President Joe Biden made plenty of news at his first press conference since taking office. He said he expects to run for reelection in 2024. He made clear that his next legislative priority is infrastructure. And he offered a blunt assessment of a key global adversary, Chinese leader Xi Jinping: “He doesn’t have a democratic bone in his body ... but he’s a smart, smart guy.”
There were some snarky asides about former President Donald Trump and the GOP. “No idea” if the party will even exist by 2024, President Biden said.
But the focus was on today’s most pressing issues. Mr. Biden set a new goal of 200 million COVID-19 vaccination shots in his first 100 days, up from 100 million, in keeping with a time-honored political strategy: underpromise and overdeliver.
He decried the filibuster, a Senate procedure that effectively requires a 60-vote supermajority on most legislation – and could block much of Mr. Biden’s agenda going forward, as today’s lead article explains. He emoted about the unaccompanied children arriving by the hundreds daily at the U.S.-Mexico border, promising “hope is on the way.”
Why Mr. Biden waited so long to “meet the press” in a formal setting – longer than any new president in a century – is open to conjecture. By delaying, analysts say, he raised the stakes needlessly and opened himself up to questions about transparency.
But chances are, White House reporters care more about this issue than do average Americans, who are busy with work and family.
And now that Mr. Biden’s first press conference is over, about an hour without any gaffes to speak of, perhaps he won’t wait so long for the second.