Joe Biden faced difficult questions about the largest increase in migrants at the Mexican border in two decades at his first press conference as President of the United States – and spoke harshly about China and promised to release 200 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine during the next 100 days.
Asked about the growing increase in migrants, Biden said that “the way to deal with this problem” is to “deal with the root causes of why people leave” – and to emphasize that the United States is sending back the “vast majority” of people coming across the Mexican the border.
Biden said “all” illegal immigrants should “go back” except for children, and that his administration is “in talks” with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to encourage the southern neighbor of the United States to take back more people.
Nails in illegal immigration across the Mexican border “occur every year,” Biden said.
The president was “on the back” in response to questions at the border, said JowharInternational Editor Armen Georgian. “He did something that Trump used to do a lot, that is, it was mainly the guy who was in office before me and that is why we are in a mess now – but also [Democrat-supporting] The Washington Post has reported that this is the largest increase in 20 years and this is happening on Biden’s watch.
“In fact, Biden said at a Democratic primary debate in September 2019 that if you want to escape and if you flee oppression, you must come,” Georgian continued. Now, in the face of a huge rise in immigration, Biden has “completely stepped back and said: in fact, do not come”.
Ahead of the conference, a couple of mass shootings, growing international tensions, signs of divisions within the Democratic Party, new North Korean missile tests and a large increase in the number of migrants crossing the southern border of the United States confronted a west wing known for its strict messaging discipline.
Covid-19 jab promise
Biden’s goal seems ambitious, but it actually means a continuation of the country’s current vaccination rate until the end of the month. The United States now has an average of about 2.5 million doses per day.
A higher vaccination rate seems to be achieved. During the next month, two of the bottlenecks will have vaccinated Americans lifted. The US supply of vaccines is on the rise and states are raising the eligibility requirements for people to get shots.
The “fundamental problem is giving people a mood” in the midst of a Covid-19 pandemic that has caused more than 500,000 deaths, Biden said.
Asked about the intense polarization of US policy – with Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus bill passing the Senate on party lines – he said: “I would have liked Republican support, but what I have now is support from Republican voters. ”
Biden “on the hind foot” over immigration
His Covid-19 relief law was about the size of Trump’s proposal, which was drawn toward the end of his presidency amid opposition from lawmakers.
When the debate rages over the senate filibuster – an important source of the US political grid – Biden said that “it is being abused” and reiterated his call to return the so-called “speaking filibuster”, where senators must stand and talk as long as it takes to block a bill instead of being able to do so with only the threat from the filibuster.
When a journalist asked Biden if he agreed with his former boss Barack Obama that filibuster is a “relic of the Jim Crow era”, the president said he agreed. But he reiterated his support for reforming, not abolishing, the filibuster, saying that “successful electoral policy is the art of the possible”.
Biden said he “has never been particularly poor at getting things done in the U.S. Senate” – after serving in the Upper House from 1973 to 2009 – and that “if there is complete lockdown and chaos in the Senate as a result of the filibuster, we have to go beyond what I was talking about ”.
From Afghanistan to Xi Jinping
On foreign affairs, Biden said his deadline of May 1 to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan would be “difficult” to meet among the Taliban’s return – but stressed that “it is not my intention to stay there long”. He said he “can not imagine” that it “is the case” that American soldiers will still be there next year.
In response to North Korea’s new ballistic missile tests on Thursday, Biden warned that “there will be answers if they choose to escalate” – while adding that he “is also prepared for some diplomacy” – even if it must be “conditioned” on movements against “Core”.
Biden said he would “invest in the American people and American science” to counter China’s challenge to US hegemony. “China is investing far from us,” he warned.
“Restoring our alliances” following Trump’s “America First” strategy is another way in which Biden says he hopes to deal with the rise of authoritarian China. “We must have democracies working together,” he continued.
Biden said he “pointed out [Chinese leader Xi Jinping] that no leader “can remain in office” unless they reflect the values of his people “and that” the moment a US president refrains from speaking out “about abuses such as China’s repression of Uighurs and Hong Kong,” we lose our legitimacy. ”.
The president said he knew Xi well from his role as Obama’s number 2. “He does not have a democratic – with a small” d “- leg in his body, but he is a smart, smart guy,” said Biden.
Is he coming back?
Biden is the first president in four decades to reach this point in his term without conducting such a question-and-answer session. The president met with reporters for the nationally televised afternoon event in the East Room.
The President of the United States has kept pace with his predecessors when he has taken questions from the press in other formats. But he tended to make only one or two informal requests at a time, usually in an urgent environment at the end of an event or in front of a whirling helicopter.
The pressure had increased on Biden to hold such a formal session, allowing journalists to have an extended back and forth with the president. Critics have pointed to the delay in proposing that the 78-year-old president’s staff protect him.
Despite his advanced age, Biden said at the press conference that his “plan is to go for re-election” in 2024.
( Jowharwith AP and REUTERS)