WASHINGTON — Joe Biden is holding his first solo press conference as president Thursday afternoon – his 64th full day in the White House – as new challenges on gun control and an influx of migrants at the southern U.S. border add to an already busy agenda.
Biden has taken longer than his predecessors, Donald Trump and Barack Obama, to formally address the White House press corps, fueling extra intrigue and turning the outing into a highly anticipated event.
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Biden sets new COVID vaccine goal: 200 million shots in 100 days
Biden opened his first formal news conference by setting a new goal of administering 200 million COVID vaccine shots in his first 100 days in office.
“I know it’s ambitious, twice our original goal,” he said. “But no other country in the world has even come close. Not even close to what we’re doing. I believe we can do it.”
Biden’s original goal was to administer 100 million shots in his first 100 days. The U.S. passed that goal last week and is already on track to reach 200 million shots by the president’s first 100 days.
— Michael Collins
Biden holds first press conference as president
Over his long political career, Biden has made his fair share of gaffes. But he’s stayed largely on script during his young presidency with a focus on leading the nation out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That discipline will be tested Thursday as reporters, for the first time besides brief interactions with the president, have an open arena to question Biden.
In the wake of two deadly mass shootings in the last week, in Georgia and Colorado, Biden has said “we have to act” to pass gun background checks and ban assault weapons. That agenda is already facing resistance from Republicans.
Biden is also facing increasing heat over the increase of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Republicans have called the situation a “crisis” of Biden’s doing while the White House has resisted that term.
Both issues are likely to come up Thursday.
— Joey Garrison