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Biden press conference: President stirs controversy on border, China and Trump and vows to run in 2024

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Joe Sommerlad,Justin Vallejo
Thursday 25 March 2021 23:29 GMT
Joe Biden says he’ll run for a second term in 2024

On the 65th day of his presidency, Joe Biden held his first formal press conference since entering the White House on 20 January.

In the hour-long Q&A, Biden courted controversy on migration at the Mexico border, the US relationship with China, and the potential to face off against Trump in 2024 in a rematch that see two oldest presidential candidates in US history (Biden 82 v Trump 78).

Of the 15 presidents of the past 100 years, all but for Biden have held a press conference within 33 days of being sworn into office. Donald Trump did it 27 days in, while Barack Obama outdid Trump by a week at 20 days.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the company's role in polarising the US, blaming the "political and media environment" for promoting extremism and misinformation. His opening statement in the Senate big tech hearing came after a cutout of the Facebook boss dressed as the “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley appeared on Capitol Hill before Congress began grilling the social media platforms.

Kayleigh McEnany, former White House press secretary to Mr Trump, has meanwhile appeared on Fox News to claim Joe Biden is in “badly declining” health and is concealing his condition behind a Covid face mask, a baseless smear intended to undermine his first press conference as president, where questions on immigration, the coronavirus vaccine rollout, infrastructure and gun control are likely to be forthcoming.

His vice president, Kamala Harris, is also already facing criticism from Republicans Ted Cruz and Doug Ducey, Arizona’s governor, after being appointed to lead the country’s response to the latest surge in asylum seekers arriving at the US border with Mexico as the administration struggles to find temporary housing for hundreds of unaccompanied children.

Read more:


Biden says immigrants coming now because they have ‘least chance of dying’

"It's the time they can travel with the least likelihood of dying on the way," he said.

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 17:42

Biden says holding children at border patrol station ‘not acceptable’

Joe Biden says the White House is working on reducing populations of children in circumstances that are not acceptable.

“Like being held at a border patrol station,” he said.

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 17:45

Biden tells child migrants he won’t leave them in Mexico to ‘starve to death’

Asked if his messaging was encouraging migrants to come to the US, Biden said he wouldn’t leave them in Mexico.

“The idea that I’m going to say, which I would never do, if an unaccompanied child turns up at the border, we’re just going to let them starve to death and stay on the other side, no previous administration did that either, except Trump,” Biden said.

“I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to do it.”

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 17:51

‘Totally unacceptable’ Biden says of overcrowded border facilities

Asked if migrant border facilities operating at 1556 per cent capacity with kids packed on floors without seeing the Sun in days, Joe Biden asked if the question was a joke.

“That’s a serious question, right? Is it acceptable to me? Come on,” Biden said.

“That’s why we’re going to move a thousand of those kids out quickly.”

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 17:55

Biden won’t commit to Afghanistan troop withdrawal, but should be out before end of year

“We will leave. The question is when we will leave,” Biden said.

When asked if troops would be there next year, he said “I can’t see that being the case”.

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 17:57

Biden won’t commit to diplomacy with North Korea unless they promise to give up nuclear weapons

Asked how the US would respond to North Korea missile tests, Biden said they were open to diplomacy but only if the state commits to getting rid of its nuclear weapons.

“There will be responses if they choose to escalate, we will respond accordingly, but I’m also prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it has to be conditioned on the end result of denuclearization,” Biden said.

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 18:02

‘It’s sick’: Biden says of state voting reforms

“What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is, it’s sick, it’s sick, deciding in some states that you cannot bring water to people standing in line waiting to vote?” Biden said.

“Deciding that you’re going to end voting at 5pm when working people are just getting off work?”

The president shouted into the microphone that “The Republican voters I know find this despicable.’

“This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle. This is gigantic,” he said.

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 18:04

‘God I miss him’, Biden says of Trump as he confirms he’ll run for a second term in 2024

Asked if he would be running again in 2024 since he hadn’t already set up a re-election campaign as Donald Trump had by this time, Biden said he misses that guy.

“My predecessor needed to, my predecessor, oh God I miss him,” Biden said. “My answer is yes, I plan to run for reelection that’s my expectation.”

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 18:07

Biden appears to waiver on running in 2024 run

Asked again about running in 2024, Joe Biden said it was his “expectation” but then went on to say it was too far away to tempt fate.

“Look I don’t know where you guys come from man. I’ve never been able to travel. I’m a great respecter of fate. I haven’t been able to plan four and a half, three and a half, years ahead for certain,” he said.

He said he would fully expect Kamala Harris would be on the ticket, but when asked if he expected to face Trump, he said he didn’t know.

“I have no idea if there’ll be a Republican party. Do you?” he said.

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 18:14

Biden finishes first press conference

The event lasted for about an hour. Expect to see reaction on his performance begin to roll in.

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 18:31

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