The tweeting, or what seems to have been squawking, of political birds in Washington D.C. has ceased on Twitter. The use of press conferences has resumed, allowing American citizens to receive direct information from the President himself rather than a social media account.
Last Thursday, March 25, President Joe Biden participated in his first press conference as leader of the free world. Before taking questions, he began by greeting those in attendance and briefing them on what has occurred during the first 65 days of his administration. He noted that by day 58, his teams had vaccinated 100 million Americans, which he initially hoped to have done by late April or early May. Being ahead of schedule has allowed him to set another ambitious goal of vaccinating 200 million people by his hundredth day. He then said that, due to the rapid vaccine distribution, nearly half of all K-8 schools are open for in-person learning, five days a week.
Biden concluded his opening remarks by updating the press on his American Rescue Plan, an emergency legislative package that funds vaccinations, provides immediate, direct relief to families bearing the pandemic’s negative impacts and supports struggling communities. He then began taking questions from reporters he had chosen prior to the event. The following questions, asked mostly by left-leaning news sources, addressed his promises on gun control, climate change, immigration rights, voting rights and other civil liberties that he had made during his 2020 campaign.
Getting information about the current immigration issues at the Mexican border seems to have been the main focus for many reporters. While talking about it, the President jabbed at former President Donald Trump’s shortcomings in his relationship with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the President of Mexico, and said that negotiations between him and the new administration are ongoing. Biden then shared his reactions to the pictures taken at the immigration facilities along the U.S.-Mexican border. After expressing how sickening he thought they were, Biden spoke on the conditions at Fort Bliss. It is the second-largest U.S. Army installation and is currently being used to house many people trying to cross the border.
Reporters also asked questions regarding the status of different foreign relationships. Biden expressed that North Korea is the main threat the United States is focused on as the U.S. government continues to push for denuclearization. However, the President made it clear that the United States is keeping tabs on other countries such as China by maintaining tariffs, which will help hold China accountable for any actions they may take. Finally, Biden was asked about the progress made toward withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. His original plan was to have most, if not all, out by May 1. But unfortunately, the administration will not meet this deadline due to ongoing problems.
“We will leave,” Biden said. “The question is when will we leave.
The concern then turned to gun control and how the President has reacted to the mass shootings seen recently in Georgia and Colorado. Once he displayed his disgust, Biden passively switched the topic by mentioning that some presidents are successful because they know how to time what they are doing. They give orders and make decisions based on priorities. That said, he believes that the path to stricter gun control will come after the rebuilding of physical and technological infrastructure.
Another topic that reporters touched on was voting rights. After being asked about the different Republican legislatures working to pass bills that would restrict voting rights, Biden expressed how “un-American” he thinks the initiative is. He followed by condemning different situations seen at polling locations and wrapped up his comments boldly saying,
“This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle,” Biden said.
Biden’s press conference updated all Americans on most issues at hand. He believes his administration is doing a fantastic job leading the country through a tough time and claims that he was elected to solve the problems left behind by his predecessor. At one point, the President sarcastically joked about how he misses Trump and the issues he created. Nonetheless, his main objective is to lead the United States out of the pandemic and move forward with the promises made during his campaign.