WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) – President Joe Biden held a rare press conference at the White House on Wednesday night on the eve of his one-year anniversary in office. Biden was defiant, reflective, and hopeful in his marathon presser, which lasted a historic one hour and fifty-three minutes.
The President called on 24 different journalists and laid out his optimistic vision for the months ahead with the midterm elections looming in November.
Here are five standout moments from Biden’s press conference:
Biden concedes his missteps with Covid testing
Before his term began, Biden said his administration would ultimately be judged on how he handled the global pandemic that has upended many of our lives over the past two years. The President has accomplishments on this matter with over 70 percent of the country vaccinated, the economy is on the rise, and the majority of schools are back open.
However, his shortcomings have been centered around testing. His administration has been hit by critics for not doing enough when it comes to ensuring every American who wants a test can get one. Long lines of cars around the country and frustrated Americans have seen Biden’s poll numbers drop.
“Should we have done more testing earlier? Yes. But we’re doing more now,” he said. “Some people may call what’s happening now a ‘new normal.’ I call it a job not yet finished. It will get better, we’re moving toward a time when COVID-19 won’t disrupt our daily lives.”
The ongoing situation in Russia and Ukraine was a major topic at Wednesday’s press conference. Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin has “never seen the sanctions like the ones I have promised” if Russia invades Ukraine.
He added he believes Putin will invade and said there would be NATO disagreement if there was a “minor incursion.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki released a statement to clarify Biden’s comments: “President Biden has been clear with the Russian President: If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies,” it read. “President Biden also knows from long experience that the Russians have an extensive playbook of aggression short of military action, including cyberattacks and paramilitary tactics. And he affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response.”
Losing the Black vote?
NBC’s Kristen Welker asked Biden about keeping his promise to the African American community, referencing his victory speech after the election was called when he said he would “always have the backs” of the Black community after they carried him to the White House.
This is an issue close to Biden’s heart after he was endorsed by his friend, South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn, following a string of primary losses during the campaign and Black voter turnout surged him to winning the nomination.
“The fact is that there is a timing that is not of one’s own choices,” Biden said. “They are dictated by events that are happening in the country and around the world.”
Biden added he has not been in the community nearly enough and vowed to change that over the course of the coming year.
The President said Wednesday one thing he was surprised by during his first year in office is the fact the Republicans continue their opposition, something they did to his former boss, former President Barack Obama.
“I did not anticipate that there’d be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done,” Biden said.
The line appears to be the start of his midterm election campaign, painting the GOP as the party with no new ideas, instead just lining up behind former President Donald Trump, and the Democrats are doing work for the country.
“Name me one thing they’re for,” he said.