Takeaways from AP interview: Biden on inflation, US psyche

Jun 16, 2022, 9:31 AM | Updated: Jun 18, 2022, 6:39 am
President Joe Biden speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in the Oval Office of the ...

President Joe Biden speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden sat down with The Associated Press to discuss the state of the economy, his concerns about the national mood and his commitment to standing up to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

Takeaways from Biden’s first news media interview since February:

PAIN AT THE PUMP

Biden on Thursday blamed gas prices for the nation’s economic pessimism, saying before prices started rising, “Things were much more, they were much more optimistic.”

The Democratic president acknowledged that Americans are paying vastly more to put food on their table and fuel in their cars and that it was putting a dent in his approval rating.

“If you want a direct barometer of what people are going to talk about at the kitchen table and the dining room table and whether things are going well, it’s the cost of food and what’s the cost of gasoline at the pump,” he said.

But while Biden said his message to oil companies was “Don’t just reward yourselves,” he has few tools at his disposal to meaningfully bring down prices in the near term.

THE U.S. HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO STAND UP TO RUSSIA

Biden said he didn’t consider the domestic political impact from U.S. efforts to sanction Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, particularly how it would roil the economy.

Without such action, he said, “I fear what would happen next is you’d see chaos in Europe.” He added: “It’s not about my political survival. It’s about what’s best for the country.”

Biden suggested that he’s willing to pay a political price as a result, saying his advice to young people interested in public service is, “Unless you know what’s worth losing over, don’t get engaged.”

BIDEN WANTS TO BUCK UP THE NATIONAL MOOD

After more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden said the American people are “really, really down.” He emphasized that the need for mental health in America “has skyrocketed because people have seen everything upset.”

Biden maintained that he’s optimistic about the country’s future, and that Americans should feel it too — even as the majority of voters say the country is on the wrong track.

“Be confident, because I am confident we’re better positioned than any country in the world to own the second quarter of the 21st century,” Biden said. “That’s not hyperbole, that’s a fact.”

Still, it wasn’t clear whether Biden’s rhetoric would have a tangible impact on the nation’s glum outlook.

HE STILL HAS HOPES FOR A DOMESTIC SPENDING BILL

Still smarting over the December collapse of a massive Democratic package to expand the social safety net and address climate change, Biden suggested he was hopeful that a slimmed-down bill could pass before the midterms.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s objections torpedoed the earlier efforts over inflation concerns. Biden needs all 50 Democrats to support a package in order to get around GOP opposition under the Senate’s budget rules.

“There’s more than one way to bring down the cost for working folks,” Biden said. “Gasoline may be up to $5 a gallon, but somebody who has a child with stage two diabetes is paying up to 1,000 bucks a month for their insulin. We can reduce it to 35 bucks a month and get it done.”

He added: “We have the votes to do it. We’re gonna get that done. I can’t get it all done.”

Biden also suggested there was consensus on providing tax credits for winterizing homes, which would help lower utility bills, and to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing to address supply chain issues that have driven up prices.

AND FOR GUN CONTROL

Biden was optimistic about a bipartisan framework to address gun violence by tightening some background check requirements for young firearm purchasers and incentivizing states to establish “red flag” laws to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

As lawmakers draft the legislative text, momentum appears to be building in the Senate after decades of inaction and mass tragedies. Biden acknowledged the progress, albeit limited.

“We’re going to get gun safety,” he said, adding, “We’re not going to get what I wanted.”

BIDEN HAS SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT REPUBLICANS

Despite years of political differences, Biden said he still views Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as a Republican he can work with — something he said he considered an endangered species in today’s GOP.

The president said that when he took office, he knew that there “were probably, probably 15 sort of traditional, mainstream, conservative Republicans left. And I include in that — and I’m going to get myself in trouble, gonna get him in trouble, probably — the minority leader from Kentucky.”

Biden added of McConnell, “He’s a solid, mainstream guy.”

The president, who has taken to branding other Republicans as “ultra-MAGA,” said examples included Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and Florida Sen. Rick Scott.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks on the White House campus, June 17, 2022, in Washington. The Bide...
Associated Press

Biden aims at China in new illegal fishing policy framework

The Biden administration is stepping up efforts to combat illegal fishing by China, ordering federal agencies to better coordinate among themselves as well as with foreign partners in a bid to promote sustainable exploitation of the world's oceans.
20 hours ago
A technician monitors the self-driving taxi developed by tech giant Baidu Inc. on June 14, 2022, in...
Associated Press

China’s Baidu races Waymo, GM to develop self-driving cars

BEIJING (AP) — With no one at the wheel, a self-driving taxi developed by tech giant Baidu Inc. is rolling down a Beijing street when its sensors spot the corner of a delivery cart jutting into its lane. The taxi stops a half-car-length away. “So sorry,” a recorded voice tells passengers. The steering wheel turns […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Puerto Rico police uncover island’s biggest pot greenhouse

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico police said they raided the island’s largest hydroponic marijuana greenhouse on Tuesday, with nearly 2,000 plants being grown in a former addiction treatment center. Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa said officers discovered the greenhouse in the northern town of Carolina, just east of the capital of San […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Ratings show Fox News viewers tuning out Jan. 6 hearings

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel is airing the Jan. 6 committee hearings when they occur in daytime hours and a striking number of the network’s viewers have made clear they’d rather be doing something else. During two daytime hearings last week, Fox averaged 727,000 viewers, the Nielsen company said. That compares to the […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

California budget won’t cover out-of-state abortion travel

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — While Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged to make California a sanctuary for women seeking abortions, his administration won’t spend public money to help people from other states travel to California for the procedure. Newsom’s decision, included in a budget agreement reached over the weekend, surprised abortion advocates who have been working […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

2 workers presumed dead after trench collapse in Texas

JARRELL, Texas (AP) — Two workers were presumed dead after a trench they were digging for a sewer line in Texas on Tuesday collapsed and buried them, officials said. The workers were digging a 24-foot-deep (7-meter-deep) in new subdivision under development in Jarrell, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Austin, when it caved in […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Takeaways from AP interview: Biden on inflation, US psyche