President Biden kicked off his very first press conference, held 65 days into his White House term, by delivering a range of remarks that should have been the stuff of his State of the Union — that he never held — before fielding a few questions on immigration, the border, and why he was much better than Donald Trump on the immigration and border.
It went like this: I’m great. I’ve been doing great things. I’m going to keep doing all this great stuff. “Help is here, hope is on the way.” Now can I take your questions about how great I am?
Swing, batter, batter. Swing.
Question 1: How are you going to beat back all those nasty Republicans?
“The guns and the other things,” he said, “what we’re going to be able to do, God willing, is focus on those things. … But the fundamental problem is getting people some peace of mind so they can go to bed at night and not stare at the ceiling.”
Biden the Great: Making Americans Sleep Again.
“The Republicans are going to have to decide whether to work together,” he went on, “or divide the country.”
The softball of all softballs: Mr. President, you’ve been saying over and over again that migrants shouldn’t come to this country.
“The reason they’re coming is … the circumstances in-country,” Biden said. “The way to deal with this problem … ” umm, is because Donald Trump “shut down beds,” and “dismantled all of that,” and so “what we’re doing is trying to rebuild that.”
Then he added: “And I’d like to think it’s because I’m a nice guy.”
Some other snippets: Mexico won’t take back the illegals who’ve come to America, “but they’re all going back,” he said. He repeated it, so you know it’s true.
And this, an explanation of how the White House is fighting traffickers at the border: “The vast majority of [those children] who come to the United States, come with a telephone number on their wrist,” he said. “We’ve set up a system now that within 24 hours, there’s a phone call made.”
(The logic being if the trafficker answers, they know the child doesn’t have permission from their mother to be at the border.)
On the filibuster: “I think we should go back to the system we had when I came to the Senate 120 years ago,” he said.
Then there was something about people being tired of talking, and filibusters breaking down, and the need to move in that direction, “like the right to vote, like the basic right to vote” — “but here’s the deal, as you observe, I’m a fairly practical guy. I want to get things done.”
He then did some speedy math and concluded the need for 50 votes.
“I’m going to say something outrageous,” he went on. “I’ve never been particularly … [something-something-something] … well anyway, we’re going to get [stuff] done.” That’s a direct quote.
And then: “OK. Well. Hang on. OK. Sorry.”
It went on some more painful minutes. It went on for far too many wandering minutes.
And one particularly uncomfortable remark? The part where Biden said he is a “great respecter of fate” and that he can’t plan for anything three, four, more years down the road. It’d be much better for a president of the United States to, umm, have a plan, yes?
But here’s the kicker: The world is watching. Some in the world may be laughing. But more in the world are rubbing their hands with glee, watching the odd, meandering and baffling performance of what’s supposed to be the somber speech of most powerful man in the universe — and plotting how to exploit his weakness.
Which puts America at serious national security risk.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE. Her latest book, “Socialists Don’t Sleep: Christians Must Rise Or America Will Fall,” is available by clicking HERE.
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