The White House press corps recently brought President Joe Biden’s “delay” in holding a press conference to the level of a scandal. The story was that he couldn’t handle the unwritten format – because of dementia, gaffes, other “Uncle Joe” issues, or all of the above.
Finally, two months after his presidency, he planned one. And it was a disaster.
For the White House press corps.
I’ll admit I was worried about Biden at first. At first he seemed to be reading from notes on the lectern. It wasn’t until the questions began – and the story was that he might not be able to deal with them – that he came to life. But some of his questioners didn’t.
Predictably and fairly, Biden faced several questions about the so-called “crisis” at the border. But he parried some strange questions about whether his reputation for decency was somehow drawing more migrants in. He correctly replied that the climb is a seasonal thing: “They come because this is the time of year when travel is most viable.” When ABC’s Cecilia Vega asked if the current dire conditions for migrant children at the Donna, Texas facility were “acceptable” to him, he replied, “That’s a serious question, isn’t it? Is it acceptable to me? Come on . “
He went on of children, “The idea I’m going to say, which I would never do if an unaccompanied child ends up at the border, we’re going to starve them and stay on the other side, neither has any previous government, except Trump. I will not do it. I will not do it. “Following the steps a parent might go through to send their child north more than once, he concluded,” What a desperate act, “adding,” I do not apologize “for ending the Trump- Policy to separate children from their mothers.
As president, Biden is responsible for border conditions as well as immigration and asylum policies. This is a terrible problem, morally, politically, and logistically. Ultimately, he couldn’t handle it well. But he handled charged questions with moral passion and clarity.
As with questions about the wave of voter suppression laws pushed by Republicans across the country. “I’m concerned about how un-American this whole initiative is,” said Biden. “It’s sick. It’s sick.” (He said it “made Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle,” which puzzled a lot of people and was probably not the most appropriate analogy, but he made the necessary point: it’s really bad.) He also sounded more than open to getting rid of it Filibusters for voting rights bills and maybe more – an essential finding from an otherwise rather frivolous hour. Frivolous because of the questions, not Biden’s answers.
The president was asked not only if he would run again in 2024 – predictably, he said this was his “plan” with Kamala Harris by his side – but who he was likely to run against. “I don’t even know if there will be a Republican Party [four years from now]. “To me, that was actually the news in his comment, but I saw reporters leading with the fact that he said he was going to run again. As if he could say something else.
Biden opened by stating that he would increase his vaccination goal to 200 million doses in 100 days. He didn’t get a single question about the pandemic – the best evidence that he’s handled it well. But can these people see themselves?
I say this so often that it should be my email signature or my Twitter bio: I didn’t support Biden on the primaries. I didn’t think he should run. Of course, I supported him when he became the candidate. But it exceeded my limited expectations. His cabinet and other appointments were excellent, as was his American bailout plan. I’m also giving its first press conference good marks – and I hope the White House press corps is trying to match its level because that was a shitty show.