Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki insisted that President Biden needs more downtime, despite the fact that he’s spent more than a quarter of his days in office at one of his Delaware homes.
“I know the President doesn’t have public events today,” Psaki told reporters during her routine briefing. “He does have a number of meetings with policy teams and that’s often what he’s doing behind the scenes.”
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“If he were standing here today — which I know he’s always invited, is what you guys will say, but he would say we never give him any free time or any time to think,” the press secretary noted. “And that is probably true.”
Biden, 79, is the oldest President in history, and returned Monday to the White House from his home in Wilmington, Del., where he routinely
spends weekends. He took no questions from reporters on Monday or Tuesday amid record-high COVID-19 cases caused by the more contagious Omicron variant.
According to former CBS News reporter Mark Knoller, who is respected for his record-keeping on presidential statistics, the President has spent part of at least 95 days in Delaware, about 27 percent of his term so far.
Biden’s Delaware days, many of which he spends at his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, feature off-the-books visits from family and friends, bike rides, and trips to attend church or visit the beach.
In addition to a
less-than-grueling schedule of public events, Biden employs staff to post messages on his social media accounts, freeing up significant time compared to Donald Trump, who infamously would go on unfiltered dawn-to-dusk tweet rants nearly every single day of his presidency.
Biden’s exchanges with reporters are often brief. In general, he has given far fewer interviews than his six most recent predecessors, according to data kept by political scientist Martha Kumar. As of November 30, Biden gave only 18 interviews. Over a comparable period in their first years as President, Trump sat down for 89 interviews while Barack Obama gave 141 interviews.
Biden has not taken reporter questions since Friday. On
Monday, he told a reporter who inquired about CDC policy amid a spike of COVID-19 cases that “I’ll be talking to you about that later.”
The President was absent from public view Wednesday as he prepared to deliver a speech Thursday at the Capitol on the anniversary of the deadly riot during which a mob of Trump supporters disrupted certification of Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
“That is a big part of his day today,” Psaki stated. “He is obviously very personally involved in what he’s going to say tomorrow.”