President Biden will meet the press for just his second solo White House news conference next week as he begins his second full year in office amid a series of political setbacks.
“Next Wednesday, the president will hold a formal press conference at 4 p.m. in the afternoon. So we look forward to seeing you there,” press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday during her regular briefing.
Biden faces slouching support in polls amid the highest inflation in 40 years and the highest-ever rates of COVID-19 infections.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s mandate that private-sector employers adopt a coronavirus vaccine-or-test policy and Senate centrists blocked Biden’s push for election reform legislation after recently sinking his $2 trillion Build Back Better Act.
Biden has faced sustained criticism for being more sparing in his press engagements than his predecessor, Donald Trump.
It’s unclear how many journalists will be allowed to attend the event and how the White House press office will vet applicants.
Psaki announced the press conference amid a record-smashing wave of COVID-19 cases driven by the more contagious Omicron variant, which spurred restricted attendance at the briefing.
Biden held his first press conference as president this past March, with select reporters spaced far apart in the White House East Room.
White House press aides have pursued a strategy of pre-screening journalists allowed within earshot of the president at regular events in the East Room and the White House-adjacent Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The criteria for selection to those events remains a mystery to reporters, who have been given a range of conflicting explanations. It’s widely believed to be a tactic to shape the questions that get asked.