The White House abruptly cut off a virtual event Wednesday after President Biden happily offered “to take questions” from Democratic lawmakers.
“I’m happy to take questions if that’s what I’m supposed to do, Nance,” Biden said at the end of the speech to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as the Democratic “Virtual Issues Conference” live event wrapped up Wednesday evening.
“Whatever you want me to do,” he added, looking confused but ready to field questions.
The livestream ended seconds later after a brief pause from Biden.
The president was participating in a virtual conference with House Democratic Caucus co-hosted by Speaker where he addressed only Democratic lawmakers. During the live stream, Biden touted his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package and his administration’s vaccine rollout.
Biden called the recently House-passed American Rescue Plan a “good policy, and is good politics,” claiming the bill the most “broadly popular” piece of legislation he has seen in his long 4 decade political career.
He closed his remarks by saying the bill is the “first step forward to restoring [Americans] faith in the capacity of government.”
“And if we continue to stay laser-focused on getting shots in people’s arms, responding to the economic crisis, it’s going to open up a lot of hearts and a lot of doors for us tomorrow to do the many more things we know we have to do,” Biden concluded. “So I want to thank you all. I really mean it from the bottom — I want to thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
The final remark where the president told Pelosi he was “happy to take questions” was edited and deleted off the video before the White House shared the event on its YouTube page.
Biden has increasingly come under fire for not holding a formal press conference since taking office more than six weeks ago. During rare time when Biden does take questions from the press, they are often limited and field by his White House handlers where they pre-select the reporters.
His predecessors, Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump in their first year of their presidency had held a press conference 20 days and 27 days after being inaugurated respectively. According to the American Presidency Project database, an analysis of the past 100 years shows Biden is behind his 15 most recent predecessors, who all held a solo press conference within 33 days of taking office.
Thursday will be Biden’s 43rd day in office.