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Biden press conference: President stirs controversy on border, China and Trump and vows to run in 2024

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Joe Sommerlad,Justin Vallejo
Thursday 25 March 2021 23:29 GMT
Joe Biden says he’ll run for a second term in 2024

On the 65th day of his presidency, Joe Biden held his first formal press conference since entering the White House on 20 January.

In the hour-long Q&A, Biden courted controversy on migration at the Mexico border, the US relationship with China, and the potential to face off against Trump in 2024 in a rematch that see two oldest presidential candidates in US history (Biden 82 v Trump 78).

Of the 15 presidents of the past 100 years, all but for Biden have held a press conference within 33 days of being sworn into office. Donald Trump did it 27 days in, while Barack Obama outdid Trump by a week at 20 days.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the company's role in polarising the US, blaming the "political and media environment" for promoting extremism and misinformation. His opening statement in the Senate big tech hearing came after a cutout of the Facebook boss dressed as the “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley appeared on Capitol Hill before Congress began grilling the social media platforms.

Kayleigh McEnany, former White House press secretary to Mr Trump, has meanwhile appeared on Fox News to claim Joe Biden is in “badly declining” health and is concealing his condition behind a Covid face mask, a baseless smear intended to undermine his first press conference as president, where questions on immigration, the coronavirus vaccine rollout, infrastructure and gun control are likely to be forthcoming.

His vice president, Kamala Harris, is also already facing criticism from Republicans Ted Cruz and Doug Ducey, Arizona’s governor, after being appointed to lead the country’s response to the latest surge in asylum seekers arriving at the US border with Mexico as the administration struggles to find temporary housing for hundreds of unaccompanied children.

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‘Yes, my plan is to run’: Biden announces likely 2024 re-election campaign

Joe Biden will likely run for a second term as president in 2024, he said during a press conference on Thursday, contrasting with previous reports that he’d only run as a one-term unity candidate.

“The answer is yes, my plan is to run for re-election,” Mr Biden said. “That’s my expectation.”

He suggested that a re-election bid is not 100 per cent guaranteed though.

“I’m a great respecter of fate,” he continued. “I’ve never been able to plan three-and-a-half years head for certain.”

Josh Marcus has more on this angle.

Biden announces potential 2024 presidential bid

He was previously expected only to serve one term.

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 18:34

Biden blasts ‘despicable’ GOP voter suppression initiatives as ‘un-American’

Joe Biden lit into Republicans who are working on a raft of bills to make voting more onerous for people in their states.

“What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It’s sick. It’s sick,” the president said on Thursday at his first formal press conference since taking office 64 days ago.

“Deciding, in some states, that you cannot bring water to people standing in line waiting to vote? Deciding that you’re going to end voting at five o’clock when working people are just getting off work? Deciding that there will be no absentee ballots except under the most rigid circumstances?” Mr Biden said, rattling off a number of proposals from GOP state leaders that would limit voting options for people.

Griffin Connolly has more on this angle.

Biden blasts ‘pernicious’ GOP voter suppression initiatives as ‘un-American’

Joe Biden lit into Republicans who are working on a raft of bills to make voting more onerous for people in their states.

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 18:46

The rematch shapes up: Biden v Trump in 2024

Septuagenarians Joe Biden and Donald Trump look to be shaping up for a rematch in 2024.

Biden will be 81 and Trump 78 when the next presidential election rolls around in three years, but that hasn’t stopped either planning their next bid for the White House.

The president said at today’s press conference that he “fully expected” to run for a second term, but had “no idea” whether he would face his former rival.

Trump himself continues to play coy on whether he will run, suggesting he’s waiting until after the 2022 mid-term elections before announcing his plans.

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 19:01

Watch: Xi Jinping ‘doesn't have a democratic bone in his body’, says Biden

“He’s one of the guys, like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, who thinks that autocracy is the wave of the future, (and) democracy can’t function in an ever-complex world... He doesn’t have a democratic - with a small ‘d’ - bone in his body, but he’s a smart, smart guy.” 

Xi Jinping ‘doesn't have a democratic bone in his body’, says Biden
Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 19:10

Zuckerberg says Trump ‘should be responsible’ for role in Capitol attack

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told members of Congress that Donald Trump should be held responsible for his statements to his supporters during a rally before an insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January.

