Joe Biden Has Done Less Interviews Than Six of His Predecessors: Report

President Joe Biden has done less interviews during his tenure than his six predecessors at the same point in their presidencies, a recent Axios report found.

After Biden had skipped several high-profile interviews, including last February’s Super Bowl pregame interview, Democrats hoped that the first presidential debate, which aired last Thursday, would show Biden as a sharp, energetic candidate amid criticism that the 81-year-old was not mentally or physically fit to serve another four years. Instead, Biden’s weak showing on the Atlanta debate stage against former President Donald Trump caused a panic within the Democratic Party.

On Wednesday, Axios came out with a report on the number of press conferences and media interviews each president from Ronald Reagan to Biden did as of June 30 of each president’s fourth year in office.

Former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, had the highest number at 570 interviews and press conferences. Trump, the presumptive 2024 GOP presidential nominee, followed behind with 468. Meanwhile, Biden trailed behind his six processors, only having conducted 164 interviews and press conferences so far.

From the 1980s to early 2000s, the presidents’ number of interviews and press conferences ranged in the 200s to 370s.

Reagan, a Republican, did 262 interviews and press conferences; George H.W. Bush, a Republican, did 376; Bill Clinton, a Democrat, did 310 and George W. Bush, a Republican, did 248.

The data was collected by presidential scholar Martha Joynt Kumar, a professor emerita at Towson University.

While Biden may have done less interviews and press conferences than his predecessors at the same point in their presidencies, Biden has done a greater number of more informal talks with select, small groups of reporters than any of his six predecessors except for Trump.

According to Kumar, Biden has conducted 588 of these Q&A (questions and answers) sessions compared to Trump’s 664.

“President Biden has done 45 interviews this year—including with CNN, ABC News, Time and Univision—and engaged in 588 question-and-answer sessions with the White House press corps during his term,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement to Axios.

Bates said that Biden “is also meeting Americans where they are through innovative digital strategies and constituency and local media,” adding, “Joe Biden has always stood up for the critical role of the free press in our democracy and looks forward to his next press conference next week.”

When contacted for comment on Saturday afternoon, Bates referred Newsweek to his previous statement to Axios. Newsweek also contacted Biden’s reelection campaign via email for comment.

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks to the media at the White House on Monday in Washington, D.C. Biden has done less interviews during his tenure than his six predecessors at the same point in their presidencies,…

Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Biden’s Post-Debate Interview

On Friday, Biden had his first one-on-one interview since the debate with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, in which he said that he would only drop out if God Almighty tells him to.

Stephanopoulos asked the president if he was “convinced” he could not beat Trump, “will you stand down?” Biden replied: “If the Lord Almighty comes down and tells me that, I might do that.”

Biden’s interview came amid calls for the president to drop out of the race and for another prominent Democrat to take his place. However, Biden has vowed to stay in the race.

While debating Trump last week, Biden mumbled through his administration’s accomplishments and goals in a hoarse voice. Often times he struggled to give a coherent answer. Biden’s team later said he had a cold and was suffering from jet lag. Meanwhile, Trump, 78, is only three years younger than Biden and has also faced scrutiny about his age and cognitive ability.