For the first time in 100 years, a new American President has still not addressed a joint session of Congress.
Reporters have brought up the unusual absence to White House officials, fueling speculation about Biden’s mental capacity after other brief encounters with the press show him struggling.
The controversy comes as a new Rasumussen poll finds that 50 percent of Americans question President Joe Biden’s physical and mental fitness. When asked “[how] confident are you that Joe Biden is physically and mentally up to the job of being President of the United States?” 50 percent said they were “not confident”
According to Rasmussen Reports, Biden’s refusal to host a press conference has underscored concerns about his fitness for office, with many, including reporters, that he is hiding from the press.
For its part, the White House says Biden is just busy.
“I think we wanted to get through this rescue plan first and get it done and get it passed. Then we’re going to go to the country, we’re going to take a couple of weeks to really explain the plan,” White House chief of staff Ron Klain said during a video interview.
“I think shortly after that you’ll see him work with the Congress on a joint address that is appropriate for COVID and all of these other times we are living in,” he added.
On January 14, the President said he would address Congress “next month” but his comments apparently have run afoul of those controlling his schedule and movements.
“We certainly intend on the president delivering a joint session speech—joint session, not a State of the Union—in the first year that they are in office,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “But we don’t have a date for that or a timeline at this point in time, and we’ve been engaged closely with leaders in Congress about determining that.”
Psaki has repeatedly asserted that Biden will hold his first formal press conference by the end of March but also attempted to say that the brief, 10-second encounters with reporters that have occurred, counted towards 40 “press briefings.” Psaki’s comment drew some ridicule even from a press corp that has been overtly friendly to the new president. Reporters have become increasingly frustrated as Biden takes no follow-ups and often ends the encounters in a state of confusion.
Psaki said President Biden has been focusing on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and an economic downturn.
The White House contends there’s little to explain in terms of the administration’s early actions.
“We have governed the way we campaigned. I don’t think there have been any big surprises about what we’ve done in these 48 days,” said Klain.
In February thirty Democrats moved to have the nuclear codes taken away from Biden, according to Military News.
–Dwight Widaman and wire services