“This is a time-honored tradition in the country of hearing from the President in this way, from FDR’s Fireside Chats to Ronald Reagan establishing the weekly presidential radio address,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday. “President (Joe) Biden will continue that tradition, and we expect it to take on a variety of forms.”
Biden’s inaugural edition features a “conversation” between him and Michele, a Roseville, California, resident who lost her job at a startup clothing company due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Psaki.
The reinstatement of the presidential addresses is another return by the Biden administration to presidential traditions and norms, including the resumption of daily White House press briefings.
Michele recounted how she was laid off for the first time in her life this July, wrote a letter to Biden to tell him how she felt and received the phone call from him shortly after.
“I’ve been saying a long time the idea that we think we can keep businesses open and moving and thriving without this pandemic is just a nonstarter,” the President said on the call. “We’re putting together a plan that provides for emergency relief to people who are in desperate need now.”
Biden also reiterated his commitment to administering 100 million shots in his first 100 days to which Michele excitedly shares that she “finally” got her parents appointments.
Democratic President Barack Obama posted weekly video addresses during his two terms in office to push policies and initiatives and commemorate holidays.
Roosevelt started the tradition during his first term, using his evening radio broadcasts to inform the American public about his policies and actions and to calm the nation during times of crisis.
This story and headline have been updated to include the release of Biden’s first “weekly conversation.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the California resident with whom Biden will be speaking. Her name is Michele.