WATCH LIVE: Biden holds formal news conference as he marks first full year in office
Kate Sullivan and Jeff Zeleny, CNN
Published at | Updated at
(CNN) — President Joe Biden is scheduled to hold a formal news conference on Wednesday from the White House as he marks the end of his first full year in office.
Coming at 4 p.m. ET, Biden will field questions from reporters as his administration struggles to contain the latest surge of the Omicron variant and works to ease the economic anxiety gripping the nation.
Biden will open his press conference touting “remarkable progress” on vaccinations, reopening the economy, creating jobs and lowering unemployment, a White House official said, but will also acknowledged the challenges facing his administration as he enters his second year in office.
“The President knows there’s more work to do,” an administration official said. “So he’s also going to level with the American people about the challenges we still face — especially when it comes to Covid-19 and higher prices — and the actions he’s taking to tackle them.”
The President is entering his second year in office — a midterm election year — after facing a number of recent setbacks. The centerpiece of his economic agenda has hit a roadblock in Congress, it is unclear whether the Democrats’ push for voting rights legislation will go anywhere, the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s vaccine mandates for big businesses and recent key economic indicators show record inflation.
The President regularly fields questions from reporters after delivering remarks and during departures and arrivals at the White House, but he hasn’t held as many formal news conferences as his recent predecessors.
In his first year in office, Biden held nine total news conferences — six solo and three joint ones — according to data tracked by The American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The last time he held a formal news conference was at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
By comparison, President Donald Trump held 21 news conferences in his first year in office, but just one of them was solo and the rest were joint appearances, usually with foreign leaders. (In his last year in office, as the pandemic took hold, Trump held a staggering 35 solo news conferences.)
President Barack Obama held 27 news conferences in his first year — 11 solo and 16 of them joint. President George W. Bush held 19 news conferences — five solo and 14 joint, according to UCSB data. Then-President Bill Clinton held 12 solo news conferences and 26 joint ones, resulting in 38 news conferences in his first year in office.
Biden, who came into office vowing to restore the US’ credibility on the world stage, will likely face questions on Wednesday about a number of looming and imminent foreign policy challenges.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has amassed tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border and appears poised to invade the nation. US officials have grown increasingly pessimistic about the possibility of salvaging the Iran nuclear deal and have warned of turning to other options if diplomacy fails. China remains accused of forced labor and human rights abuses in the country’s western region of Xinjiang, and the US has said it will not send an official US delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.