Although it took more than two months, President Joe Biden finally stood in front of reporters for the first solo press conference of his term in office.
Instead of allaying concerns and speculation that he is unable to meet the demands of the presidency, however, he attracted even more criticism based on his performance — including reports that he used “cheat sheets” to form answers and called on preselected members of the media.
Photos reveal details from Biden’s notecards
Expectations were already quite low before the hour-long event, with many Americans hoping only to see Biden behave like a leader and provide direct answers to questions about the serious issues facing the nation.
According to several prominent pundits, however, the president came across as frail and confused as he stumbled through his responses to several softball queries from the largely left-leaning reporters he called on during the event.
Much of the criticism came in the form of real-time social media reaction to his clear use of notecards and a notebook from which he drew major points cited in his answers.
NEW: Another photo of Biden’s cheat sheet for his press conference emerges pic.twitter.com/RJ5GF8Ffdp
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 26, 2021
Photographers in the briefing room captured details from the cards, including one labeled “infrastructure,” which contained key talking points related to the issue. Other cards included text that the president reiterated at various points during the press conference.
“Armed with a picture book”
While it is not altogether unusual for a president to use notes during such an event, he also brought a large chart reportedly containing the names and headshots of journalists he was supposed to call on to ask questions.
OMG Biden had a cheat sheet with journalists photo on them so he knows which ones to pick on!!! pic.twitter.com/cBvIGowEdq
— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) March 26, 2021
Of the 25 reporters in attendance, Fox News Channel White House correspondent Peter Doocy was not called on during the duration of the conference, prompting speculation that Biden and his handlers might have been unsure of the president’s ability to offer a cogent response to a potentially tough question.
After vowing to provide transparency when dealing with the media, Biden’s performance struck many viewers as a clear violation of his campaign promise.
U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), who served as the White House physician for Biden’s three most recent predecessors, pulled no punches in his review, saying: “The president of the United States was armed with a picture book of friendly reporters to call on and with what appeared to be prepared answers, but he still could barely make it through his first press conference.”