The president fielded a number of questions about issues ranging from gun control to immigration
President Joe Biden on Thursday held his first formal press conference since taking office more than two months ago. He faced a number of questions on hot-button issues, such as the border crisis, gun control and the filibuster.
During his initial remarks, the president doubled his goal of vaccinations to 200 million within his first 100 days in office. This comes after Biden’s earlier goal of 100 million coronavirus vaccinations was met last Friday. (Notably, not a single reporter present asked the president about the coronavirus pandemic.)
Check out some of the other highlights from the conference below.
Biden signaled he would consider making significant changes to the legislative filibuster in the Senate if it continues to be a legislative roadblock. “It’s being abused in a gigantic way,” he told reporters. Specifically, he said he “strongly” backs restoring a talking filibuster (more on what that means here).
In light of the Colorado shooting, the president said the key to action on gun control is “timing,” before pivoting to discussing his infrastructure plan, which he said would be his administration’s next priority.
Biden fielded numerous questions about the recent surge of unaccompanied minors and migrants at the border. During one exchange with a reporter, Biden said he makes “no apologies” for rolling back former President Trump’s immigration policies, particularly concerning family separations and “Remain in Mexico.”
The president also promised transparency at the border amid journalists’ complaints about the inaccessibility of facilities there. But he made it clear that this would happen when he has more of a plan in place, which has yet to be determined.
Biden blasted efforts by Republican state lawmakers to limit voting rights, calling such actions “sick” and “unAmerican.”
“This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle,” he said.
Biden detailed current relations between the U.S. and China, saying he wants competition — not confrontation — with the country in light of its ambitions on the world stage.
“I see stiff competition with China,” Biden said. “They have an overall goal to be the leading country in the world.“That’s not going to happen on my watch.”
The president also addressed the continued presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He said it would be difficult to stick with the May 1 deadline to withdraw U.S. troops, saying he wants it done in a “safe” and “orderly” way. Still, he struggled to give an exact timeline on a withdrawal, only saying he couldn’t picture troops being there next year.
The president didn’t rule out running for president again in 2024. He said he planned to make another bid — with Vice President Kamala Harris on the ticket.
Written and reported by Tess Bonn.