World

A tame press conference for a lame president

26 March 2021

8:49 AM

26 March 2021

8:49 AM

Just a sec. Let me check my notes. Ah, right. Hurgh. ‘My message to the American people is: help is here. Hope is on the way.’

‘Can I go home now?’ he asked with his eyes.

Joe Biden looked like he wanted to call an end to his first presidential press conference before he even got started. But he soldiered on. Having prepared for a few weeks to talk to — what, seven? Eight? — carefully selected members of the press, he was not about to give up on this chance to bask in some adulation.

And boy was the adulation ever on offer. ‘Was it because you were such a a nice man that you had more success than the awful Voldemort who proceeded you?’ oozed one female correspondent.

No that’s not a direct quote. The original was more embarrassing.

Joe Biden held his press conference today because it was getting too embarrassing not to hold a press conference. One of the alphabet Dem-friendly channels said the president faced ‘tough questions‘ about his administration handling of the disaster on our southern border.


No he didn’t. He faced a few mild questions from essentially friendly reporters who were hand-picked by his minders to be sure they were on side, which is to say, on his side.

There were only a few really cringe worthy moments. Yes they were doozies.

But much more concerning was the Truman Show-like set up of the event. The air of unreality that suffused the proceedings was stultifying. Here we had an old, senile man pretending to be president while a handful of flaks pretended to be reporters. Every issue that was raised was wrapped up in a tissue of lies and misrepresentation.

Take immigration. Donald Trump had reduced illegal immigration to almost zero. Joe Biden lied when he said otherwise. Trump had closed down most of the Obama-era holding pens for children. Biden had to reopen them when he opened the border.

Or take COVID. What a gift to aspiring authoritarians that disease has been. And what an excuse it has offered to politicians bent on a policy of fiscal incontinence. But who was in charge when the vaccine was created in record time? Donald Trump. Who put in place the logistical framework to distribute the vaccine on a nationwide scale? Donald Trump. You didn’t hear that from the podium.

Joe Biden confided that he spent hours upon hours with Xi Jinping before he become China’s despot-in-chief. That’s why they have such a good relationship, he explained, and why Xi knows that in dealing with the US, while there will be tough competition, there cannot be confrontation.

Has anyone mentioned that to Xi, or to ‘Tiger’ Yang, the Chinese diplomat who ate secretary of state Anthony Blinken for lunch when they met in Anchorage last week and then spat him out before tea?

The whole performance was like something out of The Twilight Zone. It got especially strange towards the end when he began shouting, possibly for emphasis, though the effect was merely disconcerting. (‘Why is that man shouting, Mommy?’) In response to a few carefully planted questions, Joe Biden allowed that he thought the filibuster had outlived its usefulness. Indeed, he said that he thought the filibuster ‘a relic of the Jim Crow era’. Why not get rid of it altogether right now then, asked one intrepid soul.

‘Er, reasons,’ was basically the answer.

The one hard piece of news is that Joe Biden intends, or thinks he intends, to run again in 2024. That will be nice. At one point he wondered aloud whether there would still be a Republican party in 2024.

I think that’s an entirely sound question. Listening to Joe ‘Chauncey Gardiner’ Biden, though, a more pressing question bubbled up: will there still be a United States?

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