President Joe Biden conducted the first press conference of his presidency on Thursday, taking questions from a pre-selected slate of reporters. During the roughly hour-long exchange with media, Biden answered questions on a range of topics including immigration, China, COVID-19 vaccinations, the filibuster and more.
There was significant speculation about the reason Biden waited so late into his first year in office to talk with the press, including emerging suspicion that the president's advanced age hampers his ability to speak coherently on topics of importance for any length of time.
During Thursday's event, there were multiple moments where Biden appeared confused. When asked about his plans to advance an agenda through the evenly divided U.S. Senate, Biden seemed to completely lose his train of thought.
In a different exchange discussing Republican efforts in some states to protect voting integrity, President Biden attacked the legislation as "pernicious," before making a bizarre comment about a heretofore unknown "Jim Eagle."
On the topic of gun control, President Biden made a controversial remark suggesting that he would push his agenda in the wake of two recent mass shootings because it is "good timing" to seize on the emotions of the moment.
When the conversation turned to immigrant children being packed together in cages near the border, Biden struggled to articulate why he was not allowing the press to access the facilities and why he himself had yet to go there.
Despite the foibles and stumbles, reaction to the president's first press conference largely broke along party lines, with Democrats and the media applauding his performance and Republicans panning it.