Biden began his first press conference of his presidency without his trademark black mask. He began by touting the progress on COVID vaccinations, which was made possible by his predecessor. Oops!
STIMULUS PAYMENTS AND UNEMPLOYMENT
Then Biden lauded the $1,400 stimulus money. But he failed to mention is was passed only after Democrat’s stubbornness and obstruction delayed payments to Americans for months. Oops again.
President Biden said unemployment fell by 100,000 people. That was a big blooper. He was actually referring “discouraged workers,” people who have given up looking for a job. Hence, his answer was very misleading. There are currently 522,000 discouraged workers, down from 624,000 in January. The actual unemployment rate is 11.1 percent, unchanged from January to February.
So when Biden said that unemployment fell below the pre-pandemic high (April 2020), that was a no-brainer. He followed it with a confusing comment. “Help is here, and hope is on the way.”
When asked about immigration reform, gun control, and other issues, Biden had to find the page in his notebook where the answers were located. But instead of answering the question, Biden blundered again by talking about people losing a family member or losing their home.
During the entire press conference, Biden repeatedly referred to a list of reporters he was allowed to call on to ask questions. “Let’s see, who’s next?” At one point, while looking at the list, he said, “Ok, um, where am I here? Let me see.”
A reporter asked about uncontrolled immigration, especially unaccompanied minors. Biden responded by saying, “I guess I should be flattered. People are coming because I’m the nice guy.”
He blundered when he blamed Trump for the increase in illegal immigration, when Trump actually slowed the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. Then Biden blundered again by saying immigrants are not coming because they know he’s not a nice guy.
Biden followed up by falsely claiming the “vast majority” are being sent back, or sent home. He immediately reversed himself by saying they’re not getting across the border. So which is it?
Reporters expressed their concern several times about young children crossing the border alone. One reporter said she talked to a 9-year-old boy who walked from Honduras because his mother believed Biden would not deport unaccompanied minors. Biden was stunned and stumped for a moment before he could answer. Biden gave a rambling answer about how he and VP Harris would deal with the problem he created.
Reporters kept returning to the illegal immigration crisis, expressing concern for children packed in pods. Biden was asked when he will give access to the press at the southern border. Once his plan is underway was Biden’s answer. Transparency, he promised, after his plan is underway.
How soon? “I don’t know,” Biden answered. He was asked if he rolled back immigration policies too quickly. He told the reporters the previous administration’s policies did not stop immigration. “I make no apologies.” Blooper and blunder.
As expected, the filibuster rule came up. A reporter asked about the rule as it relates to civil rights and voting rights. After Biden said he would deal with priorities as they land on his plate, he started discussing immigration again. The reporter sheepishly reminded Biden of her filibuster question. The president then read from a notecard he pulled out of his pocket. Obviously, the question was planted.
Biden will depend on VP Harris to break a 50-50 tie. He then stated the incorrect number of votes needed to end a filibuster. Biden blundered again when he lost his train of thought in the middle of his answer.
At the funeral of John Lewis, Obama said the filibuster was a relic of Jim Crow era. A reported asked if Biden agreed. “Yes.” That was it. That was his whole answer.
When asked why not abolish the filibuster, Biden looked down at his cheat sheet for more than a few seconds. Obviously reading from a prepared quote, Biden babbled, “Successful electoral politics is the art of the possible.” (It’s based on a quote from Otto von Bismark, the conservative German statesman who unified Germany in 1871.)
Voting rights as it relates to the filibuster came up again. Biden was asked if he is worried that if he doesn’t pass voting rights legislation that his party will lose control of the House and Senate in 2022. Biden responded by saying how “un-American” this whole (Republican) initiative is. He called it “sick.”
Biden said he would spend his time doing three things. First is to figure out how to pass (voting rights) legislation passed by the House. Second is to educate the American public. He said, “Republican voters I know find this despicable.” Biden claimed it “makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle.” He failed to list the third issue. Blunder?
President Biden responded to the next reporter’s question by announcing his plans to run for reelection. She noted he hasn’t set up a reelection campaign as his predecessor did. “My predecessor needed to,” he laughed, adding, “Oh God, I miss him.” Blooper!
He backtracked by saying running for reelection was his expectation. When pushed to confirm it, Biden curtly replied, “I don’t know where you guys come from, man!” He also expects VP Harris to be on the ticket.
When asked if he thinks he will run against former president Trump, Biden laughed and said he doesn’t even know it there will be a Republican party.
A reporter noted that the president has only spoken to Mitch McConnell once since taking office. She asked if he has rejected bipartisanship. Biden said he hasn’t. He then talked about how we put computer chips together. He expressed his desire to have “elected Republican support,” but he knows he has support from Republican voters. So much so that he repeated it for emphasis.
BIG BAD REPUBLICANS
One of Biden’s biggest bloopers came when he denigrated Republicans in Congress. He said how interesting it was to hear them complain when they passed the $2 trillion Trump tax cut. Say what?
Early in the press conference Biden said Republicans are going to have to determine whether or not they want to work together. He went on to suggest that the way in which they want to proceed is to divide the country and continue the politics of division. Where has Biden been the last four years? In his basement?
“The federal budget is saving people’s lives. They don’t think it’s such a good idea.” Then he fell into the well of denigrating “the wealthiest Americans.” Biden said he ran for 3 reasons – restoring the soul, etc. of the American political system, rebuilding the backbone of America, and uniting the country.
Biden said he can’t unite Congress, but he’s uniting the country. Really? Nice try.
Image from: forbes.com