Biden to deliver first primetime address as president, hold formal press conference

Address will commemorate one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown

Updated: March 8, 2021 - 4:35pm

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President Biden will on Thursday deliver his first primetime address since taking office, a speech intended to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdowns.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday previewed what Biden will say.

"He will discuss the many sacrifices the American people have made over the last year, and the grave loss communities and families across the country have suffered," Psaki said. 

Psaki also said the president "will look forward, highlighting the role that Americans will play in beating the virus and moving the country toward getting back to normal."

It was March 11, 2020, that the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic.

Psaki also said the president will hold a formal press conference before the end of the month. On Friday, Psaki said that at some point, Biden will address a joint session of Congress.

"We certainly intend on the president delivering a joint session speech, not a State of the Union, in the first year that they are in office," Psaki said. "But we don’t have a date for that or a timeline at this point in time. And we have been engaged closely with leaders in Congress about determining that."

Psaki said Biden has delayed such an address as lawmakers worked to pass the American Rescue Plan, his coronavirus relief package.

"When it became clear, which it should have been from the beginning, that the American Rescue Plan would take until about, hopefully, about mid-March to get passed and signed into law, we made a decision internally that we weren't going to have the president propose his forward-looking agenda beyond that," Psaki said.

She also said Biden wanted to wait "until after that bill is signed, until after those checks are going out to Americans, until after that vaccine money is going out, and after the money is going out to schools."