Images taken at President Joe Biden's first press conference show him using cheat sheets


Images taken during President Joe Biden’s first press conference on Thursday showed him using cheat sheets – which did not prevent him from misstating key facts and losing his train of thought at times.. 

The 78-year-old Democrat is seen holding one sheet that showed the headshots of journalists at the press conference that he planned to call on. 

Another cheat card listed stats about infrastructure, but Biden was still forced to correct himself after mistakenly saying the US ranked 85th in the world in infrastructure. 

The bullet point on one of his notes read: ‘The United States now ranks 13th globally in infrastructure quality, down from 5th place in 2002.’

Images taken during President Joe Biden's first press conference on Thursday showed him using cheat sheets. The 78-year-old Democrat is seen holding one sheet that showed the headshots (pictured) of journalists at the press conference that he planned on calling on

Images taken during President Joe Biden’s first press conference on Thursday showed him using cheat sheets. The 78-year-old Democrat is seen holding one sheet that showed the headshots (pictured) of journalists at the press conference that he planned on calling on

'The United States now ranks 13th globally in infrastructure quality — down from 5th place in 2002,' one bullet point (pictured) reads -- but Biden still mistakenly claimed the US ranks 85th in the world

‘The United States now ranks 13th globally in infrastructure quality — down from 5th place in 2002,’ one bullet point (pictured) reads — but Biden still mistakenly claimed the US ranks 85th in the world

President Joe Biden holds notes in hand as he speaks during the first formal press conference of his presidency in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC on Thursday

President Joe Biden holds notes in hand as he speaks during the first formal press conference of his presidency in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC on Thursday

‘I still think the majority of the American people don’t like the fact that we are now ranked what, 85th in the world in infrastructure. I mean, look,’ he said, before later circling back and clarifying: ‘We rank 13th globally in infrastructure.’ 

Despite the cheat sheets, Biden at several points in the press conference appeared to lose his train of thought.

After speaking for four minutes about the surge of migrants at the border, he remarked, ‘And the other thing we’re doing, I might add…’ before cutting himself off to ask, ‘Am I giving you too long of an answer? Because if you don’t want the detail …’

‘I don’t know how much detail you want about immigration,’ he continued. ‘Maybe I’ll stop there.’

Biden’s bizarre ‘Jim Eagle’ remark

Biden made a reference to ‘Jim Eagle’ when accusing Republicans of trying to restrict voting rights. 

‘So I’m convinced that we’ll be able to stop this because it is the most pernicious thing. This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle,’ he said of voting restrictions.

Observers all seemed to agree that Biden was trying to make the point that restrictions such as voter ID laws are ‘worse than Jim Crow’ — but the exact role of Jim Eagle in the analogy was lost on many. 

Jim Crow refers to laws that enforced racial segregation in schools, public places, transportation and all aspect of public life in many U.S. states from the 1870s to the 1950s. 

At another point, Biden was speaking at length about the Senate filibuster when he lost his train of thought again.

‘I’ve never been particularly poor at calculating how to get things done in the United States Senate. So the best way to get something done, if you hold near and dear to you that you like to be able to…’ he said, trailing off.

‘Anyway, we’re ready to get a lot done,’ he then continued. 

At another point in the press conference, things turned downright bizarre when Biden made a reference to ‘Jim Eagle’ when accusing Republicans of trying to restrict voting rights to disenfranchise black voters. 

‘So I’m convinced that we’ll be able to stop this because it is the most pernicious thing. This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle,’ he said of voting restrictions.

Observers all seemed to agree that Biden was trying to make the point that restrictions such as voter ID laws are ‘worse than Jim Crow’ — but the exact role of Jim Eagle in the analogy was lost on many.   

Jim Crow refers to laws that enforced racial segregation in schools, public places, transportation and all aspect of public life in many U.S. states from the 1870s to the 1950s. 

