VSIt has already been a year since Joe Biden took over the leadership of the United States. Thursday, January 20, the Democrat will celebrate the first anniversary of his presidency. So he decided to give a press conference on Wednesday, a rare occurrence, which was eagerly awaited in view of the past year. The tenant of the White House has thus tried to minimize the crisis that his administration has been going through since his election. He notably attributed the feeling of frustration, felt by many Americans, to the pandemic, and praised its economic record.
“I know there is a lot of frustration and fatigue in this country,” acknowledged the president from the prestigious “East Room” of the White House. Right in his boots, Joe Biden, however, ruled out a change of course, lending himself rather to an exercise in pedagogy. “It has been a year of challenges but also a year of enormous progress,” said the Democrat, citing in particular the massive vaccination campaign against Covid-19.
He pointed out that 75% of American adults were now fully immunized, up from 1% when his administration took over. The leader also boasted of “record job creation”, “record growth” with an unemployment rate now at 3.9%, against 6.4% a year ago. But, on several occasions, he regretted not having gone into more contact with Americans, in particular with black voters, who had overwhelmingly voted for him in the 2020 presidential election.
Failures he blames on the GOP
The 79-year-old Democrat needs to find new momentum. In the space of two months, he had to bury two emblematic promises, namely to renovate the welfare state and protect by a major law access to the vote for minorities, because of the too short parliamentary majority. Joe Biden blamed those failures on Republicans, acknowledging he hadn’t “anticipated” such a degree of opposition from conservatives to his plans.
And if the president must abandon his ambition for a vast social reform, he nevertheless promised on Wednesday to pass “large sections” of it. The tenant of the White House has also done the after-sales service of two major pieces of legislation: an emergency recovery plan of 1,900 billion dollars shortly after taking office, and more recently a historic investment of 1,200 billions of dollars in the decrepit infrastructure of the United States.
“The best days of this country are still ahead of us, not behind us,” he said. But he remains politically silted: a new Gallup poll places his popularity rating at just 40%, against 57% when he came to power. If the economic statistics are impressive, the inflation is also spectacular; and that is what worries Americans today. Fighting this inflation, at its highest for almost 40 years, will require “a long-term effort”, he conceded. “And until then, it will be painful for a lot of people,” he said.
Inheriting a country bruised by the Covid-19 pandemic, shaken by a historic protest movement against racism, Joe Biden felt that the country was still “far from being as unified as it should be”. And progress in vaccination or government efforts to address testing shortages can do little about the country’s immense pandemic fatigue, further compounded by the arrival of the Omicron variant.
An image to correct before the State of the Union speech
Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, who poured out and railed profusely in the presence of reporters, the Democrat avoided prolonged interactions with the press. Joe Biden has a little over a month to correct his image as a president mired in disappointments: between Wednesday’s press conference and his State of the Union address, the traditional general policy address for presidents, scheduled for March 1 before Congress.
Afterwards, according to political commentators, it will be too late to hope to influence the mid-term legislative elections, scheduled for the fall, and which look bad for the Democratic Party. His team pleads for patience, saying they are confident about the final results. Externally, where Joe Biden has promised that America is “back”, his fellow citizens hold the president responsible for a chaotic departure from Afghanistan and question his strategy in the face of the authoritarian regimes he promised to challenge. Starting with Russia, whose rhetoric and maneuvers regarding Ukraine have triggered a crisis unprecedented since the Cold War.
A new application in 2024?
Joe Biden also announced on Wednesday that he would re-choose his current vice president, Kamala Harris, to be his running mate if he runs for president in 2024. “She will be my running mate,” he said. said. First woman and first person of color to become vice-president of the United States, Kamala Harris has seen her popularity rating plummet since she has been in the White House.
“She is doing a good job” on the file of access to the vote for minorities, also assured Joe Biden, despite the blockage in Congress of his bill on this subject, and while some strategists believe that the American president would increase his chances of being re-elected by choosing another person for his future “ticket” for the White House.
Finally, on the international level, Joe Biden worried about a situation that could “spin out of control” if Russia attacked Ukraine, warning Moscow of a “disaster” and “heavy” human losses in such a hypothesis. He said a summit with President Vladimir Putin was a “possibility”.