Joe Biden held two public events last week introducing California Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential pick. He took zero questions from the press.
In fact, the last time he took more than an occasional shouted question from a member of the media was July 28, according to CNN’s Biden embed Sarah Mucha. And the time before that? Try June 30.
Do the math: The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has taken questions from the press twice in the past 48 days. That’s not nearly enough.
But wait, you say: Sure, President Donald Trump takes questions from the media all the time, but he doesn’t tell the truth when he answers questions!
Absolutely true! But Biden isn’t running to be the same as Trump. He has expressly cast his campaign as an attempt to restore normalcy, dignity and what he considers the right way of doing things to the White House. Following his victories in the March 10 primaries – wins that effectively sealed the nomination for him – he pledged this:
“We need presidential leadership that’s honest, trusted, truthful and steady. If I’m given the honor of becoming your president, I promise you I’ll strive to give the nation that leadership every day.”
Biden’s entire candidacy is premised on the idea that Trump is an anomaly in everything. And that includes the bullying and prevarications he brings to his regular interactions with the media. But the solution – or the antidote – to how Trump deals with the media isn’t to effectively shield yourself away from questions, but rather to regularly (at least once a week) take questions from the reporters who are covering you.
There’s also this to consider: If polling is to be believed, Biden is a clear front-runner to beat Trump and become the 46th president of the United States in 78 days. And with that lead comes responsibility.
Yes, Biden has been in public life for a very long time (almost five decades). But he’s never been in this position before – about to become the Democratic presidential nominee and the odds-on favorite to be elected to the big job in the fall. Policy papers, planned speeches and even sit-down interviews are one thing. Answering tough questions from the media are another.