NEW YORK (PIX11) — President Joe Biden sought to calm Americans’ concerns about inflation at a news conference Tuesday. The White House convened to specifically address the issue, but Biden’s repeated finger-pointing at Republican strategies may not have helped. That was one of a list of aspects of the event that may have done as much harm to the president’s message as good.
The presentation, in front of a backdrop reading “Lowering Costs, Tackling Inflation,” was an event that the White House had described as being important to the American people. It started half an hour late.
Also, after Biden began speaking, the White House’s sign language interpreter made a series of gestures, including putting her pointer finger in her ear — the audio levels for this significant presentation were at first so low as to not be audible.
Eventually, however, the president gave full voice to the country’s problems.
“I know that families all across America are hurting because of inflation,” he said, adding that the ongoing pandemic, and the Russian war in Ukraine are the main causes for the highest increases in prices in four decades for most things.
Among the items with the highest rises in prices, is gasoline and other oil products, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regarding the increases, Biden said that his administration had released a record amount of oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve, and has promoted domestic oil and gas production at record levels, as well as allowing the sale of U.S. made biofuels.
He also pointed a finger at the GOP.
“They have no plan to bring down energy prices today,” Biden said, “no plan to get us to a cleaner energy independence tomorrow.”
It was the first of a variety of ways that the president tried to blame Republicans for Americans’ economic worries. Among the greatest of those, according to federal statistics, are rising costs of housing, and food.
When asked at the news conference if he takes responsibility for them, Pres. Biden said, “I think our policies help, not hurt.”
He specifically referenced the administration being on course to cut about $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit. However, according to FactCheck.org, a non-partisan research organization, and economic analysts, most of the deficit reduction is from pandemic programs ending.
Still, the president insisted that the lower spending plays a prominent role in taming inflation.
“The vast majority of the economists think that this is going to be a real tough problem to solve,” Biden said. “But it’s not because of spending,” he continued. “We brought down the deficit. The bottom line is: How much does America owe? How much in the hole are we going? We’re reducing that,” he said.
The president also singled out one Republican.
“Senator Rick Scott of Wisconsin,” Biden erroneously said — Scott represents Florida — “a member of the Senate Republican leadership, laid it all out in a plan. It’s the Ultra-MAGA Agenda.
Biden made that comment about Scott’s proposal that all Americans pay federal income taxes. Most people in the country do pay taxes in some way, but about half — mostly lower income residents — don’t have to pay federal income taxes.
For his part, Sen. Scott issued a strong statement calling Biden “incoherent, incapacitated and confused.”
“He doesn’t know where he is half the time,” the statement continued. “He’s incapable of leading and he’s incapable of carrying out his duties. Period.”
Scott called for the president to resign.
In response to Scott’s statement, issued before the president’s remarks had concluded, Biden said, “I think the man has a problem.”