President Biden’s NATO press conference : NPR

President Biden speaks during a NATO 75th anniversary celebratory event at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium on July 9 in Washington, D.C.

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President Biden faces yet another high-profile public test of whether he’s sharp enough to campaign for a second term when he takes questions from reporters on Thursday.

It comes as Biden wraps up a summit of NATO leaders in Washington, an event his campaign had hoped would showcase his leadership on the world stage. Instead, it has been overshadowed by doubts that he is up for a bruising campaign and another four years in office — doubts expressed by elected Democrats, donors and voters.

The questions have been swirling since Biden badly fumbled his June 27 debate against former President Donald Trump. Biden struggled to answer questions in that debate, and has since blamed it on a cold, latent jet-lag, overpreparation and interruptions from Trump. He said it was just one bad night, but many in his party aren’t convinced.

Watch Biden’s press conference, slated for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, here:

Since then, Biden and his team have worked to prove he does have the stamina and mental acuity to run this race, adding campaign stops in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and later this week in Michigan. He did a television interview that aired in full on ABC News and has another one scheduled on Monday with NBC, and he called in to MSNBC’s Morning Joe this week, too.

Biden told his party to stop talking about whether he should quit because he’s staying in

Biden has turned defiant, telling his party that he’s staying in the race and it was time to stop talking about whether he should quit. He has received wholehearted support from some important figures in the party — but others have since come out and said they think he will lose to Trump.

Most recently, actor George Clooney, who just hosted a blockbuster fundraiser for Biden in Los Angeles, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times saying Democrats need to pick a different candidate.

Biden’s last formal solo press conference was in November 2023

Biden rarely does formal solo press conferences. His last one was in November 2023, in California, after he met there with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Martha Joynt Kumar, political science professor emeritus from Towson University, has studied the interactions between the press corps and presidents for many years. She calls solo press conferences — especially ones that occur in the White House — the “‘crown jewel’ of presidential interchanges” because they typically involve aggressive questions and test a president’s command of policy and politics.

By her detailed accounting, which goes back to the Reagan White House, Biden has done fewer press conferences at this point in the presidency than other presidents.

“I think it’s something that has not benefited [Biden],” Kumar said, noting that more press conferences would have allowed the public to take “the measure of the president” long before the June debate.

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