Biden’s Jim Eagle remarks predictably drew mockery from conservative critics. 

‘Duh. It’s an analogy. Crow, eagle. They’re both birds, but an eagle is much bigger than a crow,’ said Fox News host Tucker Carlson. ‘That means that asking people to show a driver’s license when they vote is much more racist than segregation and lynchings.’

‘Segregation and lynchings were Jim Crow, voter ID laws are Jim Eagle — way worse,’ he added sarcastically.

Thursday’s conversation was his first since he took office on January 20. It was also limited to 25 reporters.  

At the one-hour press conference on Thursday, Biden called on just 10 reporters to ask questions, and many of them focused on the migrant crisis at the southern border, leaving little time for other subjects.

Though Biden addressed relations with China at length, he faced no questions about the ongoing investigation of the origins of COVID-19 — or any other question about his pandemic response and vaccine rollout.

Biden's notes included headshots of reporters with notations apparently indicated the order he planned to call on them

Biden’s notes included headshots of reporters with notations apparently indicated the order he planned to call on them

In addition to the note cards, some of the notes Biden consulted were hand-written

In addition to the note cards, some of the notes Biden consulted were hand-written

Trump slams ‘softball’ questions at presser

In a phone interview hours after Biden’s first press conference, Trump complained that it was a very different scene from his time in office. 

‘There were strange questions and they were asked in a very interesting way, they were softballs,’ Trump told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. ‘It’s very sad to watch, they’re feeding them questions, they’re easy questions.’ 

‘It was like softballs; like you are throwing softballs up, and it is just a different world,’ he said.

‘The whole thing is ridiculous, and you know it and so do I,’ added Trump. 

There were no questions about potential tax hikes to fund Biden’s reported $3 trillion green infrastructure plan, and relations with Russia were left unmentioned despite recent tensions after Biden labeled Vladimir Putin a ‘killer’.

Biden was also not asked to weigh in on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, his fellow Democrat who faces twin scandals over his handling of nursing homes in the pandemic, and allegations of sexual harassment and bullying. This week, reports emerged he had also prioritized COVID-19 testing for family, including his CNN anchor brother Chris, and friends at the height of the pandemic when ordinary New Yorkers struggled to get access.

Parents desperate to get their children back in the classroom also did not get the chance to hear Biden’s plan to reopen schools in the coronavirus pandemic. 

Also unmentioned at the presser was a recent report from Politico detailing a 2018 incident in which the Secret Service intervened after president’s daughter-in-law Hallie discarded a gun belonging to Hunter Biden in a trash can.

Fox News reporter Peter Doocy called out Biden for not taking any questions from him at the press conference, saying he had ‘a binder full of questions’ to put to the president.

‘We had a lot and most of the stuff we did not get to,’ Doocy remarked on-air after the press conference. 

‘Nobody asked him about this big plan that he has got, this big idea to completely transform the economy to make it all green,’ Doocy continued. 

‘That is something we were hoping to get on the board with and there were not a lot of questions about Covid, particularly the investigation into the origins of it,’ he added. 

Just 25 reporters were allowed at the press conference due to pandemic restrictions, and Biden called on only 10 of them

Just 25 reporters were allowed at the press conference due to pandemic restrictions, and Biden called on only 10 of them 

Several reporters at the press conference focused on issues at the southern border, where a surge of illegal crossings is on track to break a 20-year record.

Biden said he would be ‘flattered’ if migrants were coming to the United States because of him and ridiculed the idea the surge in migrants at the border is because he’s a ‘nice guy.’

‘Look, I guess I should be flattered that people are coming because I am the nice guy, that that is why they are coming, that I am a decent man or however it was phrased. That that is why they are coming, because Biden is a decent guy. But the truth is nothing has changed,’ he said. 

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, slammed Biden’s remarks, saying it was ridiculous to assert that his policies were not to blame for the surge in illegal migration.