The chief executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter faced a House committee to address dis- and misinformation across their companies’ platforms and networks on Thursday, their first appearance on the Hill following the deadly riots fuelled by sprawling conspiracy theories and false narratives about the 2020 election across social media amplified by the former president.

“I believe that the former president should be responsible for his words and that the people who broke the law should be responsible for their actions,” Mr Zuckerberg said in his opening statement.

Alex Woodward reports from the Senate.

Zuckerberg says Trump ‘should be responsible’ for role in Capitol attack

Facebook chief calls attack an ‘outrage’ at House hearing on proliferation of mis- and disinformation on social media

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 19:18

Biden hits out at Trump saying he was only president to leave children to ‘starve to death’

President Joe Biden has accused the former president of leaving children at the border to “starve to death” when justifying his administration’s response to the current rise in migrants crossing the US-Mexico border.

During his first press conference, Mr Biden was asked if his messaging about unaccompanied minors to date has encouraged families to send their children to the border in hopes they can stay in the United States.

“The idea that I’m gonna say, which I would never do, that if an accompanied child ends up at the border we’re just gonna let him starve to death and stay on the other side – no previous administration did that either, except Trump. I’m not gonna do it,” Mr Biden said in response.

Danielle Zoellner has more on this angle.

Biden says Trump was only president to leave children to ‘starve to death’

Mr Biden says his administration will not let a child starve and ‘stay on the other side’ of the border

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 19:30

The five wildest things Trump said in his first press conference as president

While Joe Biden faced the media for his first time on day 65 of his presidency, Donald Trump held a solo press conference after 27 days.

The former president set the tone for his presidency, and his turbulent relationship with the Washington press corps, in an unabashed and at times bizarre meeting on 16 February 2017.

In the rambling 90-minute appearance, Mr Trump covered a range of defining issues from “fake news” to Russia, and celebrated his initial achievements, even going as far as to suggest there had “never been a presidency that’s done so much in such a short period of time”.

But, what were some of the wildest things he said during the “surreal” conference that officially saw the introduction of Mr Trump’s brazen presidential persona to reporters and the world?

Louise Hall looks back.

The five wildest things Trump said in his first press conference as president

Joe Biden is set to make his solo-debut with the Washington press-corps on Thursday

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 19:50

‘When Trump was president this was not possible’: Migrants tell of dramatic journeys to reach US

Migrants reflect their journeys would not have been possible were Donald Trump still president; the election of Joe Biden, and his decision to process some - but not all - asylum claims inside the country - has given them hope, writes The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe.

“A family from Honduras, say they waded across in the afternoon, pushing on even as the water reached their waists. A mother-of-three from Guatemala tells how she had paid $12,000 to a coyote to bring her and her daughters on a journey that lasted 23 days - walking, by bus, by “everything”. They are exhausted, but elated, as they wait in a handful of makeshift facilities run by charitable groups in the Texas border town of McAllen, for the next stage of their journey, to be sent by plane or bus, to relatives dotted across the United States - Los Angeles, Miami, Indiana.”

‘When Trump was president this was not possible’: Migrants tell of dramatic journeys to reach US border

Asylum-seekers from Central America tell Andrew Buncombe how they made it to McAllen, Texas, creating a major challenge for Joe Biden

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 20:00

ICYMI: Watch Biden’s first press conference as president in full

Catch up on the full hour of Joe Biden’s first press conference as president.

Watch Biden’s first press conference as president in full

Joe Biden addressed topics including immigration, Trump, China, North Korea, US troops abroad and teased a 2024 re-election campaign in his first press conference since taking office in January.

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 20:10


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has claimed that the social media company does not allow misinformation in adverts, despite Facebook continually hosting adverts with misinformation.

Answering a question by Chair Schakowsky, who asked whether Facebook thinks that when it “take[s] money to run advertisements to promoted disinformation that [it is] exempt from liability”.

Mr Zuckerberg responded: “Congresswoman, I don’t know the legal answer to that but we don’t allow misinformation in our ads, and any ads that has been fact-checked as false we do not allow to run as an ad.”

Facebook does allow misinformation to run in ads, because the company does not fact-check political adverts.

Adam Smith reports.

Zuckerberg says Facebook doesn’t allow misinformation in ads – despite repeatedly allowing politicians to lie

Facebook does not fact-check political adverts, thereby allowing misinformation to spread

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 20:25

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