FORMER President Donald Trump accused President Joe Biden of choosing reporters to deliver “softball questions” during his press conference Wednesday.
President Biden spoke at a White House press conference for the first time in 10 months on Wednesday, the final day of his first year in the Oval Office.
Donald Trump issued a statement during the conference claiming that Biden was reading the answers to “softball questions,” a phrase he’s used before.
“How come Biden picks a reporter off a list, in all cases softball questions, and then reads the answer?” Trump’s statement reads.
For the first hour of the conference, Biden called on reporters from a list in a binder.
However, after a question by CNN’s Jeff Zeleny, Biden began calling on reporters at random.
When Fox News’s Peter Doocy asked why Biden was trying so hard to “pull the country so far to the left,” Biden responded while laughing.
“You guys have been trying to convince me that I’m Bernie Sanders,” Biden said.
“I’m not. I like him. I’m not Bernie Sanders. I’m not a socialist. I’m a mainstream Democrat.”
Biden spoke for almost two hours as he highlighted his administration’s accomplishments during a “year of challenges,” saying that his administration had made “enormous progress.”
When asked if he overpromised on his first year in office, he said he “probably outperformed” though his popularity with Americans continues to slip.
According to the poll, just 40 percent of people approve of Biden’s performance, while 56 percent disapprove.
Read our Joe Biden press conference live blog for the latest news and updates…
Biden reacts to Senate’s decision
Following his press conference today, President Biden tweeted his reaction to the Senate’s failure to pass The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.
“I am profoundly disappointed that the Senate has failed to stand up for our democracy,” Biden said in his tweet.
Biden highlights progress in first year
President Joe Biden began his news conference on Wednesday by highlighting some of his administration’s accomplishments in the year since Inauguration Day.
He said his team has created 6.4 million jobs, the biggest year of job creation in American history.
He also addressed climate change, saying the US rejoined the Paris Agreement, rallied the world to tackle climate change, doubled electric vehicle sales, deployed more wind and solar than ever before, advanced environmental justice, among other steps.
Biden, senators discuss Ukraine
President Joe Biden had a virtual meeting on Wednesday with a group of senators to discuss the Russian military amassing at Ukraine’s borders.
The group of senators just returned from a Congressional delegation to Ukraine, where they met with Ukrainian leadership and affirmed the United States’ support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, a White House news release said.
Biden and the senators talked about ways the US can continue to support Ukraine to resolve the current crisis.
Biden will keep working closely with Congress as his administration prepares to impose “significant consequences” in response to any further Russian aggression against Ukraine, the White House statement said.
Biden’s inflation approach
More than two-thirds of Americans (69 percent) disapprove of how President Biden is handling inflation, a ABC/Ipsos poll found.
Only 28 percent approve of how he’s handling inflation.
Meanwhile, more than half (57 percent) disapprove of his handling of economic recovery.
Republicans strongly disapprove (with a whopping 94 percent), but the survey also noted that just a slim majority of Democrats (54 percent) approve.
As for independent voters, 71 percent disapprove of his handling of inflation.
Is Jen Psaki leaving the White House?
The communications expert told CNN’s David Axelrod the Biden administration was made aware of this beforehand.
When did Joe Biden become president?
President Joe Biden took office on January 20, 2021.
He is the 46th president to serve the United States.
Job performance poll
In the more recent Morning Consult and Politico poll, 40percent of people said they approved of President Biden’s job performance, while 56percent disapproved.
Voters gave Biden an average “C+” for overall job performance at the one-year mark of his presidency, compared with the “C-” former President Donald Trump received four years ago.
‘I don’t believe the polls’
A reporter asked President Joe Biden about recent polls indicating his approval rating has dropped.
Biden replied on Wednesday, “I don’t believe the polls.”
Biden on Supreme Court decision
President Biden said on Wednesday that he thought the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down his vaccine or test rule for employers was a mistake.
He said thousands of corporations have implemented the policy anyway.
The court’s decision sidelined a component of the president’s Covid-19 strategy targeting the national vaccination rate.
It has been stuck at around 60percent of the US population for months, USA Today reported.
