In Milwaukee, Biden Offers Reassurance, and Tries to Avoid Mention of ‘the Former Guy’
Washington – In his first official visit away from Washington since he took office, President Biden on Tuesday assured Americans of the availability of coronovirus vaccines and optimism that his 1.9 trillion relief bill is a kind of ambitious plan that May restore the American economy.
“Now is the time we should spend,” he said at a CNN town hall in Milwaukee, promoting the plan that Congress has so far had no Republican support. “It’s time to go big.”
On coronovirus, he said that every American who wanted a vaccine would be able to get “one” by the end of July this year. A more optimistic note sounded when he warned, compared to last week This logistical obstacle would most likely be that many Americans are still not vaccinated until late summer.
“We’ll take more than 600 million doses – enough to vaccinate every single American,” he said at a program that included not only his own supporters, but Trump voters and independents.
Mr. Biden predicted that “by next Christmas, I think we will be theistic, in a very different circumstance than today.”
The town hall’s question-and-answer format gave the president an opportunity to practice what has been the signature brand of his personal politics for decades. When an independent voter asked him how his son with a pre-existing condition might get vaccinated, for example, Mr. Biden told him, “If you’re ready, I’ll be around after it’s over and maybe we’ll We can talk for a few minutes and see if I can help you. “
At another point, he consoled an 8-year-old girl, whose mother said she was afraid of dying of Kovid-19. “You are the safest group of people in the whole world,” he said. “I don’t worry about it, baby, I promise you.”
Mr. Biden expressed sympathy for the girl’s missed school time, saying her administration still aimed to open full time for students in kindergarten through eighth grade within their first 100 days.
The promise appeared in contradiction to the White House press secretary, Jane Saki, who said last week that the administration’s once-ambitious resume aims to “do some teaching” in more than 50 percent of schools A goal was made for less one person. One day in the first week ”. She later said, “We certainly expect to build from that in 100 days as well.”
But Mr. Biden insisted on the idea that he was reducing it to in-school one day a week. “That’s what was told,” the president said. “This is not true. It was a mistake in communication.”
He also said that he expects the school to have a chance to catch students through the summer.
The trip to Milwaukee appeared as some make-up trip to the city, scheduled to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention last summer, before the coronovirus epidemic planned for person-gathering conferences.
And Setting, in a state he won by less than one percentage point in November, a president made sense to promote a plan to help Americans overcome the epidemic.
The increase in coronovirus cases made Wisconsin one of the most affected states in the fall and early winter, although the number has dropped significantly. The state’s 5.5 percent unemployment rate is also lower than the double-digit peaks hit in the early days of the epidemic, but is still higher than in the previous winter.
On Tuesday night, Air Force One landed in an excavation from a blizzard in Wisconsin, and as the nation’s attention eventually reached its predecessor, Donald J. After the end of Trump’s second impeachment trial, Mr. Biden was completely focused on him. Weekend.
Continuing his practice during the impeachment, Mr. Biden appeared eager to avoid mentioning his most recent predecessor. At one point, he called Mr. Trump a “former man”.
When asked by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper about his views on Mr. Trump’s impeachment decision, Mr. Biden said he wanted to move forward. “Everyone has been in the news for four years,” he said. “For the next four years, I want to make sure that all the news is American people. I am tired of talking about Trump. “
At one point, however, he could not resist digging a dig saying Mr. Cooper, but all the surviving former presidents reached out to him by phone, making it clear that it was only Mr. Trump.
Asked by Mr. Cooper how he was accepting the presidency, Mr. Biden, who said on Inauguration Day that going to the White House, felt as if he was “coming home”, appeared humbled by the experience. lamps.
For one thing, he said, he was not used to living with a butler, who helped him with his coat, as well as other staff at the White House residence, who were there to serve him. He said, “I was raised in such a way that you didn’t wait for anyone.” “I find myself extremely self-conscious.”
Despite his close relationship with President Barack Obama, Mr. Biden said he had not visited the private part of the White House residence before leaving in the last month. He said that there was a big contradiction with the Vice President’s residence, where there was more room and privacy.
“It’s like a small cage that is able to move around and work,” he said of living in the White House. “I have an understanding, I should tell you, a sense of history about it.”
Mr. Biden repeatedly apologized when he felt his answers were too complex or too long gone, and he said he hoped he was ready to lead the country in facing those challenges .
“I truly pray that I have the ability to do what the country requires of all of you,” Mr. Biden said.
Ms Psy said on Tuesday that Mr Biden was looking forward to a “good conversation with people, and even further, and even from people disagreeing with him” during the visit. In fact, one of the president’s most outspoken critics is Senator Ron Johnson, the state’s Republican senator, who is opposing the Biden relief plan. But Ms Saki said pressuring Mr Johnson was not the purpose of the trip.
In response to a question about division in American society, Mr. Biden said the country was more in agreement about the need for relief than people thought, noting that 69 percent of Americans supported his plan. “The nation is not divided,” he said. “You go out there and have a look and talk to people, you have fringes on both ends. But it’s not nearly as much as we split it up.”
Outside the Pabst Theater, where the town hall took place, a group represented fast-food and other low-paid workers urged Mr. Biden not to give up his pledge to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 per hour.
But when asked by several small-business owners about their support for a $ 15-hour minimum wage, the president tried to reassure them that the increase would be phased out, as if to show that differences had been overcome. can be done. While “no one should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty,” Mr. Biden said, “it is perfectly legitimate for small business owners to be concerned about how they change . “
But he referred to white supremacists as a unique domestic terrorism that needed to be addressed. “I will make sure that my Justice Department and Civil Rights Division are focused on those very people,” he said. “I will make sure that we, indeed, pay attention to how to deal with the rise of white supremacy.”
Dan Simmons contributed reporting from Milwaukee.