Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US President says 1st year in office saw much success

US President says 1st year in office saw much success

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
US President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, on Wednesday, in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. AFP

US President says 1st year in office saw much success

A defiant US President Joe Biden acknowledged missteps over the still-raging pandemic on January 19 but hailed a year of “enormous progress” on the US economy as he took stock of his first year in office.

In a rare news conference marking his first 12 months, Biden touted a period of unprecedented job creation, infrastructure improvements and a growing economy that he said would help counter inflation and supply chain woes plaguing his presidency.

During a marathon two-hour session in the ornate East Room of the White House, Biden faced questions on everything from soaring inflation to the confrontation with Russia over Ukraine to what he calls a threat to democracy from his predecessor Donald Trump.

“It’s been a year of challenges,” Biden told reporters, saying he “didn’t anticipate” the level of obstruction to his domestic agenda he has encountered from Republicans in Congress.

“But it has also been a year of enormous progress,” the US leader said.

“We went from two million people being vaccinated at the moment I was sworn in to 210 million Americans being fully vaccinated today. We created six million new jobs – more jobs in one year than any time before.”

Biden’s first news conference of the year was at the core of an intense new effort by the White House to spin a calamitous last few weeks into a new narrative focusing on what officials say are Biden’s many, if overlooked, gains during his first year in the Oval Office.

The US leader has faced a string of recent setbacks, including the highest inflation in decades and the Supreme Court striking down the administration’s vaccine mandate for large businesses.

And Biden’s administration is facing mounting criticism from both Democrats and Republicans over the lack of Covid-19 tests as the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus sweeps the country.

“We have faced some of the biggest challenges that we’ve ever faced in this country these past few years, challenges to our public health, challenges to our economy. But we’re getting through it,” Biden said.

“Should we have done more testing earlier? Yes. But we’re doing more now,” he said, as he touted steady progress on the pandemic.

On the economic front, the White House points out that in the last year, unemployment fell to 3.9 per cent from 6.4 per cent at the height of the pandemic’s fallout on the economy.

Lowering record price hikes would “be a haul”, Biden said, but he insisted the increases would subside if supply chain snarls and component shortages were resolved.

But in the meantime, he conceded, “it’s going to be painful for a lot of people” – saying high prices were being felt “at the gas pump, the grocery stores and elsewhere”.

The press conference came as a new Gallup poll showed Biden with just 40 per cent approval, down from 57 per cent when he started. Since World War II, only Trump’s first year averages were lower, Gallup said.

Biden’s press conference came on the eve of the anniversary of his January 20th inauguration, which took place in the extraordinary circumstances of a pandemic and the aftermath of a violent assault by Trump supporters on Congress to try and overturn Biden’s victory.

MOST VIEWED

  • Second Hungary business forum set for H2

    Cambodia has asked Hungary to provide GSP- (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus facilities for when the Kingdom sheds its least-developed country (LDC) label, as the two countries prepare to hold a second business forum in the second half (H2) of this year to expand trade

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • CPP sets out five primary strategic goals for 2023-28

    The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on January 29 concluded its two-day extraordinary congress, setting the party’s priority goals for 2023-2028. The ruling party’s congress was attended by more than 3,000 members from across the Kingdom, including the members of the permanent and central committees,