As president, Donald Trump made it a point to be accessible to the media, even when faced with an oftentimes hostile press corps. His successor, on the other hand, is taking a decidedly different approach.
The New York Post reported Thursday that Joe Biden has completed the lowest number of interviews of any president in recent history at this point in their tenure — even less than Ronald Reagan, who took some (understandable) time off after being shot in the lung.
Hiding from the public eye
According to the New York Post, which cited “data compiled by presidential historian Martha Kumar,” a Thursday town hall event with CNN brought Biden to 16 interviews in all so far in his presidency.
That’s just a handful compared to recent predecessors including Trump, who did 82 interviews in his first nine months as commander-in-chief, and former President Barack Obama, who sat for more than 130.
In fact, Biden has completed just half the number of interviews that Reagan had at this point in his tenure, the Post said.
Besides Biden, “Reagan’s 32 interviews by Oct. 21, 1981, was the lowest tally of recent presidencies — but Reagan went nearly one month without one as he recovered from a gunshot that punctured a lung, broke a rib, and caused internal bleeding,” the Post reported Thursday.
For its report, the Post cited “data compiled by presidential historian Martha Kumar.”
The news comes as Biden is continuing to suffer losses in the polls. A new survey from CNBC shows just 41% of Americans approve of the president’s job performance, while more than half disapprove. And that’s not the only poll to show Biden slipping — and fast.
As Biden shies away from the public eye amid the plummeting numbers, pundits are starting to take notice.
“The [White House] staff is going way too far to ‘protect’ him. Which raises the issue of, ‘What’s wrong with him?’ Why can’t he do interviews?” Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary under President George W. Bush, told the Post.
“I think the pandemic has zero to do with this,” Fleischer added. “It’s what they got away with during the campaign. So they think it worked once and it will work twice.”
Biden was notably criticized on the 2020 campaign trail for making few public appearances, a decision that also came in stark contrast to his opponent, who wasn’t afraid to speak directly with supporters — and reporters — at rallies across the country in the lead-up to the election.