As it happenedended1616716501

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 23:55
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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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Fox News’ Peter Doocy complains about being snubbed in Biden press conference

President Joe Biden wrapped up his first official news conference as president without taking a question from Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy, in what appeared to be a snub to the network.

Back in the studio after the event, the reaction from the assembled hosts and commentators noted the “nice and polite” tone of questions from the journalists who were called upon, and said that they didn’t press the president in their follow-ups.

Appearing on camera from outside the White House, Mr Doocy held up a “binder full of questions” that he had ready, complaining that most of the topics he had prepared were not covered at the event.

The chyron beneath Mr Doocy read: “Biden snubs Fox News during first news conf.”

Oliver O’Connell reports.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy complains about being snubbed in Biden press conference

Doocy was unable to use his ‘binder full of questions’

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 21:00
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Biden says 1 May withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan now unlikely

Joe Biden said it was unlikely that US troops would pull out of Afghanistan by the 1 May deadline established by Donald Trump.

Despite the delay, Mr Biden – speaking at his first press conference – said he "can't picture" US troops being in Afghanistan next year.

The White House is apparently considering a six-month extension to the withdrawal deadline.

"We are not staying for a long time. We will leave," Mr Biden said.. "The question is when we leave."

During the press conference, he said that "it's going to be hard to meet the 1 May deadline just in terms of tactical reasons."

Graig Graziosi has more on this angle.

Biden says 1 May withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan unlikely

Experts warn against a hasty withdrawal over fears of violence and government collapse in the country

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 21:30
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Biden says Chinese president Xi Jinping 'doesn't have a democratic bone' in his body

President Joe Biden said he has no intention of seeking conflict with China, but did criticise the country's leader, Xi Jinping.

Mr Biden made the comments during a press conference on Thursday. The president said he was familiar with the Chinese leader from his days as vice president under Barack Obama.

“He doesn’t have a democratic – with a small ‘d’ – bone in his body, but he’s a smart, smart guy,” Mr Biden said.

Mr Biden also compared the Chinese leader to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Graig Graziosi has more from this angle of today’s press conference.

Biden says Chinese president Xi Jinping 'doesn't have a democratic bone' in his body

President also called the Chinese leader an autocrat in the same vein as Vladimir Putin

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 22:00
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Emails reveal scope of criminal investigation into Trump finances extends to Chicago

The office of New York City prosecutor Cyrus Vance has approached officials in Chicago as part of its investigation into alleged financial irregularities relating to Trump properties in the city, according to a report.

In late 2020, the Major Economic Crimes Bureau in the New York City District Attorney’s office exchanged emails with Cook County officials regarding records relating to the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

WBEZ Chicago, which obtained the emails through an open records request, reports that they indicate that properties in the city may be included in the criminal investigation into the business dealings of former President Donald Trump.

Oliver O’Connell reports.

Emails reveal scope of criminal investigation into Trump finances extends to Chicago

‘The fact that they’re in Chicago turning over rocks, I’m not surprised, not surprised at all’

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 22:30
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New York agrees to legalise cannabis, this is what happens next

New York lawmakers and governor Andrew Cuomo reached an agreement to legalise recreational marijuana, opening the door for a multi-billion dollar industry in the state.

While the legislation was still begin finalised, multiple media outlets report that that “The Cannabis Law” was scheduled to pass next week as part of the state budget due on 1 April.

Check out the key details from this new green deal.

New York agrees to legalise cannabis, this is what happens next

Residents over 21 could buy up to three ounces, and grow up to six plants, for personal use under the new green deal

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 23:00
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Opinion: At his first press conference, Biden sent a surprisingly scathing message to Republicans

No one expected Biden’s first press conference to be scathing, writes Holly Baxter for Independent Voices.

“And it was never going to be a Trumpian event — that much was for certain. Yet the years of Donald taught us to always stay on our toes, and continuing that habit was worth it today. Because among scripted, expected remarks about building back better, getting great jobs and growing the economy, the new(ish) president managed to get a few well-aimed digs in that made it clear his patience with the GOP is being severely tested.”

At his first press conference, Biden sent a surprisingly scathing message to Republicans | Holly Baxter

At one point, the 46th president said he didn’t know if the GOP would even have a party by the next election

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 23:30
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From Breitbart to Miller: Here’s how Trump’s MAGA circle responded to Biden’s first press conference

Whether they followed along live on Twitter or spared their thoughts for when it wrapped up, former Trump administration figures, MAGA faithful, and stalwarts of right-wing media had something to say about Joe Biden’s first official presidential press conference.

Most called out what they claimed were falsehoods, continued to question the president’s mental acumen and age, and defended their own records, while decrying a media that “would make Chinese state-run outlets blush”.

The initial and more measured reactions came via Fox News, despite being quick to complain that their correspondent Peter Doocy was not called on to ask a question.

Veteran Washington reporter Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, was first to analyse the president’s performance on air.

Oliver O’Connell has the report.

Here’s how Trump’s MAGA circle responded to Biden’s first press conference

‘Storytime with Uncle Joe’ and a press performance ‘that would make Chinese state-run outlets blush’

Justin Vallejo25 March 2021 23:55

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