Fact Check

Did White House Press Corps Physically Stand for Biden at First News Conference?

A former Trump staffer speculated that such a “level of respect” could be “indicative of softball questions to come!”

Published Mar 25, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 25: With reporters spaced out due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, U.S. President Joe Biden holds the first news conference of his presidency in the East Room of the White House on March 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. On the 64th day of his administration, Biden, 78, faced questions about the coronavirus pandemic, immigration, gun control and other subjects. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Image Via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Some members of the White House press corps physically stood during the March 25, 2021, news conference when U.S. President Joe Biden entered the room.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s first news conference as president on March 25, 2021, stirred various social media gossip, including over whether the White House press corps had physically stood out of their seats as a sign of respect as he entered the room.

A Facebook post shared by former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany under Donald Trump claimed the press corps stood for U.S. President Joe Biden “right out of the gate.”

It is true that some members of the press corps physically stood up as the president entered the East Room of the White House.

“Please, please, sit down. Thank you, thank you,” were the first words spoken by the president at the start of the news conference. Shortly thereafter, members of the press were seen on video sitting down in their chairs.


Some online users posited that the press corps may be showing a bias by standing for Biden -- and not for former President Donald Trump. However, such conjecture is speculative (along with whether standing could predict “softball questions to come.”) 

During the press briefing, reporters asked questions regarding Biden’s “conflicting messaging” on immigration, his plan to run for reelection, response to North Korea’s March 24 missile launch, and his stance on Middle Eastern policies — similar topics that Trump faced at various times during his presidency.

The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) is a century-old organization of journalists, media members, and correspondents collectively known as the White House press corps, and its offices are located in the West Wing. Members are assigned by various publications to cover the president, White House events, and news briefings. Representatives from major publications and outlets, from Fox News to Buzzfeed, make up the association. And some outlets may also choose to swap out reporters under a new administration to those who covered the candidate during the campaign trail. 

Snopes contacted the WHCA to determine whether the group had an official policy on reporters standing when a president enters or exits a room but did not hear back at the time of publication. We will update the article accordingly. 

Madison Dapcevich is a freelance contributor for Snopes.

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