White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that President Biden thinks he 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 regular briefing. “He does have a number of meetings with policy teams and that’s often what he’s doing behind the scenes.”
“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 added. “And that is probably true.”
Biden, 79, is the oldest person to be president and returned Monday to the White House from his home in Wilmington, Del., where he routinely spends weekends. He took no reporter questions on Monday or Tuesday amid record-high COVID-19 cases caused by the more contagious Omicron variant.
The president has spent part of at least 95 days in Delaware, about 27 percent of his term so far, according to former CBS News reporter Mark Knoller, who is respected for his record-keeping on presidential statistics.
Biden’s Delaware days — some of which he also 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 posted unfiltered dawn-to-dusk tweets nearly every day of his presidency.
Biden’s exchanges with reporters often are brief and he has given far fewer interviews than his six most recent predecessors, according to data kept by political scientist Martha Kumar. As of Nov. 30, Biden gave just 18 interviews. Over a comparable period in their first years as president, Trump sat down for 89 interviews and 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 said. “He is obviously very personally involved in what he’s going to say tomorrow.”