Possible Russian sanctions
President Biden said the extent of consequences for Russia would depend on the size of any incursion into the Ukraine.
Possible “severe economic consequences” for Russia could include limiting its ability to do financial transactions, Biden said.
“Their banks will not be able to deal with dollars.”
Russia ‘will be held accountable’
President Biden said on Wednesday that there could be severe economic consequences if Russia invades Ukraine.
He said he has had “very frank discussions” with Russian President Vladimir Putin and remains in communication with the United States’ European allies.
Biden added that it would be a “disaster for Russia” if Putin invades its former Soviet neighbor.
Timing of Build Back Better plan
Biden told reporters that he believes important parts of the economic package will be passed before the 2022 midterm elections.
He said he believes voters will back Democrats if they are fully educated on what needs to be done.
He plans to spend more time engaging with the public and becoming “deeply-involved” in off-year elections, he said at the news conference.
Biden grilled on Russia, Build Back Better
Reporters repeatedly asked President Biden about action against Russia in response to the country’s aggression toward Ukraine.
He also revealed he believes he will have to break up his Build Back Better plan in order to get chunks passed amid opposition.
President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference in the East Room of the White HouseCredit: EPA
Biden blasts Republicans
President Biden touted successes of his first year in office while also drawing attention to the challenges he’s faced with Republicans.
“I did not anticipate that there would be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done,” Biden said.
“Think about this: What are Republicans for? What are they for?”
Biden on Build Back Better challenges
President Joe Biden said there are two components of his Build Back Better plan that he’s not sure he will be able to get into the package — help for cost of community college and the child care tax credit.
“They are massive things that I have run on and care a great deal about,” he said.
Biden on 2024 running mate
President Biden fielded a question about seeking reelection in 2024.
He told reporters that Vice President Kamala Harris will run with him again, and that she’s “doing a good job” on voting rights.
Biden ‘very concerned’ about Russia
Several questions from reporters have surrounded the conflict in Ukraine as Russian military has amassed at its borders.
Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “I think he still does not want any full-blown war.”
“Do I think he’ll test the West? Test the United States and NATO as significantly as he can? Yes, I think he will.”
Second solo news conference at White House
The Wednesday news briefing is the second time President Biden has held a formal, solo news conference at the White House.
The first was held on March 25, 2021.
Biden has held nine formal news conferences, the lowest number since former President Ronald Reagan, ABC News reported while citing data from a University of California Santa Barbara project.
Biden asked about scaling Build Back Better
When discussing the Build Back Better plan, Biden told an ABC News correspondent that he doesn’t see a need to scale back the agenda.
“I’m not asking for castles in the sky,” Biden said.
“I’m asking for practical things the American people have been asking for for a long time, a long time. And I think we can get it done.”
Biden on second year in office
President Joe Biden was asked if he is satisfied and whether he plans to do anything differently in his second year in office.
“I am satisfied with the team. There’s three things I will do differently,” he said.
Biden said he wants to leave the White House and engage with the public more now that several hurdles are out of the way.
The second item involves seeking more advice from outside experts.
The last measure Biden said he wants to take is becoming deeply involved in off year elections, from raising money to making the case for what has been done and what needs to be done.
‘It will get better’
Early in his address, President Biden acknowledged the ongoing effects of the pandemic and vowed to continue fighting the coronavirus.
“After almost two years of physical, emotional and psychological impact of this pandemic, for many of us, it’s been too much to bear,” Biden said.
“Some people may call what’s happening now ‘the new normal.’ I call it a job not yet finished. It will get better.”
Midterm elections ‘report card’
President Biden addressed comments from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell about the midterm elections serving as a report card for Biden.
“I think the report card is going to look pretty good,” Biden said.
“I actually like Mitch McConnell. We like one another, but he has one straightforward objective. Make sure that there’s nothing I do that makes me look good … with the public at large.”
Voting rights legislation
When asked if he thinks results of the midterm elections will be fair, Biden said it depends on the circumstances surrounding counting and certifying results.
CBS News reports the Democrats’ voting rights legislation is likely to fail on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of Senators have discussed reforming the Electoral Count Act, which governs the way Congress certifies Electoral College votes.
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