President Joe Biden held his first solo press conference since assuming office on Thursday. However, his use of several "cheat sheets"detailing key policy points and the identities of attending journalists during the presser has gone viral on social media.
Only 25 reporters were permitted to attend the press conference and Biden took a limited number of questions from a list of pre-selected reporters before leaving the podium.
Biden's 'Cheat Sheet'
A photo taken during the press conference show Biden holding a document with the names and photos of reporters attending the event with the identities of some of the journalists circled and numbered.
Another image, obtained by New York Post shows Biden holding a card labeled "infrastructure," with key statistics and talking points. "The United States now ranks 13th globally in infrastructure quality — down from 5th place in 2002," read one bullet point.
The use of a "cheat sheet" is not unprecedented at press conferences. In November 2019, Trump held a notebook with handwritten prompts during a press conference on testimony delivered at his first impeachment hearing.
The pictures led many to believe the press conference was "scripted." "Joe Biden had a cheat sheet of all the reporters with numbered circles by the ones he was supposed to call on. #Scripted," wrote one user.
"You know Biden's cognitive abilities are failing when he is given a descriptive cheat sheet that includes the names of the journalists, facial identification, the news outlet they are incorporated with & which order they are to be called upon," commented another.
Here are some of the reactions on Twitter:
Biden is the first president in four decades to reach this point in his term without having conducted such a question-and-answer session. Biden has fielded just one or two informal inquires during his presidency, usually in a hurried setting towards the end of an event or before boarding the Marine One.
Pressure had mounted on Biden to hold a formal session, which allows reporters to have an extended back-and-forth with the president. Biden's conservative critics have pointed to the delay to suggest that Biden was being shielded by his staff.