In his first speech after nationwide polls on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden named critics who he said were suspicious of his support for Democrats’ efforts to prevent Republicans from sweeping the midterm elections. “Continued optimism” of ability – even if he is now likely to be president into a new period of divided government.
He told a news conference at the White House on Wednesday that the result showed that American democracy was intact despite threats to it over the past few years.
“We had an election yesterday,” Biden said. “I think it’s a good day for democracy.”
“Our democracy has been tested in recent years, but with their votes, the American people have proven once again that democracy is who we are,” he continued, adding, “While the media and experts predict a huge red wave, It didn’t happen.”
The result was neither the “whack” George W. Bush described in his own post-midterm press conference in 2006, nor the “whack” that Barack Obama called the “whack” Democrats endured in 2010.
Conversely, the failure to achieve a so-called “red wave” on Tuesday night made Biden appear confident, reflecting Democrats, including those inside the White House, they are Feeling enthusiastic and proven right after an election season when the president’s political caliber was in question. At the time of Biden’s speech, CNN could not yet predict a future House or Senate majority.
The result, the president acknowledged, was not a resounding endorsement of his approach. Voters, he said, “are also well aware that they’re still frustrated. I get it. I know it’s been a really tough few years in this country for so many people.”
“While losing any seat is painful… Democrats had a great night. We lost fewer House seats than any Democratic president in the last 40 years in the first midterm elections. Since 1986 Our governor has had the best midterm performance in 2018,” Biden said.
The president, who will turn 80 later this month, also said he was in “no rush” to announce a 2024 re-election bid, reiterating that his timetable remained “early next year.”
“Our intention is to run again. That is our intention, regardless of the outcome of this election,” he told reporters. Still, Biden added that he “has a lot of respect for fate,” calling re-election a “family decision.”
“I think everyone wants me to run, but we’ll have a discussion about that,” he said.
Biden has a message for those who oppose another presidential campaign: “Watch me.”
The president said he would invite congressional leaders of both parties to the White House to discuss where they can work together when he returns from a trip abroad, adding that he is prepared to work with elected Republicans on a number of issues. “I think the American people have made it clear that they want the Republicans to be ready to work with me as well,” he added.
Still, Biden drew a red line on some of the Republican proposals, saying he would veto legislation he believes could worsen inflation, cut Social Security and Medicare, and any attempt to ban abortion nationwide.
Biden said he plans to speak later Wednesday with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is running for House Speaker.
The result appears more likely to prompt self-reflection among Republicans than Democrats, as former President Donald Trump made fun of his announcement that he is about to run for the White House again. Many of the candidates Trump backed in a tight race have lost, or been locked in a premature race.
For his part, Biden said Wednesday that he does not plan to do anything different in the second half of his presidency. Instead, he said, if his agenda items come into effect, Americans will see their benefits.
“They just want to know what we’re doing,” the president said. “The more they know about what we’re doing, the more support they have.”
Still, if Republicans take control of the House, Biden and his team will still face a tough two years in office. Without a Democratic majority, the president’s agenda could be drastically scaled back. Republicans have pledged to investigate Biden’s administration and family.
Biden said he believes the American public wants the government to “go ahead and get things done for them” rather than leading an investigation into him, his family or his administration.
“It’s just, almost comedy,” Biden said of a possible investigation. “I can’t control what they’re going to do. All I can do is keep trying to make life better for the American people.”
Exit polls also showed that voter dissatisfaction with the health of the country’s economy was still building. About three-quarters of voters nationwide said the economy was “poor” or “not good,” and an equal percentage said inflation was causing them severe or moderate hardship. About two-thirds said petrol prices were making it difficult for them.
Voters were pessimistic about the country in general, with seven in 10 saying they were “dissatisfied” or “angry”.
For the president, improving the dark mood prevailing in the country will be an ongoing challenge, even as Democrats outperformed expectations on Tuesday. Without a House majority, his tools to achieve this will be more limited.
Biden has spent much of the campaign season focused on economic issues, including areas where he has acted to reduce costs. But he has faced some criticism, including from some Democrats, for expanding his closing remarks to include abortion rights and defending democracy.
Heading into Tuesday, Biden’s advisers were prepared to defend the strategy and prepare for historical data showing Democrats this year outperformed previous midterm cycles, which typically result in losses for the incumbent’s party.
Ultimately, however, Biden is likely to avoid blame and speculation. This year’s result was the best for the ruling party in recent memory, even with the loss of the House.
By contrast, Democrats lost 54 seats when President Bill Clinton took office in 1994. Obama’s first midterm elections cost his party 63 seats.
Speaking before the media on Wednesday, Biden spoke about the challenge with two of America’s biggest foreign adversaries, China and Russia.
Biden said the timing of Russia’s announcement of its withdrawal from the Ukrainian city of Kherson was “interesting.”
“I think it’s interesting that they wait until after the election to make a judgment, and we’ve known for a long time that they’re going to do it, which proves that they have some real problems — the Russian military,” Biden said. He added that the withdrawal will Where it goes and “whether Ukraine is ready to compromise with Russia” remains to be seen.
Biden also said he had been told Russian President Vladimir Putin was unlikely to attend the upcoming G20 summit in Indonesia. He also told reporters that he hoped Putin would be more willing to discuss the release of WNBA star Britney Greener, who remains detained in Russia now that the election is over.
Biden confirmed expected talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at next week’s G20 summit. Biden said he was not planning to make any “fundamental concessions” and they would discuss the economy and trade. But he declined to say his message would be about U.S. military support for Taiwan if China were to act on the self-governing island.
“I’m going to have that conversation with him,” Biden added, noting that they’ll list “what each of our red lines is.”
The president also told reporters that Twitter owner Elon Musk’s relationship with other countries is “worthy of attention,” but declined to say how.
Asked if Musk posed a threat to national security, Biden said: “I think Elon Musk’s cooperation and/or technological relationship with other countries deserves attention, whether or not he does something inappropriate.” “But that’s what (I would) say.”