- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2021

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn on Tuesday defended President Biden for not holding a formal press conference, saying the president is “busy doing other things” and not obligated to “satisfy the media.”

Mr. Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat, also dismissed speculation that Mr. Biden‘s apparent reluctance to speak off-script stems from some sort of mental decline.

“There’s no reluctance on this president’s part to interact with the press,” Mr. Clyburn told Fox News host Neil Cavuto.

“Then why isn’t he?” Mr. Cavuto asked.

“Simply because we’re busy doing other things right now,” Mr. Clyburn responded. “We aren’t here just to satisfy the media. We’re here to satisfy the American people.”

The congressman said Mr. Biden would make himself more available to the public once he signs the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that is expected to pass the House Wednesday.

“We get this bill signed — done tomorrow, signed this week — and he has already told you he is going to be out there among the American people selling this bill, and every media person will have an opportunity to ask him as many questions as they would like to ask,” Mr. Clyburn said.

Mr. Cavuto then said people were “beginning to wonder” about Mr. Biden‘s mental acuity, citing a moment Monday at a White House event in which the president seemed to forget Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s name, calling him “the guy who runs that outfit over there.”

Mr. Cavuto asked, “Is there something we should be worried about or much ado about nothing?”

“It is much ado about nothing,” Mr. Clyburn responded. “I think you know as well as I do, I talked with the president about this. He has what we call stuttering. It’s always been a problem with this president. He’s been very open with that. It doesn’t affect his brain at all. But it sometimes affects his speech. So that’s an issue that all of us know is there, and I don’t know why we keep trying to make something out of it.”

Mr. Biden has not held a solo press conference since taking office seven weeks ago, making him the first president in modern history to not hold one within 33 days of starting the job, according to a CNN analysis.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said Mr. Biden plans to give a press conference this month, but did not specify a date. During her regular press briefings, she has repeatedly defended Mr. Biden‘s apparent absence as him having his hands full battling the coronavirus pandemic.

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