When should you refer to your notes? During an exam, or during a speech? If you ask the Internet – apparently, referring to your notes during your first presidential press conference is a strong example of when you shouldn’t. In his first formal news conference on Thursday, US President Joe Biden announced a new goal of administering 200 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in the United States within his first 100 days in office, double his original pledge. Biden has been in the White House since January 20, but only on Thursday, more than two months after taking office, did he hold his first formal news conference.
“Today I’m setting a second goal, and that is, we will by my 100th day in office have administered 200 million shots in people’s arms,” Biden said.
“I know it’s ambitious, twice our original goal,” he added. “But no other country in the world has even come close — not even close — to what we are doing, and I believe we can do it.”
Pushing back at claims that the flow of undocumented immigrants at the US southern border has reached crisis levels, Biden said the surge is a mostly seasonal problem that happens each year.
“There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March; it happens every year,” he said in his first press conference.
While Biden’s speech was significant, what really caught Twitter’s eyes was his “cheat sheet.” New York Post has obtained photos that show several cheat sheets used by President Joe Biden during his Thursday press conference, which also allegedly include one with the headshots and names of reporters he planned to call on.
Twitter also didn’t let the notes get away lightly.
LOL. Joe Biden needed 64 days to prepare for a press conference and still needed a cheat sheet. How is this real?
— thebradfordfile (@thebradfordfile) March 26, 2021
Joe Biden's needs cheat sheet to remember his OWN tax policy…He brought out written details of his tax plan during presidential debate-during last wk's prime time address to nation showed how he wrote daily COVID death toll on back of his presidential schedule- pic.twitter.com/g1QVSFhHQM— Blanche Victoria (@tammytabby) March 18, 2021
I’m absolutely embarrassed to live in joe Biden’s America. 120 years in the senate. Cheat sheet for a press conference you had 60 days to prep for. Predetermined questions and answers. Only calling on non conservative reporters. This administration is a total crock.— NOT YOUR AVERAGE NEANDERTHAL (@UMCSTAUGUSTINE) March 26, 2021
your Joe Biden press conference cheat sheet, so far: Legislative agenda – let's see what happensBorder – let's see what happensFilibuster – let's see what happens
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) March 25, 2021
The whole world is watching our President, #JoeBiden using a cheat sheet with pictures. We're the notes written in crayon too?#JoeBidenPressConference #BidenBorderCrisis https://t.co/PA4xrTWcSL— Deplorable Petr (@PragueArtist) March 25, 2021
Biden is the first chief executive in four decades to reach this point in his term without having conducted such a question-and-answer session. Biden has been on pace with his predecessors in taking questions from the press in other formats. But he tends to field just one or two informal inquiries at a time, usually in a hurried setting at the end of an event or in front of a whirring helicopter.
Pressure had mounted on Biden to hold a formal session, which allows reporters to have an extended back-and-forth with the president. Biden’s conservative critics have pointed to the delay to suggest that Biden was being shielded by his staff. West Wing aides have dismissed the questions about a news conference as a Washington obsession.
Biden also left the door open to backing fundamental changes in Senate procedure to muscle key parts of his agenda like immigration and voting rights past Republican opposition “if there are complete lockdown and chaos.”
Even as his administration navigates the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic damage, Biden is grappling with how to deliver on a host of big promises despite a razor-thin Senate majority. He teased that changes to Senate rules that would allow bills to pass with fewer votes may be necessary for him to achieve some of those goals.
“If there’s complete lockdown and chaos, as a consequence of the filibuster, then we’re going to have to go beyond what I’m talking about,” he said.
Despite strong poll numbers, Biden faces headwinds in delivering on his ambitious legislative agenda. His party’s congressional majorities are narrow, Republican opposition appears entrenched and not all Democrats are aligned in reforming Senate rules on the filibuster.
Biden at first backed a modification — but not elimination — of the arcane procedural tactic. But he then suggested, at least on certain issues, he would go further, saying the filibuster — which requires 60 votes to pass legislation in the Senate — was being “abused in a gigantic way” by Republicans.
“I want to get things done. I want to get them done consistent with what we promised the American people,” said Biden, who spent decades in the Senate. “I am going to say something outrageous: I have never been particularly poor at calculating how to get things done in the United States Senate.”