Recap Of President Biden’s Marathon Press Conference

President Joe Biden held a nearly 2-hour press conference at the White House on Wednesday, one day before the anniversary of his first year in office, to tout his administration’s job numbers, pandemic relief policies and massive infrastructure legislation.

“It’s been a year of challenges,” Biden said, acknowledging that he “didn’t anticipate” the level of obstruction he has encountered from Republicans in Congress, but he added that “it’s also been a year of enormous progress.”

The start of Biden’s term has been marked so far by his championship of a $1.2 trillion Covid-19 relief package that helped ease some of the financial devastations that the pandemic brought on so many families, schools and businesses.

The unemployment rate fell from more than 6% when Biden took office to 3.9%, the largest single-year drop on record, and he advanced the nationwide rollout of vaccines.

“We went from 2 million people being vaccinated at the moment I was sworn in, to 210 million Americans being fully vaccinated today,” Biden said. “We created six million new jobs — more jobs in one year than any time before.”

Biden also heralded his $1.2 trillion infrastructure legislation, a historically massive plan that seeks to repair dilapidated infrastructure and combat climate change.

“For all this progress, I know there’s a lot of frustration and fatigue in this country, and we know why — Covid-19,” Biden said.

Biden acknowledged the strain a lack of available testing has put on the country as cases of the omicron variant surge and overwhelm hospitals.

“Should we have done more testing earlier? Yes. But we’re doing more now,” Biden said.

On COVID-19

Biden noted that 75% of adults are vaccinated in the U.S. However, he admitted that the omicron variant had caused problems.

“Some people may call what’s happening now a ‘new normal.’ I call it a job not yet finished,” Biden said. “It will get better. We’re moving toward a time when COVID-19 won’t disrupt our daily lives.”

On the economy

“I often see empty shelves being shown on television. 89 percent are full. Which is only a few points below what it was before the pandemic,” Biden said.

Biden said his Build Back Better agenda, which has stalled in Congress, would help the economy. Biden said he is open to breaking up part of the bill to get some of it passed.

“I’m confident we can get pieces, big chunks of the Build Back Better law signed into law,” he said.

On bipartisanship

Biden said that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has a goal of making “sure that there’s nothing I do that makes me look good.”

During the press conference, Biden was asked whether his stalled agenda is a sign that he is not fighting hard enough for certain voters, particularly those in the Black community.

“I’ve had their back, and I’ve had their back my entire career. I’ve never not had their backs,” Biden said.

On the Russia-Ukraine conflict

“My guess is he will move in,” Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the crisis brewing between his country and Ukraine.

Biden said that Russia would be “held accountable if it invades” but appeared to imply that a “minor incursion” would illicit a less significant response.

“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, et cetera,” Biden said. “But if Russia launches a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, this would be a “disaster for Russia.”

You can watch what turned out to be the longest press conference in presidential history in full below.

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