President Biden delivered his highly-anticipated first news conference as commander-in-chief on Thursday, amid a backdrop of a border crisis, two mass shootings, a pandemic, and other political drama.
There were a number of interesting moments in the back-and-forth between Biden and the media, but here are the ones that top the list:
Biden says he expects to run in 2024 but doesn’t commit 100%
“My answer is yes. I plan on running for reelection. That’s my expectation,” Biden said when asked if he was planning on seeking a second term.
Asked again to commit to running again 100%, Biden said he was a big believer in “fate” and had no idea what would happen in the next three and a half years. In 2024, Biden will turn 82.
Asked if he believes he’d be running against former President Trump, Biden replied: “Oh, come on. I don’t even think about — I have no idea. I have no idea if there will be a Republican Party. Do you?”
Biden says migrant families at border ‘should all be going back’
Much of the hour-long news briefing focused on immigration and overwhelmed detention facilities at the border.
“Some families are not going back because Mexico is refusing to take them back. Some, not all,” Biden said. “We’re in negotiations with Mexico. That’s going to change. They should all be going back,” he continued.
In February, about 59% of migrant families were allowed to remain in the U.S. pending a final decision on whether they will be removed under a separate provision called Title 8.
Biden makes ‘no apologies’ for ending Trump-era immigration policies
Biden was asked whether he had rolled back the policies of his predecessor “too quickly.”
“First of all, all the policies that were underway were not helping at all, did not slow up the amount of immigration,” Biden said. “Rolling back the policies of separating children from their mothers? Make no apology for that.”
“Rolling back the policies of “Remain in Mexico,’ sitting on the edge of the Rio Grande in a muddy circumstance with not enough to eat? I make no apologies for that,” Biden said. “I make no apologies for ending programs that did not exist before Trump became president that have an incredibly negative impact on the law — international law — as well as on human dignity.”
Biden announces new vaccine goal
Biden said the new goal for his administration was 200 million vaccines administered in 100 days. The original goal was 100 million, which the U.S. hit last week.
Biden says he agrees filibuster is ‘Jim Crow relic,’ might back changes
Biden said the 60-vote hurdle in the Senate was being “abused in a gigantic way.”
He said he agreed with former President Barack Obama’s assessment that the filibuster was a “Jim Crow relic.”
Biden said Thursday he “strongly support[s]” reforming the silent filibuster to a “talking” filibuster where senators who want to block legislation would have to hold the floor by talking endlessly. He cited statistics that there were just 58 motions to break a filibuster from 1917 to 1971, but just last year, there were “five times that many.” Democrats in the minority invoked the filibuster in most instances.
“If we have to, if there’s complete lockdown and chaos as a consequence of the filibuster, then we’ll have to go beyond what I’m talking about,” Biden said.
Biden, asked about gun control, pivots to infrastructure
Biden was asked when he will fulfill campaign promises of pushing gun control through Congress. “It’s a matter of timing,” the president said.
“As you all have observed, successful presidents, better than me, have been successful in large part because they know how to time what they’re doing.”
Biden then said his “next major initiative” is to rebuild infrastructure, adding that he’ll announce that plan in Pittsburgh on Friday.