After 65 days in office, President Joe Biden’s handlers trotted him out for his first formal press conference and, unsurprisingly, the adoring and extremely supportive White House press corps debased themselves with an embarrassing affinity for the far-left administration and questions that largely steered the frail commander-in-chief rather than challenging him.
Biden’s staff provided him a list of reporters that began with the Associated Press’s Zeke Miller (and didn’t include the Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy). Just as he did during Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s first briefing, Miller embarrassed himself: “One of the defining challenges you face in the coming months is how to deliver on your promise to Americans on issues like immigration control, gun control, voting rights, climate change.”
Miller then asked: “All of those right now are facing stiff, united opposition from Republicans on Capitol Hill. How far are you willing to go to achieve those promises that you made to the American people?”
A few minutes later, Miller followed up by inquiring about whether Biden would be able to consider “your presidency be a success if you can't make progress on those four challenges.”
The most embarrassing questions came from the next reporter as MSNBC contributor and taxpayer-funded PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor gushed over how illegal immigrants see Biden as “a moral, decent man” and that’s why “a lot of immigrants are coming to this country and are trusting you with unaccompanied minors.”
After asking about how he’ll decide “which families can stay and which can go” and long answer from Biden, Alcindor’s second question lobbied him to ax the filibuster:
My follow-up question is, one, if you could talk a little bit about which families? Why they’re being allowed to stay? What the families that are allowed to stay? Why they're being allowed to stay? And in addition to that, when it comes to the filibuster, which is what Zeke was asking about, there’s — immigration is a big issue, of course, when it — related to the filibuster but there’s also Republicans who are passing bill after bill trying to restrict voting rights, Chuck Schumer calling it an existential threat to democracy. Why not back a filibuster rule that at least gets around issues, including voting rights or immigration? Jim Clyburn, someone, of course, who you know very well, has backed the idea of a filibuster rule when it comes to civil rights and voting rights?
The Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim came next and was only granted a short but sober question about where he stood on a filibuster threshold, but it was back to the immigration softballs with ABC’s Cecilia Vega telling him about a young boy he met at the border (click “expand”):
VEGA: I'd like to circle back to immigration, please. You just listed the reasons that people are coming, talking about in country problems, saying it happens every year. You blamed the last administration. Sir, I just got back last night from a reporting trip to the border when I met nine-year-old Josel [sic], walked near Honduras by himself along with another little boy. He had that phone number on him. We were able to call his family. His mother says that she sent her son to this country because she believes that you are not deporting unaccompanied minors like her son. That's why she sent him alone from Honduras. So, sir, you blamed the last administration, but in your messaging in saying that these children are, and will be allowed to stay in this country and work their way through this process encouraging families like Josel’s to come?
VEGA: A quick follow-up, if I may. Do you want to see these unaccompanied minors staying in this country? Or should they be deported eventually?
VEGA: You mentioned circumstances that must be horrific. The Customs and Border Protections facility in Texas, I was there, is at 1,556 percent capacity right now with mostly unaccompanied minors. There are kids sleeping on floors, they are packed into these pods. I spoke to lawyers who say that they — some of these children have not seen the sun in days. What's your reaction? What is your reaction to these images that have come out from that particular facility, is what's happening inside acceptable to you? And when is this going to be fixed?
BIDEN: Is — that’s a serious question, right? If it’s acceptable to me? Come on.
The next two reporters were actually serious as The Wall Street Journal’s Ken Thomas brought up Afghanistan and NBC’s Kristen Welker on the administration barring reporters from border detention facilities and the latest North Korean rocket launch.
The sanity didn’t last long as CBS’s Nancy Cordes quickly reverted back to sounding like a member of the House Progressive Caucus, fretting that “Republican legislators across the country are working to pass bills that would restricting voting” that could, in Cordes’s framing, result in Republicans cheating to win the 2022 midterms.
Cordes also asked about Biden running for election and how frequently he’s spoken with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), so nothing pressing on, say, China, the coronavirus, Russia, or schools.
CNN flack Kaitlan Collins went the superficial route, wasting time by peddling the company line on the filibuster and then Biden’s reelection (click “expand”):
COLLINS: I have a question for you but first I'd like to follow-up on a question from Yamiche and that’s on the filibuster.
BIDEN: That counts as a question. But go ahead.
COLLINS: Okay, I'll make it quick. It’s a quick question.
BIDEN: No, no, you can.
COLLINS: Regarding the filibuster, at John Lewis' funeral, President Barack Obama said he believed the filibuster was a relic of the Jim Crow era. Do you agree?
COLLINS: And if not, why not abolish it, if it's a relic of the Jim Crow era?
COLLINS: It sounds like you're moving closer to eliminating the filibuster. Is that correct?
BIDEN: I answered your question.
COLLINS: You also just made news saying you are going to run for re-election.
BIDEN: I said that is my expectation.
COLLINS: So is that a yes, you are running for re-election?
BIDEN: Look, I don't where you guys come from, man. I've never been able to travel. I’m a great respecter of faith. I’ve never been able plan three and a half, four years ahead for certain.
COLLINS: And if you do — and if you do run, will Vice President Harris be on your ticket?
BIDEN: I would fully expect that to be the case. She's doing a great job. She's a great partner. She’s a great partner.
COLLINS: And do you believe you'll be running against former President Trump?
Amazing how none of these supposedly ethical and esteemed reporters asked Biden about his previous support for said piece of America under Jim Crow, including this 2005 statement: “At its core, the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or a bill — it's about compromise and moderation.”
Biden would only call on two additional reporters, so time was of the essence. Bloomberg’s Justin Sink took the second to last spot and used two of three questions to talk about China with the first asking if he’ll sign off on new financial measures to penalize China for their “continued human rights abuses.”
Following Biden’s pro-China painting them as merely a competitor, he invited Biden to state whether he had decided what measures to take on gun control, including a “manufacturer liabilities bill,” “going after ghost guns or giving money to cities and states[.]”
Univision’s Janet Rodriguez served as the closer and had three questions on immigration, two of which were decent and the last being a softball framing Republicans as obstacles to solving the surge (click “expand”):
We too have been reporting at the border and just like Cecilia, we ran into a pair of siblings came in Monday, were detained by CBP, had the phone number for their number, who lives in the U.S. We have contacted the mother. That’s only way they know her kids are here, because CBP today, Thursday, has not contacted the mother. So, when can we expect your promise of things getting better with contacting and expediting the process?
As you well know, treating the root causes in Latin America doesn't change things overnight. How do you realistically and physically keep these families from coming to the U.S. when things will not get better in their countries right away?
If I may ask one last question. Have you had any talks with Senate Republicans, who are threatening this administration with not considering the immigration legislation that was passed in the House until the situation at the border has been resolved?
Following his last answer, Biden announced: “Folks, I’m going.”
And with that, this joke of a press conference came to a merciful end. Just think that we waited 65 days for this and, for anyone who expected anything close to the opposite of what took place, the joke is on you.
To see the full transcript of the questions from the March 25 presser, click here.