 2021 Issues Conference on Wednesday. President Joe Biden attempted to take questions from Democratic lawmakers during the virtual event, but instead, the live feed was abruptly cut off without the president signing off.
During the livestream, Biden said, “I’m happy to take questions, if that’s what I’m supposed to do, Nance,” referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He then looked for guidance from Pelosi: “Whatever you want me to do.”
The feed unexpectedly ended without Pelosi saying anything or Biden answering any questions.
As of Thursday morning, the video clip of the curious conclusion to the conference went viral, with more than 1.4 million views.
The sudden wind-up of the White House feed when Biden was ready to take questions reignited concerns about the president’s lack of press conferences.
Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany pointed out that Biden has yet to hold a solo press conference, despite former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama having press conferences by mid-February during their tenures.
“Where’s Joe? It’s been 41 days, at this point President Trump had had multiple press appearances, press conferences. President Barack Obama had as well,” McEnany told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday. “Joe Biden needs to step up, we need to hear from him. He needs to engage in the transparency that he promised us; he hasn’t thus far.”
Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump “had held them 20 days and 27 days into their terms respectively,” Newsweek reported.
Biden, who has been in office for 43 days now, has yet to hold a solo conference — a historic lack of transparency. Using data from the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak highlighted that Biden set the record for the longest stretch at the start of a presidency without a press conference.
“As we await word on when President Biden will hold his first solo press conference, an analysis of the past 100 years shows he is behind his 15 most recent predecessors, who all held a solo press conference within 33 days of taking office,” Liptak reported.
Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, tweeted Wednesday, “It’s been 42 days and Joe Biden still refuses to hold a press conference. Why is he so afraid of answering questions?”
Jason Miller, a former senior adviser to the Trump administration, posted the dates of previous first joint session speeches by recent U.S. presidents.
Zach Parkinson, the former deputy director of communications for Trump, shared a graph exposing how Biden has avoided holding press conferences in comparison to other American presidents after they entered office.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked if there are plans for Biden to hold his first press conference.
“Not yet, but we will definitely have one,” Psaki replied. “We will schedule it, and you’ll be the first to know because you’re pivotal participants in that.”
On Wednesday, Psaki said, “We look forward to holding a full formal press conference, but in the meantime the President takes questions from the reporters covering the White House regularly, including this morning.”