Biden's Lie-Filled Press Conference
He called on "correspondents" too deferential to challenge him.
“We’re sending back the vast majority of the families that are coming,” Biden claimed, referring to families of migrants illegally crossing or seeking to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
“False,” declared the New York Times. “Federal officials recorded about 19,000 encounters with families at the southwestern border in February. Of those, about 7,900 families, or 42 percent, were expelled, far short of a majority.” The Times also cited an Axios report that the expulsion rate was 13 percent during the previous week.
Biden claimed that former President Donald Trump eliminated the funding for aid to the Central American countries that Biden had helped put together as the Obama administration's vice president. The purpose of the aid, Biden said, was to get at the root causes of why migrants were leaving those countries. “What did Trump do? He eliminated that funding,” Biden said. “He didn’t use it.”
“False,” declared the New York Times again. “President Donald J.Trump did not completely eliminate the aid that Mr. Biden cited,” the New York Times explained. The Times’ fact-checker pointed out that aid to Central America was set by Congress at $505.9 million in the 2021 fiscal year (which began during Trump’s term) and that the aid that Trump temporarily suspended in April 2019 was restored in October 2019.
The New York Times also said that Biden had “exaggerated” when he claimed that Trump had “shut down the number of beds available.” Calling this an exaggeration was too kind. Biden was lying once again. The Times' fact-checker noted that the monthly bed capacity grew to over 16,000 by December 2018, and that by Trump’s “last full month in office, in December 2020, monthly bed capacity was more than 13,000.” There were some reductions during the pandemic to comply with coronavirus protocols while Trump was in office – health precautions that the Biden administration is throwing to the wind as it tries to cope with the huge surge of illegal unaccompanied minors that its open border policy has invited.
The New York Times’ fact-checker barely scratched the surface of Biden’s parade of lies during his press conference. The fact-checker omitted, for example, Biden’s slanderous claim that Trump was willing to let unaccompanied minors, who ended up at the border, starve to death. Biden said that he would never do such a thing, attacking a strawman of his own creation. It is true that Trump did not let unaccompanied minors who illegally entered the United States to remain in the United States. However, Trump didn’t just abandon them to die of starvation. The Trump administration flew many of the minors back to their home countries for safety reasons and to deter more minors from risking their lives by taking the treacherous journey north to the United States. Biden should be following Trump’s example out of humane concern for the minors, rather than spewing slanderous lies to make himself look like some sort of compassionate hero that he is not.
Biden also lied when he claimed that nothing has changed this year under his watch from previous years in terms of normal seasonal increases in the number of migrants coming to the border. “There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March,” Biden said. “That happens every year.”
False. The surge of illegal aliens crossing the border now is reaching historic proportions that the Biden administration is unable to handle. Even Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, while denying that there is a crisis, has said that “We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.”
The statistics are staggering. Over 100,000 people were encountered in February 2021, 24,000 more than in February 2019 when the Trump administration was encountering a surge of its own. “The US Border Patrol has detained more than 11,000 unaccompanied migrant children between February 28 to March 20,” CNN reported, based on preliminary government data it had reviewed. “In all of February, Border Patrol apprehended nearly 9,300 unaccompanied children at the US southern border, up from around 5,600 in January.”
The number of unaccompanied minors who cross the U.S.-Mexico border each day and are detained by U.S. border officials has now reached an average of about 600 and is climbing. More than 16,000 minors crossing the border illegally are expected to be taken into custody overall during the month of March. The government is projecting significant increases of unaccompanied minors who could cross the border in April and May.
The unaccompanied illegal minors who make it across the border are being crammed together in ramshackle Border Patrol quarters in numbers far above their capacity. But Biden does not want the media to document this unfolding calamity. His claim of interest in transparency is another big lie.
Biden was asked at his news conference when he would be ready to commit to allowing journalists to have access to the overcrowded facilities. Biden replied, “I will commit when my plan, very shortly, is underway to let you have access to not just them, but to other facilities as well… you’ll have full access to everything once we get this thing moving.” When asked how soon that will be, Biden said, “I don’t know.” Biden's PR staff sure knows. The media will be allowed in after everything is tidied up to look great for the cameras.
Biden’s web of deceit spun during his press conference did not stop with immigration. Take his recent conversion to opposing the current filibuster procedures, for example. About 15 years ago, then-Senator Biden spoke about the importance of the filibuster in glowing terms:
“First, the Founders certainly did not envision the Senate as a body of unadulterated majoritarianism…It was clear from the start that the Senate would be a different type of legislative body; it would be a consensus body that respects the rights of minorities, even the extreme minority power of a single Senator because that single Senator can represent a single and whole State. The way it is played out in practice was through the right of unlimited debate.”
Now that Biden is in the White House, and the Democrats control both the House of Representatives and Senate, Biden is open to whatever changes are necessary to the filibuster rule to enact his leftwing agenda. If that means turning the Senate into "a body of unadulterated majoritarianism,” so be it. The ends justify the means.
At his news conference, Biden said that the filibuster is “being abused in a gigantic way.” As proof, he noted that from 1917 to 1971 “there was a total of 58 motions to break a filibuster that whole time. Last year alone, there were five times that many.”
Biden neglected to mention that it was the Senate Democrats who repeatedly used the filibuster during President Trump’s presidency, including in 2020. Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed closure motions multiple times to try and shut down the Democrats' filibusters. McConnell could have muscled through an end to the legislative filibuster with his Republican majority at the time. That way, the Democrat minority in the Senate would have been unable to prevent the passage of Trump’s legislative initiatives, including major immigration reforms to tighten border security and law enforcement, when the Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate. But McConnell chose not to do so.
McConnell is being consistent in wanting to preserve the current filibuster rule, both when he was in the majority and currently while he is in the minority. Now that Democrats are in the majority, President Biden, along with today’s Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, are perfectly happy to scrap the filibuster rule to achieve their radical policy objectives.
Biden says he agrees with Barack Obama’s characterization of the filibuster as a “relic” of the Jim Crow era. Trying to tag Republicans’ use of the filibuster with the Jim Crow label is the height of hypocrisy. Senate Republicans have not even used the legislative filibuster yet this session. Senate Democrats themselves, however, used the filibuster frequently when they were in the minority during the Trump era. How come there was no outcry from Biden against the so-called Jim Crow “relic” when Senate Democrats last year used the filibuster to kill South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott's police reform bill following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor?
As Senator McConnell observed, “We could have had Federal legislation on the books since last summer, putting more body cameras on police officers, requiring fuller incident reporting to the FBI, and finally making lynching a Federal crime, among other things. Democrats stopped it. They stopped it using the filibuster. If my Democratic colleagues really believe what they are saying, did they themselves use a racist tool against Senator Scott's police reform bill just last year?” McConnell added, with a touch of irony, "Or is our colleagues’ story that the filibuster was not an offensive relic as recently as last summer, but magically became an offensive relic the instant Democrats came to have a majority?"
A true journalist would have asked Biden at his news conference whether then-Senator Kamala Harris was indulging in a racist Jim Crow “relic” when she helped lead the Democrats’ filibuster against Senator Tim Scott’s police reform bill. A true journalist would have asked Biden whether he thought his vice president was trying to preserve a racist Jim Crow “relic” when, in 2017, then-Senator Harris signed on to a letter urging the Senate leaders to leave the legislative filibuster alone as is.
However, President Biden’s lies and hypocrisy were not challenged by the obsequious White House correspondents he called on during his press conference. What a contrast with former President Donald Trump’s White House press conferences where Trump had no problem handling tough questions from an antagonistic press corps!