President Joe Biden will hold his first formal news conference as president on Thursday, more than two months after taking office.
The news conference comes amid an increase of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the US border, a pair of mass shootings during the last week, and a U.S. economy attempting to reopen amid the pandemic.
The news conference is slated to begin at 1:15 p.m. ET Thursday.
Biden, who has often touted a free press, is the first recent president not to hold a formal news conference within 60 days of taking office. He has at times answered questions in more informal settings and has done one-on-one interviews for several TV news networks.
“It’s an opportunity for him to speak to the American people, obviously directly through the coverage, directly through all of you,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday. “And so I think he's thinking about what he wants to say, what he wants to convey, where he can provide updates, and, you know, looking forward to the opportunity to engage with a free press.”
Biden is expected to be pressed on the situation at the southern border, as there has been an increase in the number of unaccompanied migrant children crossing into the U.S. On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced plans to open a temporary facility to house minors. The White House said that existing facilities run by Border Patrol are not meant for children.
“It is not the time to come; it is not a safe journey to make; that we are turning away people at the border,” Psaki told reporters. “A majority of people are turned away at the border. But at the same time, we believe that it is the humane and moral step to ensure we are treating these children — that they are in safe places when they come across the border.”
The White House also said that Biden could be looking at executive actions on gun control measures following Monday’s shooting at a Colorado grocery store, killing 10, and a series of shootings at Atlanta-area spas, killing eight.
“Putting in place commonsense gun safety measures has been a passion of the President’s since he was in the Senate,” Psaki said. “We are certainly considering a range of levers, including working through legislation, including executive actions to address, obviously, you know, not just gun safety measures but violence in communities. So that is -- has been under discussion and will continue to be under discussion.”