President Joe Biden tried to avoid dwelling on his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, as he held a public sales pitch for Congress to quickly pass his massive coronavirus control bill.
“I’m tired of talking about Donald Trump. I don’t want to talk about him anymore,” Biden said Tuesday night at a CNN town hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
“For four years, Trump has been all that has been in the news,” Biden said at another point. “For the next four years, I want to make sure the news is the American people.”
Biden’s visit to Badger State, his first official journey as president, came as House Democrats were getting ready to pass on Covid’s $ 1.9 trillion aid package by the end of February.
The president, peppered with questions from the small, socially aloof crowd of Republicans, Democrats and independents, offered a cautiously optimistic timeline for when he believes the US can return to normal.
“In a year’s time, I think there will be significantly fewer people who need to be socially aloof, wear masks, but we don’t know,” said Biden, making sure to “not over promise here”.
He also stressed the importance of reopening schools, a major political sticking point during the pandemic.
Biden returned last week to comments from press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the goal for the president’s first 100 days was to open most of the kindergarten at least one day a week through eighth grade.
‘No, that is not true. That is what has been reported. That is not true, “said Biden at the town hall. “The goal is five days a week.”
Biden, who has urged Americans to get vaccinated, also said he believes teachers should be placed “in the hierarchy” for vaccination priority.
When Biden felt compelled to discuss the previous administration’s handling of the pandemic, he seemed reluctant to mention Trump by name.
‘We inherited a circumstance,’ said Biden, ‘there weren’t many vaccinators … [and] there was very little federal guidance “to help Americans figure out how to get vaccinated.
“Think what we haven’t done” from the moment Covid hit the US shores, Biden said. “We wasted so much time.”
At one point, Biden called Trump “the former man.”
“You had the former man who said, ‘Well, you know, we’re just going to open things up and that’s all we have to do.’ We said no, you have to deal with the disease before you get the economy going, ”said Biden.
“The fact is that the economy needs to be addressed now,” he said, stressing the need for increased unemployment insurance during the pandemic.
From his unity-focused inaugural speech to his first-week series of executive actions aimed at reversing previous administration policies, Biden has made it clear that he wants to drive the nation out of the Trump era.
But City Hall came just three days after the conclusion of Trump’s unprecedented second impeachment trial. Trump was acquitted of an article instigating the deadly riot in the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Biden, keen to muster Republican support for the Covid relief effort, was hesitant when asked if he agreed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., That the Republicans who voted to acquit Trump were “cowards.” goods.
“I’m not going to name names,” Biden said. Look, I … for four years, all that’s been in the news is Trump. For the next four years, I want to make sure the news is the American people. ”
“I’m tired of talking about Trump,” he added to applause from the socially detached audience.