First press conference after 64 days – Biden names a new vaccination target and differentiates himself from Trump


The US president waited a long time before he presented himself in detail to the media for the first time – too long, according to his critics. It was indicative of what Biden received no question about at his first press conference.

Waited 64 days before giving a press conference: US President Joe Biden in the East Room of the White House.
Waited 64 days before giving a press conference: US President Joe Biden in the East Room of the White House.

Photo: AFP

It may say a lot about the current corona situation in the USA that Joe Biden wasn’t asked a single question about it at his first press conference as president. The number of vaccinations administered is increasing, the number of new infections is falling, the number of unemployed is also falling – at least at the moment, all signs point to relaxation. From the point of view of the White House correspondents, the pandemic is no longer the most important topic. No controversy – no news.

The only one who mentioned Corona was therefore Biden himself, right at the beginning. He announced that 200 million vaccinations would be administered in the first 100 days of his tenure – a goal that the US should now easily achieve.

Then on Thursday in the White House it was all about the topics that Biden did not want to talk about. Above all: dhe situation on the southern border, currently being crossed by thousands of unaccompanied migrant children, many of whom are housed in overcrowded camps.

New tone towards China

The conditions in the camps, to which the US government actually does not allow the media access, are “unacceptable,” he admitted. He denied that the increase in migrants had anything to do with taking office. “You’re not coming because I’m a nice guy.” Even under Donald Trump, who treated migrants “without dignity”, thousands of people from Central America made their way north every spring.

The problem is that under Trump, the reception camps and transit centers were dismantled. “He tore everything down and we’re trying to rebuild it now.”

It wasn’t the only time that Biden stood out from his predecessor. He drew a sharp contrast when he answered a question about the relationship with China. China’s head of state Xi Jinping, like Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, believes that “autocracy is the wave of the future” – and democracy is an obsolete model.

Lots of excitement in advance

In contrast to Trump, however, he will push for human rights to be observed when dealing with China. “The moment a president shrinks, like the last did, is the moment we lose our legitimacy in the world,” said Biden.

With distance and masks: Journalists at Biden in the East Room of the White House.

With distance and masks: Journalists at Biden in the East Room of the White House.

Foto: AP Photo

In the run-up to the press conference, there was talk in the US media of a “minefield” waiting for him. It is not that Biden went underground beforehand. The president is currently traveling the country promoting his corona bailout package. He has given several TV interviews and almost every day he answers some questions about the news that reporters throw at him.

But what had been missing so far was a formal press conference to give journalists the opportunity to ask questions. Biden took 64 days to do this – longer than any of his predecessors.

Lowered expectations

It is questionable if this bothered most Americans. But for many in the In the Washington media bubble, this has recently been one of the most important issues, for some even a scandal.

Popular belief warThat Biden’s adviser doesn’t see the president in front of the press for so longchicken wantedbecause it rarely shines in such situations. Biden often gets confused and lost and occasionally forgets names. Fox News and other right-wing media often insinuate that the 78-year-old is senile and incapacitated.

In a way, these votes did Biden a favor, just as they did in the election campaign against Trump: They lowered expectations.

Because Biden stumbled only a few times, he answered most questions in a disciplined and solid manner, sometimes even aggressively, for example when he criticized the Republicans for their “un-American” and “sick” attempts to restrict the right to vote in many places. The press conference was over after an hour. Without a mine going off.

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