Marc Nozell via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Today at 4:00 PM EST, President Joe Biden will give only the second solo formal press conference of his presidency. His first solo White House presser was on March 20th of 2020. He is expected to answer questions on the future of COVID mitigation, inflation fears, nuclear threats, Russia, and Donald Trump. Please join us in the comments as we update live!
4:09PM: President Joe Biden says to address inflation, the Federal Reserve must “recalibrate the support necessary” to support Americans through the pandemic, calling for the Senate to confirm his nominations. He outlines a three point plan to address inflation. First, fix the supply chain primarily by passing infrastructure legislature. Second, pass the Build Back Better plan to support working Americans. He specifically discussed reducing the cost of child care, elder are, prescription costs, and energy costs. He insists his plan does this without raising taxes on those earning under $400,000 a year and while cutting the deficit. Third, promote competition. The Biden Administration will continue to enforce the Executive Order it signed in July of last year.
4:16PM: In response to a question about whether he overpromised Americans during his campaign, Biden blames Republicans for their effort to “make sure the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done”. A follow up question asked if he should be “more realistic” in his goals since his signature legislation is currently being stalled by members of his own party. Biden responded “no”. He says Americans don’t think any of his goals are unrealistic and he doesn’t need to scale down any of his legislation. He’s confident “big chunks” of the BBB will be passed before midterms. He acknowledged he did not reach out to any Republicans during previous attempts to negotiate said legislation.
4:26:PM: Asked if he believes the upcoming elections will be fairly held if voting rights legislation does not pass, Biden replied “it depends on how we make the case to the American people”. He says he believes “the people they’re trying to stop from showing up” will be willing to show up and stand in line for hours to ensure they get to cast their vote.
4:30PM: Biden says Vladimir Putin has never seen sanctions like those he has planned if Russia moves to invade Ukraine, though it depends on how large a move they make. He specifically said a small incursion may only result in talks. He says if Russia does fully invade Ukraine, they may eventually succeed, but it will take a long time and cost them heavily both financially and in human lives. Asked to follow up on previous comments in Geneva that “the last thing Putin wants is a cold war”, Biden does still believe Putin wants to avoid all out war, but he also believes Putin will test the United States and NATO and that he will “regret having done it”. He appeared to say that the US will not station nuclear warheads in Ukraine and that Ukraine will not have the votes to join NATO within the next several decades.
4:40PM: Asked about his previous comment that “big chunks” of the BBB will pass, Biden showed willingness to break the package up to garner support from moderate Democrats and some Republicans.
4:43PM: Biden says the US has the capacity to become self-reliant on producing the computer chip technology that is behind much of current supply chain issues. He will continue to work with other countries to release supply and reduce the price of gas. He reiterated the need to support competition in other industries to reduce the prices of goods such as meat. He says the single best way to address inflation is to pass the BBB.
4:47PM: Biden says his trade representatives are considering lifting tariffs on the import of Chinese goods, but they aren’t there yet.
4:48PM: Asked about Mitch McConnel’s comments that the midterms will be a report card on his Presidency, Biden says the report card looks pretty good. He says McConnell’s goal is to prevent him from looking good and getting anything done. He continues to blame Republicans for refusing to contribute even a single vote toward passing Democrat legislation on major issues.
4:54PM: Asked about changing the definition of “fully vaccinated” to include the booster shot, Biden says you’re protected well enough with two shots, but you are better protected with the booster. He deflected when asked again about changing the definition.
4:56PM: Asked to follow up about his comment that “a small incursion” by Russia would not immediately result in sanctions, Biden seemingly confirmed that anything short of a major military invasion into Ukraine would not result in serious economic actions against Russia. He says the decision to invade and the initiation of consequences is solely up to Putin at this point.
5:02PM: Asked what he would say to black voters who say Biden doesn’t have their backs on voting rights, Biden says he has had their backs his entire career. He says he couldn’t push the John Lewis bill harder six months ago because of “timing dictated by events in the country and around the world”. He says he wants to travel the country and connect with voters personally so they can measure his sincerity on this issue.
5:05PM: Biden says he is satisfied with Kamala Harris’ efforts as VP and she will be his running mate in 2024.
5:11PM: Joe Biden says he makes no apologies for the Afghanistan pull out. He says he feels badly for what’s happening to Afghanistan citizens at the hands of the Taliban, but he feels badly about many issues around the world. He says the botched withdrawal is not indicative of government incompetence. He points to the speed at which companies were able to provide vaccines and provide military aid to hospitals is proof of the opposite.
5:18PM: Asked if he will change his strategy in 2022, Biden says he will do three things different. Number one, he will go out and speak to the public more often. He will hold public forums and make the case for voters to support issues he wants to address. Number two, he seek more advice from outside experts such as think tanks and bring them in on issues. Number three, he will become deeply involved in off-year elections. He will help fundraise and campaign for candidates.
5:21PM: Biden says he is not a socialist, he is a mainstream Democrat, in response to being asked why he is working so hard to move the country so far left.
5:22PM: Biden says it’s easily feasible that the 2022 elections could be illegitimate. He “is not saying it’s going to be legit”. It is not immediately clear what exactly he meant.
5:27PM: Asked why he supposes the majority of Democrat voters polled respond that they are not confident in his mental fitness, Biden replied “I don’t know” and quickly moved on. He commented a few minutes later that he does not believe the polls.
5:32PM: Biden says he hopes the “new normal” will be that everyone is vaccinated against COVID. He hopes pills being currently developed will be accessible and keep illness less severe. He says just vaccinating the USA is not enough and that his administration will keep commitments to help vaccinate the entire world. He did not comment on potential future restrictions despite being asked.
That wraps up our live updates! Thanks for joining 1600 Daily on our first foray into live events. Please feel free to continue commenting below.