At his first formal press conference as president, Joe Biden fielded questions about immigration, the filibuster, China and guns. A reporter even asked him whether he would run for president again in 2024.
But notably missing was any question about the pandemic, which has been going on for more than a year and continues to grip the country.
Not a single reporter asked him about COVID-19, even though Biden started off Wednesday’s event at the White House by pledging that the nation will administer 200 million vaccines in his first 100 days in office.
“I know it’s ambitious ― twice our original goal ― but no other country in the world has even come close, not even close, to what we’re doing,” he said. “I believe we can do it.”
The omission did not seem to be lost on White House staff. Chief of Staff Ron Klain retweeted several people who pointed out the lack of pandemic questions, including one by a former Obama administration official who called it a “ridiculous failure by the press corps to focus on the issue that the vast majority of Americans care about most.”
He then tweeted his point more directly.
Pretty sure it is for the American people and the Biden WH. https://t.co/5VUMmklepb
— Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) March 25, 2021
Polling also shows that addressing COVID-19 and strengthening the economy ― two issues that often go hand in hand ― remain at the top of what the public cares about.