Kayleigh McEnany Says Jen Psaki 'Does Not Have Faith' in Joe Biden Taking Press Questions

President Joe Biden's lack of press conferences has raised questions about the administration's communications strategy in recent days as some have criticized the Democrat for not being more available to journalists' questions.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has defended the president's approach, while former Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who served under Donald Trump, made critical remarks and compared Biden unfavorably to his predecessor. McEnany also suggested that Psaki "does not have faith" in Biden to perform well under questioning.

Biden has been president for more than 40 days but has not yet held a solo press conference. Both former President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama had both done so by this point in their presidency. Biden has often taken reporters' questions during or after events, but has not yet held any formal press conferences.

"I think his staff does not have faith that he can stand at the podium and have a press conference the way President Trump did many times," McEnany told Fox Business' Stuart Varney on Friday.

"I don't think this is President Biden saying, 'I don't want to do this,'" she said.

"I think it's those around him recognizing when he does speak, it doesn't always turn out so well, like calling Republicans 'Neanderthals,' as he did recently in the Oval Office."

Biden's 'Neanderthal' remark was a criticism of the decision by Republican governors in Texas and Mississippi to lift COVID-19 restrictions. McEnany suggested the president's staff was protecting him.

"The pressure is mounting when you have even left-wing outlets calling him out for this," she said.

Biden's focused 'on getting recovery'

Psaki has defended Biden's media strategy and said the administration is currently focusing on economic recovery from the fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A $1.9 trillion stimulus package is currently being considered by the Senate.

"I would say that his focus is on getting recovery and relief to the American people and he looks forward to continuing to engage with all of you and to other members of the media who aren't here today," Psaki said on Friday.

"And we'll look forward to letting you know, as soon as that press conference is set," she said.

Biden is the first president in 40 years not to hold a press conference for the media by this stage of his administration, according to the Associated Press. He has also given just five interviews.

Former President Trump had held five press conferences by this point—his appearances often combative. He sometimes called those asking him questions "fake news."

The president is due to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress at the end of March—this is not considered a State of the Union address—and has delivered two major televised addresses. One was on inauguration day and the other marked 500,000 deaths from COVID-19

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on March 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. Psaki has defended President Joe Biden's lack of press conferences. Samuel Corum/Getty Images