Biden defends presidency, blames GOP and Trump for agenda failures at presser

by mcardinal

Chris Lange, FISM News


President Biden defended the first year of his presidency Wednesday, saying he hasn’t “overpromised” but, rather, “overperformed” during his first year in office, claiming that no other incoming president faced as many issues as he has since taking office. 

“Do you think any president has done as much in one year? Name one,” he challenged during the rare solo press conference that lasted nearly two hours. “I don’t think there has been much on any incoming president’s plate that has been a bigger menu than the plate I have,” he continued. “I’m not complaining. I knew that. And the fact of the matter is, we got an awful lot done. An awful lot done.’ 

Biden also touted his administration’s handling of COVID-19, pointing to the rising number of Americans who have taken the vaccine, while admitting he should have done more testing early. 

‘It’s been a year of challenges but also been a year of enormous progress,’ Biden said.

Biden also confirmed rumors that he will likely break his stalled Build Back Better bill down into smaller chunks with the hope of passing at least some portions of the massive social welfare and climate change bill. The president went on to blame the GOP and former President Donald Trump for blocking his legislative efforts, saying some Republicans have secretly told him they are on his side but are too fearful of reprisal to voice public support for his agenda.

“Would you even think that one man out of office could intimidate an entire party where they’re unwilling to take any move contrary to what he thinks should be taken for fear of being defeated in the primary?” he asked rhetorically, referring to Trump.

Biden went on to say he was unprepared for Republicans’ “stalwart effort” to make sure he “didn’t get anything done.” 

“Think about this. What are Republicans for? What are they for? Name me one thing they’re for,” Biden demanded. “[What] I haven’t been able to do so far is get my Republican friends to get in the game and making things better in this country.” 

On the subject of escalating tensions with Russia, the President acknowledged that Moscow will likely “move in” on Ukraine, raising eyebrows when he said the U.S.’s response to a potential Russian invasion would depend on the size of the attack and whether it was more than a “minor incursion,” signaling that America is willing to tolerate even more aggression from Moscow towards the West’s Eastern ally. 

Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, who just returned for a trip to the Ukraine, called Biden’s comment “deeply troubling.”

“Joe Biden’s impotence emboldened Vladimir Putin and now he just green-lighted Putin to invade Ukraine,” tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).

The White House later attempted to clean up Biden’s remarks, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying the U.S. response to an invasion would be “swift, severe, and united.” Russia has already amassed troops numbering 100,000 and military hardware at Ukraine’s southern border and this week sent jet fighters and additional soldiers into neighboring Belarus amid stalled talks with the West.

Biden addressed the nation’s flailing economy by blaming record-high inflation on the pandemic and the actions of the Federal Reserve as he continued to downplay empty shelves in stores across the country that have made it difficult for Americans to purchase items they need.

“I often see empty shelves being shown on television. 89% are full. Which is only a few points below what it was before the pandemic.” he said, adding, “Our work is not done.’ 

The commander-in-chief defiantly defended his administration’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal which drew harsh bipartisan criticism at the time, saying, “I make no apologies for what I did.’

Following his prepared remarks, Biden took questions from 24 reporters in the room, during which he repeatedly looked at his watch. During the Q&A session he brushed off a question about polls showing that a majority of Americans question his cognitive fitness to hold the office of the president, saying ‘I have no idea’ where that comes from. 

No longer assisted by the teleprompter, the president seemed at times to lose track of his thoughts, occasionally stumbling over his words. He grew testy when asked about his divisive voting rights speech in Atlanta earlier this month during which he compared Republicans to well-known white supremacists. “Go back and read what I said,” he snapped.

Asked by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy why he has pushed so hard “to pull the country to the left” in his first year in office, Biden responded, “I’m not. I don’t know what you consider to be too far left. You guys keep trying to convince me I’m Bernie Sanders. I’m not Bernie Sanders. I’m a mainstream Democrat.”

Despite President Biden’s assurances that his first year in office has been a success, a recent NBC poll found that 7 out of 10 Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. 

A four-minute recap of the press conference can be viewed here.