Whether or not they liked his answers, few White House reporters could legitimately deny that they lacked access to former President Donald Trump, who held regular, often informal press conferences during which he would answer virtually any question posed.
The same cannot be said of President Joe Biden, however, as he openly admitted on at least two recent occasions, outraging even some of his fellow liberals.
“They gave me a list”
Biden has held very few press conferences, and his media availability is typically quite limited with screened questions permitted only from a list of preselected reporters.
Fox News reported this week that the president is facing renewed criticism from across the ideological spectrum after revealing the manner by which his communications team seeks to limit his exposure to reporters.
During a press conference in Switzerland on Wednesday that followed his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden acknowledged that he has been instructed to call on only certain reporters.
He began with prepared remarks about the bilateral discussion and prepared to take questions from reporters, declaring: “As usual, folks, they gave me a list of the people I’m going to call on.”
That moment of transparency came just two days after he offered a similar revelation while speaking to reporters in the United Kingdom following the conclusion of the G-7 summit.
“I’m going to get in trouble”
During that press conference on Sunday, he said: “Now, why don’t I take some of your questions? And I’m told, [Associated Press reporter] Jonathan [Lemire], I’m supposed to talk — recognize you first.”
Before moving on to the next reporter, Biden appeared to once again reference his list of preselected reporters, admitting that he would “get in trouble with staff” if he did not “do this the right way.”
He went on to take questions from three more reporters representing Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal. An aide interjected to announce that the president would take just one more question, which came from NBC News reporter Peter Alexander.
The president began to walk away from the podium following that question but responded to the reporters clamoring to ask more questions.
“I’m going to get in trouble with…my staff,” he said. “Yeah, go ahead, but pretend that I didn’t answer you.”