‘With all due respect, this press conference is hard to watch. The misinformation being given by President Biden on immigration is stunning,’ Graham wrote in a tweet.

‘It’s clear he does not have the situational awareness he needs to understand what is going on at the border or how to fix it,’ he continued.

‘The Trump policies created dramatic decreases in illegal immigration. The changes made by President Biden have created a virtual human tsunami,’ added Graham. 

Trump also slammed the White House press for asking ‘softball’ questions at Biden’s first press conference.

‘There were strange questions and they were asked in a very interesting way, they were softballs,’ Trump told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. ‘It’s very sad to watch, they’re feeding them questions, they’re easy questions.’  

Trump said he saw no similar figure to Jim Acosta, the antagonistic CNN correspondent who often sparred with Trump as a White House correspondent. Acosta is now the network’s chief domestic correspondent. 

‘They don’t have that,’ said Trump. ‘And if Jim Acosta were there, he would ask very soft questions, it would be a whole different thing.’

During the press conference Biden said he would likely seek reelection in 2024.

‘My plan is to run for reelection. That’s my expectation,’ Biden told reporters in the wide-ranging news conference.

He later pushed back against a reporter’s suggestion that his 2024 plans were definite.

‘I said, ‘That is my expectation,” Biden said. ‘I’m a great respecter of fate. I’ve never been able to plan four-and-a-half, three-and-a-half years ahead for certain.’

Traditionally, there is no question as to whether a first-term president will run for reelection.

Former President Donald Trump, for example, announced his plans to seek reelection on his first day in office. 

But questions about Biden’s 2024 intentions have swirled since even before his November victory – because of his age. At 78, Biden is the oldest person to assume the presidency.

In office only two months, his 2024 plans have a direct effect on his political strength. 

If viewed as a one-term president, Biden would effectively be a lame duck with diminished sway at home and abroad as he pursues an aggressive agenda.

Given a high-profile opportunity to clarify his status Thursday, he sought to create the impression he was not a lame duck, but he avoided making any definite promises.

Should he run again, Biden said he ‘would fully expect’ to choose Vice President Kamala Harris to be his running mate again. ‘She’s doing a great job. She’s a great partner,’ he said.

Biden seemed exasperated when asked if he expected Trump to run on the Republican side in four years.

‘I don’t even think about it. I have no idea,’ Biden said, suggesting that Trump may not even be part of the Republican Party.

During the press conference Biden said he would likely seek reelection in 2024. 'My plan is to run for reelection. That's my expectation,' Biden told reporters in the wide-ranging news conference

During the press conference Biden said he would likely seek reelection in 2024. ‘My plan is to run for reelection. That’s my expectation,’ Biden told reporters in the wide-ranging news conference

Should he run again, Biden said he 'would fully expect' to choose Vice President Kamala Harris to be his running mate again. 'She's doing a great job. She's a great partner,' he said

Should he run again, Biden said he ‘would fully expect’ to choose Vice President Kamala Harris to be his running mate again. ‘She’s doing a great job. She’s a great partner,’ he said

It may seem early, but several Republican presidential prospects are already jockeying for position ahead of the GOP’s 2024 nomination fight.

On Friday, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to deliver a speech in Iowa, which traditionally holds the nation’s first presidential primary contest.   

Trump has teased another run, but he would be 78 himself at the beginning of the next president’s term.

With a Democrat in the White House, there has been virtually no jockeying on the Democratic side so far. 

Harris would be the most likely successor should Biden step aside, but she would probably face competition. 

So soon after taking office, however, Harris’ allies have taken no steps to prepare for a presidential bid of her own.

Privately, many Democrats believe Biden will not seek a second term. But publicly, there’s few willing to question his intentions.

‘He’s starting out by so far successfully improving our pandemic response both from a health perspective and economic perspective, which lays the groundwork for a successful term and reelection strategy,’ said Democratic strategist Josh Schwerin. ‘He’s running.’

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