Biden trails almost all predecessors in first-year press conferences

Only two presidents going back to Calvin Coolidge had fewer their first elected year in office.

Updated: January 11, 2022 - 10:33pm

President Joe Biden has conducted fewer press conferences during his first year in office than all but two of his elected predecessors since 1923.

Biden had nine press conferences, six of which were solo, for an average of 0.82 per month through Nov. 20, 2021, according to data from The American Presidency Project by UC Santa Barbara.

Only two elected presidents had fewer their first year in office: Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, the latter of whom spent much of his first year in office recovering from an assassination attempt. President Gerald Ford had fewer press conferences in 1974, the first calendar year during which he served, but he assumed office only in August 1974 upon Nixon's resignation. 

Analysis from the White House Transition Project shows Biden gave 22 press interviews in his first year — "fewer media interviews than any of his recent predecessors," according to the Associated Press. Only three of these interviews were print.

The 46th president has had more informal Q & A sessions than four of his five immediate predecessors. Biden is known for pausing to shout brief answers to reporters' questions as he boards the Marine One helicopter. He can, however, ignore reporters' questions in this type of situation.

"Fleeting exchanges are insufficient to building the historical record of the president's views on a broad array of public concerns," CBS News reporter Steven Portnoy, current president of the White House Correspondents' Association, told The Associated Press. "We have had scant opportunities in this first year to learn the president's views on a broad range of public concerns."

The current commander-in-chief also took a record 64 days from inauguration until his first solo press conference. The runner-up, President George W. Bush, faced lengthy legal challenge to his election and had his first solo conference 33 days after inauguration.