Mar 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

New Biden goal overshadowed

President Biden holds his first formal news conference as president in the East Room of the White House.
President Biden holds his first formal news conference as president in the East Room of the White House. Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters

President Joe Biden came to his first press conference eager to talk about COVID-19, but was instead repeatedly asked about other growing crises.

The big picture: Biden opened with a prepared statement pledging to provide 200 million vaccines in his first 100 days, doubling his previous goals.

  • He then found himself answering multiple questions on the border, hinting that he may be willing to end the filibuster and giving every indication that he plans to run for re-election.
  • He essentially pleaded for time to fix a border situation that he said President Trump left in tatters.
Note: Because of reporting delays in CDC data, the real counts only go through March 19, 2021; Data: CDC; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Highlights from Biden, via Axios' Zachary Basu:

  1. Rejected the notion that the surge in migrants at the U.S. border is because he's a "nice guy" who is soft on immigration, insisting it "happens every year."
  2. Tore into Republican efforts to restrict voting in states like Georgia, calling it "pernicious," "un-American" and "sick."
  3. Called Chinese President Xi Jinping a "smart, smart guy" who "doesn't have a democratic bone in his body."
  4. Said it's his "plan" to run for re-election and that he "fully expects" Vice President Harris to be his running mate.
  5. Acknowledged that it would be "hard" to meet the May 1 deadline that the Trump administration negotiated with the Taliban to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

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