President Joe Biden defended the first year of his presidency at a press conference at the White House on Wednesday, refusing to change course amidst record-low approval ratings of his job performance.
When asked by a reporter if he overpromised Americans what he could accomplish as president, Biden replied, “I didn’t overpromise. And I have probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen.”
Biden stayed at the press conference for about 112 minutes, taking over two dozen questions from reporters.
“I don’t believe the polls,” he said.
But he also pointed to similar modern presidents who faced low approval ratings of around 45 percent.
He acknowledged his failed Build Back Better bill might have to get broken up to get some of his future legislation passed through Congress.
“I’m confident we can get pieces, big chunks of the Build Back Better law signed into law,” he said.
Biden flashed several signs of emotion as he struggled to directly answer questions from reporters.
He grew angry when a reporter asked why he compared many U.S. senators, including in his own party, to historical racists for opposing his bill to federalize elections. He expressed regret he had not done enough travel to hear more from Americans about their concerns and said he would do more in the coming year to sell his policies.
Biden struggled to sound a clear note on defending Ukraine from Russian President Vladimir Putin, suggesting it was almost a foregone conclusion that he would invade.
“[H]e will move in, he has to do something,” he said.
When asked to comment on his failures, Biden repeatedly blamed Republicans and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for not having an agenda and opposing his.
“He has one straightforward objective,” Biden complained. “Make sure that there’s nothing I do that makes me look good in his mind with the public at large.”
He also blamed the coronavirus pandemic and the weather for images of empty shelves in stores and high inflation.
The president was defiant when asked about his messy exit from Afghanistan.
“I make no apologies for what I did,” he said.
Biden grew annoyed about questions about his stalled agenda.
“Can you think of any president that has done as much in one year?” he asked.
Biden acknowledged that Americans were concerned about the future of the country but claimed he was leading it in the right direction.
“What is the trajectory of the country? Is it moving in the right direction now?” he asked. “I don’t know how we can say it’s not.”