Local GOP chair reacts to president’s statements on the border situation
The 46th president of the United States held his first press conference with reporters on Thursday. He shared his plans to run for re-election in 2024, double his vaccine goals to 200 million doses in his first 100 days in office and develop an infrastructure plan.
The conference was just about an hour in length, and President Joe Biden answered questions regarding the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Senate’s filibuster, and foreign relations with China and Afghanistan.
No questions were asked about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The next major initiative is — and I’ll be announcing it Friday in Pittsburgh in detail — is to rebuild both physical and technological infrastructure of this country so that we can compete and create significant numbers of really good paying jobs,” President Biden told reporters.
Neither the Santa Barbara County Democratic chair, Darcel Elliott, nor the party organization responded by deadline to multiple requests from the News-Press for comment.
However, County Republican Chair Bobbi McGinnis offered her thoughts on the president’s press conference. She told the News-Press, “My general reaction was, ‘Wow, this is quite different than the Trump press conferences.’”
The chairwoman said she thought “the whole tone was completely different” and that President Biden was “befuddled, sometimes confused and lost his train of thought.”
Her main concerns were with the inaccuracies in some of his answers, particularly about the situation at the border.
When asked by reporters about the conditions for the migrant children at the border, the president’s response was, “Well, look, the idea that I’m going to say, which I would never do, that if an unaccompanied child ends up at the border, we’re just going to let them starve to death and stay on the other side — no previous administration did that either, except Trump.”
A fact check by the Washington Post found that there were no documented deaths of children by starvation during Mr. Trump’s presidency.
“Don’t you think if there was one starving child, we would have heard about it?” Ms. McGinnis said. “I thought it was interesting that none of the press questioned him about the starving children under the Trump administration.”
The president had a few other inaccuracies in his responses to the press, according to Washington Post and CNN fact checks. He misstated statistics about the percentage increase of migrant children coming to the border, his electoral support from Republicans, the amount of families being sent home from the border and facts regarding the Senate’s filibuster. (The filibuster is a parliamentary procedure that requires 60 votes to end debate and allow a bill to come to a vote.)
“The reporters were not really asking any serious questions,” Ms. McGinnis said. “It just boggled my mind that the press didn’t question Biden on any of his stats … Also, when he spoke about China, he was reading his notes. He wasn’t responding to the question, really …You wonder who is behind President Biden? Who wrote that script?”
The Republican chair said she still had many questions about the situation at the border, and felt like President Biden “was in denial of what’s really happening.”
“He needs to go down there and see what’s happening … You see the T-shirts (that say), ‘Biden let us in,’ and now he’s made this public statement that anybody under the age of 18 can stay,” she said. “What’s going to happen? We’re going to have thousands and thousands of unaccompanied minors coming. It’s already happening.”
The president didn’t go into detail on his infrastructure plan, but Ms. McGinnis said while infrastructure needs to improve nationwide, she thinks every president seems to say that and nothing gets done.
“Very little of it actually gets done, probably because most of it has to fall on the state. I’m not sure that infrastructure is something the federal government can really do a good job of,” she said. “Another thing we all need to remember is the federal government does not create jobs — it is the private sector that creates jobs. It’s capitalism that produced our vaccine.”
Speaking of the vaccine, Ms. McGinnis said she believed the president when he said there would be 200 million doses of the vaccine in his first 100 days.
For President Biden’s next press conference, the chair said she hopes for “more transparency” and “more specifics on how he plans to solve problems.”
“An hour was more than enough,” she said. “Rather than rambling, he needs to stay more focused on getting his points across … I would like to see reporters stepping up to the plate and challenging him on his stats.”