President Joe Biden held his first formal news conference Thursday afternoon and was dominated by questions regarding the border crisis. The White House attempted to keep the news conference focused on the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic with a string of vaccination logistical funding announcements in the hours before it began. The president began the conference by detailing a new vaccination target, after his initial goal of 100 million vaccines was reached last week. However the President was questioned by reporters to detail actions he is taking to address a surge in undocumented migrant children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, and was not asked any direct questions about the pandemic.
Biden said his policies were not the cause of an increase in children arriving at the border, and instead blamed former President Donald Trump for neglecting Central America while in office and for implementing policies that led to overcrowding in facilities at the border. Biden said that the seasonal uptick in migration that occurs each spring before the deadly summer heat was also reason for the increase in migrant children arriving right now. The president said Thursday he would “commit to transparency” once his policies were in place, but did not provide a timeline for doing so.
Prior to Thursday’s event, Biden had gone longer without holding a formal news conference than any first-term president in decades, breaking with a longstanding tradition of taking questions from White House press corps at a dedicated event within the first month of office. Thirty reporters attended the news conference, a smaller number than normal due to distancing measures in place for the coronavirus pandemic.
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