President Biden held a press conference on Wednesday as the nation nears one year of his presidency. He claimed repeatedly that he doesn't know what Republicans stand for.
In answer to the first question, about if he had "overpromised" during his first year, he said "I don't think I've overpromised at all and we'll stay on this track."
Biden blamed Republicans, claiming that they don't stand for anything. "Name me one thing they're for." And as to his first year in office, he said "We passed a lot. We passed a lot of things that people don't even understand what's all that's in it, understandably."
After he slammed Republicans, claiming that he didn't know what they were in favor of, a reporter from ABC asked if he was concerned that the two biggest difficulties he currently faces are from his own party. He then claimed that Americans "overwhelmingly agree" with him on a heap of unpopular proposals. Biden said he would be out "on the road" to "make the case" for the "practical things the American people have been asking for for a long time."
He said he'd gotten proposals done "bigger than any president has ever gotten." He pressed for the passage of legislation he's been advocating for, his sweeping election bills that would bring states' voting laws under federal control, as well as the Build Back Better plan.
When asked if the "upcoming election would be fairly conducted and the results would be legitimate," he said it "all depends on whether or not we're able to make the case to the American people that some of this is trying to be set up to alter the upcoming election. And it's one thing—look. Maybe I'm just being too much of an optimist."
"If in fact, no matter how hard they make it for minorities to vote, I think you're going to see them standing in line and defy the attempt to keep them from being able to vote," he said.
"But it's going to be difficult," he said, "but we're not there yet."
In response to a later question about voting legislation, he said that "I think that there are a number things that we can do but I think we also will be able to get significant pieces of the legislation if we don't get it all now to build to get it so that we get a big chunk of the John Lewis legislation as well as the fair elections."
A question from Kristen Welker on voting rights and black voters received a response from Biden that he's "had their back for his entire career." The reason he didn't push the John Lewis voting bill 6 months ago is "because there's a timing that is not of one's own choice" and that when policies are pushed is dictated by circumstances outside of his control, both domestically and internationally.
Biden said he should be spending less time in Washington and more time out in the community where people can get a sense of who he is. He said he "still has very close working relationships" with the members of the Black Caucus.
When asked "are you satisfied with her work on this issue?" Welker asked about Harris' work on voting rights, and if the VP would remain his running mate, Biden said "Yes and yes."
"I feel badly about a whole range of things around the world, that we can't solve every problem," Biden said. And he said "I make no apologies" for the disastrous Afghanistan pull-out.
As to a question on schools closing due to COVID, he whispered into the mic "very few schools are closing." And he slammed media for reporting too much on the school closures, saying "95 percent of schools" are open.
Biden said that Vladimir Putin "has never seen sanctions like the ones I promised" if the nation moves against Ukraine. "Russia will be held accountable," he said. These sanctions include that "their banks not will not be able to deal in dollars."
Biden raised eyebrows when he suggested that the US may act differently if Russia is guilty of a "minor incursion."
As to the Supreme Court's overturning of vaccine mandates, Biden said they "made a mistake," and that he's confident businesses will uphold his wishes to require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Biden claimed that Republican senators don't vote with his legislation because they are afraid of being primaried by Mitch McConnell.
"Why are you trying so hard in your first year to pull the country so far to the left?" Fox News' Peter Doocy asked.
"Well, I'm not," Biden said, before listing off his leftist policies and discussing his attempts to enact them. "I'm a mainstream Democrat and I have been," he said.
James Rosen with Newsmax asked, toward the end of the conference, about a poll released from Politico, saying that many voters disagree with the statement: "Joe Biden is mentally fit." Biden didn't answer that question. Rosen asked a follow-up, "why do you suppose such a large segment of the American electorate have come to harbor such profound concerns about your cognitive fitness?"
"I have no idea," Biden said.
Before taking much anticipated questions from press, Biden touted his agenda and his massive spending plans. "I know there's a lot of frustration and fatigue in this country," he said, noting that COVID is still an issue, and is "cause for concern but not for panic."
"For many of us, it's been too much to bear. We're in a very different place now though," he said, vaccines, tests, masks, and pills are "tools to save likes and keep businesses and schools open." Biden claimed the administration would "stick with our vaccination efforts because vaccinations work," and encouraged boosters, more vaccinations, and for Americans to get tested for COVID.
"The bottom line on COVID-19 is that we're in a better place than we have been," he said, continuing to press his agenda, though explicitly saying that there would be no new lockdowns.
COVID is not "the new normal," he said, but "a job not yet finished. It will get better. We're moving toward a place where COVID-19 won't disrupt our daily lives," he said.
Biden addressed supply chain issues, saying he has a three-part plan. First, he said, he will "fix the supply chain." He also praised his "infrastructure law" to "make the economy move faster." And he said that his plan that has not passed, Build Back Better, would be essential to cut the costs of child care. "It would mean so much for the nearly 2 million women who've left the workforce during the pandemic." The third part of his plan is to "increase competition."
"Look, I'm a capitalist, but capitalism without competition is not capitalism it's exploitation," he said, noting that he's signed yet another executive order to legislate from the Oval Office directly.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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